Red Skelton Remembered


Mr. Red Skelton

   Mr. Red (Richard) Skelton was born into a circus family on July 18, 1913 in Vincennes, Indiana. Sadly, it was a family without a father. Red’s father died just two months before Red was born. Later in life, Red would honor his father and the life of a clown with a poem entitled “The Circus”. 
   Red Skelton made his radio debut in 1936. In 1938 he aired his own radio show which ran for 15 years. In 1950 “The Red Skelton Show” was born and ran for 20 Consecutive years, never leaving the list of the country’s top ten shows. Additionally, Skelton appeared in 48 motion pictures, 22 in which he starred. Throughout his life of entertainment he performed before the Queen of England, eight US Presidents, and in three private showings for Popes.
   Even though Mr. Skelton was best known as a pantomimist, he was a composer, artist and author as well. He composed 8,000 songs which include 5,000 musical selections, and wrote 64 symphonies which have been played and recorded by some of the world’s greatest orchestras. His paintings awarded him one of the highest honors an artist can receive, “The Footprints in the Sands of Time”. He also authored five books, and every day he wrote his beloved wife a love note and poem.
   He died on September 17, 1997 after a lingering illness. Those who loved him mourn his passing. Though he entertained millions and made us all laugh, he never forgot the importance of God, country and family. He was one of a kind and no one can ever fill his shoes. Mr. Red Skelton, you are deeply missed and not forgotten

Mr. Jennings B. Barnett

   As I was growing up in rural Kentucky on a tobacco farm, Tuesday night at 7:30 was a very special time for me. The supper meal was over - dishes washed and put away. The chores were done - milking, feeding the calves, gathering the eggs, slopping the hogs. Homework - well, that’s another story. It was time to watch “The Red Skelton Show”. It was a half hour of sheer, clean comedy: no dirty jokes, no filthy language, no smut whatsoever. Just a half hour of pure family entertainment.
   Down through the annals of time, Mr. Skelton’s jokes and pantomimes have been a continual source of relief from heartaches, heartbreaks, and trauma for countless people. No one could count the number of times that a quip or routine by Mr. Skelton removed a hurt or pain that I was suffering. No one will ever be able to capture the essences of Mr. Skelton’s characters: Clem Kadiddlehopper, Sheriff Dead Eye, Willie Lump Lump, Boliver Shagnasty, San Fernando Red, George Appleby, Cauliflower McPugg, Junor the Mean Widdle Kid, and the most lovable character, Freddie the Freeloader.
   No doubt many will try to carry on his beloved comedy with the hopes of succeeding. If we fail, it will not be for lack of desire or effort. It will be because God has seen fit to hallow his comedy and preserve his characters so that no one will dishonor or shame the name of Red Skelton

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