Red Skelton Performing Arts Center

Red Skelton Performing Arts Center

Welcome to the official site of the Red Skelton Performing Arts Center located on the campus of Vincennes University in Red's hometown, Vincennes, Indiana. As you explore this site, you'll read about the legend of Red as an entertainer and multi-faceted artist, his humanitarianism, and his boyhood.

You'll also learn about the Performing Arts Center itself with its European Opera- style seating, coming events, and its role in the community as a learning center for students. And, if you'd like to be part of the legacy, we will tell you how to become a part of the Red Skelton Museum Foundation.


Monday-Thursday: 9:00AM - 8:00PM
Friday: 9:00AM - 5:00PM
Saturday: 10:00AM - 5:00PM
Sunday: 12:00PM - 5:00PM

Map Location

Call us at 812-888-4039 or email DeEtta Welte -

Red Skelton Performing Arts Center
Vincennes University
1002 North First St.
Vincennes, IN 47591 

Visit the Red Skelton Museum located in the Red Skelton Performing Arts Center


Red Skelton Performing Art Center Events

Red Skelton Performing Arts Center Events

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About Red Skelton

The talent and whimsical flair of Red Skelton traverses stage, screen, radio, and television. Now add the titles of accomplished painter, author, and composer. To account for every contribution Red made to the world of the Arts is an impossible task. We hope this page gives you a small glimpse into the genius and "many faces" of Red Skelton.

Indiana records show that just one person, Richard Bernard Skelton, was born July 18, 1913, inside the house at 111 West Lyndale Avenue in Vincennes, Indiana. However, most fans of the award-winning comedian, actor, pantomimist, composer, painter, writer and humanitarian beg to differ.

Many believe several others were born in that humble house on the same date, and all earned fame like Skelton. There was country bumpkin Clem Kadiddlehopper, Junior the Mean Widdle Kid, lovable hobo Freddie the Freeloader, and many more.

Red Enters the Spotlight

Red Skelton entered the spotlight after a chance meeting at the Pantheon Theater in Vincennes, Indiana. As the story goes...

At the age of nine, Red was selling newspapers on the corner of 5th and Main streets in Vincennes, Indiana. A man approached Red and asked "What do they do in this town for excitement?" Red replied kindly, "There's a big New York road show in town tonight, with a comedian -- Ed Wynn." He pointed to Wynn's name on the marquee across the street. "That's what I'm going to do when I get older. I'm going to make people laugh," he added. The man asked if Red was going to see the show that night and Red honestly answered, "No, I don't have that kind of money." The man offered to talk to the manager about getting the young boy in to see the show, but Red insisted that he had to finish selling his last three papers. The man then presented one dollar to cover the rest of the newspapers, which, at the time, sold for three cents each.

Red ran home to tell his mother and gave her the dollar. She gave her son a dime to buy popcorn and for a cab ride home. When Red returned to the Pantheon, his new friend had a balcony seat waiting for him. The show began and Ed Wynn walked out from behind the curtain. "That's my friend down there, he got me my seat!" exclaimed Red. At intermission, Red ran backstage. Wynn asked the boy if he had ever seen an audience and, of course, the answer was no. The comedian held up the little red-haired boy up to the back of the curtain so he could see the audience returning to their seats.

"I fell in love with them then," Red would often reminisce.

During his 84 years, Skelton starred in most entertainment genres -- from traveling medicine shows, showboats, the circus and Vaudeville to radio, television, and motion pictures during his 84 years. He appeared in 36 feature films, had a successful network radio program for 15 years, and starred in the Red Skelton Show, which ran for 20 years and remains the second longest-running entertainment program ever in network TV history.

Red performed for eight U.S. presidents and three Roman Catholic Popes, composed more than 8,000 songs, 64 symphonies, wrote books, and his paintings and drawings remain art collectors' treasures.

His other achievements include Emmy awards for performing, writing and his TV show, two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for radio and television, and elections to the halls of fame for television, radio and clowns.

By all measures, Red Skelton is an American legend.


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Red's Paintings

America's most beloved clown created additional clown characters with a paint brush. His series of clown paintings and his drawings remain art collector treasures today. They were also reproduced for the mainstream and even for children in the form of over-sized coloring books. 
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The compositions of Red Skelton measure 8,000 songs and 64 symphonies. He conducted and composed for numerous albums as well as having his selections performed by the likes of Arthur Fiedler, the London Philharmonic and Van Clyburn. Red also recorded some of his favorite stories and poems like The Circus, Frogs, The Littlest Christmas Tree and, of course, The Pledge of Allegiance.
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Reading Red

Could you write one original short story a day? It is said that is exactly what Red Skelton did. The end result was approximately 4,000 short stories and full- length books. His titles include Old Whitey, The Ventriloquist, Red Skelton in Your Closet: Ghost Stories, Gertrude and Heathcliffe, and Clown Alley and Frog Follys coloring books.

Red's Pledge of Allegiance

Red's Pledge of Allegiance

I had this one teacher, he was the principal of the Harrison School, in Vincennes, Indiana. To me, he was the greatest teacher, a real sage of my time. He had such wisdom. We were all reciting the Pledge of Allegiance one day, and he walked over. This little old teacher - Mr. Lasswell was his name. He said:

"I've been listening to you boys and girls recite the Pledge of Allegiance all semester and it seems as though it is becoming monotonous to you. If I may, may I recite it and try to explain to you the meaning of each word?"

I - me, an individual, a committee of one.

Pledge - dedicate all my worldly goods to give without self-pity.

Allegiance - my love and my devotion.

To the Flag - our standard, Old Glory, a symbol of freedom. Wherever she waves, there is respect because your loyalty has given her a dignity that shouts freedom is everybody's job.

Of the United - that means that we have all come together.

States - individual communities that have united into 48 great states. 48 individual communities with pride and dignity and purpose, all divided with imaginary boundaries, yet united to a common cause, and that's love of country.

Of America.

And to the Republic - a republic - a state in which sovereign power is invested in representatives chosen by the people to govern. And government is the people and it's from the people to the leaders, not from the leaders to the people.

For Which it Stands!

One Nation - meaning, so blessed by God.

Indivisible - incapable of being divided.

With Liberty - which is freedom and the right of power to live one's life without threats or fear or any sort of retaliation.

And Justice - the principle and quality of dealing fairly with others.

For All. - which means, boys and girls, it's as much your country as it is mine.

And now, boys and girls, let me hear you recite the Pledge of Allegiance.

"I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."

Since I was a small boy, two states have been added to our country, and two words have been added to the Pledge of Allegiance - "under God." Wouldn't it be a pity if someone said, "That is a prayer," and that would be eliminated from our schools too?

- Red Skelton

ready to begin?