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September 18, 2014

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Find Jerry Lewis on the website, and Pitbull on the show, at this year’s MDA Telethon

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Steve Marcus

Entertainer Jerry Lewis sings during a performance at the Orleans Showroom Sunday, November 18, 2012.

Updated Monday, Aug. 26, 2013 | 6:37 p.m.

Jerry Lewis at Home in Las Vegas

Jerry Lewis poses for a portrait in his Las Vegas home Wednesday, May 8, 2013. Launch slideshow »

If you’re looking for a clip of a Jerry Lewis “Telethon Memory” in Sunday’s “MDA Show of Strength” show (8 p.m.-10 p.m., ABC), you will not find it on the national telecast. The show’s rundown lists assorted highlight clips from telethons long ago from Ray Charles, Sammy Davis Jr., Carole King, Pitbull and Will.i.am.

Lewis is nowhere to be found on the show’s rundown, and MDA spokeswoman Roxan Olivas confirmed Monday that Lewis would not be featured in any clips on the TV show. However, Lewis will be mentioned on the air by Jann Carl, and the MDA has posted three memorable moments of Lewis on its website. But still, how the clip of Lewis and Dean Martin on the 1976 show (with Frank Sinatra acting as a highly energized mediator) has not made the national fundraising telecast is sort of inexplicable.

In any case, we are presented the rare opportunity to watch a video clip of Pitbull.

Olivas did provide a clear message of gratitude in a follow-up e-mail on Monday, saying, "It’s a time of great hope and progress in research, as treatments are on the horizon for many of the muscle diseases we cover in our program; none of this would be possible without the remarkable efforts of Jerry Lewis." That's the strongest statement of recognition of Lewis by any member of the MDA since he left the organization in 2010.

Other artists featured in the here-and-now (and in taped performances) are the reassembled Backstreet Boys, Lee Ann Womack, Darius Rucker, Kenny Loggins, Luke Bryan and (from the Luxor in Fabulous Las Vegas!) Jabbawockeez.

For those yearning for a tote-board countdown for the money raised, one will be posted on the MDA website (the MDA is really pumping its website, which is what happens when you cut your telethon by 19 hours over three years). Set your own over/under odds about how much will be raised during the show.

On the topic of Lewis, but off the topic of the MDA, last week I’d mentioned that a Dutch TV clip of him working behind the scenes on “The Day the Clown Cried” had resurfaced. That footage dates to 1972, and had not been unearthed until someone dug it up and posted it on YouTube.

Count among the jealous Penn and Emily Jillette, who are oddly fascinated by that film. As Emily Jillette said in a Twitter direct message, “We have tried everything we can to get a copy of ‘The Day the Clown Cried.’ … It’s ‘un-gettable.’ ”

But not to Lewis. He can get his hands on a copy.

Follow John Katsilometes on Twitter at Twitter.com/JohnnyKats. Also, follow “Kats With the Dish” at Twitter.com/KatsWiththeDish.

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