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Monday, December 24, 2012

My favorite seasonal satire...

Deck the Halls with Advertising: Stan Freberg Skewers Christmas Commercialism, by Randy Rendfeld, Guest Blogger

This 1958 Stan Freberg audio file satirizes the over-commercialism of Christmas.
It begins with Mr. Scrooge calling a meeting of important “advertising people” to find new ways to tie products to Christmas.
One advertiser talks of depicting a more rugged Santa smoking a preferred brand of cigarette. In the ad, Santa has “both sleeves rolled up and a tattoo on each arm.” One tattoo says “Merry Christmas,” the other “less tars.”
The sketch turns a bit preachy when Bob Cratchett, who owns a little spice company in East Orange, N.J., talks about the true meaning of Christmas. But “A Charlie Brown Christmas” and Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” also turn a bit preachy, and most of us appreciate those works regardless.
Freberg was known for refusing to allow alcohol and tobacco companies to sponsor his work. Limited sponsorship became a problem when in 1957 “The Stan Freberg Show” replaced Jack Benny’s show on CBS Radio.
This sketch is an audio delight for the Christmas season. The better your sound system, the more you’re likely to enjoy it.
In this YouTube age when so many of us prefer a visual presentation with our sound files, cartoonist Paul Glickman has updated Stan Freberg’s satire of Harry Belafonte’s “Day-O (The Banana Boat Song).”
Stan Freberg tackles the Christmas them

Stan Freberg has twice assisted the State of Oregon in celebrating statehood anniversaries. The following is fromFreberg’s Wikipedia entry:
“In 1958, the Oregon Centennial Commission, under the sponsorship of Blitz-Weinhard Brewing Company, hired Freberg to create a musical to celebrate Oregon’s one-hundredth birthday. The result was Oregon! Oregon! A Centennial Fable in Three Acts. Recorded at Capitol in Hollywood, it was released during the Oregon Centennial in 1959 as a 12″ vinyl LP album. Side one featured two versions of an introduction by Freberg (billed as “Stan Freberg, Matinee Idol”), with the second version including a few words from the president of Blitz Weinhard Co. This was followed by the show itself, which runs for 21 minutes. Side two includes separate individual versions of each of the featured songs, including several variations on the title piece, Oregon! Oregon!
Fifty years later, as Oregon approaches its Sesquicentennial, an updated version is being prepared by Freberg and the Portland band Pink Martini as part of a signature series of performances throughout the state. Pink Martini will tour the state and perform four regional performances in the northern, southern, and central areas of Oregon in August and September 2009. This is being made possible by a grant from the Kinsman Foundation for a $40,000 launch of Pink Martini’s Oregon! Oregon! 2009 with Stan Freberg.”

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