K.B. & Friends
I’m sure anyone my age would remember these commercials. Cause I swear every Saturday Morning line up(back when all channels had Saturday Morning cartoons) aired these PSAs all the time. I’ve been holding out on doing an article on drug PSAs and it’s time to do one. Cause besides fire safety PSAs, these were the dominate PSAs due to drug abuse being a bigger issue than fire hazards. The reason I’m doing this one first is because it was one of the first ones I remember seeing on TV. The official title for this series of PSAs is “Partnership For A Drug Free America”, but since it’s mostly focused on a boy named K.B. I’ll call it “K.B. & Friends” for short. So let’s talk about this PSA.
These PSAs always feature light doodle drawings to make it seem it was drawn by a kid. This took place during the Generation X era, so you can tell the producers of this PSA were trying to stay up to date with the society. Something kids can relate to, and the results are flawless if the PSA captured the nature of the youth of that era. The first one would be about an unseen interviewer asking KB a question, “Who are your friends?”. He says his friends are Ocean(really you could name your kid after a body of salt water that covers 3/4 of the world?), his teacher Mr. Quip, his dog Donut, Marty, An un-named black boy who just says “Hey dude”(We never learn his name, but he does pass as a stunt double for Jonny 2×4)& Kelly(who he comments that she’s ok, a typical answer for a boy who isn’t into girls yet). We then see a Japanese kid who says “Hi, I’m Kai”(Either K.B. isn’t friends with him or he forgot to mention him to the interviewer). The interviewer then asked K.B. who are not his friends. K.B. tells the interviewer that the ones who are not his friends are Jesse & Jeff who are two kids who have blood-shot eyes and are completely stoned. K.B. mentions how they think their cool cause they are smoking joints. They try to convince K.B. and his friends to join them cause they’ll be cool. Or in the words of Jesse, “Hey, guys wanna have some fun”. Which K.B. and his pals say in response. “No thanks man” “Yeah get a life you guys”. Good answers kids, cause who’d want to hang out with two pre-teens who have a cloud of smoke surrounding them. And will likely to go juvy with all of the other drug addicts, shop lifters, bullies, and gang members. After that, the PSA closes with a black screen that says “Partnership for a Drug Free America”. There are two different versions of this PSA, only difference is that some of the characters were either excluded or newly added to the “Who are your friends?” introduction.
The other PSA is like the first one only the interviewer asked K.B.’s friends with this question “When others ask you to do Drugs, what do you say to them?” Kelly walk pass Jesse & Jeff and says “I ignore them”. Kai says “I rather stick anchovies in my ears” (Yeah, whatever Kai just as long as you know drugs are bad for you). Ocean says “No way man, I respect my body man”. An unseen kid says “I don’t want to look and feel like this” with a picture of a scribble silhouette of a neon like sign person like Neon Noodle from “Duck Tracey”. The Jonny 2×4 look a like says “Take a chill pill”, yet we still don’t know his name. And finally Donut who obviously can’t speak just grows as a response to what would he do if he’s offered drugs.(Glad the dog doesn’t welcome drug dealers). The PSA then ends with the same “Partnership for a Drug Free America” black screen.
Originally aired as early as 1991, and was produced by Roy Yokelson’s Antland Productions. While the music used in the background is stock music that can be obtained without asking permission(Gotta love public domains). My thoughts on it, it was one of the best Anti-Drug PSAs for its time. While I never did understood what it was about whenever I saw it on TV as a kid. the only thing I did remember about it was the animation. To think I’d only remember what it looked like but not what it was about. Much like the commercial for Final Fantasy 3, except I knew it was a video game when I saw it on TV. After I did learn what drugs were in the fourth grade, I found this PSA to be more understandable than I did back in the early 90s. Luckily I was never threaten to take drugs as a kid before or even after I was introduced to the D.A.R.E. program at my school. Thanks to that program I always think twice when it comes to drugs, I have no desires to die from cadiac arrest or an overdose any time soon. Anyways enjoy the PSAs below, and for next week will be my 50th article. Which will also be accompanied with four other articles cause the subject is too big to be one single article. The subject will be on the dangers of crack with five different celebrities saying their own opinions on the substance.