THE RED SKELTON SHOW - 58 great shows

THE RED SKELTON SHOW

A MIXTURE OF HALF HOUR AND HOUR LONG SHOWS

The Red Skelton Show, which premiered on 30 September 1951, was not only one of the longest running variety series on television, but also one of the first variety shows to make the successful transition from radio to television. Despite his popularity as an entertainer in nightclubs, vaudeville, radio and 26 feature films, Skelton was unsure of the new medium. Consequently, he continued his weekly radio broadcasts while simultaneously working on the first two season of his television show.

The series originally aired in a half-hour format on NBC. Despite an outstanding first year in which his show was ranked fourth in the Nielsens and won two Emmy awards, the series' ratings toppled in its second season. When NBC canceled the show, it was immediately picked up by CBS, and The Red Skelton Show became a Tuesday night staple from 1954 to 1970.

The format of the series was similar to Skelton's radio program. Each show began with Skelton performing a monologue based on topical material, followed by a musical interlude. He would then perform in a series of blackout sketches featuring one or more of his characters. The sketches were a mixture of new material and old routines (including his popular "Guzzler's Gin") perfected over the years in vaudeville and in nightclubs. At the end of the program, Skelton would become serious and express his gratitude to his audience for their love and laughter. His signature closing line became "Good night and may God bless."

The Red Skelton Show, unlike other variety series, did not rely on guest stars every week. Skelton had a strong group of support players, most of whom had worked with him on his radio program. They included Benny Rubin, Hans Conried, Mel Blanc, and Verna Felton.

Most of Skelton's characters were first developed for radio and worked equally well on television. Among the best known were Junior the Mean Widdle Kid (who was famous for his expression, "I Dood It"), country boy Clem Kadiddlehopper, Sheriff Deadeye, boxer Cauliflower McPugg, drunkard Willy Lump-Lump, and con man San Fernando Red. Skelton had a reputation for his extensive use of "headware." Each character had his own specific hat, which Skelton used as a means to find the center of each personality.

The only television addition to his repertoire of characters was Freddie the Freeloader, a hobo who never spoke. A special "silent spot" featuring the hobo character was added to the program, and provided Skelton the opportunity to demonstrate his talents as a pantomimist. Skelton's forte was his use of slapstick. He seemed oblivious to physical punishment and often ended his vaudeville act by falling off the stage into the orchestra pit. One of his most popular pieces was created for his premiere show. At the end of his monologue, while Skelton was taking a bow, two hands reached out from under the curtain, grabbed him by the ankles, and swept him off the stage.

This rare set consists of 50 half hour and hour long episodes of rare moments from the early 50?s thru the early 60?s. Many of these shows were broadcast live but the quality is excellent considering the age of these shows and as an added bonus many episodes even include the original commercials which only add to the fun. Just look at this partial line up of great guest stars.

ED SULLIVAN - GEORGE RAFT - VIRGINIA GRAY - CAROL CHANNING - ALLEN JENKINS - JACKIE COOGAN - FRANKLIN PANGBORN - MARY BETH HUGHES -ED WYNN - GERRY MOORE - CHRISTMAS SHOW - DON KNOTTS - RHONDA FLEMING - GEORGE GOBEL - CHARLES BRONSON - THE SPORTSMEN QUARTET - JAYNE RUSSELL - VIVIAN VANCE - CAESAR ROMERO - AL CAPP & THE LIL ABNER CAST - JAYNE MEADOWS - AMANDA BLAKE - MARILYN MAXWELL - ANN SOUTHERN - EDDIE ADAMS - ARCHIE MOORE - MARTHA RAYE - ALLEN FUNT - ABBY LANE - ED WYNN - HARPO MARX - VIRGINIA GRAY - CHARLIE RUGGELS - MARIE WINDSOR - FERNANDO LAMAS - EDWARD EVERT HORTON - VINCENT PRICE - JACKIE COOGAN - REED HADLEY - AMANDA BLAKE - JOHN CARRADINE - FRANKLIN PANGBORN - BUSTER CRABBE, MICKEY ROONEY - JOHN CARRADINE and MORE

THE RED SKELTON SHOW - 58 great shows
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