On the evening of November 2, friends and fans of the great Stan Freberg descended upon Hollywood’s Egyptian Theater to honor him for his seventy years in show business. Stan’s career began at the age of 18 as a voice actor for Looney Tunes cartoons, work he got through a talent agency that had been located mere blocks from where the evening’s tributes took place. From voice work, his career blossomed into other areas such as radio, television, movies, comedy albums, and advertising.
The tribute was hosted by Harry Shearer who himself is known not only as being one of the members of Spinal Tap, but also for his possibly hundreds of voices for The Simpsons such as Mr. Burns, Smithers, Principal Skinner, and the list goes on and on. Other participants on stage that evening were “Weird” Al Yankovic, Micky Dolenz, Leonard Maltin, animation historian Jerry Beck, animator and director Eric Goldberg, animation director Bob Kurtz, and Stan’s lovely wife Hunter Freberg.
Throughout the evening, clips were played from all his various careers. We heard some of his wonderful comedy routines from his records, watched his television appearances on The Ed Sullivan Show, his work with Cecil the Seasick Sea Serpent and Dishonest John from the original live puppet version of Time for Beany, The Girl from U.N.C.L.E., The Monkees, The Frank Sinatra Show (where through his puppet Orville the alien, Stan sang a duet with Frank), The Dick Cavett Show, The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson, and many of his cartoons (including his work as the beaver in Lady & the Tramp) and hilarious as well as thought provoking commercials.
There were even video tributes sent in by some of Stan’s fans who could not make it that evening. They began with a few words from Mad Men creator Matthew Weiner, followed by the ever energetic Dr. Demento, the magical Penn Jillette, and from the set of their movie currently shooting in Berlin – Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks who both had grown up with Stan’s records.
At the end of the evening, Stan and his wife Hunter took to the stage for a few parting tales which ended in a thunderous standing ovation, one of three or four for him throughout the proceedings.
Perhaps you might like to see a little of what went on there instead of just reading about it. Here are a few photos to make you feel as though you were there:
It was a delightful evening for all, and especially for Stan & Hunter. Thanks so much to Howard Green and Mark Evanier for producing the show, and thanks to Arthur Greenwald and Joe Campana for their invaluable participation as well.
And now, here giving the final word of the evening…