RIP Stan Freberg

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RIP Stan Freberg

Postby Ben » April 7th, 2015, 7:12 pm

Stan Freberg died...

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/s ... ist-787007

This only really leaves June Foray as the last of the original Looney Tunes vocalists. :(

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Re: RIP Stan Freberg

Postby GeorgeC » April 7th, 2015, 7:34 pm

I haven't heard that name in a long while!

I knew he was a voice-over artist but I don't automatically associate him with a character like I would June Foray or certainly Mel Blanc or Dawes Butler or Don Messick. Those guys you KNOW what they did...

Freberg sounds like most of his career was spent in advertising and you usually don't see that stuff more than 5 years since it was produced! Especially something from the 1950s and 1960s! I same a couple of ads that were around for ages but that was stuff produced in the 1970s and re-run or periodically updated through the late 1980s in some cases.

For stuff from the 1950s and 1960s, you either have to look online for the ads on Youtube or Archive.org or buy one of the DVD collections that has old commercials on it.

I was never aware the guy did comedy albums... News to me! The problem is that you'd probably have to a student of his era of history to appreciate that humor... It seems like it's very topical and that kind of humor isn't generally appreciated decades later... (If the humor really does tap into advertising and commercial trends -- which don't change THAT much it might still be appreciated. If it's about the Cold War, good luck getting anybody below 30 to appreciate it! Most people just don't appreciate history...)

Really, the only stuff I recognize from that HR article are Junyer Bear and the WB version of the Three Little Pigs. I've seen those cartoons dozens of times through my life but honestly Freberg is invisible compared to Mel Blanc...

The other thing I recognized was "Time for Beany." Anybody that has either one of the Bob Clampett DVD's that were released a while back knows about "Beany." The puppet show was the best stuff I saw on the original disc! (Dawes Butler was also involved with that show, too...) Way, way better AND funnier than the animated version that was done in the 1960s, IMHO.
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Re: RIP Stan Freberg

Postby droosan » April 7th, 2015, 9:41 pm

In addition to the Looney Tunes characters listed in the linked Hollywood Reporter article, Freburg was the voice of Pete Puma and one-half of the "Goofy Gophers" duo (Mel Blanc voiced Mac, Stan Freburg was Tosh).

I saw him speak briefly at The World Animation Celebration in Pasadena, back in 1997. He still had what it took to get huge laughs out of an audience. :)

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Re: RIP Stan Freberg

Postby Randall » April 7th, 2015, 10:54 pm

Famed comic and TV writer (and Garfield producer) Mark Evanier, a good friend of Stan's, put up a nice piece on his blog:

http://www.newsfromme.com/2015/04/07/st ... erg-r-i-p/

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Re: RIP Stan Freberg

Postby EricJ » April 8th, 2015, 12:52 am

My dad used to be a nut for Stan Freberg's fifties records, and I must have heard half the lines just from his quoting them, before I ever tracked down the albums:


droosan wrote:Freburg was the voice of Pete Puma


Even on the DVD commentaries, Freberg still claims "They just let me make up a crazy voice", apparently still claiming plausible denial against Frank Fontaine's management, despite getting most of Fontaine's radio shticks into the cartoon.

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Re: RIP Stan Freberg

Postby Ben » April 8th, 2015, 1:48 am

Funny how George says he was "invisible" next to Blanc and others in terms of the cartoon voices. That may be true as far as George is concerned, but ask anyone outside the animation enthusiast community and you'll get a different answer.

As soon as I told my wife, she started reciting The Banana Boat Song (look it up, "man"). Different strokes for different folks, I guess, but I wouldn't go writing someone off just because I wasn't familiar with everything they'd done.

Sure, maybe in the Looney Tunes line-up, Freberg isn't the first name that comes to mind, but then neither is Bob Newhart as a Disney voice, and he did a great deal of the same kind of comedy albums that Freberg did, actually coming along a little after Freberg made inroads into that kind of comedy.

Freberg was also a regular face on the Looney Tunes DVD collections and, as far as other animation was involved, also provided the narrator voice for the underrated, overlooked The Wuzzles, for Disney.

As a vocalist, he impacted early and sustained a long career, maybe not always in the spotlight, but always around, and always contributing.

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Re: RIP Stan Freberg

Postby GeorgeC » April 8th, 2015, 10:21 am

I'll grant you that... I'm not into nostalgia radio and 1950s/1960s comedy acts. It's just not a big area of interest for me.

I have very little doubt that's true for most people today. If you weren't alive back then or didn't particularly pay attention that stuff probably went over your head.

This is NOT a slam on Stan Freberg or anybody else's remarks in this thread.

