.comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}

Classically Speaking:
Promoting Classic Movies in a Jaded World!

Friday, November 14, 2008


Red SkeltonRED SKELTON (1913-1997), born Richard Bernard Skelton, was a comic genius. He was called Red, due to his red hair. I first saw Red on his own television show, "The Red Skelton Show". I was just a wee thing, but I remember looking forward to seeing him swing on this enormous swing out into the audience. I laughed and laughed at all the funny faces he made. It was later I saw him in movies and learned how enormously talented he truly was. My father gave me three prints of clowns Red had painted. I heard the original paintings earned Red Skelton a small fortune.

The Fuller Brush Man (1948)Haven't you seen The Fuller Brush Man (1948) aka That Mad Mr. Jones (UK)? This is my favorite Red Skelton film. He plays Red Jones, the man who can't hold a job. Selling Fuller Brush door to door is his last chance. The film was remade to spotlight the queen of comedy, Lucille Ball. That film is fun, too, but it doesn't hold a candle to the original with Red.

Watch this and then see these other four films.

The Yellow Cab Man (1950) In this light comedy, Red Skelton plays accident prone Augustus 'Red' Pirdy who accidentally comes up with a million dollar idea. He calls it elastic-glass and decides his unbreakable glass is perfect for the automotive industry. Unfortunately, there are those who want to steal his formula.
Whistling in the Dark (1941) This is the first of three 'Whistling' films starring Red Skelton as Wally 'The Fox' Benton, radio star of a murder mystery serial. Wally Benton is truly a fraidy-cat, but somehow gets enmeshed in true life murder mysteries. These films are full of slapstick, great sight gags, and faces only Red can do.
Whistling in Dixie (1942)... aka Mary Names the Day (UK)
Bird lovers would love this one. We find a parrot who can whistle Dixie. It's a fun story.
Whistling in Brooklyn (1943) This is my favorite of the 'Whistling' pictures. My little boys watched them again and again. This story involves a case of mistaken identity. An escaped convict fools everyone by posing as his twin brother, a kind and gentle soul.

Ann Rutherford co-stars in all three 'Whistling' films. After the shooting of these films, she was seen by a doctor for severe chest pains and difficulty in taking a breath without pain. Her doctor asked if she had blown up balloons for a long period of time. It was then she realized that her pain stemmed from Red Skelton having made her laugh so much on the set. She had laughed until she couldn't breathe way too many times and suffered internal injury as a result. Fortunately, Ann got better, but no more 'Whistling' films were made.

*Contributed by: "Elizabeth Van Cleve Randolph" Date: Wed, Jun 14 2006 / 18:06:23 PST


  • Red Skelton was one-of-a-kind. I had the good fortune to see him perform live at the 1982 World's Fair in Knoxville, Tennessee. We need his kind of comedy today instead of the vulgarians who flood the airwaves.

    By Blogger Eric Jamborsky, at Sat Nov 29, 09:22:00 AM PST