Jerry Lewis Labor Day Telethon Brought Nation Together

This weekend we need a good memory.  A memory that is based on when we came together as a country.

I strongly suspect that many Americans still recall with fondness, Jerry Lewis, one of the biggest-hearted and dare I say one of the funniest men in this nation when he hosted the Muscular Dystrophy Telethon.

Most people admire Jerry Lewis, and applaud what he did for ‘his kids’.  God love him!

As a teenager, I watched several hours on Sunday night and then as the family planned for the cookout the set would be on and turned up to be heard throughout the house.  There was always a bustle of excitement when tote board numbers would change and Lewis would add his charm and wit to the higher cash totals that had been generated from his tireless work.  In my high school years, I would call and donate ten dollars and urge my classmates to do the same.  Several years my plea was reported on the local coverage.

America was one big community filling the boots of firefighters with money, people heading to the local TV affiliates to add their cash to the canisters, but most important of all just picking up the phone and making a pledge to help someone else.   While everyone was trying to make a difference for the cause, I always felt this was one of those times when we were all just a bit more united, a bit more of a family, a bit more of the type of people we really want to be as a nation.

Jerry Lewis was doing a telethon for a disease, but the effect had far larger and deeper ramifications.

Labor Day And Jerry Lewis: A Walk Down Memory Lane (With Video)

There will always be a special place in the national heart for Jerry Lewis.  Humanitarian extraordinaire.

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Readers might recall that on the Sunday of this weekend in years past the Parade section that accompanies the local newspaper would have a feature about the poster child for the Muscular Dystrophy Telethon along with the smiling face of one of our national treasures, Jerry Lewis.  But the telethon is no more and the man who started and sustained it for decades has died.    Years prior to this passing executives within the MDA foolishly and recklessly forced Lewis aside and things were never the same with the telethon.  Yes, I am still bitter about that action.

I strongly suspect many feel the same sense of nostalgia around the country about Lewis, a man who exemplified decency and an abiding commitment to ‘his kids’.

Over the many years of my life, I watched several hours of the telethon on Sunday night and then into Labor Day.  There was always a bustle of excitement when tote board numbers would change and Lewis would add his charm and wit to the higher cash totals that had been generated from his tireless work.  In my high school years, I would call and donate ten dollars and urge my classmates to do the same.  Several years in a row my plea was reported on the local coverage.

America was one big community filling the boots of firefighters with money, people heading to the local TV affiliates to add their cash to the canisters, but most important of all just picking up the phone and making a pledge to help someone else.   While everyone was trying to make a difference for the cause, I always felt this was one of those days when we were all just a bit more united, a bit more of a family, a bit more of the type of people we really want to be as a nation.

Jerry Lewis was doing a telethon for a disease, but the effect had far larger and deeper ramifications.

He remains one of the best examples of humanity I have known in my lifetime.

Here is a classic example of the magic we came to expect on his telethons.

Still Loving Jerry Lewis On Labor Day Weekend

This weekend we need a good memory.  A memory that is based on when we came together as a country.

I strongly suspect that many Americans still recall with fondness, Jerry Lewis, one of the biggest-hearted and dare I say one of the funniest men in this nation when he hosted the Muscular Dystrophy Telethon.

Most people admire Jerry Lewis, and applaud what he did for ‘his kids’.  God love him!

As a teenager, I watched several hours on Sunday night and then as the family planned for the cookout the set would be on and turned up to be heard throughout the house.  There was always a bustle of excitement when tote board numbers would change and Lewis would add his charm and wit to the higher cash totals that had been generated from his tireless work.  In my high school years, I would call and donate ten dollars and urge my classmates to do the same.  Several years my plea was reported on the local coverage.

America was one big community filling the boots of firefighters with money, people heading to the local TV affiliates to add their cash to the canisters, but most important of all just picking up the phone and making a pledge to help someone else.   While everyone was trying to make a difference for the cause, I always felt this was one of those times when we were all just a bit more united, a bit more of a family, a bit more of the type of people we really want to be as a nation.

Jerry Lewis was doing a telethon for a disease, but the effect had far larger and deeper ramifications.

 

Memories Of The Jerry Lewis Labor Day Telethons

There will always be a special place in the national heart for Jerry Lewis.  Humanitarian extraordinaire.

On Sunday I noted that the Parade section that accompanies the local newspaper did not have a feature that was always tradition on the Labor Day weekend.  Over the years the front of the simple magazine insert would have a photo of the poster child for the Muscular Dystrophy Telethon along with the smiling face of one of our national treasures, Jerry Lewis.  But the telethon is no more and the man who started and sustained it has died.    Years back some of the executives within the MDA forced Lewis aside and things were never the same with the telethon.

