Thursday, April 09, 2015

Stan Freberg

"Adios!  Adios muchachos, companieros, amigo--will you get out of here?!"
Stan Freberg
Stan Friberg 1926 – 2015
We lost Stan Freberg yeaterday, at the age of 88 at a hospital in  Santa Monica, California from  pneumonia.
He was born  Stanley Friberg in  Pasadena, California, the son of Evelyn Dorothy (née Conner), a housewife, and Victor Richard Friberg (later Freberg), a  Baptist minister. Freberg was a Christian and of Swedish and Irish descent. Freberg was employed as a voice actor in animation shortly after graduating from  Alhambra High School. He began at Warner Brothers in 1944 by getting on a bus and asking the driver to let him off "in Hollywood". As he describes in his autobiography,  It Only Hurts When I Laugh, he got off the bus and found a sign that said "talent agency". He walked in, and the agents there arranged for him to audition for Warner Brothers cartoons where he was promptly hired. 
His first cartoon voice work was in a Warner Brothers cartoon called  For He's a Jolly Good Fala, which was recorded but never filmed (due to the death of  Fala's owner, President  Franklin D. Roosevelt), followed by Roughly Squeaking (1946) as Bertie; and in 1947, he was heard in  It's a Grand Old Nag (Charlie Horse), produced and directed by Bob Clampett for  Republic Pictures;  The Goofy Gophers (Tosh), and  One Meat Brawl (Grover Groundhog and  Walter Winchell). He often found himself paired with  Mel Blancwhile at  Warner Bros., where the two men performed such pairs as the mice  Hubie and Bertie and  Spike the Bulldog and Chester the Terrier.  In 1950, he was the voice of  Friz Freleng's "Dumb Dog" in " Foxy By Proxy", who meets up with a disguised Bugs Bunny wearing a fox suit. He was the voice of  Pete Puma in the 1952 cartoon Rabbit's Kin, in which he did an impression of an early  Frank Fontaine characterization (which later became Fontaine's "Crazy Guggenheim" character).
Freberg is often credited with voicing the character of Junyer Bear in  Bugs Bunny and the Three Bears (1944), but that was actor  Kent Rogers. After Rogers was killed during World War II, Freberg assumed the role of Junyer Bear in  Chuck Jones'  Looney Tunes cartoon  What's Brewin', Bruin? (1948), featuring  Jones' version of  The Three Bears. He also succeeded Rogers as the voice of  Beaky Buzzard.

The three little bops by PANZERDRAKO
Freberg was heard in many Warner Brothers cartoons, but his only screen credit on one was  Three Little Bops (1957). His work as a voice actor for  Walt Disney Productions included the role of Beaver in  Lady and the Tramp (1955) and did voice work in  Susie the Little Blue Coupe and  Lambert the Sheepish Lion. Freberg also provided the voice of Sam, the orange cat paired with  Sylvester in the Academy Award-nominated short  Mouse and Garden (1960). He voiced Cage E. Coyote, the father of  Wile E. Coyote, in the 2000 short  Little Go Beep.

Freberg was cast to sing the part of the Jabberwock in the song "Beware the Jabberwock" for Disney's  Alice in Wonderland, with the Rhythmaires and  Daws Butler. Written by Don Raye and  Gene de Paul, the song was a musical rendering of the poem " Jabberwocky" from Lewis Carroll's  Through the Looking Glass. The song was not included in the final film, but a demo recording was included in the 2004 and 2010 DVD releases of the movie.

Freberg made his movie debut as an on-screen actor in the comedy  Callaway Went Thataway (1951), a satirical spoof on the marketing of Western stars (apparently inspired by the TV success of  Hopalong Cassidy). Freberg costarred with  Mala Powers in  Geraldine (1953) as sobbing singer Billy Weber, enabling him to reprise his satire on vocalist Johnnie Ray (see below). In 1963's mega-comedy  It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World, Freberg appeared in a non-speaking part as the Deputy Sheriff and also voiced as a dispatcher.

