One of Red Skelton‘s “core” characters is Willy Lump Lump. Willy’s perpetually drunk, much to the chagrin of his suffering wife. How he started drinking varies, depending on the episode. Once, his wife said that it began with rum-filled chocolates that they received as a wedding gift. In another story, it goes back to when she was dating Willy. And she got him liquored up, so that he would propose to her!
The topsy turvy room
One recurring scene is the topsy-turvy room. First, Willy’s suffering wife has had enough. And so she tries to frighten him into sobriety. So, she hires someone to nail all of one room’s furniture to a wall. Then, the sleeping-it-off Willy Lump Lump wakes up in the room. Where his reactions are hilarious! However, by the end of the scene, he’s not changed at all. The basic scene was repeated multiple times over the years in different seasons of his TV show. It was popular enough that it was included in Red’s feature film, The Clown.
Willy Lump Lump’s job
As with most of Red Skelton’s characters, Willy’s job various from sketch to sketch. At different times he’s a barber, ambulance driver, unemployed, etc.
Willy is nearly always portrayed as a married man, with his suffering wife. She is portrayed by various actresses, depending on that week’s guest star. In early seasons, she was frequently portrayed by Shirley Mitchell. But he never treated her well:
Mrs. Lump Lump: For two cents, I’d go home to mother!
Willy: Sweetheart, I’m sorry …
Mrs.: Really, Willy?
Willy Lump Lump: Yes. I don’t have two cents!
- Wouldn’t you like to know!
- Oh, no it isn’t! (other person: oh, yes it is) Oh, no it isn’t! (when “it” is visually revealed – and Willy’s wrong) Oh, yes it is!
- I don’t know where I’ve been or what I’ve done — but I wouldn’t have missed it for the world!
- You don’t look right. You just don’t look right to me!