May 16, 2010


Growing up there was a local independent television channel that was around since the 50s. It had no affiliation with the big networks and broadcasted for free. I didn't have cable, so our antenna was the source of our tube watching needs. The station was KPTV Channel 12, serving Oregon and Southwest Washington.

While it was a sense of pride that this channel was locally owned and operated some of the programming can be best described as a little odd, but the truly bizarre was their commercials. Without the inflated budgets of other advertising companies local businesses and services would air the strangest scripts. From children singing about how to avoid hepatitas to a local electronics and home furnishings guru with a crew cut selling watches with his likeness on the face, we were always entertained with the oddities of northwest culture.

There was no odder commercial than the Kite Man.

The Kite Man was a PSA from Pacific Power. He would wear a large kite costume (shown above) and stand in front of children talking about kite safety. I've search high and low for video of the commercial, but sadly to no avail. Below is a brief description of the script:

The Kite Man: Is a safe kite made of metal ever?
Children (screaming): Never.
The Kite Man: Wire or wet string ever?
Children (screaming): Never.
The Kite Man: Do you stay away from streets antennas and power lines?
Children (screaming): All the time.
The Kite Man: What about frogs?
Little Girl: I like frogs.
The Kite Man: What do you do if your kite wiiiiiiiiinds (rolls eyes) around a power line?
Children (screaming): Call the Kite Man.
The Kite Man (close up shot, speaking at the camera): At pacific power. (Winks).

Why the hell the screenwriter felt compelled to include that bit of a little girl speaking about how much she likes amphibians during a PSA about kite safety is anyones' guess. Still the commercial was aired so much that long after it left the airwaves local kids would exclaim their love for frogs in the same manner every time they saw one. Maybe the people at Pacific Power really loved frogs and wanted to instill the belief on the children of Oregon so they don't grow up playing baseball with them or shoving firecrackers in their ass.

It worked. To this very day my sister loves everything frog related.

I have no idea what ever happened to The Kite Man. If my kite wiiiiiinds around the power line I have no idea who to call.

"Commercials on television are similar to sex and taxes; the more talk there is about them, the less likely they are to be curbed." - Jack Gould


Anonymous said...

ahhhh.. yes, low budget television - it's great when there is no other option.

wigsf said...

PSAs involving children interacting with adults in wacky costumes are the best.