Contrary to popular belief  George Lucas called upon Freberg, not  Mel Blanc, to audition for the voice of the character C-3PO for the 1977 film  Star Wars. After he and many others auditioned for the part, Freberg suggested that Lucas use mime actor  Anthony Daniels' own voice. 
Freberg began making satirical recordings for  Capitol Records, beginning with the February 10, 1951, release of "John and Marsha" (in both 45-rpm and 78-rpm formats), a soap opera parody that consisted of the title characters (both played by Freberg) doing nothing but repeating each other's names (with intonations to match the moods). In a 1954 follow-up, he used  pedal steel guitarist  Speedy West to satirize the 1953  Ferlin Husky country hit, "A Dear John Letter", as "A Dear John and Marsha Letter" (Capitol 2677). A seasonal recording, "The Night Before Christmas/Nuttin' for Christmas", made in 1955, still remains a cult classic.
With  Daws Butler and  June Foray, he produced his 1951  Dragnet parody, " St. George and the Dragonet", a #1 hit for four weeks in October 1953. On the record's B-side, "Little Blue Riding Hood" ('Only the  color has been changed to avoid an investigation' ... 'But Grandma what a big subpoena you have in your pocket – All the better to serve you with, ma'am'), the title character is arrested for smuggling goodies.
Another hit to get the Freberg treatment was Johnnie Ray's weepy " Cry", which Freberg rendered as "Try ('You too can be unhappy… if you try')", exaggerating Ray's histrionic vocal style.  Ray was furious until he realized the success of Freberg's 1952 parody was helping sales and  airplay of his own record.  Freberg reported getting more angry feedback for this than from his other parodies. 
After " I've Got You Under My Skin" (1951), he followed with more popular musical satires, such as " Sh-Boom" (1954), a parody of the song recorded by  The Chords. Freberg imitates  Marlon Brando, who at the end yells "STELLA!", based on  A Streetcar Named Desire. Other songs include " The Yellow Rose of Texas" (1955),  where a "Yankee" snare drummer gets out of hand on the recording; "Rock Island Line" (1956), based on the Lonnie Donegan skiffle version, with interruptions by  Peter Leeds; and, " The Great Pretender" (1956).
He spoofed  Elvis Presley's first gold record, " Heartbreak Hotel"; in Freberg's version, the  echo effect goes out of control, and Elvis eventually rips his jeans during the performance. 
With Foray, he recorded "The Quest for Bridey Hammerschlaugen", a spoof of  The Search for Bridey Murphy by Morey Bernstein, a 1956 book on hypnotic regression to a past life.
Freberg used a  beatnik musician theme in his 1956 parody of " The Great Pretender", the hit by  The Platters—who, like Ray (see above) and Belafonte and Welk (see both below), were not pleased. At that time, when it was still hoped that musical standards might be preserved, it was quite permissible to ridicule the ludicrous, as Freberg had obviously thought when he parodied Presley. The pianist in Freberg's parody, a devotee of  Erroll Garner and George Shearing, rebels against playing a single-chord accompaniment, retorting, "I'm not playing that 'clink-clink-clink jazz'!" But Freberg is adamant about the pianist's sticking to The Platters' style: "You play that 'clink-clink-clink jazz', or you won't get paid tonight!" The pianist relents—sort of.  The pianist even quotes the first six notes from Shearing's classic piece " Lullaby of Birdland", before returning to the song.  The song concludes with the piano accompaniment, despite the histrionic singer's pleas, becoming uncontrollably fast, and the singer having to escape the studio.
Freberg's "Banana Boat (Day-O)" (1957) satirized  Harry Belafonte's popular recording of " Banana Boat Song". In Freberg's version, the lead singer is forced to run down the hall and close the door after him to muffle the sound of his "Day-O!" because the beatnik bongo drummer, voiced by Leeds, complains, "It's too shrill, man. It's too piercing!" When he gets to the lyric about "A beautiful buncha ripe banana/Hide the deadly black tarantula," the drummer protests, "I don't dig spiders, man!"  The flip is "Tele-Vee-Shun", an anti-TV song about what television has done to his family, sung in a heavy faux- Trinidadian accent and set to a  Calypso tune. The song also lampoons Presley in one verse: "I turn on Elvis Presley and my daughter scream. I fear she have a nervous breakdown cos of heem. I wonder he wiggle-waggle to de beat. As a boy he must have had a loose bicycle seat."
