On April 7, 2015 Stan Freberg passed away at the age of 88 (born August 7, 1926). In the above photo I'm displaying the must-have 1999 project titled Tip of the Freberg. I became familiar with the name of 'Stan Freberg' by accident...it happened during the 1990s at a time when I started to pay more attention to the opening and closing credits of cartoons. Nickelodeon used to air Looney Tunes cartoons and during several episodes some of the cartoons from the mid to late '60s would get some air-time. These cartoons were produced after the exclusive screen credit for Mel Blanc had expired and we got to see more of the names of Mel's co-stars appear on-screen.
Well, like I said, I seen the name 'Stan Freberg' in the opening credits of a late '60s Looney Tunes cartoon.
Coincidentally a certain collection of Christmas comedy songs came into my possession in the early 1990s, too. The various artist project, titled Christmas Comedy Classics, originated in 1985 but I didn't a copy of it until the early 1990s. Stan has 2 recordings on that project...the whimsical rendition of "Nuttin' for Christmas" and the gutsy "Green Christmas". Talk about 2 recordings that are the polar opposite of one another! I later discovered that Daws Butler played the part of Bob Cratchit in "Green Christmas".
The book arrived in 1988...but yet it cuts off in the early 1960s. That in itself is comical...and there's never been a sequel that picked up from the early '60s...hopefully there's going to be some sort of memorial magazine (hint, hint) that'll be released at some point this year that can offer highlight and insight, in book form, into all of Stan's activity from the mid '60s right on through his final days.
Until such a memorial magazine comes along, though, it's best to research his career on your own and along the way enjoy the comedy recordings and television commercials he worked on.
Some of the animated cartoon characters that Stan became associated with over the decades included Pete Puma, Junyer Bear, Chester the Terrier, Bertie the Mouse, and Tosh, one of the Goofy Gophers (all appearing in the Looney Tunes franchise). In addition to those roles Stan also gave voice to the Gambling Bug in a cartoon titled "Early to Bet" and one of the chefs in "French Rarebit". Each of those cartoons directed by Robert McKimson. He voiced the Beaver in the Disney film The Lady and the Tramp and for pure trivia sake he voiced a cattle baron in a Tom and Jerry cartoon titled "Posse Cat".
The box set features recordings lifted from Stan's 1961 album, Stan Freberg Presents the United States of America: The Early Years. Paul Frees does the narration of the project. Ironically the supporting players do not include Daws Butler but June Foray is among the cast as is Marvin Miller, Jesse White, Walter Tetley...just to name a few. It's largely regarded as Stan's masterpiece. A follow-up arrived decades later in 1996 (!) to nostalgic waves of support. By this time Stan had become an icon in the advertising business...his funny, sarcastic, and iconoclastic television and radio commercials became Clio winning slices of comedic salesmanship. The Clio is the top award in the advertising industry.
I got word of Stan's death like most of the other millions of people...through social media and internet reports. I couldn't believe the news, though, because in my mind I had always pictured Stan to be in good physical health in spite of his older age. In one of the internet reports it indicated that he may have been suffering from pneumonia...but other than that there hasn't been any official statement given as to the cause of death. Stan had a long and successful career...his recordings are going to live forever. If you had never heard of him until today then do yourself a favor and visit YouTube or Amazon and get yourself familiar with his contributions to comedy.
Here's a brief time-line:
1926: Born on August 7th.
1944: Arrived in Hollywood, California (age 17).
1946: voices Bertie in Chuck Jones' "Roughly Squeaking".
1947: voices Charlie Horse in Bob Clampett's "It's a Grand Ole Nag".
1948: Succeeded the late Kent Rogers as the voice of Junyer Bear; "What's Brewin', Bruin?".
1949: helped create television program Time For Beany; Voiced Cecil and Dishonest John, among other puppet characters; remained in production until 1955 and received multiple Emmy awards.
1951: Released his first recording for Capitol Records, "John and Marsha".
1951: voices the Gambling Bug in the cartoon "Early to Bet".
1952: voices the dimwitted hunting dog in the Bugs Bunny cartoon "Foxy by Proxy".
1952: Released "Try", a parody of Johnny Ray's hit single, "Cry".
1952: voices Pete Puma in the Bugs Bunny cartoon "Rabbit's Kin".
1953: Recorded "St. George and the Dragonet"; hit #1 in October 1953; B-side is "Little Blue Riding Hood".
1953: Released "Christmas Dragnet".
1954: Starred in the CBS radio sitcom "That's Rich" (January-September).
1954: Released "A Dear John and Marsha Letter".
1954: voices the rancher/cook in the Tom and Jerry cartoon, "Posse Cat".
1955: Released "The Night Before Christmas" and "Nuttin' For Christmas".
1955: voices the Beaver in the animated Disney film The Lady and the Tramp.
1957: Released "Wun'erful, Wun'erful!".
1957: Host of The Stan Freberg Show, the last-ever network radio comedy program (July-October).
1957: Provides narration and voices all the characters in the cartoon "The Three Little Bops".
1957: Released a parody of "The Banana Boat Song"; B-side is "Tele-Vee-Shun".
1958: Released "Green Christmas".
1960: Released "The Old Payola Roll Blues".
1961: Released the album Stan Freberg Presents the United States of America.
Beginning around the same time as the release of the 1961 album Stan became heavily involved with advertising (his earliest commercials date back to 1956). His recordings began to grow further and farther between but every so often he'd release something.
1966: Released the album Freberg Underground! (billed as 'pay radio'; the LP featured a presentation in the form of a radio sitcom).
Stan remained active in advertising...among his clients were Esskay, Chun King, Sunsweet, Contidina, and Jeno's. Stan also provided voice-overs for movie ads and dabbled in political humor during the height of the Vietnam protests. Some of his ads for George McGovern, for example, are featured in a later career box set.
1982: Starred in the PBS special, Stan Freberg's Federal Budget Revue.
1985: narrates the cartoon series The Wuzzles.
1988: Released autobiography "It Only Hurts When I Laugh".
1995: Inducted into the National Radio Hall of Fame.
1995: Began hosting old-time radio anthology series, When Radio Was.
1996: Released the CD Stan Freberg Presents the United States of America, Volume Two.
1997: voices Pete Puma in the cartoon "Pullet Surprise".
1999: Rhino Entertainment issues the career retrospective Tip of the Freberg. It's a must-have for any fan or admirer of Stan Freberg's work; it spans the years 1951-1998.
2000: voices Cage E. Coyote in the cartoon "Little Go Beep".
2003: narrates Irreverent Imagination: The Golden Age of the Looney Tunes documentary for the DVD project titled Looney Tunes Golden Collection, Volume One. Stan appears on-screen in various bonus features throughout the entire Golden Collection DVD series in the mid 2000s.
2006: Retires as host of When Radio Was after 11 years.
2015: Dies on April 7th at age 88.
|Stan Freberg: 1926-2015|