Happy Holidays from Red Skelton
Tom Raymond | Wausau, WI USA | 12/03/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"A very nice DVD collection. Unlike most of the Red Skelton DVDs, this is authorized by the Red Skelton Estate. The main episode, "The Plight Before Christmas," is in color, co-starring Greer Garson. In a nutshell, Freddie the Freeloader has a run-in with the law, escapes, and helps a flower lady escape as well. The flower lady is the actress Greer Garson in stage makeup, who later returns the favor by allowing the hobos to hold their annual Christmas program in her theater - a benefit for orphans. Nicely done, with some good Freddy the Freeloader moments, Red pantomiming, and just plain good entertainment. One nice piece of trivia: at the beginning, the action takes place in front of Valentina's Antique Shop -- Valentina is Red's daughter. The other features are in black and white, and include "Christmas with the Skeltons," where Red's various character (Clem Kadiddlehopper, Willy LumpLump, Cauliflower McPugg and Deadeye) drop by the Skelton home to wish seasons' greetings, including an appearance by Red's real-life wife, son Richard and daughter Valentina. Another Christmas episode is based on O. Henry's "The Cop and the Anthem," dealing with Freddie the Freeloader trying (& failing) to get arrested on Christmas Eve in order to have a warm place to stay the winter - heartwarming, and one of my favorite episodes of all time.
However, this "Christmas" DVD also has other holiday goodies, including Red Skelton's famous recitation & explanation of the Pledge of Allegiance, two Thanksgiving skits (one hilarious with Clem Kadiddlehopper, one less so).
In short, this 130 minute DVD is packed, and a bargain to boot. I enjoy it, and recommend it.
(In case you're wondering, the only thing that prevents me from giving it 5 stars is that it includes highlights from another excellent Christmas program, "Freddy and the Yuletide Doll" -- had they included that entire program, I would have given it an enthusiastic 5 stars.)"
A special treat for the holiday season
Midwest Book Review | Oregon, WI USA | 01/09/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Red Skelton Christmas offer the holiday-themed show "The Plight Before Christmas" and the extras "The Pledge of Allegiance", "The Thanksgiving Turkey", "Frozen Freddie", "Freddie and the Carolers", "Red Talks About Santa and Stair Climbing", and "Freddie Gets 90 Days". All DVDs are authorized by the Red Skelton estate, and all offer rip-roaring good clean fun. A special treat for the holiday season, for family viewing or as a gift, both the two volume Red Skelton: America's Clown Prince and Red Skelton Christmas would make enduringly popular additions to any community library DVD collection."
The Phantom | 12/22/2009
(3 out of 5 stars)
"I suppose that if you're a huge Red Skelton fan--and I'm not--this DVD would be a great find. I'm a fan of Christmas specials, and when viewed as that, this DVD is three stars and that's being generous.
The primary feature here is "The Plight Before Christmas" from 1981 (yep, Skelton still was active then--despite a ridiculous joke about "Cassius Clay" this special didn't originate in the mid '60s) featuring Red as Freddie the Freeloader along with guest star Greer Garson. Garson gets mistaken for a panhandler herself through a mixup, and hilarity ensues. Not really...Skelton is his usual cornball self, and it just isn't funny. It all comes off as being quite tired.
Interestingly, this special came several years before another Freddie the Freeloader Christmas one with Vincent Price that I think is far superior. Ran on HBO in the early '80s and I've not been able to locate it anywhere since...I don't think that a recording exists for sale.
The other items on the DVD, essentially afterthoughts, arent' even worth viewing. In some cases the audio has been replaced and the video--probably found in some old closet somewhere--is atrocious."