Freberg's musical parodies were a by-product of his collaborations with  Billy May, a veteran  big band musician and  jazz arranger, and his Capitol Records producer, Ken Nelson. Two weeks after  Johnny Mathis' "Wonderful! Wonderful!" fell off the Billboard Top 100, "Wun'erful, Wun'erful! (Sides uh-one & uh-two)", Freberg's 1957 spoof of TV "champagne music" master  Lawrence Welk, debuted. To replicate Welk's sound, May and some of Hollywood's finest  studio musicians and vocalists worked to clone Welk's live on-air style, carefully incorporating bad notes and mistimed cues. Billy Liebert, a first-rate accordionist, copied Welk's  accordion playing. In the parody, the orchestra is overwhelmed by the malfunctioning bubble machine and the entire Aragon Ballroom eventually floats out to sea. Welk denied he had ever said "Wunnerful, Wunnerful!", though it became the title of Welk's autobiography (Prentice Hall, 1971). Some of the regulars on Welk's show got lampooned as well;  Alice Lonbecame "Alice Lean,"  Larry Hooper became "Larry Looper," and the  Lennon Sisters became the "Lemon Sisters."
Freberg also tackled political issues of the day. On his radio show, an extended sketch parallelled the  Cold War  brinkmanship between the U.S. and the  Soviet Union by portraying an ever-escalating  public relations battle between the El Sodom and the Rancho Gomorrah, two  casinos in the city of Los Voraces (Spanish for "The Greedy Ones"—a thinly disguised  Las Vegas). The sketch ends with the ultimate  tourist attraction, the  Hydrogen Bomb, which turns Los Voraces into a vast, barren wasteland. Network pressure forced Freberg to remove the reference to the hydrogen bomb and had the two cities being destroyed by an earthquake instead.  The version of "Incident at Los Voraces", released later on Capitol Records, contains the original ending. 
Freberg had poked fun at  McCarthyism in passing in "Little Blue Riding Hood" with the line, "Only the color has been changed to prevent an investigation." Later, he blatantly parodied Senator  Joseph McCarthy with "Point of Order" (taken from his frequent objection), about which Capitol's legal department was very nervous. Freberg describes being called in for a chat about this and being asked whether he had ever belonged to any "disloyal" group. "Well," he replied, "I have been for many years a card-carrying member of... "—the executive went pale—"... the Mickey Mouse Fan Club." "Dammit, Freberg," the executive angrily retorted, "this isn't a game." A watered-down version of the parody was eventually aired, and Freberg never found himself "in front of a committee".
On two occasions, Capitol refused to release Freberg's creations.  "That's Right, Arthur" was a barbed parody of controversial 1950s radio/TV personality  Arthur Godfrey, who expected his stable of performers—known as "little Godfreys"—to endlessly toady to him. The dialogue included Freberg's "Godfrey" monologue, punctuated by Butler imitating Godfrey announcer Tony Marvin, repeatedly interjecting, "That's right, Arthur!" between Godfrey's comments.  Capitol feared Godfrey might take  legal action and sent a tape of the sketch to his legal department for permission, which was denied. Capitol also rejected the equally acerbic "Most of the Town", a spoof of  Ed Sullivan's  "The Toast of the Town", under the same circumstances. Both recordings eventually surfaced on a  box-set Freberg retrospective issued by  Rhino Records.
Freberg continued to skewer the advertising industry after the demise of his show, producing and recording " Green Chri$tma$" in 1958, a scathing indictment of the over-commercialization of the holiday, in which Butler soberly hoped instead that we'd remember " whose birthday we're celebrating". Released originally on 45-rpm discs, the satire ended abruptly with a rendition of "Jingle Bells" punctuated by cash register sounds when reissued by Capitol on LP and CD. The original version was somewhat longer, but Capitol did not reissue the full recording. Freberg also revisited the "Dragnet" theme, with "Yulenet", also known as "Christmas Dragnet", in which the strait-laced detective convinces a character named "Grudge" that Santa Claus really exists (and Columbus, Cleveland, Cincinnati, and the Easter Bunny, but Grudge still hadn't made up his mind yet about Toledo). Butler does several voices on that record.

