Stan Freberg passed away on Tuesday at the age of 88. I was lucky enough to get to meet him a couple of times, once at a Writers Guild event, and once when he was doing a voice recording for one of Mark Evanier's Garfield sessions, and Mark had thoughtfully invited me.
I tend not to get too many autographs, though when I do they're meaningful. Fred Astaire, Ernie Banks, Meredith Willson, Harry Secombe, and the like, and not much more. This was Stan Freberg, so he qualified. I brought along an oddity for him to sign -- it was hilarious advertising promo he had done as a 45 RPM record around 1960 on behalf of the Rose Marie Reid Swimsuit Company, and it speaks volumes that someone would even attempt an eight minute comedy sketch promoting ladies' swimsuits. Let alone make it was wildly funny as it was. But Stan Freberg managed it. I figured that when people talked to him about their favorite things of his, records like the brilliant The United States of America or Dragon-Net or his parody of "The Banana Boat Song" or the Jeno's Pizza Roll commercials were most often mentioned, but not his Rose Marie Reid Swimsuit promo. I was right. He was boggled to see it, but remembered doing it half a century earlier. And pleased to see that I'd gotten the great June Foray (who acted in it) to sign it, as well. It was a happy conversation.
But far better than my recollections and thoughts on Stan Freberg, go here and read Mark Evanier's appreciation, a fellow who knew Stan Freberg well.
Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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