The World is Waiting for the Sunrise (1918) by Lockhart and Seitz has been covered on disc, according to the Wikipedia, more than one hundred times – by Mary Ford and Les Paul, The Chris Barber Band (in New Orleans style), and Bing Crosby (in his characterless “crooning” style), among many others. The lyrics express the post-War-to-End-Wars hope that the Allies had established a permanent peace and that the League of Nations would usher in a golden age of prosperity and security. My favorite version of Waiting for the Sunrise is the one made by radio comedian Stan Freberg from the early 1950s. I post it (above) because Freberg’s satiric take, in the aftermath that other war, and in the early phase of the Cold War, addresses itself to a manic world coming apart at the seams. It therefore, like many things from the past, whether remote or recent, speaks to the insanity of the present moment. Enjoy.
In the 1960s, Freberg went into advertising. He invented the self-satirizing, funny television commercial that made allusions to the cultural archive. I give two examples below – the brilliant Sunsweet Pitted Prunes commercial starring author Ray Bradbury, and the Jeno’s Pizza Roll commercial starring two well-known characters from the earliest days of television.
The Pizza Roll commercial riffs on an earlier cigarette commercial for the Lark brand, in which a pickup truck with a sign reading “Show Us Your Lark Pack” drove the streets of a Big City. A motion picture camera operating from the truck filmed people, men and women, showing their Lark packs. The visuals were accompanied by the lyric “Have a Lark, have a Lark, have a Lark today,” sung to Rossini’s William Tell melody. To “get” the jokes properly, especially the one at the very end, the viewer had to know: Rossini’s melody, its usage in The Lone Ranger, and its usage in the “Show Us Your Lark Pack” commercial. Freberg assumed the quick-wittedness of his audience.