Every once in a while you come across an entertainment opportunity that really tugs at your heart. Sher and I attended such a show at Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. The Red Skelton Tribute show is the work of Brian Hoffman. He presents Red Skelton just as he was during the heyday of Skelton’s TV shows on CBS so many years ago.
Hoffman had a ten year run in Las Vegas but moved to Pigeon Forge a couple of years ago. I was able to talk with Brian before the show, and I asked him what prompted the move to Tennessee. He responded simply: “Divine intervention.” This set the stage for my learning about Brian and his calm and gentle demeanor. He explained that he loves putting on shows that are funny and filled with clean and clever comedy just as Red Skelton always performed.
He thoroughly loves presenting Red Skelton not only as a trip down memory lane for us baby boomers, but also as an education for the younger generation who have never heard of Red Skelton. Brian chuckled when he said that the younger generation includes youngsters including those in their late thirties!
The entertainment begins with a 30 minute pre-show presentation in slide show format. Accompanied by vintage songs from the 50’s and 60’s you are treated to a montage of pictures from days gone by. All your old favorite autos are pictured. There is a series of photos of movie stars from those days. Ed Wynn, Humphrey Bogart, The Marx Brothers, Audrey Hepburn and Hopalong Cassidy are but a few of those dispayed. Old toys, cereals, games and even ads are shown, all getting you ready for the show.
Brian starts his performance as Red Skelton doing standup. It is remarkable how much he looks, acts and sounds like Skelton. His unobtrusive interaction with the crowd in the intimate Starlight Theater is a big part of the show. Everyone feels at ease and at home during the patter. You will have a huge grin on your face between those outbursts of the laughter that keeps on coming.
During the show you will be treated to several of the many characters that Skelton made famous during his career. Hoffman nails each one of them perfectly. Remember the pair of seagulls named Gertrude and Heathcliff? They apperar often during the show. You will appreciate Clem Kadiddlehopper in his coat of many colors. The act is vibrant and energetic as Hoffman switches back and forth from routine to routine.
Hoffamn changes into the Freddie the Freeloader character is a very unique way. He sits with his back to the audience and delivers a beautiful monologue as he applies the makeup for the transformation to Freddie.
During the final portion of the show you will be treated to Skelton’s famous reading and interpretation of the Pledge of Allegiance to our flag. This heart warming finale will make you think, bring a tear to your eye and reinforce that you made the right decision to see Brian Hoffman as Red Skelton.
I know there are lots of great entertainment choices in Pigeon Forge, but do yourself and your family a favor and make sure that this show is on your list. Here is the Red Skelton Tribute website.