One of America’s great satirists, Stan Freberg unleashed his barbs on radio and records and in television advertising.
As a young man he did voice work on Warner Bros. cartoons and later joined Warner alum Bob Clampett on his children’s TV show “Time for Beany.” In 1951, Freberg signed with Capitol Records and began turning out records that spoofed all manner of popular fare: soap operas (“John and Marsha”), R&B (“Wide-Screen Mama Blues”), Lawrence Welk (“Wun’erfull! Wun’erfull”), “Dragnet” (“St. George and the Dragonet”), Sen. Joseph McCarthy (“Point of Order”), rock 'n' roll (“The Old Payola Roll Blues”) and more.
“Green Chri$tma$,” a scathing attack on the commercialization of Christmas, was a controversial single in 1958, but his recording pinnacle was the 1961 album “Stan Freberg Presents the United States of America,” which told the story of the nation’s founding in a series of parodic songs and sketches.
Freberg had a brief stint on CBS radio with an inventive comedy show that replaced Jack Benny’s program for the summer, but he gained wider attention when he went into advertising and devised humorous campaigns for products including Contadina tomato paste, Jeno’s pizza and Chun King Chinese food.
Freberg did occasional radio work in the 1990s and released a long-delayed second volume of “The United States of America” in 1996.
Freberg died April 7, 2015, of natural causes at UCLA Medical Center in Santa Monica. He was 88.