Rudy Panucci On Pop Culture

Sunday Evening Video: The MDA Telethon

Annex - Martin and Lewis_09For years the Muscular Dystrophy Association held an annual telethon to raise funds for the research and treatment of Muscular Dystrophy and other disorders. Until 2011 Jerry Lewis was the host. This year will be the second in my lifetime without an MDA Telethon, but it really hasn’t been the same since the “retirement” of Jerry Lewis.

What many people don’t realize is that, originally, the telethon was hosted by Jerry Lewis AND Dean Martin. It wasn’t a nearly day-long epic and it didn’t happen during Labor Day.. Tonight, just in case you’re getting a nostalgic itch for the telethon, we bring you the MDA Telethon from November 25, 1953, which ran on ABC, in the days before the telethon built its own network. It’s a pretty wild artifact and it’s interesting to see how, after Martin and Lewis split, Jerry Lewis got custody of the telethon.

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