Jennings Barnett as Red Skelton
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.