Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Did You Know Your Green Cross Code?

How many of you remember The Green Cross Code Man? The Green Cross Code Man (sometimes known simply as "Green Cross") was a costumed superhero character created in 1975 as an aid to teaching young children the Green Cross Code, and for promoting general road safety. British Actor David Prowse MBE a Bodybuilder and former Mr Universe (and the actor best known for his portrayal of Darth Vader in the Star Wars films) is famous for his realisation of the character in a well-known series of Public Information Films (PIFs) sponsored by the Central Office of Information for the UK Department of the Environment. The light-hearted spots ran on UK Television from 1975 to 1990.

In the films, Green Cross Man character has the power to teleport from his monitoring station at Green Cross Control to any location where youths are in need of pedestrian safety instruction. He accomplishes this by use of a wristwatch-like "Dematerialiser"device. On these missions he is sometimes accompanied by a whimsical robot companion. His signature exclamation of surprise or disbelief is "Green Crosses!" and his slogan is "I won't be there when you cross the road / So always use the Green Cross Code." Green Cross Man, played by Prowse, was later to guest in an episode of BBC2's Fantasy Football League - a Phoenix From the Flames recreation of a goal by Gerry Francis in a Home International against Scotland (the main premise being that Francis tended to look from side to side during interviews - as was advised by Green Cross Man in his adverts).

In 1976, the late, great Jon Pertwee famous as the Third Doctor on the TV series Doctor Who, appeared in a PIF for the Green Cross Code introducing the mnemonic "SPLINK", which appeared to stand for:
  • (Find a) Safe (place to cross)
  • (Stand on the) Pavement
  • Look (for traffic)
  • If (traffic is coming, let it pass)
  • (When there is) No (traffic near, walk across the road)
  • Keep (looking and listening for traffic as you cross).
In 1983, the television adverts employed a "Green Cross Code" rap based on the hit "The Message by Grandfather Flash. The original lyrics of "Don't push me cos I'm close to the edge" were replaced with "Don't step out when you're close to the edge." The advert was re-released for its 10th anniversary in 1993 with slightly different lyrics.

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