In 1958, the  Oregon Centennial Commission, under the sponsorship of  Blitz-Weinhard Brewing Company, hired Freberg to create a musical to celebrate Oregon's one-hundredth birthday.  The result was  Oregon! Oregon! A Centennial Fable in Three Acts. Recorded at Capitol in Hollywood, it was released during the Oregon Centennial in 1959 as a 12″ vinyl LP album. Side one featured two versions of an introduction by Freberg (billed as "Stan Freberg, Matinee Idol"), with the second version including a few words from the president of Blitz-Weinhard Co. This was followed by the show itself, which runs for 21 minutes. Side two includes separate individual versions of each of the featured songs, including several variations on the title piece,  Oregon! Oregon!
Fifty years later, as Oregon approached its Sesquicentennial, an updated version was prepared by Freberg and the Portland band  Pink Martini as part of a signature series of performances throughout the state. Pink Martini toured the state and performed four regional performances in the northern, southern and central areas of Oregon in August and September 2009. This was made possible by a grant from the Kinsman Foundation for a $40,000 launch of Pink Martini's  Oregon! Oregon! 2009 with Freberg.
Stan Freberg Presents the United States of America, Volume One: The Early Years   (1961) combined dialogue and song in a musical theatre format. The original   album musical , released on Capitol, parodies the history of the United States from 1492 until the end of the Revolutionary War   in 1783. In it, Freberg parodied both large and small aspects of history. For instance, in the Colonial era, it was common to use the   long s , which resembles a lowercase f, in the middle of words; thus, as Ben Franklin is reading the   Declaration of Independence , he questions the passage, "Life, liberty, and the purfuit of happineff?!? " Most of that particular sketch is a satire of McCarthyism. For example, Franklin remarks, "You...sign a harmless petition, and forget all about it. Ten years later, you get hauled up before a committee."In 1960, in the light of the  payola scandal, Freberg made a two-sided single entitled "The Old Payola Roll Blues", which tells the story of a corrupt recording studio promoter (voiced by  Jesse White) who gets a teenager who cannot sing to record a song called "High School OO OO", as well as the flip side, "I Was on My Way to High School". The promoter then tries to bribe a disc jockey at a jazz station to play the song on the air, which he flatly refuses, suspecting that the promoter was never in the music business in the first place. Afterward, a song in the big band style heralds the end of rock and roll and a resurgence of swing and jazz. Freberg's record was on the Hot 100 only the week of Leap Day 1960, at #99, about three and a half months after  Tommy Facenda's multi-versioned "High School U.S.A." peaked at #28. Alan Freed, whose career fell prey to charges of payola, reportedly laughed at Freberg's interpretation of the scandal.
The album also featured the following exchange, where Freberg's  Christopher Columbus is "discovered on beach here" by a  Native American played by  Marvin Miller. Skeptical of the Natives' diet of corn and "other organically grown vegetables", Columbus wants to open "America's first Italian restaurant" and needs to cash a check to get started:
Native: "You out of luck, today. Banks closed."
Columbus: [archly, knowing what the response will be] "Oh?  Why?"
Native: "Columbus Day!"
Columbus: [pregnant pause] "We going out on that joke?"
Native: "No, we do reprise of song. That help ..."
Columbus and the Indian together: "But not much, no!"
Stan Freberg Presents The United States of America, Volume Two was planned for release during America's  Bicentennial in 1976, but it did not emerge until 1996. 

