Play Video
1
WUN
WUN'ERFUL, WUN'ERFUL! Stan Freberg Comedy
::2009/07/06::
Play Video
2
Stan Freberg Presents The United States of America pt  1&2
Stan Freberg Presents The United States of America pt 1&2
::2012/07/04::
Play Video
3
Elderly Man River- Stan Freberg and Daws Butler
Elderly Man River- Stan Freberg and Daws Butler
::2010/12/23::
Play Video
4
Stan Freberg - "St George And The Dragonet" - with animation!
Stan Freberg - "St George And The Dragonet" - with animation!
::2011/04/14::
Play Video
5
Stan Freberg on Beany & Cecil
Stan Freberg on Beany & Cecil
::2011/02/09::
Play Video
6
Stan Freberg Looks at Audiophiles 1956
Stan Freberg Looks at Audiophiles 1956
::2011/07/11::
Play Video
7
Day-o ....(The Banana Boat Song ) :::: Stan Freberg.
Day-o ....(The Banana Boat Song ) :::: Stan Freberg.
::2010/06/30::
Play Video
8
Stan Freberg - "Banana Boat (Day-O)"
Stan Freberg - "Banana Boat (Day-O)"
::2012/05/10::
Play Video
9
Stan Freberg bitches about overbooked talk shows
Stan Freberg bitches about overbooked talk shows
::2008/02/08::
Play Video
10
Stan Freberg - The Great Pretender (2012)
Stan Freberg - The Great Pretender (2012)
::2012/04/09::
Play Video
11
Stan Freberg - The Old Payola Roll Blues (part 1 & 2)
Stan Freberg - The Old Payola Roll Blues (part 1 & 2)
::2009/01/23::
Play Video
12
1955 HITS ARCHIVE: The Yellow Rose Of Texas - Stan Freberg
1955 HITS ARCHIVE: The Yellow Rose Of Texas - Stan Freberg
::2014/07/20::
Play Video
13
Stan Freberg Presents the United States of America, Vol. 1 - The Declaration of Independence
Stan Freberg Presents the United States of America, Vol. 1 - The Declaration of Independence
::2012/07/04::
Play Video
14
stan freberg the rock island line
stan freberg the rock island line
::2009/10/13::
Play Video
15
Stan Freberg - The Lone Psychiatrist -
Stan Freberg - The Lone Psychiatrist -
::2011/02/28::
Play Video
16
Stan Freberg - Little Blue Riding Hood, 1953 Capitol record.
Stan Freberg - Little Blue Riding Hood, 1953 Capitol record.
::2012/02/19::
Play Video
17
STAN FREBERG - Green Christmas (1958) - A Classic!
STAN FREBERG - Green Christmas (1958) - A Classic!
::2009/11/24::
Play Video
18
BERT NEWTON Interviews JUNE FORAY & STAN FREBERG
BERT NEWTON Interviews JUNE FORAY & STAN FREBERG
::2012/04/21::
Play Video
19
John and Marsha - Stan Freberg
John and Marsha - Stan Freberg
::2009/12/24::
Play Video
20
STAN FREBERG - Christmas Dragnet (1953) / Yulenet (1954)
STAN FREBERG - Christmas Dragnet (1953) / Yulenet (1954)
::2009/11/24::
Play Video
21
stan freberg  heartbreak hotel
stan freberg heartbreak hotel
::2009/10/13::
Play Video
22
Stan Freberg The Federal Budget Review - Part 1 of 3
Stan Freberg The Federal Budget Review - Part 1 of 3
::2012/07/01::
Play Video
23
"Christmas Dragnet" - Stan Freberg
"Christmas Dragnet" - Stan Freberg
::2011/11/01::
Play Video
24
The Calypso Singer  Banana Boat Song Stan Freberg  animation Paul Glickmanwww savevid com
The Calypso Singer Banana Boat Song Stan Freberg animation Paul Glickmanwww savevid com
::2012/08/19::
Play Video
25
Stan Freberg bitches about the Vietnam war
Stan Freberg bitches about the Vietnam war
::2008/02/10::
Play Video
26
Stan Freberg - Try
Stan Freberg - Try
::2010/12/02::
Play Video
27
Stan Freberg - Abominable Snowman -
Stan Freberg - Abominable Snowman -
::2011/11/19::
Play Video
28
Omaha! Musical by Stan Freberg -  1958 Butternut Coffee Radio Commercial
Omaha! Musical by Stan Freberg - 1958 Butternut Coffee Radio Commercial
::2012/04/09::
Play Video
29
1953 HITS ARCHIVE: Christmas Dragnet - Stan Freberg
1953 HITS ARCHIVE: Christmas Dragnet - Stan Freberg
::2013/10/21::
Play Video
30
STAN FREBERG - 1957 - "Banana Boat (Day-O)"
STAN FREBERG - 1957 - "Banana Boat (Day-O)"
::2013/09/18::
Play Video
31
Stan Freberg
Stan Freberg
::2013/06/04::
Play Video
32
Stan Freberg: That
Stan Freberg: That's Right Arthur (1956)
::2011/07/12::
Play Video
33
Stan Freberg - St. George & The Dragonet, 1953 Capitol record.
Stan Freberg - St. George & The Dragonet, 1953 Capitol record.
::2012/02/19::
Play Video
34
Stan Freberg - Sh-Boom
Stan Freberg - Sh-Boom
::2010/11/01::
Play Video
35
Stan Freberg: Interview Highlights
Stan Freberg: Interview Highlights
::2013/06/25::
Play Video
36
1951 HITS ARCHIVE: John And Marsha - Stan Freberg
1951 HITS ARCHIVE: John And Marsha - Stan Freberg
::2013/11/12::
Play Video
37
Stan Freberg Featuring Jesse White -- Sh-Boom (Life Could Be A Dream)1954
Stan Freberg Featuring Jesse White -- Sh-Boom (Life Could Be A Dream)1954
::2012/02/13::
Play Video
38
STAN FREBERG The World Is Waiting For The Sunrise
STAN FREBERG The World Is Waiting For The Sunrise
::2007/10/06::
Play Video
39
point of order - stan freberg
point of order - stan freberg
::2012/07/24::
Play Video
40
Stan Freberg - Columbus
Stan Freberg - Columbus
::2013/10/14::
Play Video
41
stan freberg   tele vee shun
stan freberg tele vee shun
::2009/10/13::
Play Video
42
Stan Freberg Presents The United States of America pt 7,8&9
Stan Freberg Presents The United States of America pt 7,8&9
::2012/07/04::
Play Video
43
Stan Freberg - Stretching the Imagination
Stan Freberg - Stretching the Imagination
::2010/12/14::
Play Video
44
Stan Freberg - Rock Around Stephen Foster (78rpm - 1955)
Stan Freberg - Rock Around Stephen Foster (78rpm - 1955)
::2014/09/21::
Play Video
45
stan freberg  rock around stephen foster
stan freberg rock around stephen foster
::2009/10/13::
Play Video
46
Stan Freberg - The Great Pretender - 78rpm (1956)
Stan Freberg - The Great Pretender - 78rpm (1956)
::2014/03/02::
Play Video
47
STAN FREBERG
STAN FREBERG's AMERICA - The Spirit of 76
::2011/11/15::
Play Video
48
Nuttin for Christmas by Stan Freberg
Nuttin for Christmas by Stan Freberg
::2008/12/28::
Play Video
49
Stan Freberg - Tele-Vee-Shun 78 rpm!
Stan Freberg - Tele-Vee-Shun 78 rpm!
::2014/02/13::
Play Video
50
The Old Payola Roll Blues pts 1 & 2 - Complete!
The Old Payola Roll Blues pts 1 & 2 - Complete!
::2011/03/12::
NEXT >>
RESULTS [51 .. 101]
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Stan Freberg
Stan Freberg 2009.jpg
Freberg at the San Diego
ComicCon, 2009
Born Stanley Friberg[1]
(1926-08-07) August 7, 1926 (age 88)
Pasadena, California, United States
Occupation Voice actor
Puppeteer
Advertising creative director
Comedian
Author
Radio personality
Years active 1944–present
Spouse(s) Donna Freberg (1959–2000) (her death)
Betty Hunter-Freberg
Awards Winsor McCay Award
Website
http://www.hunterfrebergltd.com

