Monday, August 29, 2011

Cable Killed The Telethon

Sorry to see Jerry Lewis no longer hosting the Telethon. But for me, one of the biggest Jerry fans on the planet and someone who made watching the Telethon a ritual, I don't really care.

The Telethon lost it's appeal when cable TV took over and local TV lost its identity.

You see, the Telethon, with Jerry or no Jerry, was really a local show. It's about the firemen and kids in your town talking about money they raised during the 'cut aways' from Las Vegas. It was about seeing your name on the 'Wall of Stars' if you gave $20 and the local news and weather people telling you to call in.

The local channel (in my case, KPTV in Portland) was part of Jerry's 'Love Network', and there was a lot of hype and interest in the show as Labor day approached.

And during Labor Day, local kids and teenagers would have impromtu car washes or go door-to-door of their neighbors and bring the money to the local station. That kind of thing seems impossible now. But when there was only five TV channels, and everybody was home for Labor Day...not so impossible.

It was about the only time of the year (at least for us from 'smaller' markets) that TV was on between the hours of 2AM and 6AM.

I don't mourn the loss of the local TV. It's neither a good or a bad thing. But it did kill the Telethon. And that happened about 20 years ago.


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