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Jerry Lewis impersonators vie for spot on annual telethon

August 6, 1997

LOS ANGELES (AP) _ One after another they clumsily slid to the microphone in loafers, sweatsocks and bow ties, their faces contorted as they shrieked through crooked front teeth: ``Hey laaaaaaady!″

A flock of Jerry Lewis look-a-likes lined up Tuesday inside a CBS Television City studio to audition for a featured spot on the 32nd annual Muscular Dystrophy Association telethon.

``It would be a dream come true to be on the show,″ said Loren Lester, an impersonator from the San Fernando Valley. ``It was such a huge part of my childhood.″

Lewis is host of the live, 21-hour telethon held yearly on Labor Day weekend. Last year’s show, watched by about 70 million people, raised $49.1 million for the fight against neuromuscular diseases.

Lester was dressed as the ``Miami Beach Jerry″ in a green cabana shirt and khaki trousers _ hiked high in true Lewis fashion to expose his white sweatsocks. He sang a tune from Lewis’ ``Just Sings″ album, accented with crossed-eyes, a goofy grin and wobbly knees.

Lester’s ingredients for a successful Lewis impersonation: ``You have to go into a high range cause he goes very, very high,″ he said with a Lewis-like squeal.

Four winners will be chosen after producers review videotapes of the auditions. Clips will be edited together and shown during the show.

The Lewis wannabes acted out snippets from his films or launched into impromptu babble with faux microphone troubles, knee-and-elbow flapping jigs and silly expressions.

Blue eyes opened wide and fist to his lips, 8-year-old Scotty Hauser of Tarzana _ the youngest of 17 to attend the open auditions _ did a scene from 1964′s ``The Disorderly Orderly.″

Scotty said he liked impersonating Lewis because of ``the way he acts and his voice, the way he yells and his expressions.″

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