Freberg's early parodies revealed his obvious love of jazz. His portrayals of jazz musicians were usually stereotypical " beatnik" types, but jazz was always portrayed as preferable to  pop,  calypso, and particularly the then-new form of music,  rock and roll. He whopped doo-wop in his version of " Sh-Boom" and lampooned  Elvis Presley with an echo/reverb rendition of " Heartbreak Hotel".   The United States of America includes a sketch involving the musicians in the painting  The Spirit of '76. The terribly hip fife player ("Bix", played by Freberg) and the younger drummer (played by  Walter Tetley) argue with the older, impossibly square drummer ("Doodle", also voiced by Freberg) over how Yankee Doodle should be performed.

The popularity of Freberg's recordings landed him his own program, the situation comedy  That's Rich. Freberg portrayed bumbling but cynical Richard E. Wilk, a resident of Hope Springs, where he worked for B.B. Hackett's Consolidated Paper Products Company. Freberg suggested the addition of dream sequences, which made it possible for him to perform his more popular Capitol Records satires before a live studio audience. The CBS series aired from January 8 to September 23, 1954.

The Stan Freberg Show was a 1957 replacement for Jack Benny on CBS radio. The satirical show, which featured elaborate production, included most of the team he used on his Capitol recordings, including Foray, Leeds, and Butler. Billy May arranged and conducted the music. The Jud Conlon Singers, who had also appeared on Freberg recordings, were regulars, as was singer Peggy Taylor, who had participated in his "Wun'erful, Wun'erful!" record. The show was produced by Pete Barnum.
The show failed to attract a sponsor after Freberg decided he did not want to be associated with the tobacco companies that had sponsored Benny. In lieu of actual commercials, Freberg mocked advertising by touting such products as "Puffed Grass" ("It's good for Bossie, it's good for me and you!"), "Food" ("Put some food in your tummy-tum-tum!"), and himself ("Stan Freberg—the foaming comedian! Bobba-bobba-bom-bom-bom"), a parody of the well-known  Ajax cleanser commercial.

