Stan Freberg has died at the age of 88. I’m about to pass you along to an excellent summary of his life and work, written by his friend and colleague Mark Evanier, but I want to confess the terrible thing I did to Mr. Freberg – or “Freberg,” as he styled himself in conversation.
I believe the occasion was the 1999 release of “Tip of the Freberg,” a retrospective of his work spread across four CDs and a VHS tape. I figured I could get an interview with the man and parlay that into a piece for one of the periodicals I wrote for – but either I was beat to the punch by a wire-service piece or there was no interest. No interest? In Stan Freberg? Such is the level of ignorance I’m doomed to deal with.
Anyway, I arranged the interview, which had to take place one weekday afternoon when I was in a play rehearsal. I had the interview hour free, but I was stuck at the theater and had to use my cell phone, which got decent reception at a particular corner of the building. I ended up huddled outside, unable to record the call (o, those pre-app days!) or take notes (not that it mattered at that point), but I had a delightful conversation with the legendary satirist, who was not at all bashful about assessing his achievements (“What they needed was Freberg in there ... ”) and certainly had earned the right to do so, especially as the stories he told were as well-crafted as the records he’d made.
And now, for an excellent Freberg tribute, here’s Mr. Evanier.