Getting the Message Out: Smokey Bear PSAs

In honor of Fire Prevention month, we’ll have several posts about records relating to fire prevention.

In our previous post I introduced the real Smokey Bear. In addition to that film the National Archives Motion Picture Branch also holds many public service announcements (PSAs) related to forest fire prevention. They were created by the Ad Council with the support of the Forest Service and the Department of Agriculture. Here are a few featuring Smokey and his friends.

National Archives Identifier: 13307 / Local Identifier: 95.11


National Archives Identifier: 13308 / Local Identifier: 95.12


This video features both the long and short versions of the PSAs. The first PSA in this video is one of my favorites. To see Smokey rapping early 1990s style skip ahead to 2:12.

Forest Fire Prevention
National Archives Identifier: 13557 / Local Identifier: 95.259


Smokey Bear Fire Prevention
National Archives Identifier: 13457 / Local Identifier: 95.159

Recognize the narrator in the first PSA? That’s John Wayne. During the 1960s and 70s it was not uncommon for actors and musicians to lend their voices to PSAs and government information films. In the 1980s celebrities were featured in savings bonds promotions.

You can see more Smokey videos on our YouTube Channel, find records related to Smokey in OPA, and learn more about him and his message on Smokey’s web site, including his new PSA “Bear Hug“. One day this PSA, documenting one part of the Forest Service’s mission, will also be transferred to the National Archives for long-term preservation.

2 thoughts on “Getting the Message Out: Smokey Bear PSAs

  1. And the voice of Jerry Mahoney, the dummy in the topmost PSA, is that of Paul Winchell, aka Tigger.

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