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Sweet Smell of Failure [Red Skelton Hour]

Sweet Smell of Failure

Sweet Smell of FailureThe Red Skelton Hour, season 15, originally aired May 10, 1966 – with Jack Jones

In Sweet Smell of Failure, a secret agent tries to use Freddie the Freeloader to smuggle a list of spies to another country …. Whoops!

Monologue | Sweet Smell of Failure | On Stage | Silent Spot


  • I walked into an antique store and asked, “What’s new?” They threw me out.
  • I’m getting ready to take a little trip … I’m going to Washington, D.C. Did you read in the paper about a guy walking down Pennsylvania Avenue, and a guy walks up to him and takes him into the alley, and says, “Alright, your money or I’lll blow your brains out.” The tourist said: “Shoot.” The crook says, “What do you mean, shoot?” He says, “I’ve been in this town for two weeks. I know you can get along without brains, but you’ve got to have money.”
  • Talking about Washington D.C., did you see where President Johnson has asked the housewives to economize on their food? I said to my wife, Little Red, last night, what’re we having for dinner? She says, Italian Stew, economy style. I says, What’s that? She says, A pot of gravy, with Dean Martin’s picture in it.

Italy jokes

  • I’m going to Italy, too. That’s one of my favorite parts of the world. There’s a certain air about that place. Garlic! The first thing you do in the morning when you open the window is close it!
  • Hey, you know they eat so much garlic over in Italy, they discovered that the Leaning Tower isn’t leaning at all, it was backing away!
  • With that Italian food, boy, there’s one thing you can be sure of. When you go into a filling station, there’s three things loaded with gas: two pumps and the owner.


  • Getting back to the food, now, everybody’s economizing now on food. Even the cannibals. They’re eating cheaper people!
  • Food is so expensive now. Anybody that burps is bragging!
  • Everything’s going up! Even the skirts. Ten inches above the knee. Mini-skirts they call them. I’ve got news: I’ve got an Aunt Minnie that wears more than that in the shower!
  • I tell you, the ways that girls are dressing is a shame. It’s a shame. It’s a shame I didn’t know about it when I was single!

Phyllis Diller jokes

  • And the peekaboo dress is coming back. You may not know this, but Phyllis Diller is the first woman to have a peekaboo dress, a real peekaboo dress. The guys would peek and say, “Boo.”
  • Did you hear the joke Bob Hope told the other night? He says, Phyllis Diller is not bad looking now …. When she was born, she was so ugly that the doctor held her by the feet and smacked her right in the mouth!
  • You know, the world is really changing. Over in Pasadena, they’re wearing topless bathing suits. Not the women, the men!

Gertrude and Heathcliffe

  • Gertrude and Heathcliffe, two seagulls. Heathcliffe: “Say, did you hear that Buzzy the Bee is known as the Don Juan of the insect world?” She says, “No! Why is he known as the Don Juan of the insect world, old Buzzy the Bee?” “Because everywhere he goes, he gets a little honey.”

Red pantomimes a drum majorette in a parade

Sweet Smell of Failure – act I

Hobos Freddie the Freeloader (Red Skelton) and Mugsy (Hal Smith) at the airport in The Sweet Smell of Failure

At the airport, Freddie the Freeloader is sleeping in a locker, until he’s woken up by Mugsy (Hal Smith). Freddie tries to con a woman out of her orange juice, then her donut and coffee. Soon, spies enter the scene, and Secret Agent 707 (Jack Jones) enters, and takes a “secret” phone call with the help of Chanin Hale. They plan to use Freddie to smuggle a list of spies with a “free trip to Europe” with a “beautiful” coat.

Sweet Smell of Failure – act II

Selma Undercover (Virginia Grey) and Freddie the Freeloader (Red Skelton) on board the plane in The Sweet Smell of Failure

On board the airplane, various spies are waiting to attack Freddie. The stewardess (Virginia Grey) wants them to kill him before dinner … She’s short one meal! With each joke, Freddie’s threatened by a different spy. He survives a few assassination attempts before the plane lands in Lisbon.

Sweet Smell of Failure – act III

Agent 707 (Jack Jones) Freddie the Freeloader (Red Skelton) and Selma Undercover in The Sweet Smell of Failure

At the “Intrigue-a-Go-Go”, Jack Jones and Selma Undercover (Virginia Grey) meet …. The restaurant is filled with spies, all eager to take Freddie’s coat. And eventually, Selma gets one of the patches with the spy’s names — Benedict Arnold? “That coat is older than I thought!”

Classic sketch – the disk jockey

Red Skelton as all-night disc jockey

Red as an all-night disk jockey for a radio station — who never gets any sleep.

Jack Jones and Red on stage

Resulting in a “keeping up with the Joneses” skit.


Jack Jones sings “The Impossible Dream” and “You’ve Got Possibilities.”

The Silent Spot

Chanin Hale and Red Skelton in The Silent Spot in The Sweet Smell of Failure

In the Silent Spot, newly rich Texan Red hosts an elaborate dinner party to impress his neighbors. An absolutely hilarious sketch! Red plays the part of a newly-rich social climber, attempting to put on a society dinner. It’s fast-paced, with several running gags, such as being knocked into the arms of his chubby cook whenever a door is opened, everyone spiking the punch, and his lovely wife (Chanin Hale) keeps having to add ever more jewelry. Until thieves break in …


  • Red Skelton … Self – Host / Freddie the Freeloader / Gertrude and Heathcliffe / Rich Man in the Silent Spot
  • Billy Beck … Man in Airport / Butler — Silent Spot
  • David Rose and His Orchestra … Themselves
  • Art Gilmore … Announcer
  • Virginia Grey (Whistling in the Dark) … Selma Undercover
  • Chanin Hale … Agent 707’s Phone / Rich Man’s Wife in the Silent Spot
  • Jack Jones … Agent 707
  • Byron Morrow … Chief Secret Agent
  • Peggy Rea … Woman in Airport / Cook in the Silent Spot
  • David Sharpe … Old Lady on Airplane
  • Hal Smith (The Andy Griffith Show, Adventures in Odyssey) … Muggsy