Red Skelton Movies

Ann Rutherford, Red Skelton, Virginia Grey in Whistling in the Dark
Ann Rutherford, Red Skelton, Virginia Grey in Whistling in the Dark. Photo: Courtesy Turner Classic Movies

Red SkeltonRed Skelton's “Summer Under the Stars” day is Wednesday, Aug. 19.

Turner Classic Movies will show fifteen Red Skelton films, most of which I've never seen. With perhaps one or two exceptions, they've been on TCM a number of times – there are no premieres in the list – but Skelton, for some inexplicable reason, remains one of the few stars of the '40s that I don't know very well. (In fact, I'm totally unfamiliar with his television work.)

That's strange, I admit, as I actually find him more likable (though not necessarily funnier) than the majority of film comedians then or now, and his leading ladies were usually quite talented: Eleanor Powell, Jane Greer, Lucille Ball, Marilyn Maxwell, Arlene Dahl, Gloria DeHaven, Janet Blair, Esther Williams, Ann Rutherford. If they couldn't act, they could dance; if they couldn't act or dance, they could swim; if they couldn't do any of that, they at least had a knack for looking great, whether in black and white or in color.

The Fuller Brush Man with Red SkieltonOf the scheduled Skelton films, I've only seen three: Having Wonderful Time, a minor comedy starring Ginger Rogers and Douglas Fairbanks Jr.; Du Barry Was a Lady, a sumptuous (in color) mix of absurdist comedy and period piece that is perfectly watchable though unfortunately it lacks the edge of director Roy Del Ruth's Warner Bros. films; and The Fuller Brush Man, which I saw quite a while back – but I never forgot Janet Blair's loveliness, a scene featuring way too many people inside a closet, and the hilarious sequence in which hero and heroine smack gangsters with the help of a jumping bed. Or am I dreaming this? Gotta check this one out again.

Also, I hope that TCM will show Skelton's 1939 short Seeing Red, which is one of the quirkiest Vitaphone shorts I've seen.

 

Pacific Time

19 Wednesday

3:00 AM Having Wonderful Time (1938)
A New York girl finds love at a summer resort. Cast: Ginger Rogers, Douglas Fairbanks Jr., Lucille Ball. Dir.: Alfred Santell. Black and white. 70 min.

4:15 AM Ship Ahoy (1942)
A dancer sailing to Puerto Rico hides government messages in her tap routines. Cast: Eleanor Powell, Red Skelton, Bert Lahr. Dir.: Edward Buzzell. Black and white. 95 min.

6:00 AM I Dood It (1943)
A tailor nurses an unrequited crush on a stage star. Cast: Red Skelton, Eleanor Powell, Lena Horne. Dir.: Vincente Minnelli. Black and white. 103 min.

7:45 AM Du Barry Was A Lady (1943)
A night club employee dreams he's Louis XV, and the star he idolizes is his lady love. Cast: Red Skelton, Gene Kelly, Lucille Ball. Dir.: Roy Del Ruth. Color. 101 min.

9:30 AM Show-Off, The (1946)
A man's loud-mouthed bumbling almost ruins his new wife's family. Cast: Red Skelton, Marilyn Maxwell, Marjorie Main. Dir.: Harry Beaumont. Black and white. 83 min.

11:00 AM Southern Yankee, A (1948)
A bellboy masquerades as a spy and lands behind enemy lines during the Civil War. Cast: Red Skelton, Arlene Dahl, Brian Donlevy. Dir.: Edward Sedgwick. Black and white. 90 min.

12:45 PM Watch The Birdie (1950)
A photographer falls for a rich girl and gets mixed up with crooks. Cast: Red Skelton, Arlene Dahl, Ann Miller. Dir.: Jack Donohue. Black and white. 71 min.

2:00 PM Yellow Cab Man, The (1950)
An inventor's unbreakable glass attracts the attention of businessmen and gangsters. Cast: Red Skelton, Gloria DeHaven, Walter Slezak. Dir.: Jack Donohue. Black and white. 84 min.

3:30 PM Excuse My Dust (1951)
An inventor's new automobile could put his girlfriend's livery stable out of business. Cast: Red Skelton, Sally Forrest, Macdonald Carey. Dir.: Roy Rowland. Black and white. 83 min.

5:00 PM Whistling In The Dark (1941)
A radio detective is kidnapped and forced to plan the perfect murder. Cast: Red Skelton, Ann Rutherford, Conrad Veidt. Dir.: S. Sylvan Simon. Black and white. 78 min.

Whistling in Dixie6:30 PM Whistling In Dixie (1942)
A radio detective's southern honeymoon is cut short by the discovery of a murder. Cast: Red Skelton, Ann Rutherford, George Bancroft. Dir.: S. Sylvan Simon. Black and white. 74 min.

8:00 PM Fuller Brush Man, The (1948)
A bumbling salesman gets mixed up in murder. Cast: Red Skelton, Janet Blair, Don McGuire. Dir.: S. Sylvan Simon. Black and white. 92 min.

9:45 PM Bathing Beauty (1944)
A songwriter enrolls in an all-girl school to court a pretty gym teacher. Cast: Red Skelton, Esther Williams, Basil Rathbone. Dir.: George Sidney. Color. 101 min.

11:30 PM Whistling In Brooklyn (1943)
A radio sleuth infiltrates the Brooklyn Dodgers to solve a murder. Cast: Red Skelton, Ann Rutherford, “Rags” Ragland. Dir.: S. Sylvan Simon. Black and white. 87 min.

1:00 AM Clown, The (1953)
In this remake of The Champ, a drunken clown tries to make a comeback so he can keep his son. Cast: Red Skelton, Jane Greer, Tim Considine. Dir.: Robert Z. Leonard. Black and white. 91 min.

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3 Comments to Red Skelton Movies

  1. Sofia J . Jacobsen

    I had the pleasure of meeting Red Skelton several times at the Post Office in Rancho Mirage, California.. He drove a shiney rolls royce and I drove a Ford Pinto wagon… Later when I worked
    retail at K mart he would come in and shop!! I even sold him a television set!! A fine gentleman and
    great customer!!

  2. Cynthia Drumheller

    When are3 they going to put Watch the Birdie on DVD?

  3. sox

    Red Skelton was a very talented comedian. He was as good as Bob Hope, maybe even better. He was also a kind man, a good man. He should have won an Oscar for his good deeds and for his career.