By Ralph Hipp
Melissa and I sure hope you had a chance to see some of the much shorter 2011 MDA Telethon last night. When you go from 21 hours down to 6, you won't raise as much money on your telephone calls just from a time perspective.. so Mel and i just wanted to give it all we've got, have fun and see how many time we could get the phone to ring!
This was the first telethon ever where MDA National Chairman Jerry Lewis, who recently resigned, did not appear on the show at all. He was mentioned in many heartwarming comments, and while it's not the same without him.. The four people who showed up now and then to introduce acts were the mini-hosts.. Nigel Lythgow, Nancy O'Dell, Jann Karl and Allison Sweeney. Credit to the three ladies, though.. they have helped Jerry and MDA for the past few years and have firmly planted themselves as the younger generation of telethon hosts. So more hosts and less time..
How good was it?
Some of the high points for me: Celine Dion singing (period, end of story.. she is always great) Martina McBride's rendition of "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" brought the show home for those of us who call Kansas home. I'm not sure what to make of the people dancing to recordings of Frank Sinatra songs. Back in the days, Frank knocked 'em dead appearing live on the telethon.
There was no shortage of the corporate check donations, the big money that rolls in. How much of that would be raised if the CEOs couldn't be on TV? So we had plenty of those speeches by the corporate leaders themselves, no Jerry to talk with.
The MDA research updates started with the the same news music as 580 Radio, so I thought the local news was coming on.
Anybody doing impersonations probably provided the worst part of the show. I take you back to the 70s and 80s, when guys like Rich Little or Frank Gorshin did their best work.
What did you like, or not like? We'd like to read your comments, and we're anxious to see if MDA like the shorter telethon without Jerry, or wants to make more changes next year. Ralph