The #FlashbackFriday Squad

…are goals you want to have!

Interstitials are the theme of a series of articles commemorating the non-commercial portion of the commercial break, meant for educating the masses at the tail end of the Television Code era, and before the ushering in of the Children’s Television Act of 1990. The 1970s and 1980s were a time of educating children in the importance of good hygiene, good eating habits, getting along, behaving, being responsible, reading books, being a good friend, and television stars telling us how to do all of these things.

Interstitials, unlike Trix, weren’t just for kids – segments for our parents – er, our soap opera watching moms and grandmas – talked about topics of common and uncommon interest geared at them, like old people having a healthy sex life, and health tips for people over the age of 40. And these were also presented by a then-current (male) television star, which was incredibly awkward when the topic of athletic young girls are late getting their first period.

Oh yes, that actually happened.

I’ve covered several different series of interstitials several times since January, with my latest on a short series of interstitials that aired on ABC concurrently with the well-known School House Rock. Since we know that segment pretty well (we all saw it at some point in our lives), I’ve looked up some of the shorter-lived and even more obscure segments from the same time.

Because you expect nothing less from me.

Today’s series of interstitials falls into the same vein of topics that yesterday’s Time for Timer covered. They ran at the same time, and were animated by the same studio, DePatie-Freleng Entertainment. For more information on the history of DFE FIlms and its output as a studio, as well as the company that succeeded their legacy, these two articles cover that nicely (Related: Time for #ThrowbackThursday and Muppets, Little Ponies, Optimus Prime, and A Real American Hero: The Story of Marvel Productions).

And one of them is from yesterday!

The series of related interstitials was called The Bod Squad, which were originally produced in 1974 and 1977, but aired until 1988 in a concurrent fashion with ABC’s other interstitial segments. Like Time for Timer, only seven segments were produced, and covered the same topics, but with different characters rather than…whatever Timer was.

Yes, I know he was a system of time, but he wasn’t a watch. He carried one, but he himself was not a watch of any sort.

The Bod Squad introduced the likes of Yuck Mouth, The Munchies, and Chopper, who was just like The Fonz, but animated before a time that The Fonz had his own cartoon, and promoted exercising your teeth with healthy foods. There’s making a Saturday (a Sundae but healthier), Quickfast (a quick breakfast of anything – even leftovers – are ok in a pinch), Nutty Gritty (nuts and raisins as a snack), and the plea to “don’t drown your food!”

All of the segments were thirty seconds in length, with the exception of “Chopper” clocking in at one minute. The original four segments from 1974 all had a voiceover and title card at the end that reminded us that The Bod Squad was “Another nutritional message from the ABC Television Network!”

Scatman Crothers sang the Yuck Mouth and Nutty Gritty songs, but there is no information on who voiced Chopper, but it definitely wasn’t Henry Winkler, even he looked like The Fonz.

I compiled a nice little playlist of the segments, which is quite the job, but someone’s gotta do it. And that someone is me, but of course!

When I watched these segments, I recognized them immediately, especially the one on not drowning your food. I watched plenty of ABC’s Saturday morning lineup (alternating with CBS) for many years, and that one stands out to me, even if I saw it in the late 1980s. I just knew the song.

Watching it now, it kinda grosses me out seeing the mayo poured over the eggs in animated form.

Like other interstitials before, during, and after it, The Bod Squad went the way of securing up an additional thirty seconds to plug something geared at children, though I’m sure it was actually well-received based on its content. The animation style was very of its time, but the songs are quite catchy, which makes this series quite fun to watch.

I’m continually researching more interstitial segments to feature in upcoming articles, but my question for you is if you remember The Bod Squad, or the similar Time For Timer, which I’m convinced may be more well-known, due to how long the segments were re-aired. I’d love to know if you remember the songs and segments, or if you’re just seeing them for the first time.

Next week, the commercials will take back over, as they should, but the interstitials will definitely be back.

Until then, have a fantastic Flashback Friday, and a great weekend! And please, don’t drown your food! Exercise your teeth with those healthy foods in their natural flavors!

I couldn’t resist!

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