Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Red Skelton 1/2 hour Christmas episodes.

Red Skelton did many episodes about Christmas.

1951 - "Clean Politics"
In 1951 Skelton was in the Christmas spirit early. He did a bit as Clem selling Christmas tree. This was based on a radio skit. Then he did a bit as Willie Lump Lump trimming a tree.

1951 - The Skeltons at Home
On Christmas week, he did a special episode with his family and friends. Cast member Shirley Mitchell welcomed guest to Skelton's home. Guest were humor writer Gene Folwer and wife, David Rose and wife and Skelton's business manager Bo Roos. Skelton's character stopped by for a quick visit. The show ended with a boys choir.
"The Christmas Show" 1952 has not been released on DVD. I have seen the script. The outline of the show has Red Visits Santa, Different People Buying Toys, Freddie, Dressing the Window, Clem in the Post Office and Red's Closing Christmas Speech.  

 In 1953 another visit with the Skelton family. They wonder how Freddie is celebrating Christmas. He gets a gift of a turkey from the police and dresses up as Santa to give himself a gift. Ends with a boys choir and Red sings "Oh Come All Ye Faithful".

1954 has Red telling the story of the "The Unwanted Christmas Tree" to his family. Red is Chester, an assistant tree salesman. He gets an unwanted tree to a poor boys club. Magic happens when the boys welcome the tree.

Red Skelton adapted the short story "The Cop and the Anthem" by O. Henry for Freddie the Freeloader. The story is about a hobo that plans to spend the winter in a warm jail. He tries many ways to get arrested but fails. Ends up getting inspired to better himself after just before he gets arrested. This episode first aired in 1955, then repeated in 1956 and 1960.

Freddie is featured in the 1957 Christmas episode "The Third Wish". All I know (not on DVD) is that Freddie is repairing toys for children and gets help from a Genie. The Genie is played by child actor Richard Eyer. This episode aired before Eyer played the Genie in the film "The 7th Voyage of Sinbad". This episode was repeated in 1958.

"Clem the Mailman" was the 1959 episode. Clem is a mailman during Christmas time. He gets involved with a jewel thief trying to smuggle gems in candy.

1961 was the last season of the half hour episodes. Red did an all mime Christmas episode. Freddie finds a Raggedy Ann doll in a park played by Cara Williams. Williams was appearing in a TV comedy show "Pete and Gladys" at the time. It comes to life and they visit Santa and go ice skating. "Freddie and the Yuletide Doll" was repeated in the hour episodes in 1962, 1963 and 1964.

More about the hour Christmas shows in another post.

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