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The Stan Freberg Show
The First Seven Episodes

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Stan Freberg Show; The First 7 Shows
From Radio Spirits
ISBN: 1-57019-052-6
4 audio cassettes - 4 hours of play time
Genre: Humor, Political Satire

Reviewed by Rochelle Caviness - October 31, 2001

The Stan Freberg Show debuted on the CBS Radio Network in June of 1957. The show was to run for fifteen weeks. And here, in this collection compiled by Radio Spirits, in conjunction with the Smithsonian Institution, you will find the first seven episodes of the Stan Freberg show. These episodes are complete and unedited, and they are complimented by an audio forward, offered by the mastermind of the show, Stan Freberg, himself. This audio forward offers the listener a brief overview of the show and its history, and it offers tidbits of information about how it came into being and where the ideas for the various sketches came from. Most important, this forward brings together, with Freberg, two of the original actors from the show, June Foray and Peter Leeds. Together they reminisces with Freberg about the time they spent working on the Stan Freberg Show and they kibbitz about their favorite sketches.

The Stan Freberg show was an eclectic mix of music, humor, and the proverbial satirical sketch. Freberg is not your run of the mill comedian. He is an egg-head styled, whimsical smart aleck who will keep you in stitches while forcing you to take a serious look at the world around you. For instance, in the first episode from this show, Freberg and company performed a sketch entitled Incident at Las Varoces. This sketch, ostensibly, was simply a satirical look at Las Vegas. However, on a deeper level, it highlighted the idiotic rivalries of the cold war foes - graphically illustrating how this rivalries could be the end of us all!

Freberg did not act alone. This was an ensemble show that regularly stared, such notable comedians as Daws Butler, June Foray, and Peter Leeds. To illustrate the breathe of talent comprising the members of the cast, especially for 'doing' funny voices, let it suffice to say that Butler was the voice of Yogi Bear, Huckleberry Hound and other well know figures. While Foray was memorable as the voices of Natasha and Rocky J. Squirrel on the Bullwinkle Show.

In addition to these regulars, the Stan Freberg show also had many guest stars. As well, the show also had a resident singer in the form of Peggy Taylor. It also featured the vocal stylings of such groups as The Jud Conlon Rythmnaires. With sketches such as the Freberg's interview of the Abominable Snowman, in which he played both the interviewer and the interviewee, and Custer's Last Stand in which a tabloid magazine takes pot shots at historical figures, we are offered a smorgasbord of humor, satirical grist for our mental mills, as well as the odd spoof on a popular song.

All told, the first seven episodes of the Stan Freberg show will leave you panting to listen to the last eight episodes, which luckily have already been issued and are available from Radio Spirits - so you don't have to wait for them to come out.

If you are like me, you may have missed this show when it originally aired. For me, my first introduction to Stan Freberg was his hilarious record album, Stan Freberg Presents the United States of America, Volume One, which came out in 1961. I can see, in these tapes, the seeds which were to develop into much bigger acts, such as Freberg's satirical and somewhat irreverent take on U.S. History.

This collection, which was a result of a collaboration between Radio Spirts and the Smithsonian Institution, reproduces, with amazing sound quality, one of radio's premier comedy shows. These shows are masterful, and if you've never listened to them before, you are in for a real treat. This collection comes with a 9-page pamphlet that offers behind the scenes information, and historical details about the show, and each episode reproduced in this collection.

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