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The Big Trial [The Red Skelton Show]

Red Skelton as Barrister Kelly in The Big Trial

The Big TrialThe Red Skelton Show season 1, originally aired December 9, 1951

The Big Trial is an English murder trial that eventually morphs into a Tide commercial in The Red Skelton Show season 1. With a very funny Deadeye sketch as well!


  • Red pantomimes a slow-motion tennis game.
  • Then, Red tells the story of how his little boy, Ricard, lost a tooth last week. Red had him put the tooth under his pillow, and Red swapped it for a dime. The next day, there were two teeth gone. The following day, five teeth. But Richard was only missing one tooth! So, Red tells him he’s not getting any more money — go play with your kitten. “I can’t she’s in the kitchen gumming her food.”
  • Red pantomimes how people walk

The Skelton Film Scrapbook – The Big Trial

Red Skelton as Barrister Kelly in The Big Trial

The Big Trial is an English murder trial that eventually morphs into a Tide commercial. It’s a very funny bit, with both verbal and slapstick humor.

Red: I must first greet the jury. Mr Kelly, Mr Kelly, Mr Kelly, Mrs Kelly, Mrs Kelly, little Kelly …
Defendant Errol Errolson: What’s your name?
Red: Lawyer Kelly!
Defendant Errol Errolson: I demand a fair trial!
Judge: And you’ll get one, or my name isn’t Kelly!

There’s a running gag, where the Judge keeps hitting attorney Red’s hand with his gavel. At the end, he does it with a box of Tide detergent. Red tells the audience that it didn’t hurt. Because Tide’s gentle on your hands!

The Skelton Scrapbook – Riders of the Purple Sage

Deadeye with Saloon Gal Lucille Knoch in "The Big Trial"

Deadeye tries to win at poker from a riverboat gambler. It’s a funny routine, with Deadeye interacting with the bartender:

Deadeye: I’m going to miss that old cuspidor.
Bartender: You always did.

Deadeye: I’m from Texas! Down where men are men, women are women. Boy, you can’t ask for a better setup than that!

Deadeye plays poker with Riverboat Charlie in "The Big Trial"

Deadeye then flirts with saloon gal Lucille Knoch. She points him towards Riverboat Charlie, who’s been swindling the customers. After horsing around with the piano, and the sound man! He has to go make a “withdrawal” from the bank. And, gets even with Riverboat Charlie for having him swindled him previously. And after he’s dead, he directs him to the cemetary!

Songs in The Big Trial

Riders of the Purple Sage in "The Big Trial"
  • Foy Willing and the Riders of the Purple Sage sing “Moon in All Your Splendor.” 

Cast of characters

  • Red Skelton … Self – Host / Barrister Kelly / Deadeye
  • Gene Darrell
  • David Rose and His Orchestra … Themselves
  • Don De Leo
  • Lucy Knoch (Executive Suite) … Lady Bridget-Trial Sketch / Saloon Gal-Deadeye Skit
  • Bob LeMond … Announcer
  • Pat McGeehan … Self – Announcer
  • Gil Perkins (Batman, Valley of the Dragons) … Bartender – Deadeye Skit
  • Dick Ryan (Born to be Bad, Once Upon a Horse)
  • Riders of the Purple Sage … Themselves – Vocalists
  • Jerome Sheldon … Errol Errolson / Trial Skit
  • Foy Willing … Self -Musician
  • Taylor Holmes (Sleeping Beauty) … Judge-Trial Sketch


The Big Trial can be watched on Tubi TV, as well as Amazon Prime