Freddie and the Turkey Dinner – with William Frawley – The Red Skelton Show, season 8, originally aired November 26, 1958
Freddie and the Turkey Dinner – it’s Thanksgiving, and poor Freddie the Freeloader is determined to get a turkey dinner at the restaurant. But he hasn’t any money …
Freddie and the Turkey Dinner is a very funny, Thanksgiving themed episode of the Red Skelton Show. It’s done in pantomime, with narration by Art Gilmore. It begins, after a short musical number, with guest star William Frawley throwing Freddie the Freeloader out of the “Elite Restaurant”. They’re having a Thanksgiving dinner special for $1.25, but Freddie is broke as usual. Then, he sees a woman drop her wallet, loaded with cash! He picks it up, but his conscience bothers him. So, he returns the wallet intact, holding his hand out in hopes of a small tip for his honesty. But all he gets is a handshake!
Then, some apples are being delivered to the restaurant. He puts his foot on the crate, pretending to tie his shoe, planning on stealing an apple. But the deliveryman puts a second crate on his foot! He no sooner pulls it out and swipes an apple, then Clancy the Cop strikes his hand with a billy club! And after, the cop walks off, eating the apple! Next, the kind man delivering the fruit gives him an apple! But Clancy the Cop strolls by and takes it, thinking it was stolen! And eats is as he walks away.
But Mr. Thomas from the restaurant is putting up a sign — dishwasher wanted. Freddie has an aversion to both work and water, but he’s hungry enough to take the job. So he goes into the kitchen, where there’s a lot of slapstick with the poor dishwasher. Ending with Freddie breaking most of the dishes, and being thrown out.
Act II – Freddie and the Turkey Dinner
Freddie the Freeloader manages to get a free piece of gum from a gum ball machine – without getting in trouble with Clancy! Then, he sees a quarter through a sewer grate? How to get it? By “borrowing” a gentleman’s walking stick! He puts the gum on the end of the stick — but the gentleman comes back for his stick! After some slapstick, Freddie’s alone, hungry, and discouraged. He sits outside the restaurant, and comforts himself watching a hearty man eat his Thanksgiving dinner. But Mr. Thomas has a heart, and pays for Freddie’s meal! Soon, Freddie’s in the restaurant, eating to his heart’s delight. Leaving nothing but the carcass of the turkey!
Outside, the lady whose wallet he found returns. To invite him to her house for another turkey dinner! Poor Freddie tries to refuse, but he ends up going to her mansion and stuffing himself — again. Finally back at the restaurant, he meets Clancy the Cop again! But it’s good news! The police have pooled their money to provide turkey dinners to the unfortunates in their neighborhood! So, poor Freddie’s dragged to the police station for a third turkey dinner!
This leads him to being hospitalized. There, at first the doctor thinks he’s pregnant! But then he decides he knows what’s wrong with Freddie. He’s dealt with malnutrition before! So Freddie gets … Another turkey dinner! And Freddie the Freeloader leaps out the window! But the kindly nurse throws the turkey after him! And he responds, throwing it back! Then another, and another, and another …. Ending the sketch.
Cast of characters
- Red Skelton … Self – Host / Freddie the Freeloader
- James Burke (At the Circus) … Clancy the Cop
- Dick Crockett (Batman – The Movie) … The Gentleman
- David Rose and His Orchestra … Themselves
- Anne Dore (Siren of Baghdad) … The Waitress
- Dick Elliott (The Andy Griffith Show) … The Hearty Man
- William Frawley (I Love Lucy) … Mr. Thomas
- Art Gilmore … Self – Announcer (voice)
- Ray Kellogg (The Twilight Zone) … Deliveryman
- Henry Kulky (Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea TV) … Dishwasher
- Isabel Randolph (The Missing Corpse) … Mrs. Henderson