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Sheriffs Are Bought Not Made – Red Skelton Hour

Sheriffs Are Bought Not Made - The Red Skelton Hour, season 17, with Burl Ives and Lulu

Sheriffs Are Bought Not Made – The Red Skelton Hour, season 17, with Burl Ives and Lulu

In Sheriffs Are Bought Not Made, the cowardly Sheriff Deadeye allows his greed to push him into search for gold in a haunted mine with Burl Ives.

Monologue | Act I | Act II | On Stage | Blackouts | The Silent Spot | Songs | Cast


  • You know I was just backstage I’ve been in show business now over 40 years and every week it’s a big thrill to come out like this. 40 years I’ve been in the shows. I’ve loused up more stages than Jesse James.
  • I don’t like to brag but I once sang a duet with Kate Smith. Kate Smith would look at me and she’d sing, “All of me, why not take all of me?” and I had to make two trips.
  • I’ve done a lot of things in show business, so like during the Depression back in Philadelphia and Camden, New Jersey I was walkathons at Master of Ceremonies. You remember the endurance contest. You remember those things, walkathons, marathons. Couples used to dance together for three weeks at a time and months at a time. Now they don’t stay married that long, especially in Hollywood.
  • Hey, there was a guy walked into his house in Beverly Hills and he says, “Little boy, I’m your new father.” Kid says, “Nice to meet you. You want to sign my visitor’s book?”

Burlesque and vaudeville

  • Then I was in burlesque, too, I was in burlesque. That’s where you learn acting. Well, it wasn’t exactly acting; you just pretend you wasn’t looking!
  • And one night the star of our show, Gypsy Rose Lee, was arrested, see. I went down to the courthouse, and I says, “Judge, your honor, you can’t arrest this poor, innocent girl. She was covered from head to toe.” He said, “I saw the show and there were goose pimples.”
  • You know, a lot of funny things happened in theaters. I wish something right now would come along …
  • There were two guys sitting in the theater once, and you know the big fire curtain, it says ‘asbestos’ on the front of it in the theaters? Well, these two guys were sitting, this one guy says, “I’ve seen this show ‘Asbestos’ before.” The other guy says, “Don’t be so ignorant, that’s a Latin word, it means ‘welcome’.”

Playing in small theaters

  • They tell me thousands and millions of people are watching. I used to play theaters so small, you couldn’t take a bow — you’d get dandruff from the lobby!
  • Hey, I played Patterson, New Jersey once – this is a true story. I played Patterson, and you know when you play a theater you want the manager to think you’re doing well, see, and after the first show actors usually draw money. So this guy knocked on the door and said, “I’ve got some money for you.” I said, “You don’t have to pay me until I’m through.” He says, “You’re through.”
  • Talking about little theaters I played, I walked into this one theater and I said to the manager, I wanted him to think I was a big shot, so I said, “Now, I’ll need a rehearsal in the morning at 10 o’clock. I’ll need the stage manager, the property man, the electrician and the spotlight man at 10 o’clock in the morning.” The man says, “I’ll be there.”

Booking agents

  • You know, you can’t just get into show business, you’ve got to have a booking agent, and they won’t take just anybody if they don’t know you. So I went into this one office in Chicago at the Woods theater building. I walk in the first day and the booking agent went [shakes his head ‘no’]. The next day I go in, the secretary sitting there and she goes [shakes her head ‘no’]. Next day I go in, there’s nobody in the office and the gate’s going [swinging back and forth].
  • I used to lie to get my jobs. The booking agent would say, “What shows have you been in?” I’d say, “Dinner at Eight”. He says, “I saw ‘Dinner at Eight’ last night, you wasn’t in it.” I said, “I ate early.”


  • A lot of actors, used to be in vaudeville, are now in politics. George Murphy, I worked with George Murphy in vaudeville, and he’s now a senator, you know. There was a guy in vaudeville, a magician, he used to go through the audience, he’d borrow money. He’s say, “Give me a 10 dollar bill.” It disappeared! “Give me a 50 dollar bill.” Disappeared! “Give me a 100 dollar bill.” Disappeared! You know what he does now? He’s a tax collector in California!

Gertrude and Heathcliffe

  • Gertrude and Heathcliffe, the two seagulls. He says, “What do you say we go over to the theater and see that picture about the stool pigeon?” She says, “A picture about a stool pigeon? What picture is that?” He says, “William Tell.”

Red concludes with a pantomime of a nervous actor before he goes on stage.

