Network: CBS, NBC
Episodes: 672 (half-hour, hour)
TV show dates: September 30, 1951 – March 15, 1971
Series status: Cancelled/ended
Performers include: Red Skelton, Art Gilmore (announcer), Jan Arvan, Vincent Price, Ray Kellogg, Jackie Coogan, Chanin Hale, Gilchrist Stuart, Vicki Raaf, Virginia Grey, Marilyn Maxwell, Jimmy Cross, Mary Beth Hughes, Mickey Rooney, Allen Jenkins, Cesar Romero, Bobby Rydell, Peter Lorre, John Carradine, Marie Windsor, Barbara Morrison, Emmaline Henry, George Gobel, Shirley Mitchell, Lucy Knoch, Amanda Blake, Bob Duggan, The Alan Copeland Singers, Vivian Vance, Benny Rubin, Ed Wynn, Reginald Denny, Mary McCarty, Roland Winters, Billy Gilbert, Frank Wilcox, Robert Paget, Charles Ruggles, Jayne Meadows, Audrey Meadows, Raymond Burr, Don Knotts, Lon Chaney Jr., Ed Sullivan, Dave O’Brien, Dick Foran, Kathryn Card, Henry Kulky, Jamie Farr, Isabel Randolph, George N. Neise, Richard Deacon, and Stubby Kaye.
TV show description:
This variety show began on the radio before moving to television.
Legendary Red Skelton’s comedy transitioned well from the airwaves to the small screen. Each show begins in the same fashion: Skelton delivers a monologue which often features the characters of George Appleby (a husband who endures constant nagging from his wife) and Gertrude and Heathcliff, two very dim seagulls. This is then followed by a musical performance by a guest, often accompanied by band leader David Rose and his orchestra. One notable guest performance comes when The Rolling Stones make their first American television appearance on the show.
After the guest musical act, Red and his team of performers – Benny Rubin, Hans Conried, Mel Blanc, and Verna Felton – perform sketches featuring characters created by Skelton. The most famous is hobo clown Freddie the Freeloader.
Other characters include backwoods Clem Kadiddlehopper, incompetent Sheriff Deadeye, boxer Cauliflower McPugg, and real estate agent San Fernando Red. Though often keeps his audiences crying with laughter until the very end, Skelton always concludes the show on a serious note. He wishes his viewers his trademark farewell, “Good night and God bless.”