Red Skelton

Red Skelton

A bridge was built and named after him that spans the Wabash River separating Indiana and Illinois on US 50, just outside his hometown of Vincennes, Indiana. Vincennes University is also building a Performing Arts Center in his memory.

Although famous for his "drunk" comedy sketches, he never drank and was, in fact, allergic to alcohol.

Appears as the character Freddie the Freeloader on a 44¢ USA commemorative postage stamp in the Early TV Memories issue honoring "The Red Skelton Hour" (1951). The stamp was issued 11 August 2009.

At a cost of $16.8 million, Red Skelton Performing Arts Center was built on the Vincennes University campus. It was officially dedicated on Friday, February 24, 2006. The building includes an 850-seat theater, classrooms, rehearsal rooms and dressing rooms. The grand foyer is a gallery for Red Skelton paintings, statues and film posters. In addition to Vincennes University theatrical and musical productions, the theater hosts special events, convocations and conventions. Work is underway on the Red Skelton Gallery and Education Center to house the $3 million collection of Skelton memorabilia donated by Lothian Skelton. As of June 2009, part of the museum including a gift shop is open.

Clowns were his lifelong trademark. His clown paintings have sold for upwards of $80,000.

Got his first taste of the stage at "The Pantheon Theatre" in downtown Vincennes, Indiana, which is now being remodeled and the stage being named in his honor.

He became well-known as an outspoken proponent for the addition of the phrase "Under God" to the U.S. Pledge of Allegiance.

He insisted on getting his television skits done on the first take, even if it meant ad-libbing around blown lines and failed props. In one famous incident on live television, he managed to ad-lib while a cow defecated on stage ("Not only does she give milk, but also Pet-Ritz pies!").

He often made reference to his second wife, Georgia, as "Little Red."

He was a member of the Phi Sigma Kappa Fraternity.

He was a staunch supporter of the Republican Party.

He was awarded two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for Radio at 6763 Hollywood Boulevard and for Television at 6650 Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood, California.

He was extremely offended by "blue humor" and publicly made note of any comedian who used it because he felt that it cheapened the art of comedy. He very closely observed every skit that went on his show to make sure that it could not be twisted into a double double entendre.

His brother Paul Skelton worked as an uncredited prop man on Irwin Allen series such as "Lost in Space" (1965).

His daughter Valentina Marie Skelton was born on May 5, 1947. His son, Richard Freeman Skelton was born on May 20, 1948 and died on May 10, 1958 of Leukemia, just 10 days before his 10th birthday.

His father used to be a circus clown.

His first wife, a former usher, negotiated his 1951 $5 million, seven-year Hollywood contract.

In 1960 he purchased the old Charles Chaplin Studios on La Brea Ave., where he produced his weekly television shows. He established Red-Eo-Tape (Red-Tape) Video Productions. His three RCA TK-41 camera mobile units became the first live color production company in Hollywood.

In 1971, following a successful 30 year run on CBS (often placing among the top ten shows) his ratings finally slipped and "The Red Skelton Hour" (1951) was quickly canceled by the network. He never forgave them. Television historians have long suspected that he was a victim of the 1971 television purge that took place after the success of "All in the Family" (1968) wherein CBS rid itself of all "nice shows" and "rural shows" in favor of shows with edgier subject matter.

In 1986, as Clem Kaddiddlehopper, he received an Honorary Doctorate of Foolology from Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana.