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MUCH IN THE same tradition of his contemporaries in comedy, Red Skelton made the transition from Radio to the new world of TV with nearly a bump in the road. Notable colleagues who also blazed the trail to the "tube" were: Bob Hope, Groucho Marx and Jack Benny.*
HAVING ALREADY STOCKPILED a stable of characters in his Bull Pen, all Red need do was to go ahead and visualize what the magic of Radio accomplished using our imaginations. Hence, we were treated to the likes of Clem Kadiddlehopper, San Fernando Red, Willie Lump-Lump and Cauliflower McPug in the flesh**. Missing in action and never having made the transition to the small screen was Junior, the Mean Widdle Kid.***
THE HOUR COMEDY/VARIETY series proved to be remarkable durable, having lasted a remarkable 20 or so seasons and two network switches. We all seemed to lock in on the Tuesday evening time slot and its customary presentation of Red and his guest stars. Along with these, his regulars included master Announcer, Art Gilmore and David Rose & His Orchestra. Mr. Skelton's theme song for so long was 'Holiday For Strings'; which is of course, a composition of Maestro Rose's.
HEARKENING BACK TO those days of yesteryear, one will doubtless observe that Comedy-Variety programs were a very popular staple of the networks' scheduling. Contrasted to the recent and present times, this genre seems almost non-existent Surely there are some very capable souls out there to give us the next RED SKELTON, JACK BENNY, CAROL BURNETTE or whoever have you.
COME ON NOW, you big-shot network "suits"; do it!
NOTE: * Others worth mentioning are ABBOTT & COSTELLO, JACKIE GLEASON and EDGAR BERGEN & CHARLIE Mc CARTHY. As for SID CAESAR and MILTON BERLE, while their shows were very successful, they weren't as popular on the Radio. (Schultz says that Sid Caesar was not on the radio very much, if at all)
NOTE: ** Mr. Skelton's characterizations were popular enough that Walter Lanz's Cartoon Studios based their character HOMER PIGEON on them.
NOTE *** Although a visual version of JUNIOR did appear in Red's starring feature film, THE FULLER BRUSH MAN, it was done with a child actor in the role. Junior was a casualty of progress; as was Lou Costello's SEBASTIAN ("....I'm a Bad Boy!")
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