It’s a Treat to Beat a Cheat on the Mississippi Mud

San Fernando and Richard Chamberlain in It's a Treat to Beat a Cheat on the Mississippi Mud
San Fernando and Richard Chamberlain in It's a Treat to Beat a Cheat on the Mississippi Mud

It’s a Treat to Beat a Cheat on the Mississippi Mud, with Richard Chamberlin – The Red Skelton Hour season 16

In It’s a Treat to Beat a Cheat on the Mississippi Mud, novice lawyer (Richard Chamberlain) is hired to defend San Fernando Red (Red Skelton) on a tax-dodging charge.

Monologue | It’s a Treat to Beat a Cheat | On Stage | Silent Spot | Jokes | Cast

Monologue

  • Have you heard about the latest in ladies fashions? It’s called the “eenie meanie mini skirt”. That’s because you can’t show any mo!
  • Did you hear about Phyllis Diller? She went out and bought one of the mini skirts, and she asked the clerk what kind of shoes she should wear with these. He says, “Hip boots”.

Easter jokes

  • My wife, little Red, she’s getting ready for Easter. She showed me her dress and I laughed; she showed me her hat, and I laughed. Then she showed me the bill, and I cried.
  • When it comes to complaining about their wives spending money, most husbands are like Easter eggs, you know. They’re hard-boiled on the outside, but yellow on the inside! If they’re not, they’re cracked!
  • Talking about Easter, did you hear a rooster who was walking around, he saw all these Easter eggs allover the yard, all different colors. He jumped over the fence and killed the peacock!
  • Hey, you know what I did one Easter? I have a big parrot, see, a big macaw. And I put a chocolate egg in his cage while he was asleep, and we woke up and he says, “It’s a lie!”
  • I get sentimental around this time of year. Last year I brought home a bunny — but the club made me bring her back.
  • Last year I bought a pair of English rabbits for my daughter, Valentina, a boy and a girl. Six months later, I still only had two rabbits. You see, they’re English and nobody had introduced them.

Gertrude and Heathcliffe

  • Gertrude and Heathcliffe are talking, they say, “Did you hear about Henrietta the hen? She’s not so conceited anymore. They used to roll her eggs across the White House lawn.” “Aren’t they doing to do it this year?” “No, the politicians have laid so many eggs, they’re going to roll their own!”
  • Two chickens are talking. “How much do you get for your eggs?” “Sixty cents a dozen. How much do you get?” “65 cents. You should lay bigger eggs.” “I should exert myself for a nickel?”
  • Red then does a pantomime of a chicken egg-laying contest.

Act I – It’s a Treat to Beat a Cheat on the Mississippi Mud

San Fernando Red arrives to help the wealthy couple cheat on their taxes - and insult the wife!

A wealthy man is bemoaning the fact that he’s earned $6 million dollars in the last year, and will have to pay $4 million in Federal taxes. Amazing how some things never change. “What will I live on?” As the crooked San Fernando Red is passing by, he hears the man tell his wife that he’d pay a small fortune to anyone who can help him pay less! So, San Fernando removes the screen from his TV set, does a quick “live” commercial, and comes in with his huge box of deductions!

After insulting the man’s overweight wife — multiple times — he starts going through potential deductions. Pretending to have German measles? Deduct for a trip to Germany! Bought $50,000 worth of Girl Scout cookies? Nobody would buy that many cookies! If the Girl Scout looked like the lady from San Fernando’s box, they would!

But then, an IRS agent comes in! And, after insulting the IRS, the chase is on!

Act II

Love at first sight for Judge Gavel & Lawyer Clarence Narrow, as San Fernando Red looks on

At the court house, a fresh graduate from law school, Clarence Narrow, arrives. His mother is so proud of him — “My son, the shyster!” Soon after, San Fernando Red is brought in by two police officers, and Clarence offers to take his case. San Fernando is uncertain, until Judge Frances Gavel comes in …. And she and Clarence fall in love at first sight!

Lawyer Clarence Narrow (Richard Chamberlin), San Fernando Red, and the drunk (Jimmy Cross) in the courtroom in "It's a Treat to Beat a Cheat on the Mississippi Mud"

The verbal humor flies fast and furious, until a drunk wanders in. “My character witness just arrived.” “Does he take the fifth?” “A fifth? He looks like he just drank a quart!” Despite his lawyer’s romantic entanglement with the judge, San Fernando Red is found guilty. So, it’s off to prison he goes!

Act III

San Fernando Red unsuccessfully smuggles a saw into prison

In prison, San Fernando Red tries to smuggle a saw in with him. But the Warden quickly catches him in the act. Then, his lawyer Clarence Narrow shows up again. After all, if he can get San Fernando out of prison, he can collect another fee! For a brand-new lawyer, he sure learns fast …. In fact, in order to keep his client healthy while he files an appeal, he has a request for the Warden. Can he have San Fernando work on the rock pile?

Scotch on the rocks - a final pun in "It's a Treat to Beat a Cheat on the Mississippi Mud"
Scotch on the rocks

San Fernando doesn’t want to work on the rock pile, of course! Until he breaks open a large rock, to find it’s made of solid gold! The drunk from the court room is also in the same prison — and still drunk! San Fernando explains to him that he plans to smuggle the gold out, via gold fillings, a tooth at a time. But then, Clarence Narrow shows back up, with “good” news. He’s been given a pardon by the Governor! But San Fernando Red doesn’t want to go! He threatens both his own lawyer and the warden — he’s not leaving without his gold! Then, his drunken pal comes back, and collapses on the golden bolder. The sketch ends with a final pun — “Scotch on the rocks!”

