Stan Freberg wore so many different hats throughout his career that he may as well have been a hat-maker. Satirist, songwriter, comedian, commercial producer, recording artist, actor, puppeteer, and voice artist only scratch the surface.
Freberg passed away yesterday at the age of 88 in Santa Monica, California. The New York Times offers a comprehensive obituary and TV writer and longtime friend Mark Evanier has written a remembrance. An influential comedy icon, Freberg counted among his fans not just artists who followed directly in his footsteps, like “Weird Al” Yankovic and SpongeBob Squarepants voice Tom Kenny, but creative people as diverse as Paul McCartney, Stephen King, Anthony Hopkins, and David Mamet.
Most news outlets will acknowledge Freberg’s body of work as a satirist and ad-man (he played a significant role in popularizing the funny commercial), but this being Cartoon Brew, we’re going to celebrate his work as a voice actor and his collaborations with animation artists. Freberg recorded cartoon voices for 69 years, giving him quite possibly the longest recording career of any voice actor who has ever worked in animation.
Here’s a “gallery” of Freberg’s voice acting work:
1947: Republic Pictures’s It’s a Grand Old Nag
1949: The narrator of Big Tim, a UPA industrial for Timken Roller Bearing Company
1949: Stan Freberg recounts working on animation director Bob Clampett’s TV puppet show Time For Beany (1949)
1951: Junyer Bear in Warner Bros.’ A Bear for Punishment
1952: Pete Puma in Warner Bros.’ Rabbit’s Kin
1955: Beaver in Disney’s Lady and The Tramp
ca. 1955: DeSoto spot animated by Playhouse Pictures
ca. 1956: Snowdrift spot animated by Quartet Films, based on Freberg’s comedy record “John and Marsha”
1957: Warner Bros.’ Three Little Bops
ca. 1959: Butter-Nut coffee spot animated by Fine Arts Films
ca. 1960: Cheerios commerical animated by Quartet Films
1962: “Sale of Manhattan,” an animated segment directed by Fred Crippen and designed by Saul Bass & Art Goodman from Stan Freberg Presents The Chun King Chow Mein Hour: Salute to the Chinese New Year (1962). Soundtrack is from Freberg’s album “Stan Freberg Presents The United States Of America”.
1965: The Calypso Singer by Paul Glickman, using Freberg’s track “Banana Boat (Day-O),” a parody of Harry Belafonte’s song.
1987: Skip Binsford in Family Dog
1995: Mo-Ron in Freakazoid!