Stan Freberg Show, Vol. 2: Final 8 Episodes

Stan Freberg

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Stan Freberg Show, Vol. 2: Final 8 Episodes Review

by Lindsay Planer

The final eight CBS Radio broadcasts of The Stan Freberg Show are contained on this four-disc companion anthology to the First 7 Episodes four-disc set. Like its predecessor, the recordings found here are complete broadcasts -- which are previously unissued in their entirety. The 15th and final broadcast includes listener-requested sketches. Some re-creations of these classic routines are arguably funnier and more potent the second time around. Freberg's aggregate of stock players includes voice-over heavyweights June Foray, Peter Leeds, and long-time Freberg collaborator Daws Butler. This classic quartet -- along with the CBS Radio Orchestra under the direction of another of Freberg's established partners, Billy May -- is able to properly animate and otherwise inhabit the alternate universe existing in Freberg's mind. In fact, at times it becomes almost impossible to tell just exactly when the actors slip in and out of their various personalities. Nowhere is that more evident than the "Audience Gripes About Freeways" and "Freberg in Advertisingland" sketches. Both pieces require each actor -- sans Freberg (who plays himself) -- to take on multiple roles simultaneously. The precision timing built into the scripts allows for alternating voices to be delivered effortlessly and believably. Freberg's overtly visual undercurrents of gnawing social satire make it clear why the medium of television would ultimately make the most clever use of his talents and humor. Quite a few of the successful sides cut by variations of this cast for Capitol Records during the mid- to late '50s are also included here. Regardless of how many times one has heard "Banana Boat Song" or the surreal "St. George and the Dragonet," their richness in sheer Yankee ingenuity keeps them ever biting -- the true test for timeless satire.

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