March 7, 2024 posted by Steve Stanchfield

The Animation in “Stan Freberg Presents the United States of America”

As soon as I finish writing this post, I’ll be heading out to New York for a few days from my home base here in Michigan. I’ll be seeing friends as well as going upstate to Beacon, where I’ll be scanning another batch of old cartoons, commercials and a few features. I’ll also be going to several of the Fleischer cartoons shows at the Museum of Modern Art. I was honored to be part of the restoration team along with some other Thunderbean folks in restoring films for the project. Thad wrote a nice article about it last week: Click Here. If you can make it, it’s sure to be a great show.

First—briefly, in Thunderbean News!

It’s Spring Break week here at the school so lots of catchup has been happening. I’ve been mostly working on special sets on the Thunderbean side of things, but really looking forward to getting Mid Century Modern out the door. On the Rainbow Parades cartoons, I was happy to hear the last of the materials are now scanned and on their way. I’m especially excited to see how the newest scans are looking… and can’t wait to share stills as this project starts to wrap.

On to today’s animated segment: a short animated skit from Chun King Chow Mein Hour based on “Stan Freberg Presents the United States of America – the Early Years”

I’m sure, like me, as a cartoon fan you really enjoy when some of the oddest things show up. It isn’t as if many of them are of great consequence or are important missing links in the overall understanding of the history of the historical record, but I really do think more of these sorts of things showing up do help with a better understanding of different periods in the industry. I always love seeing something I didn’t know existed.

The Mid Century Modern 3 set is basically finished now, and as I was writing I though it might be nice to share a short film that I thought was a demo — but it turns out it was a segment from a show. It’s a piece of a Stan Freberg special called Chung King Chow Mein Hour from 1962. This animated segment was produced by Pantomime Pictures (directed by Bill Hurtz). Cartoonologist Mike Kazaleh knew right away what it was from. He has an amazing eye for animators, and noted this is Fred Crippen’s animation. I’m not sure whether we can still use it for the Mid Century Modern 3 set at the moment, but here it is for now, from the original scan. It’s an interesting little piece and very much of its time, based on Stan Freberg’s The United States of America- the Early Years. The name of the track is ‘The Sale of Manhattan’

Jeff Joseph recently posted a pretty good quality version of the whole special here. As Mike Kazaleh pointed out, there are a lot of animation related actors in this show as well. Here is the segment:

Special thanks to Mike Kazaleh for helping to figure this one out!

Have a good week all!


  • You have outdone yourself, sir! This was wonderful! In fact, I just had to go to YouTube to watch the entire special. Even Billy Bletcher was on hand! How impressive! Thanks again for all you do, and have a great time here in New York! I am sure the shows will be wonderful, and you may even pick up a film or two for those “special“ sets? Who knows! I cannot wait to find out!

  • Ah, how well I remember Chun King Chow Mein. It was the first Chinese food I ever tasted, and it came out of a can — out of two cans, actually, fused together and sold as a single unit. The smaller can contained some brown slop with bits of meat floating in it, which you had to heat up in a saucepan; then, when it came to a boil, you added the vegetables (mostly bean sprouts) from the second can and served the whole mess over rice. For variety, you could open up a third can of crispy noodles and sprinkle them on top. I was in my teens before I tasted Chinese food from a restaurant and marveled at the difference.

    At least Chun King spent its profits on worthwhile ventures like Stan Freberg television specials. I remember the Sale of Manhattan skit from his comedy album, but I’d never seen the animated version before. The newspaper with the real estate listings is from Southern California, not New York: practically every house comes with a pool, and prices are pretty high for 1962, but then it must have been a seller’s market.

  • Wokeness wouldn’t approve of such a lighthearted depiction of the white man’s plunder of Native land, nor the stereotypical characterizations. (Let’s not even get into the Chung King commercials.) But that needn’t concern us. What great design.

    • Oh please, the only one here who cares about ‘wokeness’ here is you. There is no need to bring politics into everything. It’s tiresome. I’m just here to watch cartoons. Nobody is here to ‘cancel you’ I swear. Don’t let political ideologies get in the way of enjoying what you like. Just do what you like and let others do their own thing. Once I stopped caring about identity wars I became a lot happier.

  • “I’m not sure whether we can still use it for the Mid Century Modern 3 set at the moment,”
    If copyright is your big concern, while I was able to find a copyright listing for the audio of Stan Freberg presents the United States of America (RE0000432588), I wasn’t able to find a listing for “Chun King Chow Mein Hour”, “Stan Freberg Presents”, “Sale of Manhattan” or “United States of America” under Motion Pictures & Filmstrips in either 1961 or 1962. I also wasn’t able to find a title card (or in turn copyright notice) on any of the uploads of the special (although this may be because it’s been cut from all uploads)
    Mr. Yowp, if you’re reading this, would you have any insight?

  • Fred crippen owned Pantomine Pictures self animated a lot of his tv spots shorts and segments produced at his studio. Only using assistance when he needed help because of overload or on the the occasional tv show.

  • Wasn’t the moment at 2:11 Cartoon Brew’s old avatar thumbnail? Always wondered about it’s source.

  • THANK YOU for posting my fathers Freberg short (sale of manhattan,)

    • Thanks for your comment! Your father was wonderful!

  • Though not of Mid-Century Modern vintage, and probably copyrighted, I wonder if you remember that another segment of the Freberg album was animated, as “Stan Freberg’s America – The Spirit of ’76”, using the “Yankee Doodle Go Home” cut as soundtrack. Though its color visuals are more influenced by Fox Animation Domination, it’s still quite entertaining, and is on Youtube. I highlighted it once before in my 4th of July-inspired column, “A Revolutionary Article.”

    Then there’s also the earlier “The Calypso Singer”, using the track of Stan’s single, “The Banana Boat Song”. Also on Youtube.

  • This was great!

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