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Stan Freberg (1926-2015)

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Stan Freberg, one of America's great satirists and comedic pitchmen, has died at the age of 88. He also was one of the last surviving cast members of Stanley Kramer's 1963 all-star comedy "It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World."

 

http://www.latimes.com/local/obituaries/la-me-stan-freberg-20150407-story.html#page=1

 

One of Freberg's best-remembered ad parodies was this late-1960s commercial he created for Jeno's Pizza Rolls (now known as Totino's). It was a spoof of previous TV spots for Lark cigarettes in which everyday people were urged by a roving camera crew to "Show Us Your Lark Pack!" The music used for the Lark commercials? "The William Tell Overture" by Rossini, which was the theme for "The Lone Ranger" series on radio, television and in films.
 

 

 

Freberg also came up with this unforgettable 1972 commercial for the Heinz line of soups. It starred the legendary actress-dancer Ann Miller, who persuaded the Academy Award-winning choreographer Hermes Pan to come out of retirement and work with her. The 60-second spot featured a $25,000 set, 20 chorus girls and a 22-piece orchestra.

 

 

 

Notice that the veteran character actor Dave Willock ("What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?") was in both commercials.

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Oh no!  This man was a legend; one of the last voice actors from Hollywood's Golden Age.  I was first introduced to him as the "Beaver" from various Disney films and shorts.  I loved the way that he used a medium that he wasn't too fond of (to put it lightly) as a way to satirize popular culture.  And his sense of humor/delivery style was second to none. He woke up the inner snark in all of us, and the great thing about it is that one couldn't really dispute his criticisms.  He will definitely be missed.

 

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/04/08/arts/stan-freberg-88-madcap-adman-and-satirist-dies-at-88.html?_r=0

 

(We should play Six Degrees with Harry Belafonte; everyone had/has some sort of connection to this man.)

 

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I recommend that everyone give the entire record a listen at some point; it's hilarious.  

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Freberg, who appears as a Crockett County, California deputy sheriff in "It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World," also did radio spots for the movie. Here are a couple of them:

 

 

 

 

 

As a result of Freberg's passing, there are only a few members of the film's enormous cast who are alive. Among them: Jerry Lewis, Carl Reiner, Marvin Kaplan and Barrie Chase.

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I was introduced to Freberg with this classic Lawrence Welk parody, "A Wun'erful A Wun'erful".  I don't know how it ever made it onto my local R&R station, but I'm glad that it did.

 

 

 

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I'm glad someone remembered his History of the United States record album.  It's so funny,  The first time I heard the line, "That's George for you.  Talks up a storm with those wooden teeth of his", I busted out laughing uncontrollably.  I also had the pleasure to meet him once in person.  He was with his daughter and was so much fun to talk with.  A very gracious man.  Right now, in my mind I hear the song, "Take an Indian to Lunch This Week."

 

Terrence.

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I always thought the "Dragnet" spoof recordings he did with his pal and another great voice-over artist, Daws Butler, were also very funny.

 

(...R.I.P. Stan)

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Stan Freberg was a genius, His comedy was beyond anyone else on this planet.His pitted prunes comm. { actor eating a prune: That's all well and good, but what about the wrinkles? Freberg V/O "We're working on that"}

He produced one of the greatest Christmas records ever with "Green Christmas". Most radio stations wouldn't play it because of the length and because it pointed to the selling of the holiday and forgetting about the true meaning.

 

I still have all or almost all of his albums. The one where he and a panel discuss the comics , everyone defending their comic hero's. Of course there's St. George and the Dragonet. His radio show on CBS out drew TV shows in the same time period. He produced one of the great radio comm.  [ Stan: How did you wind up in the hospital? Daws Butler {I think} "Well, I was driving down the freeway watching this old Betty Grable movie when.."   Stan: " You can't watch old movies while you are driving, you can'r read a newspaper, all you can do is listen to the radio... R A D I O " I don't know how many times I've played his "History of the United States of America'. I bought it the day it came out and still have it...Don't forget "Beanie and Cecil" and "Heart Break Hotel"..

 

So sad to hear of his passing....

 

So sad

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His brilliant parody of Rodgers and Hammerstein blockbusters:

 

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But I think Freberg's greatest achievement may have been his short-lived radio show. This sketch may be his masterpiece:

"A Gray Flannel Hatful of Teenage Werewolves"

 

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I can't pay tribute to Stan Freberg without mentioning this modest bit, little-known for decades but now  it can be seen as an extraordinarily prescient satire on political correctness (in 1957!):

 

"Elderly Man River"

 

R.I.P.

 

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