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An Interview with STAN FREBERG
by Geo. Stewart
February 8th, 1951, the date Capitol records released Stan
Freberg's first recording, is as good a date as any to mark the
changing of the guard. The era of Spike Jones was over. Now Stan
assumed the crown as America's favorite musical satirist and he
managed to hold on to it until one Weird Al Yanovich came along ---
years after he stopped actively recording.
Stan Freberg was born August 7, 1926 to a Baptist minister and his
wife and was raised in the LA area. At the age of seventeen he
began doing voice characterization work for Walter Lance, Warner
Brothers, and Walt Disney. Then in the 50s he had a string of hits
that satirized contemporary musical trends: "The Great Pretender"
"The Banana Boat Song", "The Yellow Rose Of Texas". In the sixties,
the hits stopped: contemporary music was so bad it was now beyond
satire. He retreated into advertizing where he revolutionized the
business by bringing humor to what until then had been a studiously
humorless medium. Periodically he would release an album, the Best
of from his radio show, an attempt at an Lp magazine called
"Underground!"...and his opus , "Stan Freberg presents The United
States of America, Volume One, The early years." After that Stan
rarely ventured into a recording studio, content to do a PBS
special here, an NPR special there -- or a guest shot on the
Monkees. Finally a late burst of activity! In 1988 His
autobiography is released "Only When I Laugh". Unfortunately it
only goes up to 1963. Now, none of us were expecting the
definitive edition, he's much too active, still, for that. But
1963?!? He swears we'll see volume two very soon. But he said that
about Part Two of "Stan Freberg presents The United States of
America" and that took him some thirty five years to deliver. At
that rate Stan will be getting saluted by Willard Scott long before
we get the second tome. Of late we've seen him on the
aforementioned Weird Al's kids show -- and finally, thanks to Rhino
Records, finally got to hear "Stan Freberg presents The United
States of America Volume Two, The Middle Years" only two more
volumes to go! This Summer marks another joyous occasion, Rhino is
about to release a comprehensive four CD retrospective of Stan's
career, the records, the radio shows, the commercials in a stunning
box set annotated by Dr. Demento. Over the years I've gotten to
interview Mr. Freberg and his compatriots and I present to you now
for your edification and enjoyment excerpts from those
>Geo: You were quite young when you began working.
* FREBERG: I started at 16. And at 17 I was doing voices at Warner
Brothers. I continued to work for them while I was in the Army;
whenever I was on leave I'd go over a do a few cartoons for them or
GEO: Oh! That surprises me. I don't recall seeing your name on any
of the Warner Brother cartoons.
*Freberg: Well, there's a reason for that and that is because Mel
Blanc got in there ahead of everybody else and got a contract sown
up that said that nobody but Mel Blanc could have a credit for
voices. So it always said "Voices characterization, Mel Blanc",
even though I was there on many cartoons, as was June Foray, as was
GEO: Is that where you met Bob Clampett, over at Warners?
Freberg: Yeah. Bob was one of the creators of Bugs Bunny --not the
only one -- and he directed a large number of Warner Brothers
cartoons. When he left Warners he started a Tv show called "Time
For Bennie" in 1948 and Daws Butler and I worked for him on that
show. It was really created by Bob Clampett, Daws Butler, myself,
plus an art director, and another writer; there was about five of
us. And the show went on to win 3 Emmies, a Peabody, and about
thirty other awards. Believe it or not, even Albert Einstein was a
fane of that show.
>Geo: And that's where you first met Daws Butler who was your
partner on so many of your forty fives.
]Freberg: That's right. In the early days it was a puppet show.
And Daws and I handled all the puppets, worked 8 or 9 puppets
between us, and did all the voices.
GEO: Now this was not the animated cartoon that aired on Saturday
mornings on ABC in the early Sixties.
Freberg: That's right. After Daws and I had been with the live
show for five or six years it went into animation. The animated
version was never as good as the puppet version. For one thing
when "Time for Bennie" was live it had a lot more spontaneity.
