Magazine article Variety

Maddest Avenue!

Magazine article Variety

Maddest Avenue!

Article excerpt

WHENEVER YOU CHUCKLE at a funny ad spot, think of Stan Freberg, the spirit-genius behind it.

The multi-hyphenate, who prefers the simple label "satirist," literally changed the state of multimedia through 70 distinguished years in animation, radio, recordings and advertising.

As a pop-obsessed Pasadena kid, he bluffed his way into a WB audition to hold his own alongside Mel Blanc. (Freberg voiced Cecil, the seasick sea serpent, for the KTLA kids show, "Time for Beany.")

The Phil Spector of the '50s novelty record boom, he churned out a string of hits for Capitol, including a delirious "Dragnet" parody set to medieval myth. ("My name is St. George. I'm a knight. Saturday, July 10, 8:05 p.m. I was working out of the castle ...")

An entire relationship was encapsulated when two lovers kept repeating each other's names: "John!" "Marsha?"

Later, this maddest of mad men energized moribund Mad Ave. with witty, memorable spots like "Today the pits; tomorrow the wrinkles. Sunsweet marches on!," and Contadina's "Who put eight great tomatoes in that little bitty can?"

But the product was always the star. Freberg recalls a hotel clerk quoting Sunsweet's tagline and claiming, "I only heard it once and I never forgot it."

Comfortably ensconced on L.A.'s Westside with devoted wife Hunter, and surrounded by awards, Freberg sees continued life in his brand. …

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