I strongly suspect many feel the same around the country.  Not much is mentioned about it any more but if a poll were held I think my view would be demonstrated in the majority.  Most people admire Jerry Lewis, and applaud what he did for ‘his kids’.  God love him!

Over the many years of my life I watched several hours on Sunday night and then into Labor Day.  There was always a bustle of excitement when tote board numbers would change and Lewis would add his charm and wit to the higher cash totals that had been generated from his tireless work.  In my high school years I would call and donate ten dollars and urge my classmates to do the same.  Several years in a row my plea was reported on the local coverage.

America was one big community filling the boots of firefighters with money, people heading to the local TV affiliates to add their cash to the canisters, but most important of all just picking up the phone and making  a pledge to help someone else.   While everyone was trying to make a difference for the cause, I always felt this was one of those days when we were all just a bit more united, a bit more of a family, a bit more of the type of people we really want to be as a nation.

Jerry Lewis was doing a telethon for a disease, but the effect had far larger and deeper ramifications.

 

“Dean And Me” By Jerry Lewis Makes For Bittersweet Read

Over the past several days I read one of those books that has been on my shelves waiting for the perfect time to open the cover.  The recent death of Jerry Lewis was the impetus to take in, Dean And Me, the story of how two geniuses found each other and struck the magic spell America was seeking following World War II.   Having been a Jerry Lewis fan since my movie-watching years started I was truly struck with how he bared his soul about being lonely as a boy and into his adult years, needing a ‘big brother’, and how Dean Martin was far more than just the other half of an entertainment duo.

As the pages turned I found myself at times laughing out loud and in a spirited way as this memoir at times was simply hilarious.  But then it could be mighty moving and tragic, too.    There were so many powerful stories all told with warmth, what surely was penned with some gut honesty, and a mature view of the past which comes with age.  Lewis gives a view of his life and how Martin became a part of it from the springtime in 1946 to their sad and touching final meeting in a restaurant.  It really was a 50-year love story.   I am so glad to have had it on my shelves to read this week.

 

Jerry Lewis, King Of Timeless Comedy, Dies At 91

Like most Americans the memories of Jerry Lewis runs through my mind today.  From the old movies that I from time to time saw on my grandparents television when I was boy, the caring humanitarian that made Labor Days more than just a time to picnic with the family, to his wildly hilarious live show I attended at the Madison Civic Center the memories are crisp and meaningful. I truly had tears in my eyes from laughing when Lewis took the stage in the 1990’s and count that night as one where I saw living legend.

Today the man who gave the gift of humor to folks worldwide died at the age of 91.

Over the recent years I have noted, each Labor Day how I missed Lewis on his telethon where he had given his heart and soul to each year.  Last year I penned the following.

If you are like me than perhaps you too opened up the Sunday newspaper and noticed the Parade section did not have the face of a sweet child on its cover.  For so many years of my life the poster child for the Jerry Lewis Labor Day Telethon was front and center as a way to call attention to the Muscular Dystrophy Association’s annual telethon to raise money and awareness of the disease.  Watching the telethon was always a part of the Labor Day weekend as much as picnics and frolicking in the sunshine.

My deep respect for Jerry Lewis as a humanitarian is as strong now as ever.  His compassion and strong sense of making sure the world can be a better place tomorrow by the actions we take today remains his legacy.

That is how I wish to sum up the life of this man who will forever remain a part of our smiles.  The very ones he has created.

Godspeed, Jerry.  We love you.

Remembering Jerry Lewis Labor Day Telethon

If you are like me than perhaps you too opened up the Sunday newspaper and noticed the Parade section did not have the face of a sweet child on its cover.  For so many years of my life the poster child for the Jerry Lewis Labor Day Telethon was front and center as a way to call attention to the Muscular Dystrophy Association’s annual telethon to raise money and awareness of the disease.  Watching the telethon was always a part of the Labor Day weekend as much as picnics and frolicking in the sunshine.

My deep respect for Jerry Lewis as a humanitarian is as strong now as ever.  His compassion and strong sense of making sure the world can be a better place tomorrow by the actions we take today remains his legacy.

With that said I want to take a few minutes of your time with the following classic memory of a telethon event from 1976.

Labor Day Memories Of Jerry Lewis

For decades Labor Day and Jerry Lewis was akin to hamburgers and catsup.  One just naturally meant the other.  But this Labor Day, as in the recent past, means that once again with no major telethon “Jerry’s Kids” are without their greatest advocate.  For the millions of people around the nation who recall and admire Jerry Lewis–of which I am one–comes this reminder of how it once was.