About red Skelton

About red Skelton

A black and white image of Red Skelton


The talent and whimsical flair of Red Skelton traverses stage, screen, radio, and television. Now add the titles of accomplished painter, author, and composer. To account for every contribution Red made to the world of the Arts is an impossible task. We hope this page gives you a small glimpse into the genius and "many faces" of Red Skelton.

Indiana records show that just one person, Richard Bernard Skelton, was born July 18, 1913, inside the house at 111 West Lyndale Avenue in Vincennes, Indiana. However, most fans of the award-winning comedian, actor, pantomimist, composer, painter, writer and humanitarian beg to differ.

Many believe several others were born in that humble house on the same date, and all earned fame like Skelton. There was country bumpkin Clem Kadiddlehopper, Junior the Mean Widdle Kid, lovable hobo Freddie the Freeloader, and many more.



Red Skelton entered the spotlight after a chance meeting at the Pantheon Theater in Vincennes, Indiana. As the story goes...

At the age of nine, Red was selling newspapers on the corner of 5th and Main streets in Vincennes, Indiana. A man approached Red and asked "What do they do in this town for excitement?" Red replied kindly, "There's a big New York road show in town tonight, with a comedian -- Ed Wynn." He pointed to Wynn's name on the marquee across the street. "That's what I'm going to do when I get older. I'm going to make people laugh," he added. The man asked if Red was going to see the show that night and Red honestly answered, "No, I don't have that kind of money." The man offered to talk to the manager about getting the young boy in to see the show, but Red insisted that he had to finish selling his last three papers. The man then presented one dollar to cover the rest of the newspapers, which, at the time, sold for three cents each.

Red ran home to tell his mother and gave her the dollar. She gave her son a dime to buy popcorn and for a cab ride home. When Red returned to the Pantheon, his new friend had a balcony seat waiting for him. The show began and Ed Wynn walked out from behind the curtain. "That's my friend down there, he got me my seat!" exclaimed Red. At intermission, Red ran backstage. Wynn asked the boy if he had ever seen an audience and, of course, the answer was no. The comedian held up the little red-haired boy up to the back of the curtain so he could see the audience returning to their seats.

"I fell in love with them then," Red would often reminisce.

During his 84 years, Skelton starred in most entertainment genres -- from traveling medicine shows, showboats, the circus and Vaudeville to radio, television, and motion pictures during his 84 years. He appeared in 36 feature films, had a successful network radio program for 15 years, and starred in the Red Skelton Show, which ran for 20 years and remains the second longest-running entertainment program ever in network TV history.

Red performed for eight U.S. presidents and three Roman Catholic Popes, composed more than 8,000 songs, 64 symphonies, wrote books, and his paintings and drawings remain art collectors' treasures.

His other achievements include Emmy awards for performing, writing and his TV show, two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for radio and television, and elections to the halls of fame for television, radio and clowns.

By all measures, Red Skelton is an American legend.


A drawing of Red Skelton as a clown


America's most beloved clown created additional clown characters with a paint brush. His series of clown paintings and his drawings remain art collector treasures today. They were also reproduced for the mainstream and even for children in the form of over-sized coloring books. 
Red Skelton as the conductor jumping off of the stage in front of the orchestra


The compositions of Red Skelton measure 8,000 songs and 64 symphonies. He conducted and composed for numerous albums as well as having his selections performed by the likes of Arthur Fiedler, the London Philharmonic and Van Clyburn. Red also recorded some of his favorite stories and poems like The Circus, Frogs, The Littlest Christmas Tree and, of course, The Pledge of Allegiance.
Red Skelton His many faces of comedy video series


Could you write one original short story a day? It is said that is exactly what Red Skelton did. The end result was approximately 4,000 short stories and full- length books. His titles include Old Whitey, The Ventriloquist, Red Skelton in Your Closet: Ghost Stories, Gertrude and Heathcliffe, and Clown Alley and Frog Follys coloring books.

Red's Pledge of Allegiance

I had this one teacher, he was the principal of the Harrison School, in Vincennes, Indiana. To me, he was the greatest teacher, a real sage of my time. He had such wisdom. We were all reciting the Pledge of Allegiance one day, and he walked over. This little old teacher - Mr. Lasswell was his name. He said:

"I've been listening to you boys and girls recite the Pledge of Allegiance all semester and it seems as though it is becoming monotonous to you. If I may, may I recite it and try to explain to you the meaning of each word?"

I - me, an individual, a committee of one.

Pledge - dedicate all my worldly goods to give without self-pity.

Allegiance - my love and my devotion.

To the Flag - our standard, Old Glory, a symbol of freedom. Wherever she waves, there is respect because your loyalty has given her a dignity that shouts freedom is everybody's job.

Of the United - that means that we have all come together.

States - individual communities that have united into 48 great states. 48 individual communities with pride and dignity and purpose, all divided with imaginary boundaries, yet united to a common cause, and that's love of country.

Of America.

And to the Republic - a republic - a state in which sovereign power is invested in representatives chosen by the people to govern. And government is the people and it's from the people to the leaders, not from the leaders to the people.

