Monkey on Their Backs

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Monkey on Their Backs is an anti-heroin PSA created by the National Clearinghouse for Drug Abuse Information (Which is part of The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, which is now called National Clearinghouse for Alcohol and Drug Information) in the early 1970s.

It starts with a wind-up monkey toy crashing its cymbals as a little girl's voice says, "They say, people addicted to heroin have a monkey on their back. Isn't that cute?". Suddenly, the wind-up monkey stops playing as the camera zooms in on the monkey's face, which suddenly switches to a still image of a real-life monkey screaming at the viewer, accompanied by a loud primate scream. White text appears reading "Why do you think they call it DOPE?". This is generally considered to be the very first video ever made which can be called a screamer as we know it today, even though the term wasn't coined until the 2000's when online pranks like Kikia and What's Wrong became popular.


NOTE: The following video contains a screamer!

  • 16mm version:
Monkey on Their Backs is part of a series on  
The Exorcist - Original Theatrical TrailerFaroe Islands (WDC)Jumyou Ga ChijimaruMonkey on Their BacksBudd Dwyer’s SuicideRicardo López's SuicideDumb AnimalsThe ScavengersBurger King Kids Club Commercial - The SimpsonsBowlgirlPeperami - RunningOFEX The ChaseChechClearEnvironmental Investigation Agency - TigersBME Pain OlympicsTeletoon at Night Bumper



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