2014 UPDATE! At long last, the final missing 'Time for Timer' clip has surfaced (the one that was featured in this 1976 TV Guide spread) and is now available for your viewing pleasure! Thanks to all the visitors who brought it to my attention.
Howdy partners, it's Time for Timer -- hands-down the most popular non-Schoolhouse Rock Saturday morning educational series in ABC's vast arsenal. Contary to popular belief, Timer is not actually made of cheese himself. If that were the case he'd be singing about hankering for a hunk of himself, which is just plain weird. Timer debuted in a trippy 1973 ABC Afterschool Special titled "The Incredible, Indelible, Magical Physical, Mystery Trip." He followed that up with another magical, mysterious soiree the next year, "The Magical Mystery Trip Through Little Red's Head" (See much more about both of those here!) The success of these shows prompted the creation of his public service announcements, which were unleashed on young brains in 1976, and have been stuck there ever since. Timer was voiced by Len Weinrib, except for the first Afterschool Special where Len Maxwell supplied the pipes. Hmm, both guys were named Len. Go figure. These health and nutrition clips ran more or less through the entire decade of the 1980s, likely into the early 90s.
Old Timer is an under-appreciated TV icon if there ever was one. He's well-remembered by the generation who grew up with him, but doesn't have much to show for it outside a Family Guy parody that portrayed him as a crack addict. This is how we treat him after all he did for us? I gotta say though, the framed picture of 'Sunshine on a Stick' hanging on his wall in that clip makes me chuckle. A lot of folks have been disappointed that ABC or Disney or whoever hasn't given Timer and his bretheren the DVD treatment as they have the Schoolhouse Rock-ers over and over. (Which, by the way, you can buy here!) Even Scooter Computer and Mr. Chips got a piece of that DVD action, but not Timer. To that I say 'Who?' But that's OK, because we here at SatAMBrainFood will gladly shine the spotlight and celebrate Timer's body of work as long as there's an Internet... or until Mickey Mouse's goons shut us down.
1. 'Hanker for a Hunka Cheese' - Timer's signature song, and probably the best remembered of the bunch. In this PSA, our yellow friend heads west - 1840s prospector accent and all -- to show us how to make an afterschool snack that's dee-licious and nutritious: A wagon wheel! But don't worry, kids, it's not nearly as wooden as it sounds. Timer's wagon wheels are merely cheese and crackers. I often lie awake at night wondering just who exaclty is shooting at our beloved Timer in the beginning of this clip. Maybe it's the tooth decay goon he wrangles in our next clip...
2. 'The Only You You've Got' - In this 30-second spot Timer makes a rare departure from the kitchen to the bathroom -- no, not because he ate too many wagon wheels -- he's there to fill us in on a little dental hygiene. Trouble shows up about halfway through in the form of a no-good plaque dude, but Timer puts the lasso skills that he obviously learned during his cowboy days to good use and throws that guy clean out of the picture. Hey, who's a guy with yellow teeth to preach to us about dental hygiene anyway?
3. 'You Are What You Eat' - I had parts of this song in my head for most of my life. They would show up randomly, and I never really stopped to think about how they ever got in my head in the first place. So imagine the revelation when I came across this clip on a tape some 18 or so years later -- my mind was thoroughly blown. Timer's playing the role of 'roving reporter' in this clip, bringing the news from inside your digestive system, so if you feel a little uneasy down there, don't worry.
4. 'Quick Snack' - Timer, channeling W.C. Fields, gets straight to the point in this spot, rapping about the importance of nutritious in-between meal snacks. And he turns a kid into a banana.
5. 'Quickie Breakfast' - Some kind of breakfast is better than none at all, so says Timer in this catchy PSA. Our friend's all over the place in this clip. One second he's in the stomach, then, boom, he's in the fridge. With all that energy you can tell he ate his breakfast on this day.
6. 'Sunshine on a Stick' - If the 'Hunka Cheese' spot is the most fondly rememberd, then this one is a close second. I remember trying this, as I'm sure at lot of you folks who visit this site do. The kid in this clip is bummed because rain has spoiled his weekend. For any young whipper-snappers out there who may visit this site, this scenario may need a little explaining: You see, not too long ago kids used to play outdoors. Yes, I know there's nowhere out there to plug in your X-Staton or your Playbox, but there were other things to keep kids happy. Like rocks... and sticks... Anyway, Timer suggests you have some fun in the kitchen making your popsicles with orange juice or lemonade or pomegranate juice or whatever turns you on. This clip rekindled a lot of memories when it appeared on VH1's "I Love the 80s" a few years back. Don't wait unitl it rains before you view this nifty clip, you'll have a fun time watching 'Sunshine on a Stick!'
7. 'Don't Knock It Til You Try It' - It took until 2014, but the most elusive of the 'Timer' clips finally surfaced and did not disappoint! In this clip, Timer encourages us to try a little bit of everything on our plate.