Virgil Winston: Marketing Guru

I look forward to Labor Day weekend every year for one reason—and it’s not because Labor Day is considered a “day of rest,” or because the kids go back to school the next day, although I suspect that is the reason my wife looks forward to it. Nope, I clear my schedule every Labor Day weekend in order to watch 21-1/2 hours of pure programming genius know as “The Jerry Lewis Muscular Dystrophy Association Telethon.” I love a good variety show and this one is the grand daddy of them all, plus who doesn’t want to help Jerry’s kids? I love all the co-hosts—Ed McMahon, the lovable sidekick, Tom Bergeron, who is woefully underutilized on “Dancing with the Stars,” and former Olympic medalist Nadia Comaneci, who my wife tells me was her idol as a teenager, to name just a few. This year’s line up of entertainment is nothing short of spectacular—Celine Dion, who I have been forced to see perform in concert on three separate occasions, John Tesh, who is underappreciated as a singer and, according to the official website, “much, much, much more.” I can only imagine the entertainment riches that await me!
But, of course, the real reason I tune in every year is for the man himself. Like the French, I can’t get enough of Jerry Lewis. Not only is he a talented actor, major movie star and a brilliant comic, but he has a huge heart. The man is a legend and I, for one, can’t wait to see him back on the small screen, doing what he does best…raking in the dough. Like him or not, we can all learn a thing or two from the original Nutty Professor. He understands the marketing business better than most and has raised two billion dollars since 1966 by setting achievable goals with a hook. The goal this year, as it is every year, is to raise one more dollar than the previous year. This year, that number is 61 million, and I have no doubt, the King of Comedy will get there. To help him out, I am sending the entire staff and production team a Treasure Chest With Stock Coins filled with silver wrapped chocolate coins, imprinted with the MDA logo and a note that says, “One More Dollar.” It’s my way of helping the cause.
Well, I’ve got to go stock up on Red Bull and Kleenex. I don’t want to miss a heart- warming minute of the show. It was the great man himself who said, “People hate me because I am a multifaceted, talented, wealthy, internationally famous genius.” I don’t know about other people, but I just wish there were two of him.