Thursday, February 9, 2017

Black History Month

Wonderful Smith
Wonderful Smith (1911-2008) That is real name. Was the chauffeur to Hattle McDaniel in 1939. Became famous for a telephone routine called "Hello, Mr. President". This was performed on in Duke Ellington's "Jump of Joy" in 1941. That same year he became a cast member for Red Skelton's radio show.

Wonderful appeared as many characters on the show. He did telephone bits and was Deadeye's partner. Smith was drafted in the Army in 1942 but Red read his letters on the air. He returned to the show for the 1945-47 seasons. His contract ended in 1947 and was not renewed. Negative talk followed but if you look at the the 1947 season you will see that Skelton did other cast changes. Band leader David Forrester was replaced by David Rose and GeGe Pearson was replaced by Lurene Tuttle. 

Smith did some television in the 70s. He can be seen in the "Hello Cleveland" scene in "This is Spinal Tap" (1984).   

The Four Knights
 Singing group on Red Skelton's radio show 1948-50. Appeared on the TV show in 1951. 

Guest Stars and Singers on television

Nat King Cole (1953)

Mahalia Jackson (1962)

Dionne Warwick (3)

Nancy Wilson (2 times) 
Godfrey Cambridge (4 times)

Nipsey Russell (2 times)

Archie Moore (1965)


"Gabe" Jackson taught young Red Skelton to play the ukulele.

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