Stretching the Catholic Imagination – With Bishop Sheridan and Stan Freberg!

Colorado Springs Bishop Sheridan’s address to the 2008 Catholic Radio Conference is here

I am surely dating myself by starting this way, but perhaps a few others here can remember one of the most famous radio commercials in the history of the medium, Stan Freberg’s “Stretching the Imagination,” from 1965. In the commercial, Freberg addresses a skeptical marketer by stating, “You can do things on radio that you couldn’t possibly do on TV.”

Then he “illustrates” his point. “OK people, now when I give you the cue, I want the 700-foot mountain of whipped cream to roll into Lake Michigan, which has been drained and filled with hot chocolate. Then the Royal Canadian Air Force will fly overhead towing a 10-ton maraschino cherry, which will be dropped into the whipped cream to the cheering of 25,000 extras.” And with cues and sound effects, that is exactly what happens. “You wanna try that on television?” Freberg asks the marketer. And he concludes, “You see, radio is a very special medium because it stretches the imagination.”

This is where I would like to begin. Radio stretches the imagination, and presumably Catholic Radio stretches (if I may borrow Fr. Andrew Greeley’s expression) the Catholic imagination.


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