PBS Presents Stan Freberg and Bob Clampett PBS Presents Stan Freberg and Bob Clampett

PBS Presents Stan Freberg and Bob Clampett

Last night on the PBS series Pioneers of Television, during an episode devoted to Local Kids’ TV shows, Stan Freberg recounted his earliest experiences in Hollywood. He tells of his first visit to Warner Bros. Cartoons and his trip (with Daws Butler) to Bob Clampett’s garage to start work on Beany & Cecil.

On the show last night (sequence posted below), these events are recreated by actors portraying Stan, Daws and Bob Clampett. The guy playing Stan looks a little like a heavyset version of Freberg, but the balding, white haired, potbellied guy playing Clampett is a hoot and the Butler stand-in is equally miscast. Kelsey Grammer narrates.

  • I caught the tail end of that show it’s classic. Also on the show it explains the unlikely origins of Ronald Mc Donald as the replacement for Bozo the Clown’s personal appearances at the restaurant. It airs again this week, catch it if you can.

  • The PBS “Pioneers of Television” series is very good. We caught one last week dealing with early cop shows. Fascinating stuff. I’ve got this one in the PVR.

    My daughter insisted that we watch GLEE instead.

  • It’s too bad the actors didn’t look more like their real life counterparts, particularly since they really didn’t have to do much acting or say anything. But the show was great fun nonetheless. Stan Freberg’s story of how he got work at Warner Brothers is not to be missed.

    • TsimoneTseTse

      Who directed the reenactment? Ed Wood?
      Was Clampett played by the director’s chiropractor too?
      Where’s Bruce Campbell when you need him!!!

  • Great stuff. I saw the episode dealing with westerns. I will have to catch this when it comes on.

  • UGH! beat me to it I so watched this and it was such an awesome doc on early children’s entertainment.

  • This was fun, but they should’ve hired those animation wizards at the Chinese TV news to do one of their patented CGI re-enactments.

  • Bill

    I missed the first one, I think on comedies, but the others have been lots of fun. Still you can’t cover 60 years of an entire genre in an hour. It’s almost as much fun talking about what was left out!

    • TsimoneTseTse

      I think “Pioneers” focuses on the first 20 years of TV

  • Great stuff…I wanna work with the next Freberg/Butler team…u out there?

  • Wow! That last bit about Einstein floored me!

    • The way I had heard the story told was slightly different. Mid-meeting, Einstein stood up and said, quite dramatically, “Gentlemen, it is time.” His colleagues, quite surprised, asked him what he meant. Einstein responded, “It’s Time for Beany, of course,” and left the room, presumably to find a television.

      Animaniacs fans, this is the source of the scene in that one Pinky and the Brain cartoon where Einstein is watching “The Meany and Treacle Show” with his niece and nephew.

  • joel

    George Lucas didn’t like the voice of C-3p0, so he decided to go for Stan freberg. He wanted 3p0 to come across as a fast talking used car salesmen instead of an english butler. However, Freberg talked him into keeping the original dub with Anthony Daniels. And the rest is history

  • John A

    What was the point of the reenactments? It was as if the casting director or the actors had never seen or heard of these men before. A couple of still photos would have sufficed.

    Minor criticism aside, this has been a wonderful series of PBS documentaries about such an amazingly creative period. Someone should make a movie or TV series (like Mad Men)about the kinds of people that entertained millions of viewers daily live on TV.The documentary barely scratched the surface of the lives of the entertainers that were basically making it all up as they went along.

  • bob kurtz

    stan freberg is a nation treasure. go stan!!!

  • Gary Flinn

    I wish they had an actor who was tall with a full set of dark hair to play Clampett.

    • John F A

      Or at least a crappy toupee.

  • David Breneman

    I was disgusted by the way “Pioneers” made local children’s programming out to be a hellhole of commercial exploitation, and that the abused kids were rescued by Sesame Street. The producers of SS used political pull to strangle local children’s broadcasting to death by urging Congress to pass laws preventing the hosts from doing sponsor endorsements. Most sponsors of these shows could not afford pre-filmed commercials. With revenue dwindling, the local programs dropped one by one and left PBS with a virtual monopoly for their bland, pedantic, written-by-a-committee kiddy fare. The fact that inventive local shows like “Time for Beanie” don’t exist today is because PBS killed them, the swine.

    • John A

      I agree. Product endorsements and program related products go all the way back to radio and the movie serials. So what if a popular program wants to sell a few things? No one was holding a gun to the audiences’ heads, in fact most of us were watching the shows for free. I wish I still had a few of my Bozo toys. I used to love that show–I remember sending the Detroit Bozo pictures I drew that he’d hang up in his art gallery.

      • Steve C.

        I agree too. Let’s not forget the sixties and “Linus the king, Linus the star-LINUS TER LION HEARTED!” Sheldon leonard as Linus and Carl Reiner as some of the others. “Cause Post cereal make breakfast a li’l bit better”. That was one of the classics that fell by the wayside due to the FCC (but then Scooby Doo and the other half hour full, not segment within half hours, started taking up a large chunk.)

  • Anthrocoon

    Still a chance for some to catch this show. I believe it airs tonight at 6 pm (2/13) on WGBH 2 Boston, for example…

    • Anthrocoon

      And I did catch it–great stuff. Slightly disappointed Boston’s Boomtown was not mentioned (no puppets but def. a kid’s show). When they mentioned how they’d read kids’ letters on air it could only make me smile and think of a similar feature later, on Mys. Sci Theater 3000:
      “Cambot, can we put this on still-store?”
      Had never heard of the Phoenix show they mentioned but that one lasted a very long time!