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Better Dead Than Wed [Red Skelton Hour]

Allen Funt prepares a Candid Camera trap for George Appleby in "Better Dead than Wed"

Better Dead Than Wed, The Red Skelton Hour season 16, originally aired December 6, 1966

In Better Dead than Wed, Allen Funt and Abbe Lane take embarrassing pictures of George Appleby (Red Skelton) at a miniskirt sales convention.

Monologue | Better Dead than Wed | Classic | On Stage | Music | Trivia



  • We’ve opened our new commissary here. You know how they have at these big premieres, they have searchlights and stuff? Well, at this place they had two guys with matches lighting air wicks!
  • We used to have a smelly old lunch wagon outside, but no more. Now we’ve got a smelly old lunch wagon inside!
  • It’s a very reasonable place to each, you can eat dirt cheap.
  • I walked in there this afternoon, and the waitress asks, “What are we going to have? I’ve got stewed kidneys, boiled tongue, and calves brains.” I said, “I’ll have a cup of coffee, and you’d better see a doctor.”
  • The waitress put a plate in front of me. I said, “That thing’s wet.” She said, “That’s your soup.” I said, “I can’t eat that.” She says, “I’ll bring you another bowl.” She brought another, and I said, “I can’t eat that.” She said, “What’s wrong?” I said, “I don’t have a spoon.”


  • And I ordered a rare steak out there. And they brought me back a steak, I’m telling you, the cow could’ve set on a heating pad and it would’ve been done more.
  • This was the toughest steak I’ve ever seen in my life. Either that or I had a tender knife, see. I said to the waitress, “This is not fit for a pig.” She says, “I’ll bring you one that is.”
  • Finally I said, “I can’t eat this steak! Take it back to the kitchen and shove it down the chef’s throat!” So she took it to the kitchen and brought it right back. I says, “Did you shove it down the chef’s throat?” She says, “I’m sorry, there’s an order of lamb chops ahead of you.”
  • I says, “Well, get the chef out here. Even this gravy’s tough!” The chef says, “Well, I can’t take it back, you’ve bent it all out of shape!” He says, “I don’t know what’s wrong with it, the boys in the carpenter shop loved their steak.” I says, “Yeah, they got tools to work with.”
  • And the waitress says, “We’ll make up for it. We’ll bring you something else. Would you like some turkey?” I says, “Fine.” She says, “What would you like?” I says, “Some meat if I could get it!”
  • What a racket they’ve got out there! You order caviar, they give you tapioca with dark glasses!

Red’s wife’s cooking

  • I like good cooking, though. My wife is a good cook. For years she made marble cake. And we didn’t know, we just took it for granted.
  • The last thing my wife Georgia baked was a cherry pie for George Washington’s birthday. I says, “Bring me a hatchet so I can cut it.”
  • She says, “I baked it all by myself.” I says, “Who helped you lift it off the stove?”

Restaurant short hand

  • Getting back to the commissary there, they’ve got the silliest way of ordering things. You order one thing, see, and the waitress will yell something else back to the kitchen. They got their own secret codes, you know. Like it’s a big secret. I said, “Give me some blueberry pie with powdered sugar.” She yells, “Indigestion in a snow storm!”
    • Frankfurters and Sauerkraut – Unchain two with a bale of hay!
    • Ham and eggs — Adam and Eve on the raft! I says, “Scramble them.” Shipwreck ’em!
    • Spaghetti and meatballs – A yo-yo dinner!
    • Pork and beans – Revolution! Enemy on the top!
  • This afternoon, our censor went to the commissary for alphabet soup. He made them take it back – a dirty word came up!

Red concludes with a funny pantomime of a short order cook fixing his own lunch.

Better Dead than Wed Act I

George Appleby models one of his company's mini-skirts.  His wife Clara is not amused in "Better Dead than Wed"

Henpecked George Appleby is working for the “Hyer and Hyer Mini-Skirt” company. He’s heading off to a sales convention … After the typical abuse from his wife, Clara (Emmaline Henry). Some of which is deserved. For example, George comes out wearing a mini-skirt?!? When Clara calls for a taxi to take him to the airport, the cab driver is a beautiful young woman, whom George ogles, while ignoring Clara. She warns him before he leaves: don’t even look at any beautiful young women!

Better Dead than Wed Act II

Allen Funt prepares a Candid Camera trap for George Appleby in "Better Dead than Wed"

Unknown to George Appleby, the Candid Camera TV show is preparing a special segment. With George as the unwitting star! Host Allen Funt has a camera hidden in George’s room, and pretends to be a buyer for Appleby’s miniskirts. This allows for some prop comedy, as George Appleby demonstrates some of his products.

Allen Funt masquerades as a buyer, Abbe Lane as his sweet, young, innocent niece, and George Appleby as the target in "Better Dead than Wed"

Then, the “buyer” has a visit from his sweet, young, innocent niece (Abbe Lane). And then the buyer has to step out of the room for a moment. And the niece removes her overcoat, etc. — To reveal that she’s a tigress! A tigress, who wants to get George Appleby in a compromising position. And does!

George Appleby and the Tigress (Abbe Lane) in "Better Dead than Wed"

She steals a kiss, and then Allen Funt reveals the entire Candid Camera setup to George Appleby. And it’ll be shown in a few days on TV. And it’s Clara’s favorite show! Which means, of course, that George is a walking dead man …. Unless he can keep Clara from watching!

Better Dead than Wed Act III

Clara wants to watch her favorite show, Candid Camera.  And George Appleby is desperate to prevent it in "Better Dead than Wed"

Back at home, Clara is looking forward to watching her favorite program. And George Appleby is desperate to prevent it! He tries to burn the television set in their fireplace — unsuccessfully. After a few more failed efforts, George surrenders to the inevitable. He sits on the far side of the couch, as Clara watches the show. At first, Clara doesn’t recognize George. And then she does! And she starts throwing every breakable dish in the house at George!

Clara swings, George ducks … but Allen Funt doesn't in the conclusion of "Better Dead than Wed"

George runs and hides, but Clara pursues. Eventually, Allen Funt shows up … To explain to Clara that it was all a setup. And, more than that, they’ve got hidden cameras in the Appleby house! And Clara’s assault on George will be next week’s show! Of course, Clara is upset at George, and attacks him with a painting …. But George ducks!

Classic Red Skelton

On Stage

  • Allen Funt supposedly sketches Red, while he’s talking with the lovely Abbe Lane. Allen pretends to not even notice that Abbe’s there … But the completed sketch tells another story!


Abbe Lane sings ‘Strangers in the Night‘ and ‘Heat Wave.’ The Tom Hansen Dancers join the Alan Copeland Singers to perform ‘The Grass is Greener.’ In conjunction with his opening monolog, Skelton mimes a short order cook preparing his own lunch. In the Silent Spot, Red mimes ‘The Mountain Climber.’, trying to plant a flag on the highest, inaccessible mountain.


  • The title is derived from the slogan of the anti-communists in the United States in the 1940s and 1950s: “Better off dead than Red!”