Thursday, April 9, 2009


Stan Freberg is one of the most inventive comic minds of the WWII generation. He disdained the conventions of comedy and axioms of advertising. Yet, it was in his agile and seamless combination of those divergent disciplines that he achieved show biz success and iconic, albeit cult , status. He had a distinctive voice and a jaundiced vision that made him a virtuoso in humor and an innovator in mass marketing.

Think of him in the same comedic league with tele-visionaries Ernie Kovacs and Steve Allen.

Freberg started his professional life performing voices on radio and in Warner Bros. cartoons in the late 1940's. By 1954, he had conquered the recording industry with a hit,comedy album satirizing TV's DRAGNET, entitled ST.GEORGE AND THE DRAGONET, a clip of which is posted at the bottom of this page.

In 1957, he became the self-proclaimed, "last comedian in network radio," after a 15 week run on the CBS Network.

It was after the cancelation of that series, THE STAN FREBERG SHOW, that he focused his considerable. madcap talents to create commercials for the real life, MAD MEN of the advertising community.

Here are just a few samples of his hilarious, alluring and intelligent efforts:

In the 1960's, after years of mortal combat, the film industry embraced the promotional power of television.In the clip posted below, Freberg orchestrates comic chaos among show business legends in these spots designed to market Producer/Director Stanley Kramer's high budget,high octane comedy, chase film IT'S A MAD , MAD, MAD, MAD WORLD in 1962.Enjoy!!!!!

Below is comic legend Jesse White, in Freberg's spoof of cigarette ads designed to sell Baltimore's own ESSKAY FRANKS.Enjoy!!!!

One of the best commercials of the Freberg advertising gallery is a spot introducing JENO'S PIZZA ROLLS.Yep. Pizza rolls. Like egg rolls , with a crispy shell, only filled with cheese and tomato sauce. You'll know the music and you'll be suprised by the cameo appearance of two beloved TV icons, in this LIVING COLOR commercial. Enjoy!!!!

It's no surprise that a nuanced thinker like Freberg would travel in smart circles. In the clip below, a brilliant, 1968 commercial selling SUNSWEET PRUNES, respected, science fiction writer Ray Bradbury is featured. The best selling author was a close friend of Freberg, who narrates this futuristic spoof. Enjoy!!!!!

Here is an appearance by the incomparable Stan Freberg on ABC-TV's, late night, DICK CAVETT SHOW from the early 1970's. One parenthetical note, at the end of this vintage clip,checkout the prop Cavett uses during the intro to a Pontiac commercial. Enjoy!!!!!

As a bonus, here is a cut from 1954's, ST. GEORGE AND THE DRAGONET. Enjoy!!!!

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