Monday, April 26, 2021

Monday Morning (with a Focus on TV This Week)

Hi Kent,  

I just finished watching the Red Skelton YouTube video from 1963 that had the Beach Boys and Shirley Temple on it.  There is a segment at the end called The Silent Spot where Red pantomimes working construction on a high rise building.

Imagine my surprise where, at the beginning of the Silent Spot, they pan up the half-finished building to the top, and I see the name of the building is FOSHAY!

The Foshay Tower was an icon in Downtown Minneapolis (my home town.)  It was built in 1929 and modeled after the Washington Monument.  It was the tallest building in Minneapolis (32 floors) until 1972, when the IDS Tower was built.

It’s interesting to me that a show produced in either LA or New York would use a representation of a building that was built in Minneapolis!

Keep up the good work, Kent.

Matt Phillips

That is pretty cool … I wonder if perhaps it had some sentimental value to Red or his producers as well.

Ironically, the same day Gary Theroux’s Red Skelton reminisces ran in Forgotten Hits, Me-TV put out a piece on actress Linda Sue Risk, who as a VERY young girl, was able to convey her emotions perfectly on Red’s show …

Bobby Rydell perfected his stage chops on The Red Skelton Show, too.  Maybe THIS would be another one that Me-TV-FM could look into airing … episodes haven’t been seen on television since they last aired in the mid-1960’s.  In fact, think about ALL of the variety shows that were on TV back then … and all of the incredible musical guests that appeared on them.  Imagine running a Sunday Night of Entertainment TV by airing old clips of The Bob Hope Show, The Jack Benny Show, The Danny Kaye Show, The Red Skelton Show, The Dean Martin Show, Kraft Music Theater, etc., etc., etc.  They’re already running The Best of Ed Sullivan.  It would harken back to a time when variety TV kept families glued to their sets together, as they knew there’d be something for everybody coming up over the course of the next hour.  (kk) 

From Neal Sabin, head of Me-TV …

Lots of issues with clearing music rights. I’ve been offered Skelton but sans music. Watched a few and they are very dated. 


I would imagine a good percentage of these would be dated … it was a different era for comedy.  One would probably have to assemble a series of “Best Of Skelton” episodes, probably licensing thru his estate, to air the cream of the crop.

But honestly, it’s the music that ties all of this together between Me-TV and Me-TV-FM.  Likely the case with ALL of the show I’ve mentioned … although bootleg copies exist (and sometimes show up on YouTube) of some of these musical moments and they’re quite extraordinary for their time … like The Beach Boys clip we ran the other day from Red’s show.  Too bad all of these are destined to be lost to time … instead of enjoyed and shared.  (kk)


I did a little digging, looking into the list of Red’s musical guests,  and was able to find appearances listed for:

The Animals, The Association, Shirley Bassey, The Beach Boys, Pat Boone, Nat King Cole, Jackie De Shannon, The Fifth Dimension, The Four Seasons, Freddie and the Dreamers, The Hollies, Iron Butterfly (!!!), Jan and Dean, Jay and the Americans, Tom Jones, The Kinks, Billy J. Kramer and the Dakotas, The Lettermen, Manfred Mann, Johnny Mathis, The Paris Sisters, Lou Rawls, Paul Revere and the Raiders, Johnny Rivers, The Rolling Stones, Bobby Rydell, The Searchers, Simon and Garfunkel, Smith, Dusty Springfield, Three Dog Night, Dionne Warwick

A few years ago, Reelin' In The Years obtained the rights to many of these appearances, which are now available for licensing (but, unfortunately, not for home use):

It's a shame, really, because WE are the ones who would most appreciate adding these clips to our collections!


From my interview with Bobby Rydell …

>>>Bobby was a favorite of Red Skelton, who made Rydell a semi-regular on his TV series as Zeke Kaddiddlehopper, Clem's cousin.  (Gary Theroux) 

kk / FH:  You and Red Skelton really seemed to click together to the point that he made you a semi-regular on his television show ... what was he like to work with?  How did that bond develop?  Why do you think you two clicked?  

BOBBY RYDELL:  Red was very, very close to me and I was very close to him.  And I think he took me under his wing because, you know, he lost his son Richard ... I think he was 15 or 16 years old ... to leukemia.  

[EDITOR'S NOTE:  Skelton's son died ten days shy of his tenth birthday]  

And we became very close, to the point where he invited me out to his house in Palm Springs after we taped  one of The Red Skelton Hour shows and his wife said to me, "Bobby, I can count on one hand the number of people that Red has invited to his home in Palm Springs" ... and he flew me and my manager out to Palm Springs ... and then flew us back out from Palm Springs to Los Angeles and then we took a commercial airliner ... at that time TWA was the airline that was flying ... and so we got TWA and they flew us back from Los Angeles to Philadelphia.  But yeah, he was very close.  Matter of fact, I just did an infomercial with Darlene Love, and she's wonderful, and it's for Time-Life as well, and it'll be coming out, I guess, in a month or however long they take, you know, to get these things ready ... cut it, master it and so on and so forth ... and after that I believe they're coming out with some of the Red Skelton videos and they asked me to stay and talk about him, which I did, and I totally lost it.  I started crying. (gets choked up)  

kk:  Yeah ... well, that was a big step in your career, especially to happen so early on.  

BR:  Oh yeah, I did something like twelve shows with him.

You can read the whole thing here:

Here are a couple of clips of our FH Buddy Billy J. Kramer (and the Dakotas) appearing on The Red Skelton Hour, circa 1965 …

And, since they also came up the other day, here's another one of my favorite Smothers Brothers clips.

When this first aired in 1968, they fought the censors to get it on the air …

As we’ve said before, these guys were always pushing the envelope as to what could and couldn’t be said on tv … and this was a big one.

Yet I honestly believe that it would be even harder to get this clip on tv today …

It just isn’t “politically correct” … which is a shame … because what it IS, is hilariously funny.

The Brothers’ timing was always impeccable (so it’s rare to see Tommy flub up there right at the end of this bit.)  He may have played the dumb one, but Tommy knew EXACTLY what he was doing and, for the most part, orchestrated the tone of the show.

Don’t get me wrong …

We’ve still got some MAJOR issues to resolve, not only as a country, but as a “people” … and we’ve got a LONG way to go …

But in the process, America truly has lost its sense of humor … and that’s a shame … because this is an extremely funny bit.  I wonder, if you remove all the mental armor that we’ve all been conditioned to accept over the past twenty years or so, if you can still appreciate a little humor, just for humor’s sake.  (kk)