The Red Skelton Show (1951)

Genres - Comedy  |   Run Time - 30 min.  |   Countries - United States  |  
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Synopsis by Hal Erickson

Still extremely busy with his film and radio career, Richard "Red" Skelton made his weekly TV debut on September 30, 1951, with this live, half-hour program from New York. Wasting no time, Skelton reprised several of his favorite characters, including hayseed Clem Kadiddlehopper (performing a duet with musical director David Rose), perpetually soused Willie Lump Lump, con artist San Fernando Red, and inept Sheriff Deadeye. He also performed a visually oriented opening routine, showing how different members of the armed services might hitch a ride (the Navy man's unspoken expletives raised several eyebrows amongst viewers and critics alike). Appearing in support were the Skylarks singing group, performing "Hallelujah," and Lucy Knoch, who delivered the commercials. The trade paper Variety complimented Skelton for the slick professionalism of his opening program, noting that he avoided the deliberately fluffed lines and "breaking up" that had typified his radio series (though this new-found artistic discipline would soon evaporate).