FROM MAN TO WOMAN: BRUCE JENNER & DIANE SAWYER
THE GLORIOUS CORNER
Story By: G. H. HARDING
FREBERG PASSES --- Stan Freberg –whose idiosyncratic comic career in advertising garnered him worldwide acclaim, and whose satirical entertainments abounded on TV, radio and records—has died. He was 88.
Freberg died of natural causes at a Santa Monica hospital, with his son and daughter, Donavan and Donna, and wife Hunter at his side.
“He was and will always be my hero, and I will carry his brilliant legacy forward as best I am able,” his son wrote on Facebook.
The godfather of humorous and irreverent commercials, Freberg lampooned cultural institutions and described himself as a “guerilla satirist.” The New York Times dubbed him the “Che Guevara of advertising,” and, years later, “Weird Al” Yankovic called him a major influence on his career.
“Very sad to say that one of my absolute all-time heroes has just passed away,” Yankovic wrote on Twitter. “RIP Stan Freberg. A legend, an inspiration, and a friend.”
Freberg also was known for his musical parodies. “Wun’erful Wun’erful,” his 1957 spoof of “champagne music,” lampooned The Lawrence Welk Show.
Freberg also starred in a memorable 1966 TV episode of The Monkees on NBC, the third in Season One called "Monkees Vs. Machine” (directed by the series’ co-creator Bob Fafelson, in what was the first of only five episodes that he directed before helming the anarchic Monkees 1968 motion picture Head).
In the episode, Freberg played Daggart, a toy executive who wants to automate the old-fashioned company. His efforts were, in the end, thwarted by the Monkees. In fact, on the Rhino DVD audio commentary for this episode, Peter Tork recalls with amusement how Freberg’s repeated deadpan line “Don’t do that” became a bit of a catchphrase for Peter, Davy, Micky, and Mike back when they were working on the show.
“So sorry to hear of Stan’s passing,” Micky Dolenz said in a statement. “He had such an enormous influence on me and I was so honored to have worked with him and known him as a friend. He will be sorely missed.”
Both Dolenz and Yankovic appeared at a gala event for the comic last year called The Genius of Stan Freberg.
BRUCE JUICE --- Bruce Jenner appears ready to talk.
The celebrity will break his media silence to Diane Sawyer on ABC.
Bruce Jenner – The Interview will air as a two-hour special on Friday, April 24 as a special edition of ABC’s “20/20.”
ABC News did not release any information about the interview, other than to describe it as “far-ranging” and “exclusive.”
Jenner, who is widely assumed to be transitioning from a man to a woman, was also involved in a car accident this past February that resulted in the death of another driver.
Despite the relative media friendliness of the Kardashian empire, reports about Jenner’s situation have been largely based around unnamed sources and salacious rumors . . . with Jenner himself remaining oddly quiet on the subject.
He was reportedly cooperating with a reality series for the E! TV network that was said to be documenting his transition. After the car accident in February, however, filming on the TV show was swiftly suspended.
TMZ said: “We're told Jenner views the show as ‘a farewell to Bruce.’ He will ‘present himself’ as a woman publicly for the first time. But it's not about his look—it's about his mental state and his journey.
Our sources, however, say that Bruce does NOT reveal his new name, or dress like a woman, on camera. Nevertheless, we're told Bruce sees the interview as the most significant event associated with his imminent sex change—more significant than the surgical procedures that will get him there.
Is this the get of the year? I’d say so, without question, as everyone—men, women, and all in between—will surely be watching.
YES TOTO --- It has been rumored since late January, but it took until now to become official. Yes and Toto will be touring North America together this summer.
The tour opens on August 7 at Foxwood Casino in Mashantucket, CT and runs through September 12 in Coquitlam, British Columbia (Canada).
Overall, the two bands have 26 dates already planned.
Toto just released their new album, Toto XIV, which has returned them to the charts for the first time in twenty-seven years. The last studio album from Yes, meanwhile, was 2014's Heaven & Earth while they have also have two live albums coming soon—the 14-disc Progeny: Seven Shows from Seventy-Two due for release on May 19, and the CD/DVD combo set Like It Is arriving on July 7.
So far, this combination is shaping up as one of the premier concert events of the year, certainly matching last year’s Rod Stewart/Santana mash-up tour.
CLOSING NOTES --- Joni Mitchell spent the Easter weekend continuing to recover in a Los Angeles hospital after being found unconscious at her Bel Air home last week.
The latest update of the legendary singer songwriter’s condition is that “Joni remains under observation in the hospital and is resting comfortably. Her progress is encouraging as she continues to improve each day.”
The 71-year old singer is still frail, but her illness has not been disclosed. In December, she told Billboard, “I can't sing any more – don't miss it. I can't play any more – don't miss it. I've got all these instruments laying around, and hopefully one day I’ll pick them up.”
Great Ringo Starr interview last Sunday on Q104.3's Ken Dashow broadcast. Dashow asked him some great questions, and several that haven't been before. Certainly, the one where Starr responded that Beatles’ manager Brian Epstein asked Starr (whose real name, of course, is Richard Starkey) to join The Beatles on the same day when he delivered the request on behalf of “the boys.” In the recent Rolling Stone interview, Sir Paul McCartney recalled that he and fellow Beatles John Lennon and George Harrison didn’t really feel like they were a “group” until that first gig with Ringo bashing the drums rock-steady behind them at the Cavern Club in February 1962. Ringo wouldn’t officially join The Beatles until nearly six months later in August 1962—which means that Ringo was still the beloved beat maker for Liverpool’s equally popular group Rory Storm & The Hurricanes.
That backstory, of course, explains why Ringo’s new album Postcards from Paradise starts off with the track "Rory and the Hurricanes." We would love to hear the rest of the album, but so far our requests for a press copy have gone unanswered. Thankfully, our friend Anthony Pomes (who is a member of one of New York’s top Beatles tribute bands, Mostly Moptop) has told us that the eponymous named track “Postcards from Paradise” is a major highlight of the record. “Co-written with the great Todd Rungren,” shares Pomes, “this song references at least twenty Beatles songs throughout the song’s lyrics. Ringo has created a ‘lyric mash-up,’ if you will . . . and his drumming on the album is just as tight and solid and strong as ever. Kudos, Ringo!” On evidence of these observations, Ringo has certainly earned his forthcoming induction to the Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame. Of course, The Monkees still haven’t been inducted. But we’ll leave that for another day . . .