The Original Da Vinci – The Red Skelton Show, co-starring Vincent Price & Jackie Coogan, season 9
The Tom Hansen Dancers perform a musical number about how people should go to their museum.
The Original Da Vinci – Act I
The Original Da Vinci begins at an art museum, where a guard is telling the story of how a genuine Da Vinci painting is attached to Freddie the Freeloader’s overcoat! And the story is told in backlash …
The story proper begins with Freddie the Freeloader freezing, covered in snow in his shack at the city dump. After some clowning around, Freddie’s pal, Muggsy (Jackie Coogan) stops by. They decide they need something to cover the enormous hole in the wall of Freddie’s shack, and keep the snow out. Outside, they find a canvas. “As the pelican said after he ate the halibut, that ought to fill the bill.”
After a moment of horseplay, where the snow persistently hits only Freddie, they head back inside. After some horseplay with the hammer, where Freddie keeps hitting poor Muggsy, they nail up the canvas. Muggsy cleans the canvas off. By “shaving” the painting of its’ beard! Afterward, they think that their ‘da vinki’ painting might be worth something. So they decide to consult an art collector.
They go to Gilbert’s Art Gallery. There, the hobos enter the private office of the snooty Mr. Gilbert (Vincent Price). He promptly throws the two hobos out, as they’re trying to explain that they’ve found an original ‘da Vinki’. He accompanies the hobos back to Freddie’s shack to examine their painting.
Gilbert: Oh, I’ve never seen such a miserable slum.
Muggsy: Wait ’til you get inside!
Freddie: Oh, just a minute. This happens to be a GI home.
Gilbert: A GI home?
Freddie: Yeah, gee I wish I was in Beverly Hills.
Gilbert immediately recognizes it as Da Vinci’s lost masterpiece. But, he pretends that it’s just a cheap copy, and offers the hobos $10 for it. Which they refuse. After Muggsy suffers several slapstick accidents, Gilbert leaves in a huff. But not before threatening the hobos …
Gilbert conspired with his friend Gino to defraud the hobos. Gino will pretend to be the world’s greatest art critic, and tell them the painting’s worthless. However, Muggsy and Freddie are already planning on how to spend their millions. Gino dashes out, and Gilbert dashes in, taking his “morning constitutional in the city dump”. But, other art collectors have told them the true value – it’s the headline story in the newspapers!
Gilbert: Freddie, I must have that painting! It’s an obsession!
Freddie: No, it isn’t, it’s a Da Vinki!
Gilbert offers them $1,000,000 for the painting, but it’s no sale. Freddie refuses to deal with him, since Gilbert tried to cheat them. Gilbert then throws a very funny, childish tantrum! Gilbert leaves, but he’s soon on his way back …. With a gun! While Muggsy tries to stall him, Freddie must find a way to hide the painting …
Freddie quickly sews the painting into the lining of the overcoat, just as Gilbert and Muggsy come in. It’s a funny bit of prop comedy, as the barrel of Gilbert’s gun appears to go all the way through Muggsy’s head! Soon, Freddie informs Gilbert that’s he’s cut up the painting. Gilbert can’t take it, and shoots himself in the head. As he lays dying, Freddie informs him that he didn’t harm the painting, and it’s safe in his overcoat. Gilbert’s last words: “Now he tells me!”
Back at the museum, the guard is completing his story. Freddie donated the painting to the museum, on the condition that it stay as it is. The episode completes with Freddie coming in to get something he left in the coat pocket – a cigar! And, they conclude a running gag throughout the episode — a letter from Mama!
- Red Skelton … Freddie the Freeloader
- Vincent Price (The Raven) … Gilbert
- Jackie Coogan (The Kid, The Addams Family) … Muggsy
- Byron Foulger (The Man with Nine Lives) … Museum Guard
- Ernest Sarracino (Adventures of Captain Marvel) … Gino
- Jimmy Cross (The Amazing Colossal Man) … 1st Man
- David Rose and His Orchestra … Themselves
- Art Gilmore … Announcer