Stan Freberg (born Stanley Friberg;[1] August 7, 1926) is an American author, recording artist, animation voice actor, comedian, radio personality, puppeteer and advertising creative director, whose career began in 1944. He is still active in the industry in his late-80s, more than 70 years after entering it.

Personal life[edit]

Freberg was born Stanley Friberg[1] in Pasadena, California, the son of Evelyn Dorothy (née Conner), a housewife, and Victor Richard Friberg (later Freberg), a Baptist minister. Stan is a Christian[2][3] and of Swedish and Irish descent.[4]

Freberg's work reflects both his gentle sensitivity (despite his liberal use of biting satire and parody) and his refusal to accept alcohol and tobacco manufacturers as sponsors—an impediment to his radio career when he took over for Jack Benny on CBS radio. As Freberg explained to Rusty Pipes:

After I replaced Jack Benny in 1957, they were unable to sell me with spot announcements in the show. That would mean that every three minutes I'd have to drop a commercial in. So I said, "Forget it. I want to be sponsored by one person", like Benny was, by American Tobacco or State Farm Insurance, except that I wouldn't let them sell me to American Tobacco. I refused to let them sell me to any cigarette company.[5]

Stan Freberg's first wife, Donna, died in 2000. He has two children from that marriage, Donna Jean and Donavan. He married Betty Hunter in 2001, and she adopted the personal and family names Hunter Freberg.

Animation[edit]

Freberg was employed as a voice actor in animation shortly after graduating from Alhambra High School. He began at Warner Brothers in 1944 by getting on a bus and asking the driver to let him off "in Hollywood". As he describes in his autobiography, It Only Hurts When I Laugh, he got off the bus and found a sign that said "talent agency". He walked in, and the agents there arranged for him to audition for Warner Brothers cartoons where he was promptly hired.[6]

His first cartoon voice work was in a Warner Brothers cartoon called For He's a Jolly Good Fala, which was recorded but never filmed (due to the death of Fala's owner, President Franklin D. Roosevelt), followed by Roughly Squeaking (1946) as Bertie; and in 1947, he was heard in It's a Grand Old Nag (Charlie Horse), produced and directed by Bob Clampett for Republic Pictures; The Goofy Gophers (Tosh), and One Meat Brawl (Grover Groundhog and Walter Winchell). He often found himself paired with Mel Blanc while at Warner Bros., where the two men performed such pairs as the mice Hubie and Bertie and Spike the Bulldog and Chester the Terrier.[7] In 1950, he was the voice of Friz Freleng's "Dumb Dog" in "Foxy By Proxy", who meets up with a disguised Bugs Bunny wearing a fox suit. He was the voice of Pete Puma in the 1952 cartoon Rabbit's Kin, in which he did an impression of an early Frank Fontaine characterization (which later became Fontaine's "Crazy Guggenheim" character).

