State to Dedicate Red Skelton Historical Marker

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VINCENNES -

The Indiana Historical Bureau will Friday hold a public dedication ceremony in Vincennes for a new state historical marker commemorating Red Skelton. Vincennes is the hometown of the famous actor and comedian, and is also home to the Red Skelton Museum of American Comedy.

The dedication ceremony is scheduled to begin at 5:30 p.m. at 111 West Lyndale Ave in Vincennes. The event will include guests such as Vincennes Mayor Joe Yochum and Skelton’s wife Lothian Skelton, Red Skelton Museum Foundation Director Anne Pratt, Foundation Chairman Mark Hill and others.

The state marker, entitled “One of America’s Clowns / Red Skelton," reads as follows:

Comedian Richard “Red” Skelton was born here in 1913. As a teenager, performed locally in minstrel shows and as a clown in circus. By 1930s he performed on vaudeville stages; became famous for skits such as “dunking donuts.” MGM signed Skelton to a film contract in 1940, advancing his comedy career. He solidified fame in 1941 with debut of his national NBC radio show. During WWII, Skelton served in the U.S. Army and performed numerous comedy shows for troops. In 1951, he helped popularize television with The Red Skelton Show, which aired for 20 years and won multiple Emmy Awards. Skelton was remembered for on-screen characters like Freddie the Freeloader and for his iconic interpretation of the Pledge of Allegiance. He died 1997.

The Museum of American Comedy was dedicated on July 18, 2013, which would have been Skelton's 100th birthday. This year marks the 20th anniversary of Skelton's death.

The IHB says the state historical markers "commemorate significant individuals, organizations, places, and events in Indiana history."

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