Red Skelton had a reputation among comedy writers as being extremely difficult to work with, since he didn't like writers in general and resented CBS for insisting that he use them on his show; he wanted to write all the sketches himself, his reasoning being that no one knew his characters as well as he did. Sherwood Schwartz, prior to taking the position as head writer on the show, had it written into his contract with CBS that Skelton was under no circumstances allowed to discuss anything about a show's script with him before he was given it prior to taping, which often resulted in Skelton not knowing what a sketch was about or even what character he would be playing until shortly before airtime. That's why Skelton would often break character in the middle of a skit and turn to the audience and say something like, "Don't blame me, folks, I don't write this stuff." See more »
Skelton was great. His show lasted, because He was the show.
.......Playing Kaddiddlehopper, Col San Fernando, etc. the man was pretty wide ranging and a scream. I love watching him interact w/ Amanda Blake, or Don Knotts or whomever--he clearly was having a ball and I think he made it easier on his guests as well--so long as they Knew ahead of time it wasn't a disciplined, 19 take kind of production. Relax and be loose was clearly the name of the game there.
He reminds me of guys like Milton Berle, Benny Hill, maybe Jerry Lewis some too. Great timing, ancient gags that kept audiences in stitches for decades, sheer enjoyment about what he was doing. His sad little clown he played was good too--but in a touching manner.
Personally I think he's great, having just bought a two DVD set of his shows from '61 or so, it brings his stuff back in a fond way for me. I can remember seeing him on TV at the end of his run when he was winding up the series in 1971 or so.
Check this out if you are a fan or curious. He was a riot.
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