“Stan Freberg, 88, the maverick creative genius who turned out groundbreaking comedy parody records in the 1950s and then became known as ‘the father of the funny commercial’ for his off-the-wall approach to selling everything from chow mein to prunes, has died,” reports the Los Angeles Times.
The story continues, “Freberg died of natural causes Tuesday at UCLA Medical Center in Santa Monica, his son, Donavan Freberg…”
The Times says about Freberg, “The droll humorist became a cult figure for legions of fans, including the Beatles and comedian Ernie Kovacs, who called Freberg ‘a multiple incarnation of Fred Allen, Don Quixote and Donald Duck.’”
Writes the Associated Press, “He won nearly two dozen CLIO awards, advertising’s equivalent of the Oscar, leading the industry publication Advertising Age to declare, “No one label fits Stan Freberg. But the father of the funny commercial seems a fitting epithet.”
Adds the AP, “For many of his TV commercials, Freberg persuaded celebrities to lampoon themselves. In one for prunes, he had science-fiction author Ray Bradbury come on camera to deny he had ever predicted in his futuristic novels that one day everyone would be eating the product Freberg was pitching.
“In another, he had television’s original Lone Ranger, Clayton Moore, show up in costume to complain that a Freberg commercial for pizza rolls was using his theme song, ‘The William Tell Overture.’” But first, a man smoking a Lark cigarette complains that the theme was Lark’s, which was, at the time, also using the same Overture in its spots.
To learn much more about Freberg, we suggest you click on the links above, which will take you to the obituary in the L.A. Times and the obituary carried by the AP.
Here is the prune spot. Below it is the pizza roll commercial.