News of the Week: New Books, Pumpkin Spice Season, and Why I Miss the Jerry Lewis Labor Day Telethon

In the news for the week ending September 2, 2022, are Mickey Mantle, Trapper Keepers, and pumpkin boats, but not Jerry Lewis.


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Read This!

I haven’t done one of these lists since the beginning of summer, so let’s get caught up. Here are seven new books you might want to pick up (and also read).

How Much Would You Pay For a Mint Condition Mickey Mantle Rookie Card?

Someone paid $12.6 million, a new record for sports memorabilia.

The Sounds of the ’80s

Ah, the sounds of a rotary phone being dialed and a Trapper Keeper being opened.

This Is How We Know Pumpkin Spice Season Has Begun

When people start paddling down the Missouri River in a giant hollowed-out pumpkin.

I Miss the Jerry Lewis Labor Day Telethon

I was never a cookout or beach person on Labor Day when I was younger (or even now). What that holiday meant to me was The Jerry Lewis MDA Labor Day Telethon, the annual 21½-hour variety show that raised money for muscular dystrophy research. It started at 9 p.m. ET on Sunday night and ended at 6:30 p.m. on Monday.

I never watched it for all 21½ hours. I think I made it until 1 or 2 a.m. a few times but didn’t even try to watch all of it (besides the national show, there were also local fundraising segments throughout as well). But it was one of the last remaining ties to old-school Hollywood, old-school Vegas … old-school entertainment in general. Sure, in later years they had people like Justin Bieber and Carrie Underwood on to perform, appearing alongside veterans like Ed McMahon, Norm Crosby, Charo, and Frank Sinatra, but it still had a retro charm that you either loved or hated.

(Sinatra was the mastermind behind the famous reunion between Lewis and Dean Martin on the 1976 show. Sinatra got together with the producer of the show to secretly have Martin come on and unite with Lewis for the first time since their breakup. It might be hard for younger people to understand this today but it was a big deal back then.)

Lewis was let go from the show in 2011 and the telethon got shorter and shorter each year after. The last show was a two-hour special that aired on ABC in 2014 (these days money is raised online). I’ll admit that I didn’t watch the telethon for the last 10 or 15 years that it was on, but it was comforting to know that it was still there. And then it was gone. I guess a lot of things are going away like that as I get older.

RIP Mikhail Gorbachev, Joe E. Tata, William Reynolds, Uma Pemmaraju, Robert LuPone, Ralph Eggleston, E. Bryant Crutchfield, Luke Bell, and Mable John

Mikhail Gorbachev was the former leader of the Soviet Union. He died Tuesday at the age of 91.

Joe E. Tata played Nat, the owner of the Peach Pit diner on Beverly Hills, 90210 and appeared in dozens of other TV shows over a long career that started in 1960. He died last week at the age of 85.

William Reynolds starred on the ’60s dramas The FBI, The Islanders, The Gallant Men, and Pete Kelly’s Blues. He also appeared in episodes of The Twilight Zone and Maverick, and in movies like All That Heaven Allows, There’s Always Tomorrow, Cult of the Cobra, and The Land Unknown. He died Wednesday at the age of 90.

Uma Pemmaraju was one of the first anchors at Fox News. Before that she won Emmys for her work at WBZ in Boston and was an anchor at WLVI. Most recently she worked for Bloomberg News. She died earlier this month at the age of 64.

Robert LuPone received a Tony nomination for his role in A Chorus Line and appeared in many TV shows, including The Sopranos, Sex and the City, Law & Order, and several soap operas, including Guiding Light. He was the brother of Patti LuPone. He died Saturday at the age of 76.

Ralph Eggleston was an animator for Pixar who worked on such films as Toy Story, A Bug’s Life, The Incredibles, Finding Nemo, Up, and WALL-E. He also wrote and directed the Oscar-winning short For the Birds. He died Sunday at the age of 56.

Bryant Crutchfield invented one of the items in that “sounds of the ’80s” video above, the Trapper Keeper. He died Sunday at the age of 85.

Luke Bell was a country music star known for his single “Where Ya Been.” He died this week at the age of 32.

Mable John was the first female solo performer to be signed by Motown. She had a hit with “Your Good Thing (Is About to End).” She died last week at the age of 91.

