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Telethons – Spectacle, Disability, and the Business of Charity - Oxford Scholarship Online
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Telethons: Spectacle, Disability, and the Business of Charity

Paul K. Longmore


Telethons occupied a central, underappreciated place in postwar US history. The yearly programs offered front-row seats to something much bigger than a kitschy parade of prominent celebrities and pathetic children. Quintessentially American, telethons brought together medical research, promises of a cure, compassion, corporate greed, the complex American healthcare system, media sensationalism, changing ideas of embodiment, disability rights, and much more. Marshaling two decades’ worth of painstaking research, this book provides the first detailed study of the popular phenomenon. Organized th ... More

Keywords: telethons, philanthropy, disability, Jerry Lewis, disability activism, advertising, corporate America, television broadcasting, US healthcare system, disability charities

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2015 Print ISBN-13: 9780190262075
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2016 DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190262075.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Paul K. Longmore, author
Professor of History, San Francisco State University