In the previous post I wrote about my warm and fuzzy feelings (mostly) for Jerry’s yearly labor day weekend bash. If you ever enjoyed watching the train wreck of a sleepless Jerry, or if you ever grooved to guests like Lola Falana and Joey Heatherton and Charlie Brill, then the above clip needs no explanation. But if you’ve never experienced the telethon, then the above is central to understanding the raison d’être of the whole shmeer. The tote board announcing the updated amount of funds raised for the MDA was the exclamation point that punctuated the entertainment. Jerry imploring the board to ‘do it! do it! Yeah!’ was followed by the numbers rolling into a new total and the orchestra striking up ‘What The World Needs Now…’. The above moment is from 1976. It’s the first time the figure reached $20,000,000. Jerry is beside himself. Ed McMahon is stoic. The board itself screws up and Ed has to manually move the first number from 1 to 2, thereby robbing the moment of any magic at all. It’s okay. Jerry is Jerry–insanely, garishly, vulgarly over-the-top. Love him or loath him (and I’m in both camps) he’s still Joey Levitch yearning for applause and doing anything possible to earn it.


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