Stan Freberg Dies at 88 – The multifacted humorist died Tuesday in Santa Monica. He invented the idea of using satire in commercials, made hit comedy records, voiced hundreds of cartoon characters and once had one of network radio’s most prestigious time slots. He called himself a “guerrilla satirist, and took on such issues as the commercialization of Christmas and the hypocrisy of liberals. He changed the lyrics of “Old Man River” to “Elderly Man River.” He won the top ad industry award, the Clio, 21 times, and had a diverse clientele – including General Motors, the U.S. Army and the Presbyterian Church. He used humor to declare war on postwar advertising, and his ads for Pacific Airlines took on the fear of flying by telling people that even their pilots were afraid. He had a clause in all his advertising contracts: “The decision as to what’s funny and what is not funny shall rest solely with Mr. Freberg.”
All Six Star Wars Films Now Available on Digital HD Internationally – Starting today the most iconic movie collection of all time becomes available everywhere. Lucasfilm, Walt Disney Studios and 20th Century Fox has taken this step as anticipation builds for the release in December of the latest in the series: Star Wars: The Force Awakens. The first film in the series debuted nearly 40 years ago, and it has become a worldwide phenomenon with fans of every generation. The films broke new ground in technology, design, sound and visual effects and new bonus material and conversations are included in the release. Episodes I thru VI are available for purchase as a complete digital movie collection or individually.
Harman and Quirky Developing “Headphones of Tomorrow” – Harman International has teamed up with the crowd-sourced product development company Quirky to develop audio products for their online community. Quirky has received nearly 20,000 product ideas already from their community of everyday inventors, and a panel of experts will vote on which ideas should become reality. The selected headphone ideas could be developed under one of Harman’s brands. One products Quirky has already brought to market is the Wink home-automation hub.
URC Adds New Home Controller – The MRX-8 system controller in their Total Control line ($599) lets consumers move from a one-way system into a two-way home control system. URC has also begun offering its free Sonos drive for its Total Control system, which lets installers add URC control over all streaming music sources available thru Sonos’ streaming music players, and wireless music zones may be added incorporating Sonos speakers. Most of the features of Sonos’ own app are delivered. The MRX-8 features six IR outputs, a port for Wi-Fi, a 2.4GHz range extender, a port for a Z-Wave module, and one dry relay. It is intended for mid-size installs.