Freberg is often credited with voicing the character of Junyer Bear in Bugs Bunny and the Three Bears (1944), but that was actor Kent Rogers. After Rogers was killed during World War II, Freberg assumed the role of Junyer Bear in Chuck Jones' Looney Tunes cartoon What's Brewin', Bruin? (1948), featuring Jones' version of The Three Bears. He also succeeded Rogers as the voice of Beaky Buzzard.

Freberg was heard in many Warner Brothers cartoons, but his only screen credit on one was Three Little Bops (1957). His work as a voice actor for Walt Disney Productions included the role of Beaver in Lady and the Tramp (1955) and did voice work in Susie the Little Blue Coupe and Lambert the Sheepish Lion. Freberg also provided the voice of Sam, the orange cat paired with Sylvester in the Academy Award-nominated short Mouse and Garden (1960). He voiced Cage E. Coyote, the father of Wile E. Coyote, in the 2000 short Little Go Beep.

Films[edit]

Freberg was cast to sing the part of the Jabberwock in the song "Beware the Jabberwock" for Disney's Alice in Wonderland, with the Rhythmaires and Daws Butler. Written by Don Raye and Gene de Paul, the song was a musical rendering of the poem "Jabberwocky" from Lewis Carroll's Through the Looking Glass. The song was not included in the final film, but a demo recording was included in the 2004 and 2010 DVD releases of the movie.

Freberg made his movie debut as an on-screen actor in the comedy Callaway Went Thataway (1951), a satirical spoof on the marketing of Western stars (apparently inspired by the TV success of Hopalong Cassidy). Freberg costarred with Mala Powers in Geraldine (1953) as sobbing singer Billy Weber, enabling him to reprise his satire on vocalist Johnnie Ray (see below). In 1963's mega-comedy It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World, Freberg appeared in a non-speaking part as the Deputy Sheriff and also voiced as a dispatcher.

Contrary to popular belief George Lucas called upon Freberg, not Mel Blanc, to audition for the voice of the character C-3PO for the 1977 film Star Wars. After he and many others auditioned for the part, Freberg suggested that Lucas use mime actor Anthony Daniels' own voice.[8]

Capitol Records[edit]

Early releases[edit]

Freberg began making satirical recordings for Capitol Records, beginning with the February 10, 1951, release of "John and Marsha" (in both 45-rpm and 78-rpm formats), a soap opera parody that consisted of the title characters (both played by Freberg) doing nothing but repeating each other's names (with intonations to match the moods).[9][10] In a 1954 follow-up, he used pedal steel guitarist Speedy West to satirize the 1953 Ferlin Husky country hit, "A Dear John Letter", as "A Dear John and Marsha Letter" (Capitol 2677). A seasonal recording, "The Night Before Christmas/Nuttin' for Christmas", made in 1955, still remains a cult classic.

With Daws Butler and June Foray, he produced his 1951 Dragnet parody, "St. George and the Dragonet", a #1 hit for four weeks in October 1953.[11] Another hit to get the Freberg treatment was Johnnie Ray's weepy "Cry", which Freberg rendered as "Try ('You too can be unhappy… if you try')", exaggerating Ray's histrionic vocal style.[12] Ray was furious until he realized the success of Freberg's 1952 parody was helping sales and airplay of his own record.[13] Freberg reported getting more angry feedback for this than from his other parodies.[12]

After "I've Got You Under My Skin" (1951), he followed with more popular musical satires, including "Sh-Boom" (1954), a parody of the song recorded by The Chords. Freberg imitates Marlon Brando, who at the end yells "STELLA", based on "A Streetcar Named Desire", "The Yellow Rose of Texas" (1955),[10] where a "Yankee" Snare Drummer goes out of hand on the recording, "Rock Island Line" (1956), based on the Lonnie Donnegan Skiffle version with interruptions by Peter Leeds, and "The Great Pretender" (1956). He spoofed Elvis Presley in 1956 with his own version of Elvis' first gold record, "Heartbreak Hotel", in which the echo effect goes out of control. In Freberg's spoof, Elvis rips his jeans during his performance.[14] Also with Foray, he recorded "The Quest for Bridey Hammerschlaugen", a spoof of The Search for Bridey Murphy by Morey Bernstein, a 1956 book on hypnotic regression to a past life. On "Little Blue Riding Hood" ('Only the color has been changed to avoid an investigation'), the record's B-side, the title character is arrested for smuggling goodies.

"The Great Pretender" and "Banana Boat Song"[edit]

Freberg used a beatnik musician theme in his 1956 parody of "The Great Pretender", the hit by The Platters—who, like Ray (see above) and Belafonte and Welk (see both below), were not pleased. At that time, when it was still hoped that musical standards might be preserved, it was quite permissible to ridicule the ludicrous, as Freberg had obviously thought when he parodied Presley. The pianist in Freberg's parody, a devotee of Erroll Garner and George Shearing, rebels against playing a single-chord accompaniment, retorting, "I'm not playing that 'clink-clink-clink jazz'!" But Freberg is adamant about the pianist's sticking to The Platters' style: "You play that 'clink-clink-clink jazz', or you won't get paid tonight!" The pianist relents—sort of.[15] The pianist even quotes the first six notes from Shearing's classic piece "Lullaby of Birdland", before returning to the song.[16] The song concludes with the piano accompaniment, despite the histrionic singer's pleas, becoming uncontrollably fast, and the singer having to escape the studio.

