Friday, July 15, 2011

Stan Freberg

Cleveland Television: August 21-27, 1954
Bob Clampett and his "Time For Beany" puppets during the last days of the show..Daws Butler and Stan Freberg had just left. WXEL and later WEWS carried the 15 minute puppet show from 1949-53. - Cleveland Classic Media

Stanley Victor "Stan" Freberg (born August 7, 1926) is such an important fixture in my world of 20th century American comedy, I can almost forgive him the fact that he despises rock and roll.

The son of a Baptist minister (wait - Freberg is a Baptist name?) got work right out of high school as a voice for animated cartoons, both for Warner Brothers and Disney. From 1949 to 1954, he and Daws Butler provided the voices for the Bob Clampett puppets Beany (Butler) and Cecil the Seasick Sea Serpent (Freberg).

Freberg up top.

Freberg became a great success in creating outrageous commercials precisely because he hated, hated, hated commercials.

Freberg is credited with creating the first commercials which satirized commercials, changing them from brief, informational clips into amusing short films that were created to entertain.

His career was hampered, however, because he refused to advertise or accept sponsorship from any tobacco or alcohol companies.

It in unfortunate the extent to which he promoted his son Donovan Freberg in later work for Encyclopedia Britannica, one of the most loathed pitchmen in history.

Remember me?

Freberg's comedy albums started popping up in 1951. This particular number, a send-up of The Chords' Sh-Boom is particularly hilarious, and a big favorite in my house. It was released in 1954, b/w Wide-Screen Mama Blues. Other satires of popular music included a jazz pianist (he loved jazz) destroying a recording session of The Great Pretender and a rendition of Heartbreak Hotel where the echo effect has a mind of its own.

Press play.

Cleveland Classic Media

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