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The House That Junk Built

J. D. Richfella and Freddie the Freeloader on Sunset Strip

The House That Junk Built with Fernando Lamas, Senator Dirksen – The Red Skelton Hour season 16, originally aired April 18, 1967

In The House That Junk Built, a billionaire is tired off the stresses of executive life. Can he become a hobo like Freddie the Freeloader?

The House that Junk Built – Act I

The House That Junk Built begins with Freddie the Freeloader putting the finishing touches on his new shack in the garbage dump. His hobo pals come by, and throw him a housewarming party. Complete with a large cake, that a girl pops out of!

In the meanwhile, J. D. Richfella has tired of a life of hard work, success, and wealth. He’s decided to become a bum! So, the eccentric billionaire comes to the dump, and moves into Freddie’s shack, thinking it’s abandoned. After some back & forth, he becomes Freddie the Freeloader’s house guest.

The House that Junk Built – Act II

J. D. Richfella and Freddie the Freeloader on Sunset Strip

Trying to hide his identity, J. D. Richfella buys all the papers from a newsboy, since the billionaire hiding out a a bum is the headline. Then, Freddie chides him for using four-letter words like W-O-R-K. And threatens to wash his mouth out with S-O-A-P! After making fun of a hippie wedding on Sunset Strip, J.D. reveals his identity to Freddie. And proposes that they swap places!

The House that Junk Built – Act III

Freddie and J.D., having swapped identities, go to the 110th floor of J.D.’s office building. After J.D. kisses one of the beautiful secretaries, Freddie comes in with a retinue of people, cutting his hair and clipping his nails. After Freddie unintentionally insults them, they leave. What does J.D. Richfella do? He makes cars. And Freddie has to deal with the complaints of customers, eventually getting assaulted by car parts and having a horn blown in his ear! Then, he addresses the workers — and is pelted by bricks! He and J.D., and a bum’s rendition of “Home on the Range”, are heading back to the dump, ending the sketch.

Home, home on the dump
Where the mice and the alley cats play
There’s no need for cash
‘Cause they don’t charge for trash
And it is smog-free all day.

Classic Red Skelton

Red Skelton on stage as Cauliflower McPugg from season 1

Red Skelton and Senator Dirksen

US Senator Everett M. Dirksen (R-Ill) recites ‘Gallent Men’ and ‘Man is Not Alone’ from his two spoken-word record albums. The Senator clearly had a good sense of humor, as you can tell from this exchange:

Senator Dirksen: Before you can become a really proficient speaker, what you have to learn is to be a good listener.
Red Skelton: But how do you learn that?
Senator Dirksen: Well, that’s easy. I got married.

The Silent Spot – The Mountie

Red Skelton as a RCMP Mountie in the Silent Spot in "The House That Junk Built"

Red Skelton performs a pantomime as a Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) officer, who’s locked himself out of his shack. It’s a funny skit as he loses his key in the snow, makes a snowball to stand on to go in the window, etc. And that’s before he starts trying to apprehend the villain!

Act I Jokes

J. D. Richfella: Do you realize there are 300,000 tramps, and only 2 billionaires? I’m tired of being a member of a minority group.

Freddie the Freeloader: [to his parrot/answering service] Any more comments like that, and 12 months from today, you’ll have been dead 1 year!

Freddie the Freeloader: Where there’s a will, there must be money … I mean, a way.s

Freddie the Freeloader: [having sneezed the feathers off his parrot] You better keep covered up. That NBC Peacock is a Peeping Tom.

J. D. Richfella: [having moved in with Freddie] What do we do for breakfast?
Freddie the Freeloader: We think of lunch.
J. D. Richfella: What do we do for lunch?
Freddie the Freeloader: We think of dinner.
J. D. Richfella: What do we do for dinner?
Freddie the Freeloader: We mug a mouse, and steal his cheese.

Act II Jokes

J. D. Richfella: Freddie, do you think you could be a millionaire?
Freddie the Freeloader: Oh, why not. After all, a millionaire is just a bum with a credit card.

Freddie the Freeloader: I’ll be a millionaire on one condition. That I can wear these clothes.
J. D. Richfella: That’s ridiculous. Since when does a millionaire dress like that?
Freddie the Freeloader: Since April 15th, buddy!

Act III Jokes

Freddie the Freeloader: [being pelted by bricks by J.D. Richfella’s employees] Casius Clay got a warmer reception from his draft board!

Cast of characters

  • Red Skelton … Self – Host / Freddie the Freeloader / Canadian Mountie-Silent Spot
  • Jan Arvan (20 Million Miles to Earth) … Muggsy / Irate Auto Customer 1
  • Robert Courtleigh (Cinderella 1965) … Sketch Player
  • David Rose and His Orchestra … Themselves
  • Everett Dirksen … US Senator / Guest
  • Bob Duggan … Newsboy
  • Tommy Farrell (Kissin’ Cousins, The Strip) … Bum
  • Art Gilmore … Announcer (voice)
  • Fernando Lamas (Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Lost World) … J. D. Richfella
  • Len Lesser (Kelly’s Heroes) … Bum / Slippery Scottty Sutton — Silent Spot
  • Gilchrist Stuart (The Sound of Music) … Mr. Richfella’s aide
  • Gary Waynesmith (Slaughterhouse-Five) … Sketch Player
  • Florence Lake … Tessie — Old Lady in the Cake
  • Johnny Silver (Guys and Dolls, Spaceballs) … Irate Auto Customer 2
  • The Alan Copeland Singers … Themselves
  • The Tom Hansen Dancers … Themselves