Friday, November 21, 2014

Red Skelton Show Season 02 1952-53 NBC

Emmy winning Red Skelton started his second season on doctors orders. In 1952 Red was doing a radio program, television program and movies. This was a bit to much and his doctor told him to take it easy. NBC wanted the show to be live. Red wanted to have his television show filmed, not live. This way he could do retakes, different camera angles and take his time to change costumes. Some his bits on his first season was filmed. Most of them were the Tide bits. At the beginning to the 1952-53 season, Red was filming the movie "The Clown". The film was based on the movie "The Champ". This time it is a about a former Ziegfeld comic now having a hard time. He had a drinking problem and trying to raise a son buy himself. In the end he gets a big break on TV but collapses on stage. The TV scenes include skits Red used on his TV show. In a way this was close to what happened to Red in real life. "The Clown" film was released in January 1953. Red was recovering from a hernia operation.

Before Red's surgery, the show was doing fine. Red had his friend John Wayne do a walk on the show promoting Wayne's film "Big Jim McLain". Red had most of the same cast from last season. Added to the cast was Ned Glass and Mike Ross. Some of the cast appeared "The Clown". Charles Bronson was just starting in acting. He appeared in the film and TV show under the name of "Buchinsky". Just before the hernia, Red introduced Freddie the Freeloader. Freddie was wearing a pinstriped suit at first. Freddie was in the Christmas episode but that was not released on the Timeless DVD Early Years set. I don't know if he was wearing the top hat and tails. The Christmas show was the last show before the operation.

The show was still on the air while Red was recovering. Announcer Bob Warren and cast member Lucille Knoch introduced skits of Red that were filmed in season 1 and 2. The show did have new part by way of music. Singers like Helen O'Connell, Lucille Norman and others including Nat King Cole sang songs. David Rose played his music. This went on for about three months. The ratings went down.

Red came back to the show in late March. Tide decided not the sponsor the show for another season and NBC was not going to pick it up. In April, there was talk that CBS was going to take the show. The Early Years DVD set has the dress rehearsal of Red's last NBC show. He tells the invited guest audience that he will be on CBS. The show that went on the air, he said he did not know where he was going. Season 3 was on CBS.  

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Red Skelton Show Season 01 1951-52 NBC

It took ten years to see the characters that Red Skelton had on his radio show. September 30, 1951 Sunday night, Red Skelton teased the public on how the Deadeye, San Fernando Red, Cauliflower McPugg would look like. He did this by just changing his hat. He explained that Junior would be seen as Red telling jokes as his son Richard. Willie Lump Lump was featured in the opening and he did Clem as the Irish Tenor at the end. Guest singers were the Skylarks.

Sad to say that the first episode (01.01) was not released on the Early Years DVD set. Don't know the details but I was told that some episode were not released because of condition or they were not in the collection. It looks like some of the episode was filmed on kinoscope. The sponsor clip can be seen on DVD because it was used in a later episode. It was called "Quick Change". Red was showing what he had to do to change from one character to another.

The Early Years DVD set did not release the first three episodes. This is a shame. The second episode (01.02) featured Red's classic "Bathing a Baby" skit. 01.03 had "Dunking Doughnuts". The Doughnuts filmed skit was seen in a later episode. The DVD set does have most of season 01 on Disc 1-5. The shows begins with the Tide theme "T-I-D-E Tide", Red's monologue sometimes are about current events, his children (Junior jokes), ways different people behave or one of his characters. His shows did not stay on one subject or one character. Some skits became a Tide commercial. Some had a musical guest that sang a song as part of the beginning of a skit or in a segment by themselves. He didn't not have major guest stars in the skits. Bob Hope and Milton Berle appeared briefly at the end of some episodes.

New characters were introduced in this season. A character that was crying all the time was called Weepy J. Newton Numbskull. Red did have a character called Numbskull on the radio. He was a bit of a everyman. This character may have been transformed later into George Appleby. Another new character was Lord Beaverhead. He was a British newscaster. Most of the jokes were about the British and other countries. Near the end of the season, Red was telling Seagull jokes. The names of the seagulls were not the ones we know today.

There were some special episodes. Christmas was always special to Red. In mid December he did an episode where Clem was selling Christmas trees. This skit was based on an radio episode. The TV episode before Christmas, Red invited the viewers to his "home". Cast member Shirley Mitchell gets the house ready for Red's wife and two children and greets the guest; David Rose and his wife, Gene Fowler and his wife, Bo Roos (Red's manager) and Red's characters come and visit. The show ends with a boys choir and Red's views on Christmas.

Another episode featured the skit "Topsy Turvy". Willie Lump Lump's wife tries to cure him from drinking. He wakes up in a room where the table is on the wall and a wall painting is on the floor. This skit was done in the Red Skelton film "The Clown" and again on the TV series. He performed his classic "Guzzler's Gin" skit on a episode filmed in San Francisco.

The Red Skelton Show was #4 in the ratings. It was awarded two Emmys for best show and best comedian. It had a regular cast members; Lucille Knoch, Shirley Michell, Benny Rubin, Gil Perkins, Dick Ryan and "Sam". Sam main job was to pull Red under the curtain at the end of the show. The show was a big hit but things change in season 2.


Friday, November 14, 2014

DVD - The Red Skelton Show the Early Years 1951-1955

Timeless Media Group has released The Red Skelton Show the Early Years 1951-1955. This is a near complete release of episodes from Season 01 to Season 05.  It is a 11 disc set. Just about all of the episodes are in air date order. Bonus features are a biography video of Red Skelton and a dress rehearsal video of his last show on NBC in 1953. I will try to post highlights and info.

61437 Disc 1: Smokeless Sunday 10/21/51 - Learn to Dance in Ten Easy Lessons of One Hard One 12/30/51. Disc 2: The Bouncer 01/06/52 - How to Eat Corn on the Cob 03/23/52
61447 Disc 3: Willie the Barber 03/30/52 - Let's Talk About Father 06/15/52. Disc 4: Willie Comes Home - Fancy Footwork 12/07/52
61457 Disc 5: The Sultan 12/14/52 - McPugg's Last Fight 09/22/53. Disc 6: The Nervous Tenor's Audition 10/13/53 - It Happened At the Station House 12/15/53
61467 Disc 7: Skeltons At Christmas 12/22/53 - Captain Hook 02/16/54. Disc 8: Cave-Man Marriage 02/23/54 - Clem Goes to Mexico 05/25/54
61477 Disc 9: Mississippi Showboat 06/01/54 - An USO Thanksgiving 11/23/54. Disc 10: Chicago Red in Las Vegas 11/30/54 - Red Goes to Barber College 02/08/55
61487 Disc 11: America's Clown: An Intimate Biography of Red Skelton; Dress Rehearsal "Deadeye From Mars"; Deadeye From Mars 06/21/53; Look Magazine Movie Awards 03/08/55
I have been bad at posting. I have been posting brief news on Facebook. . I will try to work on my detailed blogs here.