Red Skelton began his television show in the fall of 1951 and it became a national treasure immediately. Two years into the run NBC dropped it and CBS picked it up. It was then that the show moved into its comfortable time slot of Tuesday.
It was one of the FIRST shows on CBS in color and was a groundbreaking variety show that set the example for the popular variety show formats of the 60’s and 70’s.
The format was simple. An opening monologue from Red followed by a performance by the guest star.
Comedy sketches were a skelton staple. Characters like Clem Kadiddlehopper, Freddie the Freeloader and Deadeye brought audiences to their knees with laughter.
The show’s end began in 1970 even though the show wouldn’t end until 1971. Television was going through a huge “purge” of the old school programming and bringing in the younger skewed shows.
For its last season NBC picked up the show but changed it dramatically….a formula that didn’t work. One of the finest variety shows of the 50’s and 60’s ended in March of 1971.