The lack of sponsorship was not the only issue. Freberg frequently complained of radio network interference. Another sketch from the CBS show, "Elderly Man River", anticipated the  political correctness movement by decades. Butler plays "Mr. Tweedly", a representative of a fictional citizens' radio review board, who constantly interrupts Freberg with a loud buzzer as Freberg attempts to sing " Old Man River". Tweedly objects first to the word "old", "which some of our more  elderly citizens find distasteful". As a result, the song's lyrics are progressively and painfully distorted as Freberg struggles to turn the classic song into a form that Tweedly will find acceptable "to the tiny tots" listening at home: "He don't, er, doesn't plant 'taters, er,  potatoes… he doesn't plant cotton, er,  cotting… and them-these-those that plants them are soon  forgotting", a lyric of which Freberg is particularly proud. Even when the censor finds Freberg's machinations acceptable, the constant interruption ultimately brings the song to a grinding halt (just before Freberg would have had to edit the line "You gets a little drunk and you lands in jail"), saying, "Take your finger off the button, Mr. Tweedly—we know when we're licked", furnishing the moral and the punch line of the sketch at once. But all of these factors forced the cancellation of the show after a run of only 15 episodes.
In 1966, he recorded an album,  Freberg Underground, in a format similar to his radio show, using the same cast and orchestra. He called it "pay radio", in a parallel to the phrase  pay TV (the nickname at the time for subscription-based cable and broadcast television) "…because you have to go into the record store and buy it". This album is notable for giving Dr.  Edward Teller the  Father of the Year award for being "father of the hydrogen bomb" ("Use it in good health!"); for a combined satire of the  Batman television series and the 1966 California Governor's race between  Edmund G. "Pat" Brown and  Ronald Reagan; and probably most famous for a bit in which, through the magic of  sound effects, Freberg drained  Lake Michigan and refilled it with  hot chocolate and a mountain of  whipped cream while a giant  maraschino cherry was dropped like a bomb by the Royal Canadian Air Force to the cheers of 25,000 extras viewing from the shoreline. Freberg concluded with, "Let's see them do that on television!" That bit became a commercial for advertising on radio.
Beginning in 1949, Freberg and Butler provided voices and were the  puppeteers for  Bob Clampett's  puppet series,  Time for Beany, a triple  Emmy Award winner (1950, 1951, 1953). Broadcast nationwide from  KTLA in Los Angeles, the pioneering children's TV show garnered considerable acclaim. Among its fans was  Albert Einstein, who once reportedly interrupted a high-level conference by announcing, "You will have to excuse me, gentlemen. It is time for Beany."
Freberg made television guest appearances on  The Ed Sullivan Show and other TV variety shows, usually with Orville the Moon Man, his puppet from  outer space. He reached through the bottom of Orville's  flying saucer to control the puppet's movements and turned away from the  camera when he delivered Orville's lines. Freberg had his own  ABC special,  Stan Freberg Presents the Chun King Chow Mein Hour: Salute to the Chinese New Year (February 4, 1962), but he garnered more laughs when he was a guest on late night talk shows.
A piece from Freberg's show was used frequently on Offshore Radio in the UK in the 60's: "You may not find us on your TV". Other on-screen television roles included  The Monkees (1966) and  The Girl from U.N.C.L.E. (1967). In 1996, he portrayed the continuing character of Mr. Parkin on  Roseanne, and both Freberg and his son had roles in the short-lived  Weird Al Show in 1997.
When Freberg introduced satire to the field of advertising, he revolutionized the industry, influencing staid ad agencies to imitate Freberg by injecting humor into their previously dead-serious commercials. Freberg's long list of successful ad campaigns includes:
  • Butternut coffee: A nine-minute musical, "Omaha!", which actually found success outside advertising as a musical production in the city of Omaha. It tells the story of a young man, "Eustace K. Butternut", who was stolen by Gypsies at an early age and, as an adult, returns to his own city, finding the residents under a spell that keeps them singing and raising their arms in the air. He frees them by saying his last name backwards ("Tunrettub"), but he immediately orders them to raise their hands back up again, taking everything the citizens have.
  • Contadina tomato paste: "Who put eight great tomatoes in that little bitty can?"
  • Jeno's pizza rolls: A parody of the Lark cigarettes commercial that used the William Tell Overture and a pick-up truck with a sign in the bed saying "Show us your Lark pack", here ending with a confrontation between a cigarette smoker, portrayed by Barney Phillips (supposedly representing the Lark commercial's announcer) and Clayton Moore as the Lone Ranger over the use of the music. Jay Silverheels also appears as Tonto, filling his possibles bag with pizza rolls, after asking "Have a Pizza Roll, kemo sabe?" It was regarded as one of the most brilliantly conceived and executed TV ads of the period; after one showing on The Tonight ShowJohnny Carson remarked that it was the first commercial he had ever seen to receive spontaneous applause from the studio audience.
  • Jeno's pizza, in a parody of Scope mouthwash commercials. "You know why nobody likes your parties, Mary? You have bad pizza—bad pizza!"
  • Sunsweet pitted prunes: Depicted as the "food of the future" in a futuristic setting, until science fiction icon Ray Bradbury, a friend of Freberg's (shown on a wall-to-wall television screen reminiscent of Fahrenheit 451) butts in: "I never mentioned prunes in any of my stories." "You didn't?" "No, never. I'm sorry to be so candid." "No, they're not candied" (rim shot). Bradbury reportedly refused to consider doing a commercial until Freberg told him, "I'm calling it Brave New Prune", prompting Bradbury to ask, "When do we start?" Prune sales increased 400 percent the year following the campaign.[29]
  • Another Sunsweet commercial features Ronald Long as a picky eater: "They're still rather badly wrinkled, you know", and ends with the famous line, "Today, the pits; tomorrow, the wrinkles. Sunsweet marches on!"
  • Heinz Great American Soups: Ann Miller is a housewife who turns her kitchen into a gigantic production number, singing such lyrics as "Let's face the chicken gumbo and dance!" After watching his wife's flashy tap dancing, her husband, played by veteran character actor Dave Willock, asks, "Why do you always have to make such a big production out of everything?" At the time (1970), this was the most expensive commercial ever made.
  • Jacobsen Mowers: Sheep slowly munch on a front lawn. On camera reporter/announcer (voice of William Woodson): "Jacobsen mowers. Faster... than sheep!"
  • Encyclopædia Britannica: The boy in these commercials is Freberg's son Donavan. Freberg talks to him from off screen.
  • Chun King Chinese Food: Magazine ad, featuring a line-up of nine smiling Chinese men and one frowning white man, all dressed in scrub suits and white lab coats, with the caption, "Nine out of ten doctors recommend Chun King Chow Mein!" The frowning white doctor is Freberg.
  • Kaiser Aluminum produced foil, to rival Reynolds Wrap. Freberg created a sales campaign based on Kaiser's difficulties in getting grocers to stock their product, featuring the "Kaiser Foil Salesman". Despite the company's initial hesitation, the campaign did increase sales.
Today, these advertisements are considered classics by many critics. Though  Bob & Ray had pioneered intentionally comic advertisements (stemming from a hugely successful campaign for Piels beer), Stan Freberg is usually credited as being the first person to introduce humor into television advertising with memorable campaigns. He felt a truly funny commercial would cause consumers to request a product, as was the case with his elaborate ad campaign that prompted stores to stock Salada tea. The owner of Jeno's Pizza Rolls had to pay off a bet over the success of a Freberg ad campaign by pulling Freberg in a  rickshaw on Hollywood's La Cienega Boulevard. Freberg won 21  Clio awardsfor his commercials. Many of those spots were included in the Freberg four-CD  box set  Tip of the Freberg.

