Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Red Skelton

Red Skelton was a good actor in 1940s movies, hilarious in his radio series, a star for two decades on television...and yet largely forgotten now. He was unique in his embracing of pantomime and silent comedy in a world where television just never seemed to shut up. He was patriotic and spiritual and clean...except when he was egotistical, dirty, mean and cruel to his writers and co-workers. And he painted clowns. LOTS of clowns.

His TV series--my father's favorite and thus on every week in our house--was canceled as too old-fashioned at the end of the sixties, only to be picked up and brought back on another network with "hipper" guests. It didn't last and a bitter Red threatened for years to have all of his old episodes burned just to spite the audience he felt turned on him. He continued working "concerts" for many years afterwards, however. 

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