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September 2006

Letter From The Editor

The big news from The Plate Lady™ ® this month is that we have gotten in a lot of new plates and some of the plates that were previously out of stock. We are also working on getting in plates from the harder to get artists that people have been requesting. However, sometimes we sell out again soon after we get them in.

It's difficult to keep popular secondary market plates in stock for very long, so if you are looking for a particular plate, it's a good idea to send us an email with your request so that we notify you as soon as that plate comes back in.

We are also working on getting more accessories up. Many of the items we carry are not yet displayed on the web, so it never hurts to ask if you don't see what your looking for. We will be adding more accessories and more figurines before the holidays are upon us, so keep checking back for new additions.

We have discontinued adding extra seasonal articles to our newsletter due to time constraints, however, we are still looking for people who enjoy writing and want to contribute to our newsletter with a special interest article. If you are that person, you can find information on our 'Contact Us' page about how to send us an email with a copy of the article you want published. If it is approved, we will give you a permanant one way link to your website within the article.

This month our Artist's Profile features Red Skelton. His popular clown art plates can be found on our Clowns and Circus page at

Artist's Profile: Red Skelton (1913 - 1997)

Bernard Richard 'Red' Skelton was born in Vincennes, Indiana on July 18, 1913. He was a popular entertainer, comedian, writer, composer and accomplished painter. His individual paintings have been sold at auction for up to $80,000. He is best known for his clown persona 'Freddie The Freeloader'. Red Skelton was inducted into the Clown Hall of Fame in 1989.

Skelton became interested in performing at an early age. His father, who died shortly before his birth, had himself been a circus clown for the Hagenbeck & Wallace Circus, so it was no surprise that Skelton was facinated with clowns. His overwhelming desire was to be a clown and to make people laugh. At the age of 7 he was singing for pennies on the street to help his widowed mother. He also sold newspapers and took other jobs when he could. At the age of 10 he fell in love with show business, quit school, and left home to join a medicine show that was traveling through the Midwest.

By the age of 16 he had joined the vaudeville circuit and was performing stand-up and other comedy acts on showboats, in minstrel shows, in small night clubs, in burlesques and in circuses including the Hagenbeck & Wallace Circus, where his father had performed. In 1931 Skelton married his first wife, who became his vaudeville partner and later his chief writer and manager.

By 1937 Skelton was doing his act on Broadway and on Radio. In 1938 he made his movie debut in "Having A Wonderful Time" as Itchy Falkner. MGM quickly realized his potential and gave him a contract. Skelton appeared in over 40 MGM movies during the 1940s and 1950s and in 1965 he returned to the silver screen to do a cameo in "Those Magnificent Men In Their Flying Machines".

The Red Skelton Radio show aired from 1941 - 1953 during which time his act made famous the characters of 'Clem Kaddiddlehopper', 'George Appleby', 'Willy Lump Lump', 'Cauliflower McPugg', 'The Mean Widdle Kid', 'San Fernando Red', and the cross-eyed seagulls 'Gertrude and Heathcliffe'. These were characterizations that he had developed as part of his early comedy routines.

In 1951 "The Red Skelton Show" premiered on NBC and finished fourth in ratings in its first year. It won the Emmy Award for Best Comedy Show in 1953 and another Emmy in 1961 for Outstanding Writing Achievement. The Red Skelton Show aired on television for the next two decades until it was canceled in 1971.

Skelton continued to develop his early characters through the many comedy skits he did for his television show, but his greatest acclaim came when he added the pantomime clown 'Freddie The Freeloader', who became his most popular characterization of all and the one for which he is most remembered.

After the cancellation of his television show, Red Skelton had the time he needed to devote himself to becoming recognized as an accomplished oil painter. He became renowned for his oil paintings of clowns, and lithographs of his clowns brought in over $2.5 million a year.

Skelton was a composer and author, as well. He wrote hundreds of short stories and he composed about 8,000 songs during his lifetime. Skelton was also a long time supporter of children's charities including the Shriner's Crippled Children's Hospital and the Red Skelton Foundation in Vincennes, Indiana which cares for needy children.

For his lifetime contributions to entertainment, Skelton was awarded an honorary Doctorate of Literature from Emerson College of Boston, a Doctor of Human Letters from Vincennes University, and a doctorate of Theater Arts at Indiana State University. He was given the Governors Award of the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences at the Emmy Awards Ceremony in 1986.

Skelton continued to write short stories, compose music and perform for live audiences, including a performance at Carnegie Hall, throughout the remaining years of his life. He died of pneumonia at age 84, on September 17, 1997.

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