>Geo: Your first big release was in 1951, a 45 called "John And
Marsha," which basically consisted of a man and a woman repeating
the other's name with different inflections for 2 and a half
* FREBERG: ...with me doing both voices. I thought it would be
interesting to see if I could cover all the various emotions that
the soap operas covered without all the verbiage -- which made it
an abstract thing, like a modern painting. People could read into
it whatever they wanted. And everybody saw something different.
>Geo: Some people saw it being rather randy...
]Freberg: That's right. That record was literally banned in
Boston. You couldn't play it on the air. You know, what did I say?
It was also banned over the CBS Radio Network, a place I would
later call home for my radio show. When I question the Standard
and Practices woman at CBS in New York she said it was because of
[quote] "offensive lyrics" [unquote].
.Geo: You trimmed the ending, I hear.
>Freberg: Oh, just a little. I came on as a radio announcer and
said, "Tune in tomorrow for the continuing story of John and
Martha." But the recorded was running a little long so I dropped
One Tv show that was parodied a lot was Dragnet, but Freberg did it
first and he did it best. Perhaps it was because he genuinely
liked the show. And fortunately for him the show's star and
producer, Jack Webb, liked Freberg -- and let him use the Dragnet
underscoring in his parodies. One of the best was his mediaeval
pasche called "ST GEORGE AND THE DRAGONET" from the Fall of 1953.
It starred Stan with invaluable help from Daws Butler and June
Foray. Daws went on to do many cartoon voices for Hanna Barbara --
Elroy Jetson stands out, along with Huckleberry Hound and Quickdraw
McGraw. June you know as the voice of Rocky The Flying Squirrel
and Natasha Fatale. But you've heard her a thousand times in other
cartoons, too, in shows as diverse as "How the Grinch Stol
Christmas," to "The Smerfs". I talked with Ms. Foray in the Fall
of 1984 and asked her about the night they all recorded "St George
and the Dragonet.
Foray: I played the maiden "who was devoured by fire, already."
This turned out to be the first big hit that we had. Stan and Daws
wrote St George and The Dragon Net together; and when it was done
there was no more improvising! Unfortunately, it was over written;
after all, on a 45 we only have, what?, 3 minutes to a side? What
they wrote was very funny but it was much too long. So Alan
Livingston, who was the A&R man and the producer, took a pencil and
slashed this and this and this until he got it down to the bare
bone. Now usually the orchestra would record first, but for this
record the orchestra was right there with us, so we had to get it
right all in one take or start over.
Nineteen fifty three saw two bold attacks against the junior
Senator from Wisconsin, Joe McCarthy. One was Edward R. Murrow
whose broadcast on "See It Now" allowed McCarthy to hoist himself
on his own petard by simply broadcasting excerpts from his public
pronouncements. The other was Stan Freberg's mocking of the
senator's vicious red baiting tactics in his recording of "Point Of
Order." A rather risky move...
Freberg: Capitol was very nervous about that record; they didn't
want me to do it because they thought that they would end up being
investigated. The Fifties were a really weird time with all the
witch hunting going on. I must say, looking back, it was a gutsy
thing to do. But I was very young -- and young people, what do they
know? Someone likened it to walking across a high wire without a
net, like Carl Walenda. But I didn't have anything in my past that
the Senator could expose except that I once belong to a subversive
organization called "The Little Orphan Annie Fan Club of America."
I just felt that the senator had gone too far and had wrecked a lot
of innocent lives. A lot of people were black listed just because
they had gone to a party once where someone with "left leaning" had
been and the next thing they knew they, too, were on the list.
>Geo: One of my favorite records by you was your 1952 take on Les
Paul and Mary Ford's "The World is Waiting for the Sunrise." You
do to the banjo what Les Paul did to a guitar.
]Freberg: Yes, I though it would be interesting to do multiple
tracking with a banjo. I had two banjo players. Later on it was
sped up just the right degree the same way Les Paul sped up the
guitars on his recording. He said that I sounded just like his
wife Mary. I was singing three parts.
