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7/2/2013 2:33:00 PM Email this articlePrint this article 
July 18 grand opening for Red Skelton drawing fans nationwide
VINCENNES - Red Skelton fans from throughout the nation are coming to Vincennes on July 18 for the Grand Opening Celebration of the Red Skelton Museum of American Comedy.

The celebration and show comes on the 100th anniversary of Red's birth in a humble home within sight of the Museum and adjoining Red Skelton Performing Arts Center at Vincennes University.

"Reservations have come in from California, South Carolina, Florida, Arizona, Washington, Alabama, and five other states so far. It proves once again that Red Skelton touched the lives of people throughout the nation through his 70 years in show business-a remarkable career that started right here in Vincennes," said Dr. Phillip M. Summers, chair of the Red Skelton Museum Foundation Board.

One of Red's close friends, actor Jamie Farr of "M*A*S*H" fame, is coming to Vincennes for the celebration. He will be joined on stage by Red Skelton impersonator Tom Mullica, musical guests Sally Harmon and Frank Gruner, and Red's widow Lothian Skelton.

A fan of Skelton's radio show as a youngster, Farr credits Skelton with giving him his start in television.  Farr was a regular on "The Red Skelton

Show" for two seasons, one of America's top-rated and longest-running television shows. Farr calls Skelton one his "all-time heroes."

The Red Skelton Museum of American Comedy will feature Skelton memorabilia donated by Lothian Skelton valued at more than $4.5 million, including

original costumes and 200 original Skelton paintings.

The interactive exhibits include Skelton's famous characters, a biographical film in the museum theatre, a timeline of his life, and his interpretation of the Pledge of Allegiance. Plans are already underway to continue to expand the Museum with exhibits of Skelton's career in Vaudeville, radio, television and the movies.

Even before it is open, the Skelton Museum is proving to be a major attraction. The Association of Applied and Therapeutic Humor has announced it has selected Vincennes for its 2014 National Conference. Organizers expect between 200 and 300 professionals to travel to Vincennes, a city selected because of the Skelton Museum.

The "Red Skelton Show" was broadcast on television from 1951 to 1971 and earned Skelton three Emmy Awards. A prolific artist, writer, musical composer, and movie actor who performed to sell-out stage audiences nationwide, the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences awarded him its Governor's Award for lifetime achievement in 1986.

Grand opening celebration

The Grand Opening Celebration will include:

- 5:30 p.m. Special Ribbon Cutting Ceremonies;

- 6 p.m. Museum opens for tours until 10 p.m. (except during the show);

- 6 p.m.-VIP ticket-holder cocktail reception with Lothian Skelton that includes appetizers and wine;

- 7 p.m. Theatre doors open for seating;

- 7:30 p.m. Birthday Celebration begins in the Red Skelton Theatre, featuring actor Jamie Farr, Red Skelton impersonator Tom Mullica, musical guests Sally Harmon and Frank Gruner, and Lothian Skelton;

- 8:30 p.m. Dessert reception on the outside circle patio;

- 8:30 p.m. Museum tours continue until 10 p.m.

There are three ticket prices: $100 (VIP includes reception, commemorative pin, premier seating, dessert reception after the show, and self-guided tours of the museum throughout the evening), $50 (Patron includes commemorative pin, priority seating, dessert reception after the show, and self-guided museum tours) $30 - General Admission includes general seating, dessert reception after the show, and self-guided tours of the museum throughout the evening

The Grand Opening weekend also includes a Senior Day on July 19 with free entrance to the Museum for anyone over 60 years of age. The day will include the opportunity to be part of a video blog of "Red Skelton Stories" that will be added to the collection.

Family Day is July 20 with free entrance for persons 18 and under when accompanied by a parent. There will be special hands-on activities about comedy, humor and laughter.

For more information regarding the event, contact apratt@vinu.edu, or call 812-888-2105, or visit the web site www.redskeltonmuseum.org



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