Deck the Halls with Advertising: Stan Freberg Skewers Christmas Commercialism,
by Randy Rendfeld
A Stan Freberg Christmas
(must listen audio comedy...even today!)
This 1958 Stan Freberg audio file satirizes the overcommercialism 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.
Listen to how one father tells and experiences 'the night before Christmas'.
Vintage TV fans will enjoy this send-up of one of the most popular dramas of the Golden Age of Television.
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).” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8PBO7YE7vjE
– Randy Rendfeld is a newspaper editor in Indiana.