Sunday, September 06, 2009

It's Labor Day weekend, and you know what that means

Of course...the Jerry Lewis telethon for Muscular Dystrophy.

As a cause, it is worthy and Lewis is to be lauded for the years - half a century now - that he's put into raising money for "his kids."

As entertainment, it's always fascinated me. The years have gone by, but Jerry hasn't really changed much. When you watch the show - and yes, I watched the first half-hour or so tonight - you get the feeling that Jerry is stuck in a time warp, thinking that the same old shtick that worked so many years ago is still A-OK for the 21st century. Within the first 15 minutes alone, there was a joke that skirted the bounds of propriety, and then a bevy of blond beauties for Jerry - who turns 84 next March - to ogle. All, of course, with the kids sitting there front and center, all poised for their turn to make Jerry's eyes glisten with tears.

But while there may be something vaguely horrifying about the whole enterprise (again, speaking only from an entertainment standpoint), there's also something that draws me in, year after year, to catch a glimpse of what's going on. I can't really explain it; after all, it's not as if I think that Tony Orlando is the epitome of American musicianship.

But hey - give the man his due, and all I can hope for this year is that at some point he'll pay tribute to his loyal sidekick, Ed McMahon.

And over the course of the evening, I'll post some clips from past years. A lot of history here, without question. To get things started off, Joan Crawford in 1968:

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