I used to love the public safety announcement adverts that would sometimes air during kids TV programmes. The Charley Says ones were my favourites, but a close second were the ones about being careful near electricity sub stations and pylons. Whilst they did perform their intended role well, I couldn’t help but find them amusing at the same time.
The best one was the really dramatic one about the kid called Billy who loses his frisbee over the fence of a electricity sub station. The electricity gubbins inside the fence had several large insulating discs on it, which looked similar to Billy’s frisbee, which of course had got lodged between two of them.
Billy tells the girl he is playing with that he saw some kids break in the other week, and knocks a fence panel aside with a piece of wood to gain entry (doesn’t say much for the security of these places, does it?). In he goes, despite his friends warnings, and climbs up to get his frisbee. He touches the wrong part though, sparks fly and he falls, with his young friend left screaming “Biiillllly!!!” at the top of her voice.
The film ends with the chilling sight of Billy’s school blazer hanging at the bottom of the stairs in his home, whilst a radio newscast plays over the top reporting his death and telling us we shouldn’t do what Billy did.
The other one I remember was also quite funny, warning of the dangers of playing close to overhead wires. I think it started with a kid narrowly avoiding having his kite fly into the lines and getting fried, and then went on to show a number of stupid people holding massive fishing rods (it was truly huge, I’m sure fishing rods aren’t normally as long as this one was) and the mast of a small boat being pushed along on a trailer. I’m sure one of these connected with the lines and generated a slew of sparks, just to ram home the point that electricity can kill.