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Jerry Lewis Telethon Bloopers!

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Jerry Lewis telethon"Move that living
waterbed out of here."

- Jerry Lewis referring to a disabled protestor in November, 2005


From CNN in 2007: Comedian Jerry Lewis on Tuesday apologized for using the word "fag" as he broadcast his annual Labor Day Telethon for Muscular Dystrophy.
"That something like this would distract from the true purpose of the telethon pains me deeply," Lewis said in a written statement.
"The success of the show and all the good that will come of it shouldn't be lost because of one unfortunate word. I accept responsibility for what I said. There are no excuses. I am sorry."

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Jerry Lewis Telethons
Oh, those Hollywood showbiz types!
by Billy Ingram

Jerry Lewis "If it's pity, we'll get some money. I'm just giving you the facts. Pity? You don't want to be pitied because you're a cripple in a wheelchair, stay in your house."
- Jerry Lewis , CBS Morning Show, 2001

 

Say it ain't so! No Jerry Lewis on Labor Day? MDA has dropped its long-time spokesperson in favor of a truncated 6 hour telecast but Lewis will be nowhere to be seen. Reportedly the telethon producers are afraid to put Jerry on live for fear he may criticize the MDA organization.

The Labor Day Telethon starring Jerry Lewis and "his kids" was a timeworn tradition - a tradition that ends with the 2011 broadcast, rumor has it the MDA organization wanted to move on and Jerry just didn't fit the image they are going for in the modern age.

From the fifties into the current century, the biggest stars of Broadway, Hollywood and Las Vegas appeared with Jerry on this fundraising variety marathon, giving us so many memorable performances by a wide range of celebrities. Why MDA doesn't raise capital by packaging these performances in a DVD set is a mystery to me.

From cheesy Vegas lounge acts, to major motion picture stars with something to plug, this fantastically successful venture has been a yearly orgy of hilarious histrionics on the part of the host and guests - and an opportunity for the audience at home to see entertainers they haven't laid eyes on in decades. Talent like Andy Williams, Tony Orlando, Norm Crosby, Glen Campbell, Charo and the like.

Jerry Lewis telethonGenuine show business high points from telethons of the past include Frank Sinatra's surprise reunion of Jerry Lewis with his former partner Dean Martin in 1976, musical numbers from almost every major Broadway show for the last four decades, and watching a drugged-up-on-painkillers Jerry battle his way through the nighttime hours in the 1970s.

In addition to the national broadcast, local stations would do cut-aways with regional stars asking for donations to the Muscular Dystrophy Association. Because the show was broadcast live over the course of a two entire days, sometimes hosts and guests found themselves saying and doing things they wish they hadn't. Did Jerry really call that guy a "half-a-person" because he had no legs?

In 1968, fading movie queen Joan Crawford appeared on the Jerry Lewis Telethon - and she was visibly drunk! Come to think of it, what was Jerry on? Joan couldn't be more inappropriate as she reads a poem comparing Muscular Dystrophy children to 'clumsy kids' that are destined for an tragic death. Also seen is Joan's devoted daughter Christina, you have to watch how Jerry shuffles them off the stage.

Jerry Lewis Andy Johnson remembers, "In 1974 or 1975, I came down with an ear infection over the Labor Day weekend. Being in discomfort, I was unable to sleep. Since this was the era before 24-hour per day Superstations, the only thing on in the wee hours of the morning in Columbia, South Carolina was the Jerry Lewis/MDA telethon.

"I clearly recall Mr. Lewis, bow tie untied, ruffled shirt partly unbuttoned, sweating profusely, starting to talk about his motivation to do the telethon. It's about 4 or 5 in the morning. In hindsight and after hearing revelations concerning Mr. Lewis' prescription drug addiction during that era, I have always wondered how chemically enhanced the moment was.

Jerry Lewis "My recollection is that he says something like, 'They ask me why I do it. Well, maybe I'll say someday. However, they're going to have to come across with the big bucks before I tell this story. Then maybe I'll say.' That struck me as a peculiar statement for the host of a charity telethon. Years later, whenever I would see Eddie Murphy and Joe Piscopo doing their Good Jerry/Bad Jerry routine, I always would think back to that morning."

Since 1966, Jerry Lewis has helped raise more than $2 billion for "Jerry's Kids."

Sammy Davis, Jr.


Embarrassing Telethon Moments
These QUICKTIME AUDIO moments from the Seventies are some of the worst:

Jerry Lewis tells us the reason he does the telethons - he's on a mission from God!

Jerry reveals why he's not ashamed to be ashamed.


Guest Sammy Davis Jr. explains how the stars come out to 'do their thing for the man'.


Who can forget when Jerry sang a plea for his kids - set to the sexy Barry Manilow / Donna Summer song, "Could This Be the Magic." The lyrics were totally inappropriate, "Help me to help them come... come... come along with me." WHAT?!? It's a song about climaxing!

Jerry even used a gay slur on the air in 2007 and was forced to apologize. Yikes! Here's a rundown of some other Jerry Lewis bloopers.

THESE ARE REAL PLAYER CLIPS FROM JERRY LEWIS TELETHONS:

Jerry Lewis Kids in communities all over the country held MD carnivals in their backyards in the early-seventies, thanks to promotions from their favorite local TV shows. This clip has Jerry visiting a local kid program in Minneapolis (Casey Jones) to plug the carnival kits. You would never guess that Jerry was known as a comedian, he's humorless and - isn't he smoking as well? It's a kid's show, Jerry.

Jerry LewisMeanwhile, back at Beefstick Central... Hickory Farms was a major contributor in the 1960s and 1970s - now most of their stores are closed.

JerryLewisHere's a video clip from the 1998 Labor Day Telethon that had some whacko walk up to Jerry (as he was giving his pre-"You'll Never Walk Alone" monologue) and see two tough security goons grab him and escort him off the stage (the wacko, not Jerry). (Video courtesy of Michael H!)

Jerry LewisOddly enough, there was no mention made of this incident in the media the following day. At the time, Jerry was being hunted by a demented stalker who has since died in jail.

NEXT - PART TWO:
A Telethon host responds to the allegation
that the telethon exploits children...


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