Act I

Elaine Joyce as the lovely prisoner in "Sheriffs are Bought Not Made"

Sheriffs are Bought Not Made begins with the lovely Elaine Joyce in jail. Her crime? Refusing Sheriff Deadeye a good night kiss! “Resisting an officer,” explains the deputy.

Cowardly Sheriff Deadeye in a dress in "Sheriffs are bought not made"

Then, there’s a bank robbery! And Sheriff Deadeye “bravely” runs through the dress shop. The deputy thinks he’s going to surprise them from behind. Instead, the cowardly sheriff shows up at the jail, wearing a dress, so as not to get shot!

The bank robber threatens to kill Sheriff Deadeye in "Sheriffs are Bought Not Made"

Then, the bank robber comes in, threatening to kill Deadeye! But the prisoner is as smart as she is lovely, and distracts him as she leaves. Allowing Deadeye to disarm him and put him in the jail! Although he’s so tall, he breaks one of the bars on the way in.

Big Pappy Tumbleweed (Burl Ives) and Sheriff Deadeye (Red Skelton) in "Sheriffs are Bought Not Made"

Then the bank robber’s father, Big Pappy Tumbleweed (Burl Ives) arrives. He offers to take his son’s place in jail, while the son looks for the “real” bank robber. Insert your own O. J. Simpson joke here. Shortly afterward, he bribes Deadeye to go with him to the abandoned Wahoo gold mine. He thinks the “real” bank robbers are holed up there. And, there’s a lost vein of gold, so Deadeye agrees, and off they go!

Act II

Sheriff Deadeye and Big Pappy meet a beautiful female ghost

Deadeye and Big Pappy make there way to the Wahoo mine. After some horsing around with an echo, they find a skeleton on their shoulders. After some horseplay, the Skelton flies off. Deadeye does some clown comedy to break the handcuffs off. Next, they find the gold vein — but it’s been already taken! Then, they meet a beautiful female ghost! Soon, they explore the mine, to find the “real” bank robber.

Big ghost and Big Pappy (Burl Ives)

But, find a tall ghost! Big Pappy recognizes him by his height …. It’s his own son, who was the “real” bank robber all along. So, Big Pappy punishes his son for robbing the bank — with a spanking! And Sheriff Deadeye chases after the lovely ghost, ending the skit.

Red Skelton and Burl Ives on Stage

Red and Burl interact with each other. “I was actually born with a guitar in my hand.” “Oh, your poor mother …”. This leads into the vaudeville blackouts.


Comedy blackouts are short comedy skits, as done in vaudeville days.

  • The Pallbearers – Red and Burl deal with the lack of pallbearers at a funeral.
  • The Manicurist – do you do toenails as well?
  • The Restaurant – a restaurant patron makes the mistake of ordering the “tomato surprise”.

The Silent Spot

Red Skelton accidentally punches his boss Jan Arvan in the Silent Spot in "Sheriffs are Bought Not Made"

Red is the new employee at the Sweet Heart candy factory. He keeps accidentally hurting the manager (Jan Arvan) and his co-worker (David Sharpe). It’s very funny slapstick, as almost anything he does causes injury. Including simply shutting a door, causing overhead boxes to fall on Jan!

Red Skelton and Beverly Powers working at the candy factory

And that’s before he meets his lovely female co-worker (Beverly Powers). He’s now comedically distracted at work. He’s unwittingly causing more damage, at an increasing pace. Eventually, he wraps the candy store manager up in taffy! And, enough being enough, he‘s fired. Unfortunately, Beverly is fired as well — even though she didn’t do anything wrong. But love conquers in the end …



  • Red Skelton … Self – Host / Sheriff Deadeye / Gertrude and Heathcliffe
  • The Alan Copeland Singers … Themselves
  • Jan Arvan (20 Million Miles to Earth) … Candy Factory Manager
  • David Rose and His Orchestra … Themselves
  • Walker Edmiston … Deadeye’s Deputy
  • Art Gilmore … Self – Announcer (voice)
  • Burl Ives (Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer) … Big Pappy Tumbleweed
  • Elaine Joyce … Prisoner
  • Brad Logan … Bank Robber
  • Lulu (To Sir with Love) … Self
  • Mickey Morton … Mule Tumbleweed
  • Beverly Powers (The Comedy of Terrors) … Candy Maker
  • David Sharpe … Candy Maker
  • Tom Hansen Dancers … Themselves