This Week in History

Clayton Moore Loses Lone Ranger Mask (August 30, 1979)

The actor known for his iconic role still wore the mask and made public appearances years after the show was canceled. But that all came to an end, at least for a while, when Moore was sued by the man who owned the rights to the character.

Princess Diana Dies (August 31, 1997)

Twenty-five years ago, the world was shocked when the Princess of Wales died in a car accident in a Paris tunnel.

This Week in Saturday Evening Post History: The Amazing New VCR (September 1980)

Read the entire article ‘Prime Time-Anytime’ from the September 1980 issue of The Saturday Evening Post

In some ways I still prefer VCRs over DVD players, and not just for the sound they make when you insert a cassette.

Goodbye Summer

At this point, even though we still say that Labor Day is the “unofficial” end of the summer, isn’t it really the “official” end of the summer? Kids are back in school, we can feel the temps about to change, even the way we think changes. But there’s still time for one more weekend of cookouts and beaches, and here are some recipes for you to try.

Start off with the Honey Deuce, the official drink of the U.S. Open, currently taking place in Flushing Meadows, New York.

Aida Mollenkamp has this Crunchy Crouton, Summer Veggie, and Mozzarella Salad, while Emeril Lagasse has these Spiced Buffalo Burgers. Half-Baked Harvest has this Best Potato Salad, which has no mayo but looks fantastic anyway. Good Housekeeping has a recipe for Taco Dogs, and for dessert try the Homemade Dole Whip from The Pioneer Woman.

And how about Jerry Lewis’s Italian Chicken? We may not have his telethon anymore, but we can eat like him on Labor Day.

Next Week’s Holidays and Events

Newspaper Carrier Day (September 4)

Do kids still deliver the paper where you live? (This assumes there’s still a paper where you live.) This day celebrates the very first paperboy, Barney Flaherty, who hawked The New York Sun in 1833.

NFL Season Starts (September 8)

The first game of the year features the Buffalo Bills vs. the Los Angeles Rams. It airs on NBC at 8 p.m. ET.

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  1. Henry: There’s a section like that at my supermarket. Every year at this time they have school supplies, beach stuff, Halloween candy, and the first hints of Christmas items, all right next to each other.

  2. Egad, sir, a major miss in the obituaries: the recent death of Hammond B3 master Joey DeFrancesco. The man was a phenomenal musician, the best electric organ player in jazz since Jimmy Smith.

    Clayton Moore, Jr, came to visit me when I was a hospitalized 7 year old. He was dressed in full Lone Ranger regalia. I had just finished lunch on an early Friday afternoon when the door to my room flew open with such force that its knob, after striking the wall, bounced the door back three quarters of the way to shut. A white glove appeared, pushed the door open gently, then:

    “Howdy, partner! Mind if I sit a spell?”

    I’ve never read a word which suggests that Clayton Moore, Jr, was anything other than as kind as a man could be, and my few minutes with him that day over sixty years ago are still vivid.

  3. A local supermarket had a display of pumpkin spice Special K! Yuck!
    It was next to the display of Christmas teas!

  4. Half past 5 p.m. (pst) my condo is cool inside at 83 degrees, which may not sound like it, but it is. It’s still 106 outside. All the more reason to love that autumn fantasy opening picture!!

    The Sounds of the ’80s (with the pictures) put a smile on my face. I have to give the man who paddled 38 miles down the Missouri a lot of credit. That’s a long ride. It’s a fairly long ride and distance even in the car.

    I’d kind of forgotten the history of the Jerry Lewis Labor Day Marathon. I did watch for a number of years though, and do remember the reunion of Martin and Lewis onstage. It was a nice thing Sinatra did in orchestrating that, and nice to see it again now, courtesy of the link. Thank you.

    A less happy ’70s moment was The Lone Ranger mask debacle a few years later. You don’t pull the mask off that old lone ranger, and you don’t mess around with Jim. I agree with you on the VCR’s over the DVD’s too, although both have their own virtues. I felt a greater sense of control with the former.

    Would I like Jerry Lewis’s Italian Chicken? Is the Pope Jewish? Of course! And that Dole Whip dessert. I bought one 20 oz. bottle of Coca-Cola’s new ‘Dreamworld’ limited edition on Tuesday. It’s okay. It’s an undisclosed flavor, and I couldn’t make it out. The scent (sort of fruit flavored?) was better than the taste. I want the cinnamon back.


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