Opening nears for new exhibits at Red Skelton museum in late comedian's Indiana hometown


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VINCENNES, Indiana — Events are being planned to mark the opening of new exhibits at the museum celebrating the career of the late comedian Red Skelton in his southwestern Indiana hometown.

The new exhibits come a year after the Red Skelton Museum of American Comedy opened in Vincennes on the 100th anniversary of his birth.

The exhibits will highlight Skelton's radio and film career, his personal life and his time volunteering with the USO and the Shriners, joining previous displays of memorabilia and videos about his influence on early television.

"It will look at his creative genius, his composing, art and authorship as well as his humanitarian efforts at the end of his career," museum marketing director Anne Pratt told the Vincennes Sun-Commercial (http://bit.ly/1ztzvEO ).

One interactive exhibit will let visitors perform alongside Skelton with the help of modern technology and a green screen — and get a few tips from Skelton on how to effectively tell a joke.

Pratt said interactive exhibits will help get younger visitors interested in the comedian known for characters such as Freddie the Freeloader and who died in 1997 at age 84.

"It's not just reading panels but having the opportunity to really experience his kind of comedy," she said.

Skelton's widow, Lothian, is scheduled to take part in opening events during the weekend of July 25-26, which will include a performance by Branson, Missouri-based Skelton impersonator Tom Mullica.

Pratt said plans are for the museum to add rotating exhibits and seek to attract school groups visiting the city that was Indiana's territorial capital and has sites such as the memorial to Revolutionary War figure George Rogers Clark.

"I want to show these school tour groups that Vincennes is not just a historic community but one with a legacy of laughter, too," she said.


Information from: Vincennes Sun-Commercial, http://www.vincennes.com

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