Old Wives' Tales
Radio & TV
Toxin du jour
Claim: In 1969, comic Red Skelton lamented on his weekly television show that the Pledge of Allegiance might someday be considered a "prayer" and eliminated from public schools.
Example: [Skelton, 1969]
Origins: Red Skelton, a veteran comic who successfully plied his trade as a sentimental clown figure in vaudeville and radio, delighted television audiences for twenty years playing characters he had perfected on radio
Skelton then delivered to his audience (accompanied by a background of string music) a stirring version of the explanation provided to his school class by their teacher so many years earlier (and a recitation of the pledge itself), as quoted above. Skelton's explication and rendition of the Pledge of Allegiance proved to be quite popular and widely acclaimed, and in response to public demand it was issued in print and pressed into
But in 1969, the Supreme Court decisions that eliminated compulsory prayer and Bible reading in public schools as unconstitutional, Abington School District v. Schempp and Murray v. Curlett, were still fairly recent (having been handed down in 1963), and protests over American military involvement in Vietnam had rendered the American flag as much a symbol of divisiveness as of unity. Skelton, a soft-spoken, sentimental personality who ended every program with the invocation "Good night, and may God bless," added a coda to
Skelton performed a similar explication of the Canadian national anthem, "O Canada," during a visit to that country in 1990:
"O Canada": I see mountains and valleys and rivers and trees; it is truly Mother Nature's warehouse.Both of these items are reminiscent of a Christmas segment from the "Amos 'n' Andy" radio program, one which first aired in 1930 and was repeated annually (and was filmed for the 1952 Christmas Day episode of the short-lived "Amos 'n' Andy" television series). As Amos' daughter Arbadella lies in her bed on Christmas Eve, her father tenderly explains the meaning of the Lord's Prayer to her:
"Our home and native land": A place where families live with dignity on rich soil that shares food and beauty.
"True patriot": Patriotism, a pride, a privilege to say, I, me, an individual, a committee of one, and dedicate all my worldly goods, to give without self-pity.
"love in all thy sons command": That powerful youth that gives all their love and devotion, holding the standard with the Maple Leaf high in the air; for it is a symbol of courage and wherever she waves, she shouts "Freedom is everybody's job."
"With glowing hearts we see thee rise": A warmth that incubates incentive; wisdom that feeds beyond superstition and ignorance.
"the true north strong": She is that compass needle that points to inspiring reality, and the courage to struggle on, to find a dream and make it come true.
"and free": That right of power for one to live his own life without fear or stress or any sort of retaliation.
"And stand on guard, O Canada": Not that we want to flaunt our strength, but to be capable of facing the strongest should that enemy appear.
"We stand on guard for thee": we protect all doctrines and share thy spirit of logic and reasoning.
"O Canada, glorious and free!": That means justice, the principle and qualities of dealing fairly with others.
"O Canada , we stand on guard for thee": So we can stand proud and say to our neighbor, "This is as much my country as it is yours."
ARABDELLA: I've been saying the Lord's Prayer with Mommie. What does the Lord's Prayer mean, Daddy?
AMOS: The Lord's Prayer? Well, darlin', I'll 'splain it to you. It means an awful lot, and with the world like it is today, it seems to have bigger meaning than ever before.
ARABDELLA: But what does the Lord's Prayer really mean, Daddy?
AMOS: Now, you lay down, and you listen. The first line of the Lord's Prayer is this: "Our Father which art in Heaven"
ARABDELLA: That would be wonderful, Daddy.
AMOS: Then it says — "Give us this day our daily bread"
ARABDELLA: Yes, Daddy.
AMOS: Well, that means we mus' keep the Golden Rule and do unto others as we would want them to do unto us. And then it says
Last updated: 9 March 2007
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