Kiteman & Kite Safety

Kiteman and little girl

Kiteman lives on for those who grew up watching him during Saturday morning cartoons in the 1970s and 1980s. Pacific Power first created Kiteman in 1978 as part of a kite safety advertising campaign. He continues to have a nostalgic following among some customers looking for any signs of his return (and the phrase “I like frogs” has a special place in the memories of many who grew up in the Northwest). After many years of searching, we are pleased to mention that a loyal fan has found the Kiteman commercial footage.

View the Kiteman commercial

Text excerpts and camera descriptions from original ad:

"Is a safe kite made of metal?"
Cut to a small group of children seated on the grass who then shake their heads.

Cut back to Kite Man:
"Wire or wet string?"

Back to kids, more in the spirit now.
"Never!"

Kite Man:
"What about frogs?"

Cut to single shot of a girl in the crowd of kids:
"I like frogs."

Kite Man:
"What if your kite winds (he draws out the word as he twirls his eyes theatrically) around a powerline?"

Kids are really "bringing it home" now:
"Call the Kite Man!"

Close-up of almost-smirking Kite Man.
"At Pacific Power" (wink)

Kiteman

While kites – and Kiteman – are certainly fun, kites pose a serious, even deadly, hazard if they contact power lines. That is because electrical currents always seek the quickest route to the ground, and a kite string that is wet, dirty or contains metal or any other conductive material can detour the electricity from the power line to the ground, using the string – and the kite flier – as conductors.

Keep these safety tips in mind next time you pull out the kites:

  • Fly kites only in open areas, away from power poles, overhead power lines, substations, trees and other obstacles.
  • Only use kites made of wood or plastic, never metal or mylar. Only use cloth for the tail.
  • Use only cotton, linen or nylon string, never metal, wire or wire-reinforced string. Wet string is also dangerous.
  • Only fly kites in dry weather. And, never fly a kite during an electrical storm.
  • If a kite is caught in a tree, check to make certain there aren’t any power lines near the tree before climbing it.
  • If a kite does get caught in overhead power lines, release the string at once. Do not pull the string or climb the power pole to retrieve the kite.
  • And, NEVER attempt to retrieve a kite caught in a power line or that falls into a substation. Instead, “Call the Kiteman” at Pacific Power, toll-free 1-888-221-7070.