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Jerry Lewis Telethon Bloopers!

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."



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.


We should congratulate these folks for the good work that they do, and give generously to this worthy cause. Like this page? Hate this page?

Do something productive right now and make a donation to the United Cerebral Palsy Organization.

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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? In 2011, MDA dropped its long-time spokesperson (who died in 2017) and the Labor Day weekend long telethon, up to 211⁄2 hours, in favor of a truncated 6 hour telecast where Lewis was nowhere to be seen. Reportedly the telethon producers by that point were afraid to put an increasingly erratic and irratable Jerry on live for fear he may criticize the MDA organization. The telethon was dropped altogether in 2015.

The Labor Day Telethon starring Jerry Lewis and "his kids" was a timeworn TV tradition since 1966, ending with the 45th broadcast in 2011, 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.

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.

One of the Telethon's longtime co-hosts responds to the allegation that the telethon exploited children...

If you have more than you need it makes sense to share.
There but by the grace of God go all of us! If you CAN make a difference, don't you think you SHOULD?

Jerry Lewis' Telethon Bloopers!


Leonard Maltin: Jerry Lewis was one of a kind, my comedy hero when I was growing up. Can't believe I got to spend so much time with him over the years. RIP

Jamie Lee Curtis: Jerry Lewis loomed large in my family. Many movies with my mom & he made home movies with Janet and Tony. He made me and many laugh. RIP


What happened when Jerry Lewis walked onstage when Dean Martin & Frank Sinatra were performing together in 1977!




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