Spotlight on Public Service Announcement

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A public service announcement (PSA) is a message in the public interest disseminated by the media without charge, with the objective of raising awareness, changing public attitudes and behavior towards a social issue. In the newspapers King Features have donated comic strip characters in the form of free strips, which endorsed causes and organizations that would fight polio, promote buying war bonds or show support of public charities. Newspapers donated free space for these announcements, especially during fund drives.

Red Cross

From 1941.

Defense Bonds

In World War II, Defense Bonds were issued to help support the costs of the war effort. Phil Davis illustratied some ads urging people to buy government Defense Bonds.

War Bonds

The Defense Bonds were renamed to just War Bonds after the atack of Pearl Harbor. The Victory War Bonds campaign (campaign to sell war bonds) ran from 1941 to January of 1946. War Stamps could be saved and traded in for a war bond. In the strips of Mandrake the Magician (and other newspaper strips) there are often small "stamps" glued into a panel that encourages people to buy Savings Bonds and Stamps.

Christmas seal

The Christmas seal campaign was started in 1907 by Emily P Bissel to save the lives of a few tuberculous patients in a small hospital in Wilmington. In 1939 the slogan for the 33rd annual Christmas seal campaign of the National Tuberculosis Association was "Protect Your Home From Tuberculosis", and a panel with Mandrake the Magician was used as an ad in some newspapers.

March of Dimes

March of Dimes is a United States nonprofit organization that works to improve the health of mothers and babies by preventing birth defects, premature birth and infant mortality.


The March of Dimes campain in 1949 provided special cartoons: Popeye, Dagwood, Blondie, Hans and Fritz, Snuffy Smith, Jiggs and Mandrake the Magician. The Mandrake panel was taken and edited from the 1948 Sunday story "The Prince Who Never Smiled".


The March of Dimes campain in 1949 provided special cartoons: Dagwood, Henry, Little Iodine and Mandrake the Magician. The Mandrake panel looks a bit like the one used in 1949, but the artist might be some other than Phil Davis. The comic panels was printed both as a strip and on panel at the time.


In 1968 the "March of Dimes" ran PSAs for newspapers using known comic strip figures, among them Mandrake.

The Veteran’s Administration

The Veteran’s Administration ran PSAs for newspapers (1970 - 1984) using known comic strip figures. The PSAs highlighted some of the ways the VA could help veterans in episodes of 'So says the VA...

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