Freberg's "Banana Boat (Day-O)" (1957) satirized Harry Belafonte's popular recording of "Banana Boat Song". In Freberg's version, the lead singer is forced to run down the hall and close the door after him to muffle the sound of his "Day-O!" because the beatnik bongo drummer, voiced by Leeds, complains, "It's too shrill, man. It's too piercing!" When he gets to the lyric about "A beautiful buncha ripe banana/Hide the deadly black tarantula," the drummer protests, "I don't dig spiders, man!"[17] The flip is "Tele-Vee-Shun", an anti-TV song about what television has done to his family, sung in a heavy faux-Trinidadian accent and set to a Calypso tune. The song also lampoons Presley in one verse: "I turn on Elvis Presley and my daughter scream. I fear she have a nervous breakdown cos of heem. I wonder he wiggle-waggle to de beat. As a boy he must have had a loose bicycle seat."

Freberg's musical parodies were a by-product of his collaborations with Billy May, a veteran big band musician and jazz arranger, and his Capitol Records producer, Ken Nelson. Two weeks after Johnny Mathis' "Wonderful! Wonderful!" fell off the Billboard Top 100, "Wun'erful, Wun'erful! (Sides uh-one & uh-two)", Freberg's 1957 spoof of TV "champagne music" master Lawrence Welk, debuted. To replicate Welk's sound, May and some of Hollywood's finest studio musicians and vocalists worked to clone Welk's live on-air style, carefully incorporating bad notes and mistimed cues. Billy Liebert, a first-rate accordionist, copied Welk's accordion playing. In the parody, the orchestra is overwhelmed by the malfunctioning bubble machine and the entire Aragon Ballroom eventually floats out to sea. Welk denied he had ever said "Wunnerful, Wunnerful!",[citation needed] though it became the title of Welk's autobiography (Prentice Hall, 1971). Some of the regulars on Welk's show got lampooned as well; Alice Lon became "Alice Lean," Larry Hooper became "Larry Looper," and the Lennon Sisters became the "Lemon Sisters."

Political satire[edit]

Freberg also tackled political issues of the day. On his radio show, an extended sketch parallelled the Cold War brinkmanship between the U.S. and the Soviet Union by portraying an ever-escalating public relations battle between the El Sodom and the Rancho Gomorrah, two casinos in the city of Los Voraces (Spanish for "The Greedy Ones"—a thinly disguised Las Vegas). The sketch ends with the ultimate tourist attraction, the Hydrogen Bomb, which turns Los Voraces into a vast, barren wasteland. Network pressure forced Freberg to remove the reference to the hydrogen bomb and had the two cities being destroyed by an earthquake instead.[6] The version of "Incident at Los Voraces", released later on Capitol Records, contains the original ending.[18]

Freberg had poked fun at McCarthyism in passing in "Little Blue Riding Hood" with the line, "Only the color has been changed to prevent an investigation." Later, he blatantly parodied Senator Joseph McCarthy with "Point of Order" (taken from his frequent objection), about which Capitol's legal department was very nervous. Freberg describes being called in for a chat about this and being asked whether he had ever belonged to any "disloyal" group. "Well," he replied, "I have been for many years a card-carrying member of... "—the executive went pale—"... the Mickey Mouse Fan Club." "Dammit, Freberg," the executive angrily retorted, "this isn't a game." A watered-down version of the parody was eventually aired, and Freberg never found himself "in front of a committee".

Controversy[edit]

On two occasions, Capitol refused to release Freberg's creations.[19] "That's Right, Arthur" was a barbed parody of controversial 1950s radio/TV personality Arthur Godfrey, who expected his stable of performers—known as "little Godfreys"—to endlessly toady to him. The dialogue included Freberg's "Godfrey" monologue, punctuated by Butler imitating Godfrey announcer Tony Marvin, repeatedly interjecting, "That's right, Arthur!" between Godfrey's comments.[20] Capitol feared Godfrey might take legal action and sent a tape of the sketch to his legal department for permission, which was denied. Capitol also rejected the equally acerbic "Most of the Town", a spoof of Ed Sullivan's "The Toast of the Town", under the same circumstances. Both recordings eventually surfaced on a box-set Freberg retrospective issued by Rhino Records.

Freberg continued to skewer the advertising industry after the demise of his show, producing and recording "Green Chri$tma$" in 1958, a scathing indictment of the over-commercialization of the holiday, in which Butler soberly hoped instead that we'd remember "whose birthday we're celebrating". Released originally on 45-rpm discs, the satire ended abruptly with a rendition of "Jingle Bells" punctuated by cash register sounds when reissued by Capitol on LP and CD. The original version was somewhat longer, but Capitol did not reissue the full recording. Freberg also revisited the "Dragnet" theme, with "Yulenet", also known as "Christmas Dragnet", in which the strait-laced detective convinces a character named "Grudge" that Santa Claus really exists (and Columbus, Cleveland, Cincinnati, and the Easter Bunny, but Grudge still hadn't made up his mind yet about Toledo). Butler does several voices on that record.

Oregon! Oregon![edit]

In 1958, the Oregon Centennial Commission, under the sponsorship of Blitz-Weinhard Brewing Company, hired Freberg to create a musical to celebrate Oregon's one-hundredth birthday.[21][22] The result was Oregon! Oregon! A Centennial Fable in Three Acts. Recorded at Capitol in Hollywood, it was released during the Oregon Centennial in 1959 as a 12″ vinyl LP album. Side one featured two versions of an introduction by Freberg (billed as "Stan Freberg, Matinee Idol"), with the second version including a few words from the president of Blitz-Weinhard Co. This was followed by the show itself, which runs for 21 minutes. Side two includes separate individual versions of each of the featured songs, including several variations on the title piece, Oregon! Oregon!