For Which it Stands!

One Nation - meaning, so blessed by God.

Indivisible - incapable of being divided.

With Liberty - which is freedom and the right of power to live one's life without threats or fear or any sort of retaliation.

And Justice - the principle and quality of dealing fairly with others.

For All. - which means, boys and girls, it's as much your country as it is mine.

And now, boys and girls, let me hear you recite the Pledge of Allegiance.

"I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."

Since I was a small boy, two states have been added to our country, and two words have been added to the Pledge of Allegiance - "under God." Wouldn't it be a pity if someone said, "That is a prayer," and that would be eliminated from our schools too?

- Red Skelton


  • 1938 Having a Wonderful Time (71 minutes) Director: Alfred Santell. Screenplay: Arthur Kober, from his play. Stars: Ginger Rogers, Douglas Fairbanks Jr., Peggy Conklin, Lucille Ball, Lee Bowman, Eve Arden, Dorothea Kent, Richard (Red) Skelton.

  • 1940 Flight Command (116 minutes) Director: Frank Borzage. Screenplay: Wells Root, Commander Harvey Haislip. Stars: Robert Taylor, Ruth Hussey, Walter Pidgeon, Paul Kelley, Nat Pendleton, Shepperd Strudwick, Red Skelton.

  • 1941 The People vs. Dr. Kildare (78 minutes) Director: Harold S. Bucquet. Screenplay: Willis Goldbeck, Harry Ruskin. Stars: Lew Ayres, Lionel Barrymore, Laraine Day, Bonita Granville, Alma Kruger, Red Skelton.

  • 1941 Whistling in the Dark (77 minutes) Director: S. Sylvan Simon. Screenplay: Robert MacGunigle, Harry Clark, Albert Mannheim, based upon a play by Lawrence Gross and Edward Childs Carpenter. Stars: Red Skelton, Conrad Veidt, Ann Rutherford, Virginia Grey, “Rags” Ragland, Henry O’Neill, Eve Arden.

  • 1941 Lady be Good (111 minutes) Director: Norman Z. McLeod. Screenplay: Jack McGowan, Kay Van Riper, John McClain. Songs: George and Ira Gershwin, Jerome Kern, Oscar Hammerstein 2nd, Roger Edens, Arthur Freed. Stars: Eleanor Powell, Ann Southern, Robert Young, Lionel Barrymore, John Carroll, Red Skelton, Virginia O’Brien.

  • 1942 Ship Ahoy (95 minutes) Director: Edward Buzzell. Screenplay: Harry Clork. Stars: Eleanor Powell, Red Skelton, Bert Lahr, Virginia O’Brien, Tommy Dorsey and His Orchestra.

  • 1942 Maisie Gets Her Man (85 minutes) Director: Roy Del Ruth. Screenplay: Betty Reinhardt, Mary C. McCall, Jr. Stars: Ann Southern, Red Skelton, Allen Jenkins, Donald Meek, Walter Catlett, Fritz Feld, Ben Weldon, “Rags” Ragland.

  • 1942 Panama Hattie (79 minutes) Director: Norman Z. McLeod. Screenplay: Jack McGowan, Wilkie Mahoney, based upon a play by Herbert Fields and B.G. DeSylva. Songs: Cole Porter. Stars: Red Skelton, Ann Southern, “Rags” Ragland, Ben Blue, Marsha Hunt, Virginia O’Brien.

  • 1942 Whistling in Dixie (74 minutes) Director: S. Sylvan Simon. Screenplay: Nat Perrin, additional dialogue by Wilkie Mahoney. Stars: Red Skelton, Ann Rutherford, George Bancroft, Guy Kibbee, Diana Lewis, Peter Whitney, “Rags” Ragland.

  • 1943 DuBarry was a Lady (101 minutes) Director: Roy Del Ruth. Screenplay: Irving Brecher, adaptation Nancy Hamilton, additional dialogue Wilkie Mahoney, based upon the play by Herbert Fields, B.G. DeSylva. Songs: Cole Porter. Stars: Red Skelton, Lucille Ball, Gene Kelly, “Rags” Ragland, Zero Mostel, Donald Meck, Tommy Dorsey and His Orchestra.

  • 1943 Thousands Cheer (126 minutes) Director: George Sidney. Screenplay: Paul Jarrico, Richard Collins. Stars: Kathryn Grayson, Gene Kelly, and all-star appearances which include Mickey Rooney, Judy Garland, Red Skelton, Eleanor Powell, Ann Southern, Lucille Ball, Virginia O’Brien, Frank Morgan, Lena Horn, Marsha Hunt, Donna Reed, Margaret O’Brien.

  • 1943 I Dood It (102 minutes) Director: Vincente Minnelli. Screenplay: Sig Herzig, Fred Saldy, a remake of Buster Keaton’s Spite Marriage (1929), with additional gags by Keaton. Stars: Red Skelton, Eleanor Powell, Richard Ainley, Patricia Dane, Jimmy Dorsey and His Orchestra.

