Jerry Lewis began hosting the MDA Telethon in 1956. Since then he and countless celebrities have entertained audiences across several continents and raised millions of dollars for the Muscular Dystrophy Association. Jerry’s also ticked off a lot of people with disabilities who resent the use of pity to emotionally manipulate people into donating money. I found a half hour documentary on the subject that I thought was pretty good. Here’s a link to watch it online:
There’s no pity plea in this telethon clip though! It’s just Sammy Davis Jr’s fantastic rendition of “Great Come And Get It Day” from “Finian’s Rainbow.” On a side note, is it just me or is Sammy seriously limping in this video?
Even though I agree with the disability rights advocates and I haven’t tuned in to the telethon in decades, I can’t honestly say I stopped watching because of my strong commitment to civil rights. I just got bored with it. I’m grateful for clips like this that show us what an entertainment extravaganza this show was in its heyday, but I am also glad the telethon appears to be slowly fading away.