The Red Skelton Christmas Show 1970 with Leslie Nielsen, originally aired December 21, 1970 – season 20
In The Red Skelton Christmas Show 1970, Freddie the Freeloader wants to put on a Christmas show for the orphans. If he can raise the money, and if he can find performers. Can kindly Officer Ryan (Leslie Nielsen) help?
Red Skelton Christmas Show – Act I
In The Red Skelton Christmas Show 1970, kindly Freddie the Freeloader is selling roasted chestnuts. He’s trying to earn money for the annual orphans’ Christmas show. But a young boy shows up, and is undercutting his price! It’s a funny bit, as the boy Timmy takes advantage of Freddie. Then, police officer Ryan (Leslie Nielsen) comes by, and points out that Freddie doesn’t have a peddler’s license! So Freddie tries to hide the evidence in his pockets, but puts a hot briquette in by mistake! Thankfully, he puts the heat out with the help of a nearby snowman!
It turns out that Timmy is an orphan, so Freddie invites him & his friends to his shack for a small party before the show. Freddie tries to teach the boys about the power of imagination — starting with his homemade Christmas tree. Then, he gives them presents – junk that, with imagination, becomes musical instruments. Once they leave, he needs to try and “find” acts for his Christmas show. With the help of Officer Ryan.
Freddie tries to enlist — or blackmail — some acts for the orphans’ Christmas show. He starts with a trained seal act. But, the man has his first job in months that same night — but doesn’t have the car fare to get there. So, the soft-hearted Freddie the Freeloader gives him a quarter for bus fare. Next, he tries to blackmail an acrobat — with Officer Ryan to help. But the officer’s too busy talking to a pretty lady, so the acrobat bounces Freddie around! So, there are no acts for the orphans’ Christmas show. A sad Freddie heads to the theater, while Officer Ryan makes a mysterious phone call to the police station …
At the theater, Freddie tries to tell the orphans that they’ll need to use their imaginations, and pretend that there’s a show. While Freddie comes to the front to conduct an imaginary orchestra, the curtains open. And the real show begins! It’s a musical number, with a large box that contains life-sized Christmas toys.. The Jester, Raggedy Ann and Andy, Cat, Fairy, Elf, Jester, etc. all perform together in a sweet song and dance routine. And Freddie’s shocked to find out that his — and the kids’ — imagination has become real!
Officer Ryan reveals that he called the police station, and had the officers, and their wives and girlfriends, answered the call. The police are going to do a charity performance anyway, so they simply used this as a dress rehearsal. Freddie invites everyone back to his shack, where there’s a surprise waiting for them.
Freddie’s Christmas tree has been replaced by a real, large Christmas tree, complete with presents for the orphans. Freddie tries to thank Officer Ryan and the police, but they’re not responsible either. Freddie goes outside, and hears sleigh bells. After a short comment, the episode ends.
Cast of characters
- Red Skelton … Self – Host / Freddie the Freeloader
- Jan Arvan (20 Million Miles to Earth) … Trained Seal Artist
- David Rose and His Orchestra … Themselves
- Art Gilmore … Self – Announcer (voice)
- Scotty Morrow … Orphan
- Leslie Nielsen (Forbidden Planet, The Reluctant Astronaut) … Police Officer Ryan
- Sundown Spencer … Timmy