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Red Skelton’s Christmas Dinner special

Red Skelton's Christmas Dinner

Red Skelton’s Christmas Dinner starring Red Skelton, Vincent Price, Imogene Coca

Red Skelton’s final television project, Red Skelton’s Christmas Dinner (also known as Freddie the Freeloader’s Christmas Dinner), is one of his best.   It centers around Red’s hobo clown character, Freddie the Freeloader, who has been saving up his money to afford a nice Christmas dinner with his friend, The Professor — another hobo clown, played wonderfully by Vincent Price.  

Imogene Coca as a bag lady chatting with Freddie the Freeloader in Red Skelton's Christmas Dinner
Imogene Coca as a bag lady chatting with Freddie the Freeloader in Red Skelton’s Christmas Dinner

However, Freddie first has to find the Professor, leading to a variety of encounters, first with Molly, a bag lady played by the very funny Imogene Coca.  

After a funny, and bittersweet, encounter, Freddie continues looking for the Professor, including a visit at a hospital where he’s put upon to entertain some children who are there over the Christmas holiday, giving Red a chance to put his pantomime skills to good use.

Eventually, Freddie tracks down the Professor at the city jail, where he has to bail him out — and between bail and the money that the big-hearted Freddie has been giving away, they don’t have enough to eat at the swanky restaurant — leading to Freddie being thrown out into the snow.   A moment of mistaken identity works in their favor, however, and they are invited back in, where Freddie invites some hungry children from outside to join them.   Of course, they don’t have any money to pay the bill … but will a Christmas miracle help them to reach a happy ending?   You’ll have to watch it for yourself and see.

Freddie the Freeloader and The Professor try to enjoy Christmas dinner together
Freddie the Freeloader and The Professor try to enjoy Christmas dinner together

Red Skelton’s Christmas Dinner is a wonderful Christmas movie, and I strongly recommend it.

Funny quotes from Red Skelton’s Christmas Dinner

Freddy the Freeloader (Red Skelton): Can’t be too careful with all the crime around here.   Last week they stole all my silver – two dimes and a quarter!

Freddy the Freeloader (Red Skelton): The drought’s so bad that two farmers heard that I had water on the knee, and they wanted to make a deal.

Freddy the Freeloader (Red Skelton): He belongs to Alcoholics Anonymous.   €˜Course he never attends meetings, he just sends in empties and they give him credit.

Imogene Coca the bag lady

Imogene Coca as the bag lady in Red Skelton's Christmas Dinner

Molly (Imogene Coca): I have pneumonia, but I’m afraid it might develop into a cold!

Freddy the Freeloader (Red Skelton): Where does your son [the doctor] live?
Molly (Imogene Coca):   A little beyond … his means.
Freddy the Freeloader (Red Skelton): Don’t we all, don’t we all.

Nurse: I don’t know any Professor … is he on the staff?
Freddy the Freeloader (Red Skelton): No, mostly he’s on relief.

Freddie the Freeloader at the children’s ward

Freddy the Freeloader (Red Skelton): I’ve done some theater myself.   I was Ivan the Terrible.
Nurse: You were Ivan?
Freddy the Freeloader (Red Skelton): I was terrible!

Freddy the Freeloader (Red Skelton): I think I got the hiccups – you got a bar of soap? I want to scare myself.

Freddie the Freeloader and The Professor

Freddie the Freeloader and The Professor (Vincent Price) in Red Skelton's Christmas Dinner

Freddie the Freeloader (Red Skelton): You know how they say money talks?   All mine ever says is, “Good-bye.”

The Professor (Vincent Price): What do you mean, “my advanced age? ”  I’ve only seen 50 summers.
Freddie the Freeloader (Red Skelton): Well, it must’ve been those hard winters that done it.

The Professor (Vincent Price): Don’t feel so bad – the same thing happened to me when I went to the museum to see King Tut’s mummy.
Freddie the Freeloader (Red Skelton): Was she nice?

Freddie the Freeloader (Red Skelton): Speaking of fur coats, I like yours – is it Russian Bear or Black Bear?
The Professor (Vincent Price): It’s threadbare.

The Professor (Vincent Price): This place is so expensive, you don’t tip the maitre’d, you promise to put him in your will.

Freddie the Freeloader (Red Skelton): I’d put him in his place if I had time and a shovel!

The Professor (Vincent Price): Always count to 10.
Freddie the Freeloader (Red Skelton): I did, but look what they did to me between 2 and 9!

The Professor (Vincent Price): This place makes millions!
Freddie the Freeloader (Red Skelton): Of dollars, or enemies?

The Professor (Vincent Price): I got my charm from my father.
Freddie the Freeloader (Red Skelton): I bet he was glad to get rid of it!

The Professor (Vincent Price): Do you think they’re desirous of a little sustenance?
Freddie the Freeloader (Red Skelton): I don’t know about that, but I think they’re hungry.

Trivia for Red Skelton’s Christmas Dinner

  • Also known as Freddy the Freeloader’s Christmas Dinner
  • Red Skelton’s final TV project

Editorial review of Red Skelton’s Christmas Dinner, courtesy of

Freddie the Freeloader sets out to have Xmas dinner in a very expensive New York restaurant with his good friend, the Professor. Along the way he stops in a hospital to entertain some children on Xmas.