  • 1943 Whistling in Brooklyn (87 minutes) Director: S. Sylvan Simon. Screenplay: Nat Perrin, additional dialogue by Wilkie Mahoney. Stars: Red Skelton, Ann Rutherford, Jean Rogers, “Rags” Ragland, Ray Collins, Henry O’Neill, Leo Durocher and the Brooklyn Dodgers.

  • 1943 Bathing Beauty (101 minutes) Director: George Sidney. Screenplay: Dorothy Kingsley, Allen Boretz, Frank Waldman, additional gags by Buster Keaton. Stars: Red Skelton, Esther Williams, Basil Rathbone, Ethel Smith, Harry James and His Music Makers.

  • 1946 Ziegfeld Follies (110 minutes) Director: Vincente Minnelli. (A revue.) Songs: Harry Warren, Arthur Freed, Ira and George Gershwin, Ralph Blane and Hugh Martin, Kay Thompson and Roger Edens. Stars: Fred Astaire, Gene Kelly, Lucille Bremer, Lucille Ball, Fanny Brice, Judy Garland, Kathryn Grayson, Lena Horne, James Melton, Red Skelton, Esther Williams, William Frawley, Virginia O’Brien, William Powell, and others.

  • 1946 The Show-Off (83 minutes) Director: Harry Beaumont. Screenplay: George Wells, based upon the play by George Kelly. Stars: Red Skelton, Marilyn Marxwell, Marjorie Main, Virginia O’Brien, Eddie “Rochester” Anderson, George Cleveland, Leon Ames.

  • 1947 Merton of the Movies (82 minutes) Director: Robert Alton. Screenplay: George Wells, Lou Breslow, based upon the novel by Harry Leon Wilson and the play by George S. Kaufman, Marc Connelly, additional gags by Buster Keaton. Stars: Red Skelton, Virginia O’Brien, Gloria Grahame, Leon Ames.

  • 1948 The Fuller Brush Man (93 minutes) Director: S. Sylvan Simon. Screenplay: Frank Tashlin, Devery Freeman. Stars: Red Skelton, Janet Blair, Don McGuire, Hillary Brooke, Adele Jergens.

  • 1948 A Southern Yankee (90 minutes) Director: Edward Sedgwick. Screenplay: Harry Tugend, from a story by Melvin Frank, Norman Panama; loosely based upon Buster Keaton’s The General (1927), with additional gags by Keaton. Stars: Red Skelton, Brian Donlevy, Arlene Dahl, George Coulouris.

  • 1949 Neptune’s Daughter (93 minutes) Director: Edward Buzzell. Screenplay: Dorothy Kingsley, additional dialogue by Ray Singer, Dick Chevillat. (Buster Keaton worked on a 31-page section of dialogue.) Stars: Esther Williams, Red Skelton, Richardo Montalban, Betty Garrett, Keenan Wynn.

  • 1950 The Yellow Cab Man (85 minutes) Director: Jack Donohue. Screenplay: Devery Freeman, Albert Belch. Stars: Red Skelton, Gloria de Haven, Walter Slezak, Edward Arnold, James Gleason.

  • 1950 Three Little Words (102 minutes) Director: Richard Thorpe. Screenplay: George Wells, based on the lives and songs of Bert Kalmar and Harry Ruby. Stars: Fred Astaire, Red Skelton, Vera Ellen, Arlene Dahl, Keenan Wynn.

  • 1950 Duchess of Idaho (98 minutes) Red Skelton has a cameo in this Esther Williams feature. 1950 The Fuller Brush Girl (85 minutes) Inspired by Red’s Fuller Brush Man, Skelton has a cameo in this Lucille Ball film.

  • 1950 Watch the Birdie (70 minutes) Director: Jack Donahue: Screenplay: Ivan Tors, Devery Freeman, a loose remake of The Cameraman (1928), with additional gags by Buster Keaton. Stars: Red Skelton (3 parts), Arlene Dahl, Ann Miller, Leon Ames.

  • 1951 Excuse My Dust (82 minutes) Director: Roy Rowland. Screenplay: George Wells, with additional gags by Buster Keaton. Stars: Red Skelton, Sally Forrest, MacDonald Carey, William Demarest, Monica Lewis.

  • 1951 Texas Carnival (77 minutes) Director: Charles Walters. Screenplay: Dorothy Kingsley. Stars: Esther Williams, Red Skelton, Howard Keel, Ann Miller, Paula Raymond, Keenan Wynn.

  • 1952 Lovely to Look At (105 minutes) Director: Mervyn LeRoy. Screenplay: George Wells, Harry Ruby, additional dialogue by Andrew Solt, based upon the musical comedy Roberta, from the novel by Alice Duer Miller, book and lyrics by Otto A. Harbach (additional and revised lyrics by Dorothy Fields), music by Jerome Kern. Stars: Kathryn Grayson, Red Skelton, Howard Keel, Marge Champion, Gower Champion, Ann Miller, Zsa Zsa Gabor.

  • 1953 The Clown (91 minutes) Director: Robert Z. Leonard. Screenplay: Martin Rackin, a remake of The Champ (1931). Stars: Red Skelton, Tim Considine, Jane Greer, Loring Smith.