NOBODY can be interested in everything! C'mon that's impossible and there's not enough time in life for that! Nobody can listen to and watch everything! :lol:

Animation is a huge interest for me (mainly classical US from the late 1930s to mid-1950s, Disney classic features, and a lot of anime since the 1980s) and that's where I generally know voiceover artists and Mel Blanc was STILL by far the best-known voiceover artist during his lifetime... and that's NOT just in animation. I've sampled a lot of Mel's work and he was fantastic in just about everything he did! (I'm sure Stan Freberg was, too, but he wasn't as well-known as Mel Blanc was... NOBODY else was!) He was a great comedian with an impeccable sense of timing and evidently a VERY good memory. There was a Johnny Carson episode where he was guest along with Jack Benny. He remembered routines they did together 30-35 years ago! (This was in the early 1970s while Jack Benny was still... Benny was still 'together'/mentally in decent shape although his memory was not as good as Mel's.) Just about everybody that has even a minor connection/familiarity with animation knows Mel because he was around forever (around 60 years!) and he DID EVERYTHING and his projects tended to be listened to or seen by a bunch of people... He was on The Jack Benny Show fer cryin' out loud and that was VERY popular for decades on both radio and TV. And you can find quite a bit of Mel's other non-Looney Tunes work online now.

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(It's a shame that The Jack Benny Show -- like a lot older shows -- is not broadcast much anymore where people will actually see it but that's the nature of entertainment. Good thing about the Net is that you can see/hear plenty things posted by a fan of a particular old show... especially if it's public domain and they're not gonna get sued for putting it up. Just about anything today is only popular for about 5 seconds (I think it used to be 10 or 15 seconds before cable TV arrived!) and is forgotten in less than 30 unless there's a caretaker/family member or corporate entity that sees a way to monetize a product and keep it alive for decades. That definitely happened with Star Trek, James Bond, Star Wars. You can argue that the fanaticism of the Star Trek fans is what kept that show alive even moreso than Paramount Studios for at least a decade. I'd say between cancellation and the first motion picture, it was the fan-run conventions that kept Star Trek alive. I don't know of much else that has had that kind of fanbase that's literally everywhere, that has been that faithful, that had conventions solely dedicated to ONE series as long as Star Trek did... and the original series only petered off in popularity -- for a time -- after The Next Generation came along. But even then, it was successfully revived in 2009. Much as I don't like a lot of was done in that film, it DID revive Star Trek as a movie series.)


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There's a near-complete or entire posting of Mel's short-lived radio show online as well as episodes of The Jack Benny radio/TV series where he was a regular if not a main cast member for many years. When Jack Benny went to TV and Mel followed that's probably when the majority of people who are age 50-80-some now became familiar with his appearance and could finally recognize the face behind the voice of Bugs Bunny. Most voiceover artists, face it, unless they have a webpage/Facebook site are still basically faceless to the majority of people who will ever see/hear their work -- especially if it's in radio and animation.


I have been to conventions, I have talked to voiceover artists, and I have been through a few seminars here and there just out of curiosity. I know these guys work their butts off to make a living and feed their families... and quite a few of them do actually seem to enjoy what they do very much, too! ( => unlike a lot of other working stiffs.)

I don't work in the industry but I know enough from being around people who ARE professional voiceover artists that they don't do just one thing. Most of it is radio/TV narration and advertising for radio/TV but quite a few DO crossover into animation but probably not as THE main gig in most cases; as I understand it, the animation voiceover field tends to be more restricted than other voiceover gigs -- there's only a few people that get to play regularly now. One of the worst things I think that happened in animation voiceover to the regulars was when celebrity voice-stunt casting became very popular starting in the 1990s... Some of the guys you hear more in shows like Futurama, Ren & Stimpy, etc. complained about that practice and I think to an extent they were right. What is the point of casting a celebrity when you're NOT going to see their real face onscreen? You might as well hire an impersonator! They would be cheaper than hiring the actual celebrity! (And you can spend more money making the animation better or actually developing a better storyline which is probably even more important than the animation!) :lol: They didn't use to do that as much for animated feature films as they did for TV series like The Simpsons where it was 'cool' for a celebrity to do a cameo/guest shot (and they actually did feature 'Simpsonized caricatures' of those celebrities, too). The better-paying gigs I've been told are things like narrating movie trailers. I can't remember the names but I know there were people who made their names doing narration for trailers and you heard these guys FOR DECADES because they were considered the best at what they did. One of the legends of this died not too long ago... (Was it Don Fontaine?) I can't remember the guy's name but I am 100% SURE I DID hear his voice in trailers many, many times...
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- Randall/Time Bandits, 14 April 1912, 20 to midnight -- local time

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Re: RIP Stan Freberg

Postby GeorgeC » April 8th, 2015, 10:23 am

droosan wrote:In addition to the Looney Tunes characters listed in the linked Hollywood Reporter article, Freburg was the voice of Pete Puma and one-half of the "Goofy Gophers" duo (Mel Blanc voiced Mac, Stan Freburg was Tosh).

