2012 MDA Show of Strength and the History of the Jerry Lewis Telethon

Telethons used to be a pretty big deal.

A combination of the words “television” and “marathon”, a telethon is a televised event typically geared towards raising money for a cause or special event.  A typical telethon will go for many hours, featuring musical acts, comedy sketches, rousing speeches, and much more.

Since the first one aired in 1949, telethons have raised hundreds of millions of dollars for great purposes.  While they slowly fell out of popularity due to their long broadcasting hours and changes with technology and the ways to donate money, one telethon endured for over 40 years.

It was called the Jerry Lewis MDA Labor Day Telethon.

Building a Legacy

World famous comedian Jerry Lewis kicked off his famous telethon in 1966.  Staged for 21 hours over the course of Labor Day, this yearly event would bring in millions of dollars, all of which was put towards funding research for muscular dystrophy.

Some years raised over $10 million!

Unfortunately, with the changing of times, a 21 hour long telethon that took place on Labor Day became less and less practical.   In 2011, the event was trimmed down to 6 hours.

This would also mark the official end of the Jerry Lewis Telethon.  Though Jerry Lewis had moved on, the foundation that he built stayed strong.

The Show Goes On

In 2012, the telethon was reformatted and re-launched as the MDA Show of Strength.  While the event is now more of a benefit concert than a traditional telethon, the purpose remains the same:

To raise money and awareness for muscular dystrophy, a condition that affects over 50,000 Americans.

Now, with Labor Day just two weeks away, the time has come for the 2013 MDA Show of Strength is upon us.  The program is airing on ABC on Sunday, September 1 at 8PM central

The evening will feature a number of stars and performers including Ryan Seacrest, Backstreet Boys, Enrique Iglesias, Kenny Loggins, famous dance crew Jabbawockeez, and more!

Make sure to mark your schedule or set your DVR and tune in to this great event.  While you’re at it, make a donation and help support this great cause.

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