Fifty years later, as Oregon approached its Sesquicentennial, an updated version was prepared by Freberg and the Portland band Pink Martini as part of a signature series of performances throughout the state.[21][22] Pink Martini toured the state and performed four regional performances in the northern, southern and central areas of Oregon in August and September 2009. This was made possible by a grant from the Kinsman Foundation for a $40,000 launch of Pink Martini's Oregon! Oregon! 2009 with Freberg.

1960s and since[edit]

Freberg in an early 60s publicity photo

In 1960, in the light of the payola scandal, Freberg made a two-sided single entitled "The Old Payola Roll Blues", which tells the story of a corrupt recording studio promoter (voiced by Jesse White)[23] who gets a teenager who cannot sing to record a song called "High School OO OO", as well as the flip side, "I Was on My Way to High School". The promoter then tries to bribe a disc jockey at a jazz station to play the song on the air, which he flatly refuses, suspecting that the promoter was never in the music business in the first place. Afterward, a song in the big band style heralds the end of rock and roll and a resurgence of swing and jazz. Freberg's record was on the Hot 100 only the week of Leap Day 1960, at #99, about three and a half months after Tommy Facenda's multi-versioned "High School U.S.A." peaked at #28. Alan Freed, whose career fell prey to charges of payola, reportedly laughed at Freberg's interpretation of the scandal.

Stan Freberg Presents the United States of America, Volume One: The Early Years (1961) combined dialogue and song in a musical theatre format. The original album musical, released on Capitol, parodies the history of the United States from 1492 until the end of the Revolutionary War in 1783. In it, Freberg parodied both large and small aspects of history. For instance, in the Colonial era, it was common to use the long s, which resembles a lowercase f, in the middle of words; thus, as Ben Franklin is reading the Declaration of Independence, he questions the passage, "Life, liberty, and the purfuit of happineff?!?" Most of that particular sketch is a satire of McCarthyism. For example, Franklin remarks, "You...sign a harmless petition, and forget all about it. Ten years later, you get hauled up before a committee."

The album also featured the following exchange, where Freberg's Christopher Columbus is "discovered on beach here" by a Native American played by Marvin Miller. Skeptical of the Natives' diet of corn and "other organically grown vegetables", Columbus wants to open "America's first Italian restaurant" and needs to cash a check to get started:

Native: "You out of luck, today. Banks closed."
Columbus: [archly, knowing what the response will be] "Oh? Why?"
Native: "Columbus Day!"
Columbus: [pregnant pause] "We going out on that joke?"
Native: "No, we do reprise of song. That help ..."
Columbus and Native together: "But not much, no!"

Stan Freberg Presents The United States of America, Volume Two was planned for release during America's Bicentennial in 1976, but it did not emerge until 1996.[24]

Freberg's early parodies revealed his obvious love of jazz. His portrayals of jazz musicians were usually stereotypical "beatnik" types, but jazz was always portrayed as preferable to pop, calypso, and particularly the then-new form of music, rock and roll. He whopped doo-wop in his version of "Sh-Boom" and lampooned Elvis Presley with an echo/reverb rendition of "Heartbreak Hotel".[14] The United States of America includes a sketch involving the musicians in the painting The Spirit of '76. The terribly hip fife player ("Bix", played by Freberg) and the younger drummer (played by Walter Tetley) argue with the older, impossibly square drummer ("Doodle", also voiced by Freberg) over how Yankee Doodle should be performed.

Radio[edit]

Theater for the ear: Freberg strikes a pose, 1962

The popularity of Freberg's recordings landed him his own program, the situation comedy That's Rich. Freberg portrayed bumbling but cynical Richard E. Wilk, a resident of Hope Springs, where he worked for B.B. Hackett's Consolidated Paper Products Company. Freberg suggested the addition of dream sequences, which made it possible for him to perform his more popular Capitol Records satires before a live studio audience. The CBS series aired from January 8 to September 23, 1954.

The Stan Freberg Show was a 1957 replacement for Jack Benny on CBS radio. The satirical show, which featured elaborate production, included most of the team he used on his Capitol recordings, including Foray, Leeds, and Butler. Billy May arranged and conducted the music. The Jud Conlon Singers, who had also appeared on Freberg recordings, were regulars, as was singer Peggy Taylor, who had participated in his "Wun'erful, Wun'erful!" record. The show was produced by Pete Barnum.

The show failed to attract a sponsor after Freberg decided he did not want to be associated with the tobacco companies that had sponsored Benny. In lieu of actual commercials, Freberg mocked advertising by touting such products as "Puffed Grass" ("It's good for Bossie, it's good for me and you!"), "Food" ("Put some food in your tummy-tum-tum!"), and himself ("Stan Freberg—the foaming comedian! Bobba-bobba-bom-bom-bom"), a parody of the well-known Ajax cleanser commercial.

The lack of sponsorship was not the only issue. Freberg frequently complained of radio network interference. Another sketch from the CBS show, "Elderly Man River", anticipated the political correctness movement by decades. Butler plays "Mr. Tweedly", a representative of a fictional citizens' radio review board, who constantly interrupts Freberg with a loud buzzer as Freberg attempts to sing "Old Man River". Tweedly objects first to the word "old", "which some of our more elderly citizens find distasteful". As a result, the song's lyrics are progressively and painfully distorted as Freberg struggles to turn the classic song into a form that Tweedly will find acceptable "to the tiny tots" listening at home: "He don't, er, doesn't plant 'taters, er, potatoes… he doesn't plant cotton, er, cotting… and them-these-those that plants them are soon forgotting", a lyric of which Freberg is particularly proud. Even when the censor finds Freberg's machinations acceptable, the constant interruption ultimately brings the song to a grinding halt (just before Freberg would have had to edit the line "You gets a little drunk and you lands in jail"), saying, "Take your finger off the button, Mr. Tweedly—we know when we're licked", furnishing the moral and the punch line of the sketch at once. But all of these factors forced the cancellation of the show after a run of only 15 episodes.