>Geo: So you're saying that when you did the banjo parts you were
recording them at different speeds.
]Freberg: Yes that's right. It was in thirds. We recorded it at
a very slow speed, then played it back at normal speed and played
the banjos again. Les Paul said to me "I can't figure out how you
did that." Well, I had a mathematician arranger named George Bruns
who was a Disney and wrote The Ballad of Davy Crockett among other
things and he figured out at what speed to recorded the tracks. Les
Paul to this day says it's one of his favorite records of all time
-- my recording of the World is Waiting for the Sunrise."
In 1957 while trying to sing Harry Belafonte's big hit "Day-O,"
Stan Freberg ran into some trouble from a bongo playing session
musician played by Peter Leeds who found Stan's singing "too
piercing" [it really was!] When I got to talk with the late Mr
Leeds in 1984 I asked him about the night they recorded their
version of The Banana Boat Song:
* PETER LEEDS: We were at Capitol Records in Hollywood at ten
o'clock that night and we went upstairs to an office and began
working it out. Two hours later we were finished and went back
downstairs to the recording studio where the musicians had
assembled and started to record. It eventually took us five hours
-- from twelve midnight to five o'clock in the morning. And by the
time we finished my catch phase of "too piercing, man" really was
a little too piercing.
>Geo: You met Freberg in the Forties when you both were journeymen
actors on network radio. Was it fun working on Stan's later
projects like the records and the radio show?
*Peter Leeds: Well, I believe that Stan is a genius. True, he's
a perfectionist but he's also a wonderful human being. We get
along well together, all of us, it was like a family back then.
In the Summer of 1957 Stan Freberg took to radio. His show, aptly
if unimaginably, named "The Stan Freberg Show," had the dubious
distinction of being the last of the regularly scheduled radio
comedy programs to be broadcast by CBS, filling the time slot that
had so long been the home of Jack Benny. When Benny would return
that Fall it would be exclusively for television; just 17 weeks
later Freberg would close the shop for good. Unlike most radio
shows back then Stan's was done on tape. In 1984 I asked him how he
would go about preparing his weekly show.
]Freberg: I had a small but brilliant repotory company, Peter
Leeds, Daws Butler, June Foray, and myself. That was a very
scripted show, though Daws and I managed to ad-lib some. It was
scripted by myself and a man named Pete Barnum with Daws
contributing. We would write the script about a week ahead --
sometimes just twenty four hours ahead. We would come in the day
before taping and have a read-through and cut it down to time.
That night I would put it back into re-write. By the day of the
show we all had the new scripts and would run it through two or
three times. Next the band would arrive and we would have a
rehearsal for them. Next we would do a full blown dress rehearsal.
Then they would bring the audience in and we did it, in effect,
One of the most controversial sketches from the series back then
was called "Incident at Los Voraces" where two rival cassinos in a
town not unlike Los Vegas try to top each other's stage show only
to end up totally destroying each other -- and the town-- with a
pageant featuring atomic bombs [there was a two drink minimum].
This was pretty strong stuff back in an era when it wasn't very
wise to question the use of nuclear weapons. And So it shouldn't be
surprising that it didn't get on the air the way Stan wrote it. CBS
Standards and Practices made him change the cause of the
destruction not a M.A.Ding bomb but an earthquake, which pretty
much negated the entire point of the piece. Fortunately when
Capitol collected the best of the radio show for released on vinyl
a few years later, Stan secured his original version. I asked
Daws Butler about what it was like to work with Mr Freberg on the
radio show and on so many classic records.
* BUTLER: Stan and I had a wonderful rapport. On the radio show
we almost welcomed something going wrong so we would get the chance
to ad-lib. We could do that, you see, because we had a great
feeling for each other -- and a great confidence.
