CinemaDave (cinemadave) wrote,

Remember the Jerry Lewis MDA Telethon?

I was a bored eight-year-old when I discovered Jerry
Lewis on some talk show. When the show went on for
over an hour, I asked my Dad about it. Dad told me it
was a telethon and that Jerry Lewis does it every
Labor Day. Here was this goofball, taking pratfalls
and raising money to cure a disease I could not
pronounce. When the telethon cracked 7 million
dollars, the audience went crazy and Jerry Lewis
danced a jig to the Burt Bacharach tune, “What the
World Needs Now is Love.” Lewis then concluded this
epic 21 and ½ program by singing “You'll Never Walk
Alone” from Rogers & Hammerstein’s musical "Carousel."

The fact that somebody could act so goofy and help
people had a profound influence upon me. As the years
went on, I usually watched as much as I could and
contributed some change on my dresser in the hopes
that they would mention my name on television. When I
started High School, I noted that the entertainment
was not as good as before and that Jerry Lewis was no
longer funny, but cranky and obnoxious.

With the advent of cable television, "The Jerry Lewis
MDA Telethon" seemed to have lost much of it’s
luster. There used to be so much hype that preceded
the event. Radio stations would compete with one
another and sit on the telephone during the local
breaks. Corporations, bars and restaurants used to run
fund raising contests and there was so much community
involvement. Everybody won who participated, yet that
community spirit appears to be lost. Nobody seems to
talk about "The Jerry Lewis Telethon" around the
water cooler anymore.

In spite of the low profile, "The Jerry Lewis MDA
Telethon" survives and thrives. The goal remains the
same, raise ONE dollar more than last year. This 2005 telethon
fell short of that goal, but 54.9 million dollars is
nothing to sneeze at given this New Orleans tragedy.
Part of the money raised will be dedicated to help
the victims of Hurricane Katrina.

This year marked the 40th Annual MDA Telethon.
While Norm Crosby and does not have the star power as
Video Music Award winners Green Day, the cause of MDA is
more noble than the VMA. For more
information and a fun, life affirming website –

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