The telethon's lineup of about100 entertainers is being developed by the Pasadena, Calif., production company of Russ Reid. Among many signed up so far are Paul Newman, Jack Lemmon, Mary Tyler Moore, John Forsythe, Kris Kristofferson, Sally Kellerman, Dennis Weaver, Helen Reddy, Woody Herman, Hal Linden, Rita Moreno, Carmen McRae, Bea Arthur and Jean Stapleton, said Ron Holder, assistant to talent produce Bob Precht.But not all the celebrity appearances worked out!
Jane Fonda has failed her fund-raising audition with the Democratic National Committee. The DNC plans to edit her out of the portions of its Memorial Day telethon that it will rebroadcast as campaign specials next year. Fonda was deemed too controversial for the shows, which will be test-marketed next month. Her appearance on Memorial Day generated hundreds of hostile telephone calls and letters. Apparently, many still think of her in the role of the left-wing activist who visited Hanoi, and not that of the physically fit liberal she now plays. Says one DNC official, "It's as if they saw Jane Fonda on the screen and suddenly it was the '60s again."Nor did the telethon itself work out, at all. First, Jerry Falwell's Moral Majority jammed the phone lines. But they probably didn't even need to, considering how amazingly stupid the whole idea was to begin with. The telethon grossed $2.75 million, which was $2.8 million less than it cost to produce. In the end, it's amazing that the Democratic Party ever won an election again. So think of those bygone days of astounding incompetence as you watch (or don't watch, whatever) smooth Barry Obama close the deal tonight, thanks to his amazing fundraising abilities and massive donor list. It only took 25 years to catch up! (If anyone, anywhere, has video evidence of the 1983 telethon, we'd love to see it.)