Monday, January 03, 2011

Stars Come Out For The March Of Dimes

In the course of my research for posting on this blog I occasionally come across a hidden gem or two, and it makes my day in a way which is borderline erotic; then there are those times when I do a face plant into a treasure trove worthy of any pirate, a transcendant experience the likes of which cannot be explained to non-bloggers. This is one such time...

While looking for something to post on the March of Dimes, I found a series of public service announcements from the 1950s featuring some of the biggest names of our times, all united behind the common cause of relieving the suffering of children. The worst part of it was choosing only three, meaning I had to pass up those made by Ella Fitzgerald, Gogi Grant, Roy Campanella, Hazel Scott, and Cecil B. DeMille among many others.

Here we see the multi-talented Sammy Davis, Jr. demonstrate even more of his talents in 1955, by singing My Romance as a raft of mid-century celebrities, including Jimmy Cagney, James Stewart, Cary Grant, Edward G. Robinson, and himself, as well as both halves of the then-ubiquitous comedy duo Jerry Lewis and Dean Martin.

Sitcom legends Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz used their fame to attract attention to the elimination of childhood illness in 1954, by introducing their real-life Little Ricky to television audiences - Desi Arnaz, Jr. - in addition to their daughter Lucie Arnaz. Their message came in 1954, just a year before the introduction of the Salk Vaccine.

And finally, sultry songstress Eartha Kitt has long been one of our favourite people here at the Pop Culture Institute, and this clip shows why; while she could deliver a song as freighted with innuendo as Just An Old-Fashioned Girl - as she did here in 1957 - she could just as easily transition into the sincerity necessary for a charitable appeal. Thanks to the efforts of millions of people - some of them famous but most of them not - not only was polio defeated by the March of Dimes but who knows what affliction they might eliminate next?
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