In honor of Independence Day, please recall the legendary American entertainer and patriot, Richard “Red” Skelton. A man of humble Midwestern roots from Vincennes, Indiana — Red Skelton reached the pinnacle of Hollywood stardom in the early 1950s through the early 1970s with his Emmy Award-winning “The Red Skelton Show.”
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Red’s musical variety program enabled him to perform a wide range of lovable characters such as the “Mean Widdle Kid,” “Clem Kadiddlehopper” and “Freddie the Freeloader.” His iconic muses made audiences laugh, cry, and more often than not, think.
Red Skelton loved America.
In one of his most famous soliloquies, Red Skelton re-enacted a lesson about the American Flag taught to him by his childhood teacher, Mr. Laswell. [See the video above and please visit Red’s website here for more.]
Lesser known perhaps are Mr. Skelton’s 64 symphonies and 8,000 songs, including the patriotic standard “Red’s White and Blue March.” [listen below]
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Alas, CBS ended its association with the program in the spring of 1970. This apparently marked the beginning of one of several attempts by CBS to downplay programming whose primary appeal was to “Middle America,” an audience more rural and also somewhat older than that generally desired by network television advertisers. Marketers were moving towards a younger, “hipper,” and more urban audience.
An ironically capitalist end to a more innocent television era consumed by the emerging radical cultural degradation.
Red Skelton was awarded the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences Governors Award for lifetime achievement in 1986.
In 1993 Mr. Skelton was inducted into the Comedy Hall of Fame with a wonderful tribute presented by John Ritter & Michael Richards:
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Truly an honorable man, and an honored American individual.
From Bob Hope and Red Skelton, to John Wayne to Gary Sinise, and all in Hollywood who step up today, let us pay our respects to these great patriot entertainers as they themselves have paid tribute to our nation and especially to the men and women who have fought and continue to fight to secure our Life, Liberty and Pursuits of Happiness as our Founders intended.
Let us also pray there are many more where they came from… Lord knows we’re going to need them.
In closing, as Red Skelton would say, “Good night, and may God bless.”
Happy Birthday America!