>Geo: Besides some of the 45s, you also helped write the radio
*BUTLER: In fact Stan was the only one I ever collaborated with in
writing. He had asked me earlier to work with him on the records
and it worked out well! We were a pretty good writing team; we
turned out some good stuff. I never really like to write with
anybody else but Stan; I'd get impatient with them, I'd always want
to keep it moving instead of having to discuss everything forever.
By the end of the Fifties rock and roll had take over the airways.
It turned out that some disc jockeys had taken money to play
certain records [which would help explain just how some of the
weird things became hits]. Stan Freberg was quick to attack this
practice in his mini epic "The Old Payola Roll Blues" which span
both sides of that 1957 45. I suggested to him that it was kinda
pointless to even release it to radio stations; he certainly must
have known that no DJ was ever going to play it.
Freberg: Well, No, I didn't know that. The stupid thing was
printing the title on the label: the "Old Payola Roll Blues," which
is really just a mild little pun on "The Old Piano Roll Blues,"
remember? Had I thought a little bit about what I was doing I
would have realized that by the mere mention of the world "payola"
in the title I would be automatically be ruling out any air play,
because radio stations just didn't want to get involved with that
sort of controversy. I should have called it "The Yellow Pages" or
"An Introduction to Trigonometry", anything else! You just know
that the minute the guy in the record library saw this new
promotional record called "The Old Payola ..." woo, forget it! Out
the window! So I killed my own air play. But it was really a
pretty good record, if I do say so..
>Geo: Oh, it's a riot. And vicious...
Freberg: Well, pretty vicious, yes. That was among the more
vicious things I ever did.
"The Old Payola Roll Blues" featured the late Jesse White as the
corrupt promotions man, probably known best to you as the original
Maytag Repairman who was always so lonely. It's marred a bit by a
self righteous tone beginning to obscure the humor. This was a
trend that only got worse in some of his later recording.
In the late fifties a book called "The Quest For Bridey Murphy"
appeared and convinced millions of gullible Americans that through
the use of hypnoses this woman was able to discover all these past
lives -- the usual Shirley McClaine clap trap. Well, needless to
say Stan Freberg could never let a sin like this go unpunished.
When the author of the book threatened to sue Capitol Records for
slander for, what?, rapier ridicule, Stan just changed the faker's
name to Bridie Hammerschlaugen. In 1958, just in time for the
Holidays, Capitol released Stan's "Green Chri$ma$" another double
sided epic that didn't sit well with some in commercial radio.
Freberg: This record, of course was an attack on the over
commercialization of Christmas. And when it first came out some
sponsors refused to pay for any of their commercials that were
programmed within five minutes of my record being played. They
felt that my record negated their commercials.
>Geo: About this time you moved over to advertizing.
* FREBERG: Yes. I like to think that I made the world of
advertizing safe for humorous commercials. All the things that
I've done in advertizing were to accomplish something positive. A
lot of the time it was to increase sales, sometimes it was just a
job on the company's image; to get people to think about the
company in a positive way -- or even think about the company at all.
Sometimes I take a company that is invisible and make it visible.
When you've manage to do that most of the time sales will go up --
sometimes more dramatically than others.
>Geo: You were the first to create the funny commercial.
*Freberg: Occasionally people have credited me as being the guy who
blazed the trail. And they're right. When I was doing that there
was precious little humor in advertizing, believe me. And there
still is precious little real humor to me. There's the occasional
commercials that I happen to like: The Federal Express, The Wendy's
"where's The Beef?" Those were very good and done by Joe
>Geo: And easily could have been one of your campaigns.
]Freberg: Yes, it could have. I imagine I influenced Sedelmeire
along the way. But what we're talking about here is just a couple
of campaigns that we like. What about all the other? The 70s were
a kind of a dearth of funny commercials. Don't ask me why, I'm not
that much of a sociologist. In the Sixties a lot of the creative
people were finally let out of the closet and allowed to function
creatively, and I helped that to come about. The minute I proved
that humorous advertizing -- that was well constructed, that was
well thought out, that made you remember the name of the product
above all else [how can you buy the product if you can't remember
the name?]-- once I prove that that could work, a lot of bad
"humorous" commercials followed. Unfortunately a lot of bad
"creative" people began making "humorous" commercials, too. So
what we had was a guy would walk into an agency -- he usually had
a beard -- and do bad work. The product wouldn't sell. So then
advertizing agencies became turned off to humor.
