Traumafession:: Senski on a Seat Belt Public Service Announcement

Well, it’s been over two years since I posted about two PSAs that left an indelible mark upon my wee psyche but they stubbornly remain unearthed. I’ve since found some internet confirmation on the former’s creepiness, with one additional detail; a solemn narrator who repeatedly intoned, “Someone left their keys in the car…” So to spur your readers into digging once again on my behalf, I offer this PSA from the same period (I swear this and the joyriding one would often air in succession) that is sublimely eerie – and to the best of my knowledge it has never appeared on Kindertrauma!

The stentorian tones of Jack Webb take a whole minute (doesn’t that seem long today?) to warn viewers of the dangers of forgetting to use seat belts while driving. Some unsettling flutter-cut editing flashes forward to revealing the painful consequences for three negligent drivers – I always expected the guy on the beach to be shown in a casket – but it’s the sound effect that pushes this one into trauma territory for me. It’s a tympani roll, but one that’s cut off in mid-crescendo and not allowed to naturally trail off. Even the best percussionist couldn’t recreate this tone, and by pulling the plug on the roll, it stops the viewer short. Not unlike a car crash…

Judging from the comments this has received on YouTube, it seems to have made the same impression on others of my era. And that lady was so nice to brew a pot of coffee for us; so sad what happened to her..


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8 years ago

I think she is trying to find a nice way of saying, “I won’t wear polyester.”

8 years ago

Nice description of the sound effect! This one’s been lurking in my skull for a long time as well, but somehow my circuits reconfigured it with the even-more-disturbing flash-bulb sound effect from the opening of the original Texas Chain Saw Massacre.