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G.I. Joe PSA Parodies are a series of 25 spoof public service announcement videos created by Chicago-based filmmmaker Eric Fensler and published by his production company, Fensler Films. They spread primarily through eBaum’s World as embedded Quicktime videos.
Between 1985 and 1987, the G.I. Joe animated series aired on television, featuring a public service announcement at the end of each episode, closing with the quote “now you know, and knowing is half the battle.” In 2003, Eric Fensler began dubbing over the original audio, beginning with a PSA about a child getting separated from his parents at a carnival.(shown below, left) Overall, 25 PSAs were made featuring nonsensical dialogue about porkchop sandwiches, body massages (shown below, right) and computers, among other absurd topics. While they were originally passed around via VHS tapes, his art gallery website and his personal website.
In 2003, eBaum’s World began hosting the PSA parodies on their site. By October 2003, Fensler’s videos had been reuploaded and shared on various personal blogs. On September 9th, 2004, Hasbro issued a cease and desist order on the grounds of copyright infringement. The videos were subsequently removed from eBaum’s World and Fensler’s personal site, sparking a debate on the Animation Nation forum and the Toonami forum. However, after the inception of YouTube, the videos were reuploaded by multiple users and no further legal action was sought.
Fensler eventually reuploaded the videos to his personal website, earning a mention in the New York Times in 2008. As of December 2012, there are more than 2000 search results for “G.I. Joe PSAs” on YouTube.
As early as 2004, fans of Fensler’s videos began remixing them including Eric Piotrowski of Garrison Multimedia, who hosted six remixes on his homepage.
In June 2011, Fensler did an interview with WFMU’s Beware of the Blog, in which he stated he never planned on uploading the videos online. He made them simply to humor himself and does not think of himself as someone who was one of the first people to create viral content for the web.
WFMU’s Beware of the Blog – Eric Fensler: An interview with the creator of the GI Joe PSA parodies