Stan Freberg had a multi-faceted career in the entertainment industry. He was an author, voice-over actor, radio announcer, and comedian to name a few. Born in 1926 in Los Angeles, California he was raised as the son of a Baptist minister. The values he learned growing up continued to be part of his life as an adult.
Freberg began his career in radio shortly after high school graduation. He traded in his cap and gown for a job as a voice actor for an animation series. In 1944 he began working for Warner Brothers studio and voiced the characters of many Looney Tunes characters.
In 1954 Freberg was given the opportunity to star in his own radio show a situation comedy titled 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.
Mr. Freberg also had a successful recording career where he spoofed many of the popular forms of entertainment of the time. He made a parody of a soap opera as well as St. George and the Dragonet – a parody of Dragnet. These were recorded on records and were very popular during the 1950s.
By now one of the most penetrating young satirists of the time he featured in a CBS Radio Workshop episode of An Analysis of Satire. In it you can listen to his satirical take on Dragnet mentioned above and also for the first and last time part of a satire, which he co-wrote with Daws Butler but never recorded.
In 1957 he replaced Jack Benny with the Stan Freberg Show. However, Freberg had problems maintaining a sponsor because he refused to be sponsored by tobacco companies that had sponsored Jack Benny’s show. In addition, he was politically controversial. The show ran for only 15 episodes before it was cancelled. I am glad to say that all 15 episodes are available on RUSC.
After his radio career ended, Freberg recorded shows similar in format to his radio show and continued to sell albums. He also made numerous TV appearances such as The Ed Sullivan Show, The Dick Cavett Show and his own TV special the Stan Freberg Presents: The Chun King Chow Mein Hour.
In addition to his work in radio and TV, Freberg is known for being a marketing genius. He created many ad campaigns and was considered one of the best in his field. He won 21 Clio awards for commercials he created.
Later in life he wrote the autobiography It Only Hurts When I Laugh. He was inducted into the Radio Hall of Fame in 1995. Until 2006, he continued to work in radio hosting the syndicated show When Radio Was.
Stan Freberg was a man ahead of his time when it came to using his satirical voice to share his political views. He pushed the boundaries of politics in the radio era. He’s made millions of people laugh with his comedy and astounded people with his talent.