The Skeltons at Home, The Red Skelton Show season 1, originally aired December 23, 1951
The Skeltons at Home is a classic episode of The Red Skelton Show. Various of Red Skelton’s most famous characters (including Clem Kadiddlehopper, Cauliflower McPugg, the inebriated Willie Lump-Lump, and the cowboy Deadeye) visit the Skelton family on Christmas Eve. They all interact with the Skelton’s “maid”, Shirley Mitchell. “Nice to meet you, Tiny Tim.” It ends with a boy’s choir singing Christmas carols and Red Skelton giving his Christmas wishes.
- At the doorway, Cauliflower drops off his birdcage with his “pet canary”. Of course, since he’s always hearing the the bird, but never sees it … The birdcage is as empty as his head,
- “Merry Christmas”. “No, I married Betsy, she was the masked monster, you know, a wrestler.”
- “There’s no fireplace in that gym!”
- Shows off his Christmas present – a monogrammed fly swatter with a year’s supply of flies.
- “Aren’t you Clem Kadiddlehopper, the village idiot?” “Village idiot? I could take care of the whole state!”
- Does a pantomime of a half-wit playing with a feather.
- Brings a barber pole, thinking it’s a candy cane for the kids.
- Drops off a bottle of wine. “That’s funny, it was full when I left the store.”
- “You just ruined a good joke. You’re supposed to say, those snakes are imaginary, and I’m supposed to say, I’ve got news for you – so is the mongoose!”
- Arrives with the present of a “you all” (yule) log, and a Christmas wreath made out of money.
- Deadeye’s false mustache keeps trying to fall off, so Red plays with it. “I’d have been better off wearing spaghetti, I could’ve eaten that!”
- The recurring joke of only wearing one spur, since if one side of the horse starts moving, the other will follow right along.
- “I just dropped in to say ‘adios’, which in English is ‘hasta la vista’.
- During his opening monologue, Red thanks TV Guide for presenting him with a gold medal for Comedian of the Year.
- When Red as Sheriff Deadeye mentions that he’s “a real Texas Wanger”, he’s referring to a real-life incident. Hollywood producer Walter Wanger, who, on December 13, 1951, shot and wounded Hollywood agent Jennings Lang. Wanger accused Lang of having an affair with his wife, actress Joan Bennett. Lang survived the shooting; Wanger served a four month sentence, then returned to movie production. This episode aired on December 23, 1951, ten days after the incident.
Songs in The Skeltons at Home
(Editor’s note: at first, Red didn’t realize he was on the air as he was doing warm-up jokes for the studio audience)
- A lot of shows are different from ours, [Red holding a gun] they force you to laugh and to applaud. Well, we don’t do that. [waving gun]. If you don’t feel like laughing, you don’t have to! Of course, there’d be a lot of you sitting around after this thing’s over.
- Two guys in a hospital, one looks down at the other and says, [drunkenly] “Well, how do you feel?” The other guy says, “How do I feel? What happened to me?” The guy says, “Well, you were standing on the fifth floor of this hotel, and you said, “I’m going to fly around the block.” The other guy says, “Fly around the block? Why didn’t you stop me!” The guy says, “I thought you could make it.”
[Red realizes that they were on the air for 2 minutes]
- [to the director] I’m gonna miss you around here, boy.
- I guess the Christmas spirit has got everyone, I went out and did my shoplifting a little early this year.
- I went down to mail some packages, and there was such a long line, I was going to send this one package to Chicago, and by the time I got to the end of the line to mail it, I had to help my friend open it in Chicago.
- I took Richard and Valentina over to see Santa Claus. They really embarrassed me. He runs in and says, “Where’s that big, bloodshot blimp, huh?” I says, “Keep on, boy, keep on. You just keep talking like that and he’ll hear ya.” He says, “Oh, yeah?” So he goes up, he slides down a bannister. He says, “Oh, brother, I never gonna do that again.” I says, “What happened?” He says, “I was going south, I met a splinter going north.”
- Valentina slid down the bannister the other day, and knocked over a vase, and I said, “What did you break?” She says, “You know that vase with Whistler’s mother on it?” I said, “Yes.” She said, “The old gal just had a nervous breakdown!”
- My little boy Richard that I talk about, he’s picked up a new expression. Now everything’s “doggone”. Doggone this, doggone that. So he comes in the other day, “You should have been with me this morning. I was walking up the doggone street, and a doggone dog ran after a doggone cat. Well, this doggone dog chased this doggone cat up an alley. And then a doggone dog catcher saw this doggone dog chasing this doggone cat, so he got his doggone net, and he tries to catch this doggone done chasing this doggone cat down the doggone alley. He couldn’t catch the doggone dog chasing the doggone cat. He threw down his doggone net, and what do you think he say to me? Dog gone.”
Lucille Knoch on stage
- [Red brings Lucille Knoch on stage.] We’ve got a lot of servicemen in the audience, what do you say we give them a nice round of applause? [Audience applauds]. They look like they’re saying, “Who wants applause, get us a discharge paper.”
- You know, I was in the Army. I could’ve been an officer, but they never came around the guardhouse to see the good work I was doing.
- Lucille: Red, do you mind if I take this opportunity to wish all my fans a Merry Christmas?
Red: All right, go right ahead.
Lucile: Merry Christmas to both of you.
Red: Both of you?
Lucille: Mmm-hmm. My mother and father watch the show every week. Bye.