>Geo: What was your first campaign, do you remember?
]Freberg: The first jingle I ever wrote was for Conradina Tomato
Paste and it was significant for not once mentioning the product.
I think that we can safely say that that was a first in
>Geo: And this was a company that had just been blown off the
shelves by a new product: Hunts Tomato Paste.
]Freberg: Right. This little San Jose company had been buried by
after enjoying the main share of the market for years by this giant
company. So they decided to fight back not only through radio
which was about all they could afford, but also by using humor. I
was called in by the brilliant Howard Gossage at Cuntingham & Walsh
in San Francisco. Everybody at the agency, except for Howard; and
everybody hated at the client level except for the president of the
company, Marty Marici. He took it to his sales people and they all
hated it, too. But he said, "I don't care there's something about
it I like." So he put the thing on the air. And within 3 months
Hunts had been forced to cut their price, and six months later
Hunts was giving away one free case with every ten to the grocers
in an effort to catch up with Contadina, but they never did.
Contadina pulled themselves out of the hole that they found
themselves in and managed to surged ahead of Hunt. After a while
Hunt kinda laid off of the tomato paste field and concentrated on
In 1963 Stan's advertising agency, "Freberg Ltd, [but not very]"
created one of his most notorious campaign: a commercial that ran
for a solid five and one half minutes of radio time. It was for
Salada Tea, and was a full blown musical entitled "Woburn!" star
Stan with Helen Kleeb and Peter Leads assisting.
The year 1961 saw the release of the first concept album, "Stan
Freberg presents The United States Of America, Volume One, the
Early Years". In its two sides Stan revealed many little known
facts about our nation's history -- from Columbus wooing a wistful
Isabella for a bunch of boats, to his discovery of Indians
discovering him on their land, on through The Battle of Yorktown,
which is where Part One stopped. It would be another 35 years
before Stan would get around to doing Part Two, with the final leg
of the trilogy yet to materialize. When I spoke to Mr Freberg back
in 1984 everyone had pretty much given up on him ever going back to
his opus even though the record clearly noted that this was just
* FREBERG "I was hoping you wouldn't notice that. But actually
you caught me. I did promise several volumes. I wanted to do "the
Early Years," The Middle Years," "The Late Years" and "The Late,
Late Years" coming right up to World War Three.
>Geo: So, what happened?
*Freberg: Well, after the first volume came out and was so
successful a man named David Merrick wanted to produce it as a
Broadway musical. So I entered into an association with David
Merrick that tied things up for a number of years. Working with
David Merrick is colorful if nothing else.
Peter Leeds picks up the story...
* PETER LEEDS: Stanley called me and I flew to New York and we
performed the record for Merrick. We had Jessie White there as the
King Ferdinand, and myself -- we were the only two they brought from
Los Angles. And Stan had recruited several actors from New York to
do some of the other parts. Finally Mr Merrick walks in with his
whole entourage and we did about an hour and fifteen minutes of the
record, just reading it from the stage -- we had chairs set up.
>Geo: What finally happened?
PETER LEEDS: Well, unfortunately Stanley just couldn't get along
with Mr Merrick and the thing fell apart.
>GEO: I hear Mr Merrick processes a rather mercurial temperament.
PETER LEEDS: Well, he's not very present. Stan had written the
other three portions of it. It was all written and ready to go and
to this day we haven't done anything with it. This kind of makes
me a little angry because it's such good material.
Back to Mister Freberg--
*Freberg: That association fell apart over creative differences
between David Merrick and myself. He wanted me to actually re-write
history; move various historical people around from one era to
another and I didn't want to do that. Among the things he said to
me was "take Lincoln out of the Civil War, he doesn't work."
