by Legendary Lew
At the risk of having TUGM seem morbid by reporting the third celebrity death in as many days, this is one that just can’t be ignored.
Stan Freberg, who died at age 88, was a comic force whose influence is immeasurable. Decades before Saturday Night Live and SCTV, Freberg took aim at pop cultural institutions like radio, television, rock & roll and advertising. His penchant for great comic writing, along with legendary voice actors helping out like Daws Butler and June Foray, lead to some of the most memorable comedy discs ever recorded. One such classic is “John and Marsha,” a soap opera with John and Marsha speaking only each other’s names with varying emotions:
The record that change comedy recordings forever was “St. George and the Dragonet,” a Number One smash in 1953. Not only was it a narrative comic record–as opposed to a musical one–but it satirized a popular TV show, “Dragnet.” Daws Butler voiced the knave, June Foray voiced the maiden and future TV director Hy Averback (“F Troop”) was the announcer. Here’s the classic 45 given an animated treatment:
Despite a string of great comedy records, Freberg will probably be most known for his incredible work on commercials. Using the same satirical bent, Freberg went after old TV shows and Hollywood musicals at a time when commercials seemed too stuffy and serious. In the case of Sunsweet pitted prunes, he even poked fun at one of the product’s supposed drawbacks with his friend, the legendary Ray Bradbury showing up on a large screen. Only Freberg could have thought of this:
Here are two other masterful commercials from the great mind of Freberg. Ann Miller for Heinz Great American Soups and Jeno’s Pizza Rolls.
There’ll never be another like him.