Tribute to Red Skelton coming on February 14

Entertainer Tom Mullica will pay tribute to the gentle sweetness, improvisational skills and comic genius of Red Skelton, America’s beloved clown, in a performance at 3 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 14, at the Fine and Performing Arts Center at Western Carolina University.

Mullica embodies Skelton through characters including Clem Kadiddlehopper, the Mean Widdle Kid, Willie Lump Lump and Cauliflower McPugg. The show, part of WCU’s Galaxy of Stars Series, also includes Skelton’s biography.

“Red Skelton: A Performance Tribute by Tom Mullica” is authorized by Skelton’s widow and the Red Skelton estate. The fan site named Mullica the best tribute artist of 2009, writing that his “resemblance to Red Skelton is remarkable,” including his “voice, expressions and timing.”

Skelton, who died in 1997, performed widely on stage, radio, television and film from the 1930s through the 1960s. He is well-known for his long-running weekly television comedy show on CBS.

Mullica is skilled at magic, ventriloquism and pantomime. He had his own nightclub and comedy act for many years and has performed across this country and abroad. Mullica befriended Skelton when the late comedian was a guest in his club. After Skelton gave Mullica permission to use his material, Mullica began writing his tribute in 1996 and has performed it since.

The final installment of the Galaxy of Stars 2009-10 season is the Ballet Magnificat! production of “The Hiding Place” at 3 p.m. Sunday, April 18.

Tickets for the Red Skelton tribute cost $25 for the general public; $20 for WCU faculty and staff and people 60 years and older; and $5 for students ages 5 and older. To purchase tickets, visit the FAPAC box office or call the box office at 828-227-2479 for Visa and MasterCard orders. To order online, go to