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Cool Stuff: Mario Tells You To Just Say No

by on September 7, 2009

I have a tape collection larger than that of many television stations. I don’t believe in editing commercials out, and often I revisit these tapes just to rewatch the ads and promos. This results in such gems as this, which came from my collection:

That’s Captain Lou, who played and voiced Mario in the Super Mario Bros. Super Show, which aired on WGBS Philly 57, my local independent, where this PSA aired. Judging by the production values, this probably only aired on this station: spare room, bad acoustics, and Captain Lou is wearing a Mario hat but in normal clothing and persona.

The strong wording is surprising and another clue this was not nationally produced. Albano is extremely passionate here, especially with his closing line: “if you do drugs, you go to hell before you die”. This, in a medium where producers frequently banned the words “die” or “kill”, let alone “hell”. It’s also quite amusing that they back up this passionate, dark speech with the bounciest music possible.

This was not a rare PSA. It aired quite frequently on the station, several times per day, throughout all kids programming for two years. This example came from an airing of Popeye. It would be very tough to see this airing today.

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