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.


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