September 1, 2017 – Labor Day Weekend without Jerry Lewis

I apologize, but this post is a little melancholy and not really insightful or deep.  Maybe the next one will be better.  Since the explosion of cable television, on-demand video and personal entertainment systems, events like the annual Jerry Lewis Telethon for Muscular Dystrophy have become less and less of a draw.  When we were growing up, though, the Telethon was like a snow day in early fall.  Generally, school had already been in session for a week and Labor Day gave us an early 3-day weekend.  I remember realizing on the Sunday of Labor Day weekend that the Telethon would be starting and would get excited because it would mean that there was something entertaining to watch for a full 24 hours.

This was a time when there were only three main television channels and most of them did not do 24-hour programming.  Additionally, Jerry Lewis was the host.  He was a remarkable comedian and was very fun to watch.  I remember watching some of his earlier shows on television reruns and always enjoyed his humor and physical comedy.  His ties to the Rat Pack and connections with so many Hollywood stars ensured that each Telethon was star-studded and filled with humor, song, dance numbers and so on.  It was kind of like “America’s Got Talent”, but with stars and for 24 hours.

The past several years, Jerry Lewis has not been able to host, but has still been a presence in the Telethon.  Even when he wasn’t hosting, I still looked forward to the weekend and tuning in for a little bit, if just for the nostalgia.  This year, however, will be the first year without him, as he passed away just a couple of weeks ago at age 91.  Maybe it is just getting older, or, as stated above, the plethora of round-the-clock entertainment options, but, for the first time, I really am not that excited about the Labor Day weekend.  Sure, the Telethon will go on, but it just feels different now.  I know that is irrational, but that is how I am feeling about it.  The weekend will still be fun and I am still glad to have a 3-day weekend, but it won’t be the same now…but that’s probably good too.

Have a great weekend and next post will be better, I promise.


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