Following his success in comedy records and television, Freberg was often invited to appear as a featured guest at various events. Each time has been memorable, such as his skit at the 1979 Science Fiction Awards, again playing straight man to Orville in his UFO. He innocently asks why there is a hole in the end of the spacecraft, only to be told, "That's where the swamp gas comes out."

In his autobiography,  It Only Hurts When I Laugh, Freberg recounts much of his life and early career, including his encounters with such show business legends as  Milton Berle,  Frank Sinatra and  Ed Sullivan, and the struggles he endured to get his material on the air.
He had brief sketches on  KNX (AM) radio in the mid-1990s, beginning each with "Freberg here!" In one sketch, Freberg mentioned that the band played "Inhale to the Chief" at  Bill Clinton's inauguration.
He guest starred multiple times on  Garfield and Friends, and as the studio chairman on an episode of  Taz-Mania.
Freberg was inducted into the  National Radio Hall of Fame in 1995. From 1995 until October 6, 2006, Freberg hosted  When Radio Was, a  syndicated anthology of vintage radio shows. The release of the 1996 Rhino CD  The United States of America Volume 1 (the Early Years) and  Volume 2 (the Middle Years) suggests a possible third volume. This set includes some parts written but cut because they would not fit on a record album.
He appeared on  "Weird Al" Yankovic's  The Weird Al Show, playing both the J.B. Toppersmith character and the voice of the puppet Papa Boolie. Yankovic has many times acknowledged Freberg as his greatest influence. Freberg is among the commentators in the special features on the multiple-volume DVD sets of the  Looney Tunes Golden Collection and narrates the documentary "Irreverent Imagination" on Volume 1.
Freberg was the announcer for the boat race in the movie version of  Stuart Little, and in 2008 he guest starred as  Sherlock Holmes in two episodes of  The Radio Adventures of Dr. Floyd. From 2008 onwards Freberg voiced numerous characters, including Doctor Whipple and Fluffykins, on  The Garfield Show.

Good Night Mr Freberg

"...Still too loud man. would you mind leaving the room..."
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