I saw him speak briefly at The World Animation Celebration in Pasadena, back in 1997. He still had what it took to get huge laughs out of an audience. :)




You had me at Pete Puma... He is officially a god to me now! :lol:

Pete Puma had one of the most annoying voices in Looney Tunes shorts... but it's fun trying to imitate that voice! :mrgreen:
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Re: RIP Stan Freberg

Postby EricJ » April 8th, 2015, 12:31 pm

GeorgeC wrote:You had me at Pete Puma... He is officially a god to me now! :lol:
Pete Puma had one of the most annoying voices in Looney Tunes shorts... but it's fun trying to imitate that voice! :mrgreen:


Again, it was taking off of Frank Fontaine's voice (before he was Crazy Guggenheim on Jackie Gleason's show), back when he was still street-bum "John L. C. Silvoney" on Jack Benny's radio show:
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Benny: "So you've got a new job now, how did that happen?"
Fontaine: "Wellll, I'll tell you: I was hanging around, wasn't doin' nothin', just sort of hanging around, didn't feel like doin' nothin'; anyway, I was just hanging around, 'cause, y'know, I wasn't doin' nothin'. And this guy comes up and says 'Hey, you.' I says 'Who?' He says 'You.' I says 'Me?', and he says 'Yyyyyah.' He asks me if I want a job, and it got me so nerr-r-r-vous, hhheeee..."

But somehow, we just remember Pete Puma, and his "Ohhh, three or fooouurr..."
Although Junyer Bear just conjures so much more of Freberg's Looney work.

As for Freberg's work as a commercial director, you probably remember his kid selling encyclopedias:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MLa2j_z2thI

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Re: RIP Stan Freberg

Postby ohmahaaha » April 9th, 2015, 4:57 pm

It's worth noting that Freberg did only one Pete Puma cartoon, and just 3 or 4 "Three Bears" cartoons - and yet everyone remembers those cartoons!! Maximum impact with a minimal number of appearances. And still funny!!

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Re: RIP Stan Freberg

Postby droosan » April 14th, 2015, 7:54 am

Today's Cartoon Research blog entry offers a nifty retrospective of Freburg's performances on several animation-themed LP records. :)

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Re: RIP Stan Freberg

Postby Ben » April 14th, 2015, 12:48 pm

How absolutely awesome! :)

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Re: RIP Stan Freberg

Postby Randall » April 14th, 2015, 10:07 pm

Freberg as Mickey Mouse? That'd be cool to hear!

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Re: RIP Stan Freberg

Postby Ben » April 15th, 2015, 3:44 am

They're right there to listen to at that link, Rand. Magic time! :)

Freberg is a pretty good mimic: his Mickey is perhaps a bit more forceful (and at times a *bit* manic?) than Walt or Jimmy MacDonald's vocals (he sometimes reminded me of Walt's takes for The Mickey Mouse Club...maybe Freberg was being "auditioned" for television?), but his other characters are more than "on model" and June Foray does a cute Snow White (and Cinderella?) and a fun Alice too (even if her Peter is more Rocky than Pan).

Odd that MacDonald is credited as Jaq and Gus but didn't do Mickey, but this is a great showcase for Freberg especially - and I think this outing was the only time Dumbo and Peter Pan's crocodile actually spoke, making him the only one to have provided their voices!

Love tom thumb, and even though I've seen it a thousand times I wantched the Yawning Man sequence again and he did indeed make me yawn...twice!

I also wish Brothers Grimm would get a nice BD transfer...I think this would sell better than How The West Was Won, that's for sure. Even without the seams erased it would be nice to see the full widescreen framing - the best we have, as evidenced by the clip there - is a pan and scan crop that airs on TCM once in a while (at least here, and not for a good while now, but I have an off-air DVD of it). Still, I was lucky enough to pick up the CD reissue of the score...it's a really sweet and fun album.

Of course, Freberg also made it into bona fide Disney vocal roles too: as well as The Wuzzles, I often forget he was the beaver in Lady And The Tramp (just saw again about a month ago) among other things. Ssssssswell!

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Re: RIP Stan Freberg

Postby EricJ » April 15th, 2015, 5:10 pm

Ben wrote:I also wish Brothers Grimm would get a nice BD transfer...I think this would sell better than How The West Was Won, that's for sure. Even without the seams erased it would be nice to see the full widescreen framing - the best we have, as evidenced by the clip there - is a pan and scan crop that airs on TCM once in a while (at least here, and not for a good while now, but I have an off-air DVD of it). Still, I was lucky enough to pick up the CD reissue of the score...it's a really sweet and fun album.


I had the WWOBG storybook album memorized, growing up, years before I ever saw the movie, but didn't know Freberg voiced the elves. ("Don't you like your mouth?...Then keep it SHUT!")

As for whether we'll ever see a BD, the link's right, it has become a full-on Holy Grail for film restoration, and recurring discussions on Home Theater Forum.com will tell you everything you ever needed to know about the current conditions of the original Cinerama prints (all three screens). There was a festival showing a while ago, and it could have used some improvement.
All TCM has to work with is a squashed-down widescreen TV print, and any restoration would have to give it the full Cinerama treatment, but only Flicker Alley is doing "Smilebox" Cinerama restorations, but Grimm is still in the hands of stingy ol' Warner.
So, it remains a Blu/DVD Holy Grail, in the Castle Aargh. :(