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Labor Day MDA Telethon A Thing Of The Past

Ahh the long Labor Day weekend. In years’ past, that used to mean on Sunday night, Jerry Lewis would start the 20 or so hour Labor Day MDA Telethon. A virtual Who’s Who of stars and would-be stars entertained and company spokesmen brought out check after check. Then finally at 7pm on Labor Day Monday, Jerry would throw his arm back to the big tote board, and the new “bigger-than-last-year” total would flash, balloons would fall, and everyone felt good about themselves. This year, however, that is all a thing of the past.

Flash back to last year. Jerry Lewis was unceremoniously dropped as MDA Chairman and host of the telethon. And it just felt different. Kinda like the first few nights Jay Leno took over for Johnny Carson in 1992. It was still “The Tonight Show”, but it wasn’t “Carson”. It was still the MDA telethon, but it wasn’t “Jerry’s kids” anymore. They still raised 61 million dollars. But it just wasn’t the same.

Now word is out the Telethon is out, being replaced by the three hour MDA “Show of Strength” fundraising promotion Sunday night starting at 8 on channels like WGN America. It’s not even being carried locally this year for the first time in a long time…probably since the late 50’s. The whole thing is pre-taped and there will be no toteboard. The MDA Telethon is official over.

RIP Jerry Lewis.


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