In 1966, he recorded an album, Freberg Underground, in a format similar to his radio show, using the same cast and orchestra. He called it "pay radio", in a parallel to the phrase pay TV (the nickname at the time for subscription-based cable and broadcast television) "…because you have to go into the record store and buy it". This album is notable for giving Dr. Edward Teller the Father of the Year award for being "father of the hydrogen bomb" ("Use it in good health!"); for a combined satire of the Batman television series and the 1966 California Governor's race between Edmund G. "Pat" Brown and Ronald Reagan; and probably most famous for a bit in which, through the magic of sound effects, Freberg drained Lake Michigan and refilled it with hot chocolate and a mountain of whipped cream while a giant maraschino cherry was dropped like a bomb by the Royal Canadian Air Force to the cheers of 25,000 extras viewing from the shoreline.[25] Freberg concluded with, "Let's see them do that on television!" That bit became a commercial for advertising on radio.

Television[edit]

Beginning in 1949, Freberg and Butler provided voices and were the puppeteers for Bob Clampett's puppet series, Time for Beany, a triple Emmy Award winner (1950, 1951, 1953). Broadcast nationwide from KTLA in Los Angeles, the pioneering children's TV show garnered considerable acclaim. Among its fans was Albert Einstein, who once reportedly interrupted a high-level conference by announcing, "You will have to excuse me, gentlemen. It is time for Beany."[6]

Freberg made television guest appearances on The Ed Sullivan Show and other TV variety shows, usually with Orville the Moon Man, his puppet from outer space. He reached through the bottom of Orville's flying saucer to control the puppet's movements and turned away from the camera when he delivered Orville's lines. Freberg had his own ABC special, Stan Freberg Presents the Chun King Chow Mein Hour: Salute to the Chinese New Year (February 4, 1962), but he garnered more laughs when he was a guest on late night talk shows.

A piece from Stan's show was used frequently on Offshore Radio in the UK in the 60's: "You may not find us on your TV". Other on-screen television roles included The Monkees (1966) and The Girl from U.N.C.L.E. (1967). In 1996, he portrayed the continuing character of Mr. Parkin on Roseanne, and both Freberg and his son had roles in the short-lived Weird Al Show in 1997.

Advertising[edit]

When Freberg introduced satire to the field of advertising, he revolutionized the industry, influencing staid ad agencies to imitate Freberg by injecting humor into their previously dead-serious commercials. Freberg's long list of successful ad campaigns includes:

  • Butternut coffee: A six-minute musical, "Omaha!",[26] which actually found success outside advertising as a musical production in the city of Omaha.
  • Contadina tomato paste: "Who put eight great tomatoes in that little bitty can?"
  • Jeno's pizza rolls: A parody of the Lark cigarettes commercial that used the William Tell Overture and a pick-up truck with a sign in the bed saying "Show us your Lark pack", here ending with a confrontation between a cigarette smoker, portrayed by Barney Phillips (supposedly representing the Lark commercial's announcer) and Clayton Moore as the Lone Ranger over the use of the music. Jay Silverheels also appears as Tonto, filling his possibles bag with pizza rolls, after asking "Have a Pizza Roll, kemo sabe?"[27] It was regarded as one of the most brilliantly conceived and executed TV ads of the period; after one showing on The Tonight Show, Johnny Carson remarked that it was the first commercial he had ever seen to receive spontaneous applause from the studio audience.
  • Jeno's pizza, in a parody of Scope mouthwash commercials. "You know why nobody likes your parties, Mary? You have bad pizza—bad pizza!"
  • Sunsweet pitted prunes: Depicted as the "food of the future" in a futuristic setting, until science fiction icon Ray Bradbury, a friend of Freberg's (shown on a wall-to-wall television screen reminiscent of Fahrenheit 451) butts in: "I never mentioned prunes in any of my stories." "You didn't?" "No, never. I'm sorry to be so candid." "No, they're not candied" (rim shot).[28] Bradbury reportedly refused to consider doing a commercial until Freberg told him, "I'm calling it Brave New Prune", prompting Bradbury to ask, "When do we start?" Prune sales increased 400 percent the year following the campaign.[29]
  • Another Sunsweet commercial features Ronald Long as a picky eater: "They're still rather badly wrinkled, you know", and ends with the famous line, "Today, the pits; tomorrow, the wrinkles. Sunsweet marches on!"
  • Heinz Great American soups: Ann Miller is a housewife who turns her kitchen into a gigantic production number, singing such lyrics as "Let's face the chicken gumbo and dance!" After watching his wife's flashy tap dancing, her husband, played by veteran character actor Dave Willock, asks, "Why do you always have to make such a big production out of everything?" At the time (1970), this was the most expensive commercial ever made.[30]
  • Jacobsen Mowers: Sheep slowly munch on a front lawn. On camera reporter/announcer (voice of William Woodson): "Jacobsen mowers. Faster... than sheep!"
  • Encyclopædia Britannica: The boy in these commercials is Freberg's son Donavan. Freberg talks to him from off screen.
  • Chun King Chinese Food: Magazine ad, featuring a line-up of nine smiling Chinese men and one frowning white man, all dressed in scrub suits and white lab coats, with the caption, "Nine out of ten doctors recommend Chun King Chow Mein!" The frowning white doctor is Freberg.
  • Kaiser Aluminum produced foil, to rival Reynolds Wrap. Freberg created a sales campaign based on Kaiser's difficulties in getting grocers to stock their product, featuring the "Kaiser Foil Salesman". Despite the company's initial hesitation, the campaign did increase sales.[31]

