I saw where we picked up another hoops recruit who is coming in from Vincennes U in Indiana. That Vincennes U looks to be a very nice campus. Famed comedian Red Skelton was born in Vincennes and Vincennes U appropriately has a nice Performing Arts Center there named after him. I was thinking back and remembered that Red Skelton made an appearance on the WIU Campus at least once in the 70s, maybe even earlier back in the 30s, I looked up the Courier Archives and found the story about his visit back in 1978. He packed in a very nice crowd for Parent's Day that year. Why is it these kind of events do not exist today? I am sure there are many factors involved but I really miss these shows on campus. Maybe not a big deal to today's youth with all the gadgets they have to play with. Below is the Courier review of Red's show in Western Hall.
[IMAGE (PHOTOGRAPHS) a man sitting in a chair laughing, a man pointing to his head, standing in front of a microphone] Skelton Was Incurable Ham Sat. Night By: J. Chuck Schaefer
An incredibly full house attended the banquet of entertainment Saturday night at Western Hall, as UUB presented Red Skelton in an outstanding performance that climaxed to the parents of Western's students. Dale Hopper and the WIU Jazz band launched the affair, with a quick paced selection entitled ""Reunion at Newport"". ""An Old Colonial Monk"" slowed the tempo somewhat, leading into a slow paced tune called ""Say it Softly"". In what could have been interpreted as a cutting comment on the quality of the band's musical selection, an anxious corwd applauded the announcement that ""Look What They've DoneTo My Song"" would be the final jazz melody of the evening. The overwhelming approval of the crowd following their presentation, however, proved that the WIU Jazz Band's efforts were held in high esteem by all. An eon of about twenty minutes separated the thirty minute musical performance from the artist we'd all been impatiently awaiting. Rolling out a musical red carpet to welcome our guest, Conductor Jerry Kay's all student band greeted Red Skelton with a fun tune that Red had composed himself. A standing ovation made the respected Red star feel right at home in a town he'd not visited since 1931. Commenting on the Macomb square and the re facing of the Macomb Courthouse, Red was amazed that the Square was still under construction since 1931. ""It'll be a real nice town if you ever get it finished!"" Wondering how many people work in the Macomb Courthouse, Red got a revealing reply ""only about half!"" For a gentleman of his years, Red Skelton was remarkably spirited and limber. He seems to defy the accepted limits of a man his age. According to Red, there's three definite signs that old age is setting in. ""One is loss of memory"" � and a confused Skelton couldn�t remember the other two. ""My mind wanders"", stated Red, ""but at my age, it doesn�t wander very far."" Red opened up his life to the Western bizarre situations that take place in his life. A typical example was the poor man's bandaged fingers, whose misery was the result of his ambitious desire to play the minute waltz in thirty seconds. ""I can be such a ham"", confessed Red, but quickly retracted his statement because hams can be cured. Red Skelton gave us several examples of his expertise in three different genres of mime from the French school, from the Italian style and from the Warsaw Group. Anyone who missed the performance can't appreciate the agility by which Red performs his mimes. An emphasis on loneliness cropped up in several pantomimes, and gave us a chance to laugh at something that we all have had to endure. Several points in Red's show, this being one of them, gave us a vantage point outside the shadow of the comedian that too often eclipse the artistic core of this talented performer. Red Skelton's roots run deep, as we saw at other points in his show that saluted the Pledge of Allegiance, and in his farewell instructions that we are here to build, and not destroy. Encoring his delighted audience, Red Skelton gave us his version of the Guzzler's Gin Poetry Program. Applause, awards and sincere gratitude all bade a fond farewell to a man who alarmed a crowd on a cold Saturday night. And no, Red; we never got tired. Red's Family _ from page 1 ""If they sell violence on TV people stay in. They want to power your thinking,"" he said. Skelton has been touring the states performing for conventions, state fairs, and colleges. He has a reason behind it. ""If I go back for a special on TV I want to know what the people are going to laugh at. I want to find out how right or wrong the networks were."" Even though Skelton's TV show was cancelled he said that he had wanted to get out of his contract five years prior. Why? ""Because I wanted to be missed,"" he said. ""Now, most people walk up and say 'We miss your show. We don't like the comedy today.' ""Disappointed is Skelton's feeling toward television today.""I think that it will be one of the first branches of entertainment that has been killed in its infancy."" Skelton, a man dedicated to his family as well as career waked at 6 and retires at 10. But he doesn't sleep at that time. Every night he paints a different clown portrait. Also he calls his 39 year old wife. In the morning when he rises he paints more, writes short stories, writes a love letter to his wife and again calls her. He calls himself a 33rd Degree Mason. ""I believe in God."" ""Young people who say that they can't find God are like a thief who can't find a policeman they're not looking."" When asked about his high point in his career Skelton's comment was, ""It hasn't happened yet. To me each breath is an adventure."" Skelton was asked where he grew up. ""I didn't,"" he said. An artist who enjoys both pantomime and comedy calls himself the second greatest clown. He described the difference between comedy and a clown. ""A comedian uses topical truths and exaggerates them ... But a clown, without saying anything, loves mankind so much that he mimes without hating anything.'' Skelton has been asked to do a new show. ""I've turned down new shows every. If you don't do it their way they won't accept it."" And Skelton will not give in. Skelton enjoyed his stay here in Macomb. ""The people are very friendly. They don't put on anything. They think before they ask questions. They are very gentle with what they ask. Chicago is a great show town too."" ""I love people!"" Skelton exclaimed. And the people of Macomb love you too, Red!
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Miscellaneous discussions. Things that don't have anything to do with Western, Leatherneck Athletics, college sports in general, etc.
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