The MDA Telethon without Jerry Lewis spells the end of an era. Oh yes, we all knew that one day it would end. That one day Jerry would be absent. But no one thought that his tenure as National Chairman, Founder, and Front Man for MDA would end this way. One day we were all looking forward to another drama packed, star filled extravaganza, and the next thing we knew MDA was announcing that Jerry Lewis was no longer Chairman and that he would not be hosting the telethon. The ties between Jerry Lewis and MDA were severed.
There was no explanation either from Lewis or MDA as to what happened or why such a radical turn around had occurred. However, the Internet was alive and burning with anger, frustration and memories of the way it once was and would never be again. It was in deed the end of an era and the memories of past telethons came to mind. The memories of all the stars, Sammy Davis Jr. Frank Sinatra, Jerry’s son Gary Lewis, Comedians, Singers, and dancers, all there for one cause, to make it happen one more time for Jerry and his kids, effected by Nero muscular disease. This was the event, the one time when the sponsors could shine. Budweiser, 7 Eleven, The Firemen, and other fraternal organizations who made it their business to care. Introduced for many years by Jerry’s sidekick, the late but always memorable Ed McMahnn. Who will ever forget the reunion of Dean Martin and Jerry after so many years of separation, quietly put together by the Chairman of the Board the Great Frank Senatra who said when introducing an old friend who wanted to appear on the Telethon …..” I think it’s about time…..Yeah it’s about time”!
So many memories. That, it seems is what we are left with. There will be a Telethon of sorts. Six hours of Prime time on Sunday before Labor Day. It won’t even be on during Labor Day.
And why? Over what? Even in the end we, those who were avid fans of the telethon are left wondering what it was that caused such a dramatic turn of events? Is Jerry just too ill to go on. Is there a new health issue? We all know he is 85, and a very ill man. if that is the case, then just tell us. But if there were other reasons, then the least MDA could have done is to give this man the dignity and respect he so richly deserves with one last telethon, one last show. Give him the chance to remind all his kids that “When you walk through a storm, Hold Your Head Up High…….and to not be afraid of the Dark”. But MDA would not even let that happen. No, it seems they dropped Jerry Lewis like an old used sack of potatoes, without even a thank you, and bid you ado. That, is the irony of it all. That is why I think that MDA made a major, blunderious mistake. A miscalculation that will in the end cost them millions. Why, because while the patients are the cause, Jerry Lewis is the star, Jerry Lewis was and is the Telethon. No Jerry…..No Telethon.
What a sad commentary, and ending to a memorable era.
Thats my point of view……….Happy Labor Day…..and as usual…….God Bless America.