Classic Red Skelton Sketch

Willy Lump-Lump in Telephone Trouble from The Red Skelton Show season 1

Red Skelton and Richard Chamberlain on stage

Editor’s note: At the time, Richard Chamberlain was starring on the television medical drama, Dr. Kildare. So, Red asks him a medical question:

Red Skelton: Can a man have his appendix removed twice?
Richard Chamberlain: No.
Red Skelton: Just once?
Richard Chamberlain: Just once.
Red Skelton: [speaking to the camera} Ya see, Georgia, I win! I told you it was a rerun!

Since Richard attended Beverly Hills High School, there’s some joking about that, followed by a short sketch where they play two students there at the end of the day.

The Silent Spot

Everyone knows that you shouldn’t eat before bedtime, to avoid nightmares. Red ignores that, and makes a revolting concoction of ice cream, chili, dill pickles & molasses! And then goes to sleep …. He then has a series of increasingly weird dreams. Starting with being a sophisticate, who has his lovely girlfriend come over. But she turns into a gorilla! Then, an occupied bathroom with a sailor and a motorized bathtub! Then, two gorillas fighting over him, ending with him falling out a window! Finally, he wakes up from his nightmares and … Throws his refrigerator out the window!

Songs

  • Richard Chamberlain sings “Haven’t We Met?
  • When I Fall in Love.”

Jokes

Act I

  • Wealthy Man (Henry Corden): I make a measly $6 million dollars, and the government wants 4! What am I supposed to live on?
  • Wealthy Man (Henry Corden): I think I’ll call that San Fernando. He has a nice, dishonest face.
    Wealthy Woman (Peggy Rea): But how will you find him?
    Wealthy Man (Henry Corden): Silly! I’ll use the Yellow Pages and look under ‘C’.
    Wealthy Woman (Peggy Rea): ‘C’? For San Fernando?
    Wealthy Man (Henry Corden): No, ‘C’ for ‘Crook’.
  • Wealthy Man (Henry Corden): You know, I could use you. I had a big income last year, and now I’m stuck with a huge figure.
    San Fernando Reed (Red Skelton): [looking at the man’s fat wife] So I see.

Act II

  • Clarence Narrow (Richard Chamberlain): Permit me to introduce myself. I am a neophyte.
    San Fernando Red: [pause] I understand you guys can eat meat on Friday now.
  • San Fernando Red: [as Judge Gavel & Clarence narrow fall in love at first site] This is the most soul-searing moment since Amos met Andy.
  • Judge Frances Gavel (Chanin Hale): [To Clarence] Don’t think of me as just a judge. I am a woman!
    Clarence Narrow (Richard Chamberlain): You can’t be a woman. My mother’s a woman, and she doesn’t look anything like you.
  • Judge Frances Gavel (Chanin Hale): Darling, if we can get this case over quickly, you and I can go to a drive-in movie.
    Clarence Narrow (Richard Chamberlain): What’s playing?
    Judge Frances Gavel (Chanin Hale): You and I.

Act III

  • San Fernando Red: I don’t want to eat waffles! Get this …. I’m gonna eat strawberries and break out!
  • Drunk in prison (Jimmy Cross): I wasn’t trying to choke my wife! She drank my last shot of Scotch, and I was tryin’ to keep it from going down!
  • Warden (Frank Wilcox): Break that rock. I want a bunch of little ones.
    San Fernando Red: Shouldn’t you get married first?
  • Drunk in prison (Jimmy Cross): Which way to the other side of the yard?
    San Fernando Red: [points] Over there.
    Drunk in prison (Jimmy Cross): Funny, I was just over there, and they said it was over here.

Trivia

  • Title is a riff on the song lyric “It’s a Treat to Beat Your Feet on the Mississippi Mud“, from the song “Mississippi Mud” that was a 1928 hit for Bing Crosby.
  • At the time, Richard Chamberlain was appearing on the Dr. Kildare television series. Red appeared in two of the Kildare movies, including Dr. Kildare’s Wedding Day.

Cast

  • Red Skelton … Host / San Fernando Red / Gertrude and Heathcliffe / Man With Nightmares-Silent Spot
  • The Alan Copeland Singers … Themselves
  • George Barrows (Mesa of Lost Women) … Alert Anderson
  • Richard Chamberlain (The Three Musketeers 1973, The Towering Inferno) … Clarence Narrow
  • Henry Corden (The Man Called Flintstone) … Wealthy Man
  • Jimmy Cross (The Amazing Colossal Man) … Drunken Convict
  • David Rose and His Orchestra … Themselves
  • Art Gilmore … Announcer
  • Chanin Hale (The Night They Raided Pinsky’s) … Judge Frances Gavel
  • Jason Johnson … Court Clerk
  • Maudie Prickett … Mrs. Narrow
  • Peggy Rea … Wealthy Woman
  • Bob Shannon … Bailiff
  • Tom Hansen Dancers … Themselves
  • Frank Wilcox (The Greatest Show on Earth) … Warden