Taking me down memory lane from Time Life is the 3-DVD set with never-before-release episodes in full color is “The Red Skelton Hour in Color.”
My first introduction to comedy and serious laughter came from watching Richard Bernard “Red” Skelton. Making me laugh as a kid, it didn’t surprise me that his career began early when at the age of ten he began traveling from shows to burlesque right into vaudeville by 1934.
By 1937 Skelton was beginning a radio career but quickly found his way to the silver screen in “Having a Wonderful Time” with Ginger Rogers and Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. He also starred in one of my personal favorites, the 1946 film “Ziegfeld Follies.”
“The Red Skelton Hour” came about by 1951 and continued until 1971 and in that time he created some of the most memorable and beloved characters. I don’t think I will ever see the likes of his talent ever again in my lifetime.
What most don’t know about this comedic genius is that he was set on bringing his comedy show in color at a time when most shows were still in black and white. Purchasing Charlie Chaplin’s Studios he made that dream a reality. Now, Time Life brings Skelton fans that comedy from a simpler time with never-before-released shows.
What makes this so amazing is to see characters that brought me to tears with laughter one again performed by Skelton. From Freddie the Freeloader to Sheriff Deadeye there isn’t a moment on this DVD that won’t have viewers laughing.
His guest star line up was something to be proud of as well as Tim Conway, Boris Karloff, Vincent Prize, Phyllis Diller, George Gobel, Mickey Rooney and another iconic man of his time John Wayne stops by to be a part of the fun.
Skelton was no stranger to awards because in 1952 and 1961 “The Red Skelton Hour” received Outstanding Comedy Series and Outstanding Writing Achievement in Comedy from the Primetime Emmy Awards. In 1959 the series won Best TV Show from the Golden Globe Awards. I wasn’t even born yet and he was making American laugh!
Time Life has brought this never before released anywhere classic collection of the series to fans. For more of what Time Life has to offer fans of classic television visit www.timelife.com.
What brings me so much joy about the 3-DVD set is that I am transported back to a time when my family gathered around the television to laugh together. I honestly don’t believe we missed a single episode weekly and the ritual that came along with it. Early dinner, pajamas and slippers all around, pillows on the floor, big bowls of popcorn and excitement to see what characters Skelton would bring.
Having the ability to bring the family back together again is nothing short of pure joy. It is a grand way to introduce a new generation to the happiness that Red Skelton brought and is bringing once again.
Unseen for more than 50 years, Red Skelton is one of the most legendary comedians with the longest-running variety show and all of what Time Life brings deserves all of our attention.
In the end — there is no business like funny business as America’s clown prince is back!