If you’re an American about the age of 40 or so, and unless you’d been living under a rock or with a Nevada cult in the 1970s, you undoubtedly recall these Saturday morning PSAs. “Time for Timer” featured a lemon-shaped gremlin in a top hat and bow tie (evoking a citrusy Rodney Dangerfield) with ideas on how to help latchkey kids make life choices. ‘Timer’ taught you the proper way to brush your teeth, to choose real cheese over Cheetos, and, weirdest of all, how to make “sunshine on a stick.”
This particular PSA I remember well, because some friends and I actually took the little shit’s advice and tried to make fruit pops from toothpicks and ice trays.
It never worked right. Saran Wrap in the ’70s was clingy stuff and not meant to be wrassled with by a 7 year-old. Ice cube trays in those days had that weird separator bar that you had to jiggle to free the ice, and I could never find a) enough fruit juice or b) toothpicks. I think once we had to go ask a neighbor for toothpicks. Timer’s little PSAs ran aground long before we aged. When the Saturday shorts came on, in between cartoons, it was no longer time to pay rapt attention, but rather time to head to the kitchen for more King Vitaman.
Timer’s time was up by the late ’70s, though he managed to flip and swagger his lemony self into the 1980s by the way of reruns. By then I, and my like-minded generation, had long found other things to “turn us on.”