Today, these advertisements are considered classics by many critics. Though Bob & Ray had pioneered intentionally comic advertisements (stemming from a hugely successful campaign for Piels beer), Stan Freberg is usually credited as being the first person to introduce humor into television advertising with memorable campaigns. Freberg felt a truly funny commercial would cause consumers to request a product, as was the case with his elaborate ad campaign that prompted stores to stock Salada tea. The owner of Jeno's Pizza Rolls had to pay off a bet over the success of a Freberg ad campaign by pulling Freberg in a rickshaw on Hollywood's La Cienega Boulevard. Freberg won 21 Clio awards for his commercials.[32] Many of those spots were included in the Freberg four-CD box set Tip of the Freberg.

Later work[edit]

Freberg with his wife at the Annual Annie Awards, 2014

Following his success in comedy records and television, Freberg was often invited to appear as a featured guest at various events. Each time has been memorable, such as his skit at the 1979 Science Fiction Awards, again playing straight man to Orville in his UFO. He innocently asks why there is a hole in the end of the spacecraft, only to be told, "That's where the swamp gas comes out."

In his autobiography, It Only Hurts When I Laugh, Freberg recounts much of his life and early career, including his encounters with such show business legends as Milton Berle, Frank Sinatra and Ed Sullivan, and the struggles he endured to get his material on the air.

Freberg had brief sketches on KNX (AM) radio in the mid-1990s, beginning each with "Freberg here!" In one sketch, Freberg mentioned that the band played "Inhale to the Chief" at Bill Clinton's inauguration.

Freberg voiced guest stars in Garfield and Friends.

Freberg was inducted into the National Radio Hall of Fame in 1995. From 1995 until October 6, 2006, Freberg hosted When Radio Was, a syndicated anthology of vintage radio shows. The release of the 1996 Rhino CD The United States of America Volume 1 (the Early Years) and Volume 2 (the Middle Years) suggests a possible third volume. This set includes some parts written but cut because they would not fit on a record album.

Freberg appeared on "Weird Al" Yankovic's The Weird Al Show, playing both the J.B. Toppersmith character and the voice of the puppet Papa Boolie. Yankovic has many times acknowledged Freberg as his greatest influence.[33] Freberg is among the commentators in the special features on the multiple-volume DVD sets of the Looney Tunes Golden Collection and narrates the documentary "Irreverent Imagination" on Volume 1.

Freberg was the announcer for the boat race in the movie version of Stuart Little, and, in 2008, he guest starred as Sherlock Holmes in two episodes of The Radio Adventures of Dr. Floyd.[34]

Since 2008, Freberg has been doing the voices of numerous characters, including Doctor Whipple and Fluffykins on The Garfield Show.

In popular culture[edit]

In film[edit]

  • In 1961's The Parent Trap, the characters during the animated opening title sequence refer to each other as "John" and "Marsha".

In recordings[edit]

  • In 2007, comedian the great Luke Ski recorded a ten-minute homage called MC Freberg, a parody illustrating what a Freberg-type satire of rap music would have sounded like. Originally recorded for The FuMP, the track also appears on Ski's album BACONspiracy.

In television[edit]

