Time for Timer
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Time for Timer is a title for a short series of public service announcements broadcast on Saturday mornings on the ABC television network starting in the early 1970s. The animated spots featured Timer, a tiny cartoon character who represents the sense of "time" in the human body. Timer is in charge of when a person felt it was time to eat, time to sleep, etc. He carries a large pocket watch inside of him, which would often set off an alarm whenever something was about to happen.
Usually wearing a bow tie and top hat, Timer looks somewhat like a little yellow blob with long arms and legs, and a face. Timer also has limited magical powers, such as instant transportation, which he often uses to exit his host body from time to time if things got too exhausting. A wise-cracker as well as a song-and-dance man, Timer promotes healthy eating and personal hygiene for children, using clever songs and animation.
Like ABC's The Bod Squad series, the segments never carried official titles, but are referred to by memorable catch phrases in the songs' lyrics. Perhaps most memorable was "I Hanker for a Hunk of Cheese" in which Timer, recast as a cowboy with a thick Western accent, suggests "wagon wheels," sandwiches made with cheese slices and crackers as an easy and nutritious snack. (When Timer prepares one on a kitchen counter, he rolls it down the counter on its edge and tells us, "Look! A wagon wheel!") Others included "You Are What You Eat" (a simplified explanation of nutrients and how the body uses them), "Quickie Breakfast" (leftovers and other premade foods as an alternative for kids who do not have time, or are unable, to cook breakfast), and "Sunshine on a Stick" (how to make ice pops with fruit juice, an ice tray, and toothpicks).
Time for Timer ran concurrently and interchangeably for many years with ABC's other educational spots, primarily The Bod Squad and Schoolhouse Rock!. They generally appeared between cartoon programs on the hour and half hour marks interspersed with regular commercials.
Timer's voice was provided by actor Lennie Weinrib. The spots themselves were produced by the cartoon studio DePatie-Freleng Enterprises. During the final five seconds or so of each segment (sometimes the first 5 seconds), the following end credit appeared on the bottom of the screen:
- An ABC Presentation
- Consultant: Dr. Roslyn B. Alfin-Slater
- UCLA School of Public Health
Timer first appeared in the 1973 ABC Afterschool Special "The Incredible, Indelible, Magical, Physical Mystery Trip", where he was voiced by Len Maxwell. Timer also appeared in the 1974 ABC Afterschool Special "The Magical Mystery Trip Through Little Red's Head" (now voiced by Lennie Weinrib). In Mystery Trip, he was working inside the body of a man named "Uncle Carl". In Little Red, he was working inside the (Teenaged) Red Riding Hood.
- "'Time for Timer!': Saturday morning cartoon PSAs from the 70s". Dangerous Minds. January 15, 2013. Retrieved July 8, 2017.
- The Incredible, Indelible, Magical, Physical Mystery Trip on IMDb
- The Magical Mystery Trip Through Little Red's Head on IMDb
- Saturday Morning Brain Food Extensive collection of Bod Squad and Time for Timer videos.
- Bio of Dr. Roslyn B. Alfin-Slater, UCLA nutrition professor and consultant to Time for Timer