Meantime Mr Merrick had the rights and he talked me into not
releasing anymore albums until we would do an original cast album
of the Broadway show. Well, there wasn't any Broadway show and so
therefore there wasn't any record.
>Geo In the late Seventies there was talk of turning it into a
]Freberg: Yeah. I was at Twentieth Century Fox for two years then
and during that time I lived through four or five administrations
-- starting with the tail end of Allan Ladd Jr [he's the man who
asked me to do it as a movie in the first place and he had the bad
form to leave within a month of my arriving at the lot]. Then the
next administration says "what is this Freberg project?" "Oh,
that's an old Alan Ladd thing." "Oh, forget it!" With each new
administration the interest would get less and less -- that's how
it works in this business. So finally after two years Gary Kertz
who was my producer --
>Geo: --of Star Wars fame --
]Freberg: --yeah--he and I just put it into turn-around, we just
said we just can't get this made here, it will never get made here.
So we walked away from Fox and it is in limbo now, more or less in
a holding pattern.
Stan Freberg back in 1984. The film still hasn't happened. In 1966
Freberg release his what would be final album of new material for
some 3o years until he finally got around to recording part two of
"The United States of America" for Rhino records in 1996. The
album was called "Freberg Underground," introducing a concept he
called "Pay Radio". Like a magazine, Freberg Underground was
supposes to appear periodically, full of that topical kind of humor
that Stan was finding harder and harder to get released.
Unfortunately sales of the album were meager and only one volume of
that project ever appeared. It's not particularly good, exhibiting
Freberg's escalating predilection for preaching over entertaining.
On the occasion of the release of the much anticipated and long
delayed Pt 2 of The United States of America in 1996 I spoke again
with Mr Freberg at his LA advertizing agency Freberg, Limited but
not very. Though to public he had been largely invisible for the
last couple of years, his voice could be heard in those
Encyclopedia Britannica commercials that starred his son.
>STAN: Actually I had been doing some radio commercials around
the country for a company called Micaglina's that is owned by my
old friend Jeno Paluchi who owned the Chung King company, then
Jino's Pizzas. Now he's got this new product that I am writing
this new radio campaign as we speak in between working on my
autobiography volume two and volume three of the United States of
America. The New York Times once referred to me as 'the hydra
headed Stan Freberg"; Freberg the octopus with different things in
each tentacle. I don't know.
>Geo: I would hope that's what they meant...
]Freberg: Yeah, one would hope that. ..Any way "multifaceted". I
once went into analysis myself to find out why I wanted to do all
these different things. The answer, apparently, several thousands
of dollars later, was "you just want to do all these different
things." But anyhow a year or so into it the doctor said to me
"can you think of anything in particular you want to talk about?"
and I said 'not really, no.' Then he said, "would you get off my
couch? I have six people waiting." So that's why I decided to put
Abraham Lincoln into analysis in the second volume.
>Geo: Judging from that track I take it that you don't really feel
that Lincoln was cut out to be president.
>STAN: It seems to me that the man was a comedian. And
every joke that Lincoln tells, by the way, in the two or three
sketches that are on here were actually Lincoln's jokes. I didn't
make anything up. Lincoln actually said all those jokes that he
says in that piece, like "how long should a man's leg me? Long
enough to reach the ground." Once a fat lady at the theater sat on
his hat. He said "I could have told you that hat wouldn't have fit
before you tried it on." He also once said "marriage is like a warm
bath: once you get into it it ain't so hot." So why would a man who
was an attorney tell jokes like this unless he wanted to be a stand
>Geo: I was amazed that you have somebody tap dancing on this
]Freberg: Oh, yes. I can't tap myself so I used one of the famous
Nicholas Brothers, Fayard Nicholas. He's 83 year old. When he
came to the studio he walked down the hall using a cane. I
thought, "'oh, I don't know about this..." When it came time to
record he threw the cane down and tapped up a storm. Lincoln's
wife, by the way was played by the great Tyne Daly from Cagney and
>Geo: How long did it took him to record Vol 2?
