Check out the above photo. It's Jerry Lewis (actor, writer, director, producer, Muscular Dystrophy fund raiser and darling of French film critics) and Ike Turner (musician, bandleader, talent scout, record producer and wife beater). I was pretty excited when I came across it and actually started writing a blog about how cool it is and how much I love the Internet because of the strange and wonderful and obscure things you find on it (what can I say - I'm easily amused). Unfortunately, when you give it more than a cursory glance it's obviously a fake; I did a little searching and came across the photo below. It's Jerry with his then-partner Dean Martin.
Someone flipped the photo, removed Dino and added Ike, thus adding yet another disillusionment to my life. First there's no Santa, then there are no WMDs in Iraq, now you tell me Ike and Jerry never teamed up for what surely would have been one bizarre radio broadcast! Think how much cooler it would have been if the Ike photo was the real one?
Anyway, it's Labor Day, the unofficial end of summer. Growing up, it was always a bittersweet day for me; it meant the carefree days of summer were almost over. At the same time there was the excitement and anticipation of a new school year and seeing friends for the first time since June. My birthday is September 10th so there was that to look forward to as well. Autumn also happens to be my favorite season. Finally, Labor Day meant the Jerry Lewis Muscular Dystrophy Telethon. Or the Jerry Lewis Telethon as we referred to it (I'll spare you any jokes about Jerry needing a telethon). This is the 43rd annual event and Jerry should be commended for the fine work he's done over the years, but there is no doubt that the show is one of the Cheesiest TV events of the year (and I mean that in a good way - I love Cheese). Back in the day, before cable and DVDs and computers and cell phones, little Michael the insomniac would often spend the wee hours of the night watching some truly bad entertainers (all the top name performers - the Broadway Stars and Vegas Headliners - would appear during the daytime, leaving an assorted Lounge Lizards to fill in during the overnight - with 23 hours to fill I guess you take what you can get).
But better than the bad entertainment was the overly effusive outpouring of Schmaltz (along with Cheese, Schmaltz is one of my favorite things). Back then Jerry would spend a lot more time on air and let's face it, he is the King of Schmaltz (in fact I think that was the original name of the 1983 film he starred in with Robert DeNiro). These days, the telethon is a mere shadow of it's former self and I rarely watch more than a few minutes of it, but I still try to catch the end where Jerry sings (and inevitably breaks down into tears) "You'll Never Walk Alone".
For those unfortunate few of you out there who haven't experienced Jerry's emotional performance, I present the following clip. I'm not sure the year, but that's not important, is it?