  • Freberg's Dragnet parodies are generally credited with the popularizing the catch phrase "Just the facts, ma'am".
  • On the fourth season premiere of the TV series Mad Men, Peggy Olson (Elisabeth Moss) and Joey Baird (Matt Long) act out the "John and Marsha" comedy soap opera parody and repeatedly call each other "John" and "Marsha".[35]
  • Warner Brothers cartoons (in which Freberg appeared, uncredited, as a voice artist) often had cameo appearances by couples named "John" and "Marsha". In one case, the woman was an alien, making the couple "John" and "Martian".
  • Benny Hill did a video version of Freberg's "John and Marsha" on his November 24, 1971 special, in the form of an art film parody entitled "The Lovers", with Benny as John, Jenny Lee-Wright as Marsha, and Henry McGee as a third character, George; the distinguishing visual factor being that the actors were photographed from the neck down. This sketch was featured within the original 1979 U.S. half-hour syndicated package, but left off when the package was revamped in 1987; it would be featured in A&E Home Video's Region 1 DVD set Benny Hill: Complete & Unadulterated – Vol. 1 and Network's Region 2 set The Benny Hill Annual: 1971. The music from Freberg's original would later be used as the opening music for some Hill sketches in later years.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "Stanley Friberg, Born 08/07/1926 in California". CaliforniaBirthIndex.org. 1926-08-07. Retrieved 2014-01-05. 
  2. ^ Jalon, Allan (February 18, 1988). "Stan Freberg, a Sage for the Masses, Returns to Public Eye". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved September 3, 2011. 
  3. ^ Frankel, Mark. "Stan Freberg Pens a Memoir About His Strange Career Move—from Comedy to Commercials". People.com. Retrieved 2014-01-05. 
  4. ^ Yardley, Jonathan (1988-12-14). "Freberg, Laughing All the Way". Pqasb.pqarchiver.com. Retrieved 2014-01-05. 
  5. ^ "An audience with Stan Freberg". Cosmik Debris. 1999. Retrieved February 8, 2009. 
  6. ^ a b c Freberg, Stan (November 28, 1988). It Only Hurts When I Laugh. Crown Publishing Group. ISBN 978-0-8129-1297-5. 
  7. ^ "IMDb". IMDb. Retrieved October 3, 2014. 
  8. ^ "Interview with Mel Blanc's son Noel". Retrieved September 27, 2012. 
  9. ^ "Stan Freberg". POVonline. Mark Evanier. Retrieved February 8, 2009. 
  10. ^ a b "Show 1 – Play A Simple Melody: American pop music in the early fifties. [Part 1] : UNT Digital Library". Digital.library.unt.edu. Retrieved September 27, 2012. 
  11. ^ "Number-one hits of 1953 (United States)". Retrieved June 2, 2010. 
  12. ^ a b Gilliland, John (1969). "Show 2 – Play A Simple Melody: American pop music in the early fifties. [Part 2]: UNT Digital Library" (audio). Pop Chronicles. Digital.library.unt.edu. 
  13. ^ "Notes about Try by Stan Freberg (note {3})". Retrieved January 3, 2012. 
  14. ^ a b Gilliland, John (1969). "Show 7 - The All American Boy: Enter Elvis and the rock-a-billies. [Part 1]" (audio). Pop Chronicles. Digital.library.unt.edu. 
  15. ^ "Show 5 – Hail, Hail, Rock 'n' Roll: The rock revolution gets underway. [Part 1] : UNT Digital Library". Digital.library.unt.edu. March 9, 1969. Retrieved May 13, 2012. 
  16. ^ The parody was itself partly parodied when Mitchel Torok recorded "All Over Again, Again" for Columbia Records in mid-March 1959, but billed it as "The Great Pretender", as a spoof on the recent Sun Records recordings of Johnny Cash. Cash had only recently been signed to Columbia. The annoying pianist on the Freberg record was replaced by an equally annoying banjo player and a showboating guitarist on the Columbia release, a song written by Torok's wife who was then billed as "R. Redd" (Ramona Redd).
  17. ^ "Show 18 – Blowin' in the Wind: Pop discovers folk music. [Part 1] : UNT Digital Library". Pop Chronicles. Digital.library.unt.edu. May 25, 1969. Retrieved September 24, 2010. 
  18. ^ "The Stan Freberg Show: Episodes One Through Seven". The Official Website of Daws Butler. Joe Bevilacqua and Lorie Kellogg. July 2003. Retrieved February 8, 2009. 
  19. ^ Freberg, op. cit., chapter 11
  20. ^ "Bob Claster's Funny Stuff". Retrieved February 8, 2009. "Arthur Godfrey satire" 
  21. ^ a b Scott Simon (February 14, 2009). "Oregon's 150th Calls For A New Act". Weekend Edition Saturday. National Public Radio (NPR). Retrieved February 14, 2009. 
  22. ^ a b "Oregon! Oregon! A Centennial Fable in Three Acts". Wolverine Antique Music Society. Retrieved February 14, 2009. 
  23. ^ George Stewart (1999). "An Interview with Stan Freberg". Retrieved March 15, 2012. 
  24. ^ "Stan Freberg Discography". Warren Debenham, Norm Katuna. February 2008. Retrieved February 8, 2009. 
  25. ^ "The Tip of the Freberg: The Stan Freberg Collection 1951–1998: Stretching the Imagination". Retrieved August 21, 2008. "[audio excerpt from Stretching the Imagination]" 
  26. ^ "REELRADIO Golden Gift – ButterNut Coffee Presents Omaha Starring Stan Freberg". Reelradio.com. Retrieved May 13, 2012. 
  27. ^ "YouTube – Jeno's Pizza Rolls Commercial". Youtube.com. June 17, 2006. Retrieved September 27, 2012. 
  28. ^ "YouTube – Ray Bradbury Prunes Commercial". Youtube.com. December 13, 2007. Retrieved September 27, 2012. 
  29. ^ "Stan Freberg". The Automat. Retrieved October 3, 2014. 
  30. ^ http://books.google.com/books?id=oS99Z2-qe3sC&pg=PA76&lpg=PA76&dq=%22great+american+soup%22+%22most+expensive%22&source=bl&ots=tyMaNSetjn&sig=yImASw5E5u856zbSb98qBPy6N6g&hl=en&sa=X&ei=nIeLU-mmGsKhogSjoYKICQ&ved=0CC4Q6AEwAQ#v=onepage&q=%22great%20american%20soup%22%20%22most%20expensive%22&f=false H.J. Heinz Company By Debbie Foster, Jack Kennedy P76
  31. ^ "Foiled Again! More Kaiser Aluminum Spots by Stan Freberg". Retrieved October 3, 2014. 
  32. ^ "2006 Los Angeles Area Governors Award Honor to Television Pioneer Stan Freberg". Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. June 22, 2006. Retrieved February 8, 2009. 
  33. ^ Ankeny, Jason (October 23, 1959). "Yahoo! Music: Weird Al Yankovic Biography". New.music.yahoo.com. Retrieved September 27, 2012. 
  34. ^ "The Radio Adventures of Dr. Floyd". The Radio Adventures of Dr. Floyd. October 12, 2008. Retrieved February 8, 2009. "Stan Freberg To Star On The Radio Adventures Of Dr. Floyd Podcast" 
  35. ^ Don Aucoin, Globe Staff (July 31, 2010). "Mad about ‘John & Marsha’". The Boston Globe. 

External links[edit]

Audio


Wikipedia content is licensed under the GFDL License
Powered by YouTube
LEGAL
  • Mashpedia © 2014