]Freberg: Well, it took a few years to write it off and on, off and
>Geo: Thirty Five years.
]Freberg: Well, yeah...Now, we started recording in December of
1995 and recorded through til March of '96. In April we started
were editing for about a month, then I gave it to the mastering guy
and that was it.
>Geo: When I was listening to Volume Two of "The United States of
America" for the first time I was surprised to hear Paul Frees back
narrating, since he's been dead for over ten years now. Then I
looked at the liner notes and its not, it's someone who has
impersonated him perfectly.
]Freberg: Yes. His name is Corey Burton and he is marvelous. I was
worried about how I was going to narrated the CD now that Paul is
dead. My wife suggested that I narrate it myself, but I said "No,
No There's too much Freberg already. I got to find a guy." So
finally a friend of mine Guy Debanier who writes and directs
"Garfield" said "Stan, close your eyes. Paul Frees is dead, right?"
I said "Yes, as far as I know." So Guy cues Corey who says "Stan
Freberg modestly presents..." It sent chills down my spine he
sounded so much like Paul Frees. And Corey such a slight guy...
>Geo: You have a lot of the people from Volume One of the United
States of America joining you on volume two 35 years later. June
Foray, Peter Leeds, and the late Jessie White in one of his last
performances as the man unimpressed by what would one day become
our National Anthem. Ya know poking fun like at our National
Anethum can raise hackles in some quarters.
]Freberg: I don't feel so bad about kidding that song because it
was actually an old english drinking song. So Francis Scott Key
just borrowed that melody -- which is too rangy anyhow [you know I
had a joke in there that I'm sorry I took out now: Jesse White says
to me, "It's kind of hard to sing, isn't it?" And I said "Oh, four
octaves, not bad." It isn't quite four octaves but it might as
>Geo: About the only person who could sing that would be Yma
]Freberg: Yma Sumac! Geeze! Where is Yma Sumac today when we need
>Geo: Certainly she would be a better choice than Roseanne Barr.
Speaking of former Tv stars, whatever became of Orville, your moon
man puppet that you use to appear on Tv variety show with back in
]Freberg: You remember Orville, huh?
>Geo: Oh, yeah. I'd love to see him again.
]Freberg: I was just thinking this morning that Orville was due for
a guest appearance. When Independence Day came out would have been
the perfect time for Orville to have been interviewed. He would
tell them "I told those boys they should have stayed at home."
Orville is how I met my wife, Donna Freberg who is the producer of
this album. She's my editor and my producer an has produced all my
stuff since even before we were married almost fourteen years ago.
Frank Sinatra did a television show -- two of them, one was called
the Frank Sinatra Show the other was called Club Oasis. I guested
on the Frank Sinatra show and she was the assistant to the
producer. She's always been in the production of television. She
was also the assistant producer on the George Gobbles Show and Red
Skelton, and Martin & Lewis. She had a great background working
with comedians. And so she thought I was the most egotistical man
she had ever seen in her life when I guested on that show.
>Geo: With that company of characters that's a pretty insulting
]Freberg: No, she was right, I was kind of egotistical. I kinda
know what I want. I didn't want a lot of food in the dressing
room, I just wanted the monitor to be turned toward me so I what
shot the camera was on, close up or long, and in televison you have
to go through two or three unions just to get someone to swing the
monitor out on its wheels 40 degrees to the left so I could see
what I was doing with the puppet.
>Geo: Did you design Orville?
]Freberg: I helped to design him. He was built by a woman named
Alice Magnesson in California.
>Geo: And when can we expect volume three?
]Freberg: Well, I'm working on it now. I just finished a song
called It Wasn't Such a Great Depression. Everybody refers to it
as the Great Depression what was so great about it, ya know? I'm
working on a song about World War Two. I've got MacArthur leaving
the Philippines, but the reason he couldn't leave sooner was he
couldn't find his sunglasses.
Copyright 1999 George Stewart