Blog 1532 – 11.28.2019
Over fifty years ago now, when I was in high school, at least once in each semester of the three years I spent at Chattanooga Central High they had movie days where a feature film would be shown in the school auditorium, with tickets, popcorn, and candy sold to raise funds for the many service clubs that Central sponsored for students. I remember one of my favorites of those films was the Civil War epic “Shenandoah” starring Jimmy Stewart. Stewart played a large farm owner with several boys old enough to serve but he was trying to keep them out of the conflict. I recall his prayer over the supper table went something like this, “Lord, we built this house including this table with our own hands and grew and prepared this food with little help from you, but thank you anyway.” His attitude did not strike me as being one of real gratitude.
But I want to write today about another man, a young struggling performer, actor, comedian in the Chicago area who being a practicing Roman Catholic, like the Frank, that I wrote about yesterday, promised God that if He would help him to become successful and prosperous at his profession that he would make helping people a priority in his life. That young man’s name was Danny Thomas and he made Daddy Boy the theme song of his act and of his popular nineteen fifties and early sixties TV show.
Danny Thomas’ career did take off and he became successful and prosperous. He did not forget his promise to God and gave of his time and money and encouraged many of his show business friends to help him raise funds to build a children’s disease research and treatment hospital in Memphis, Tennessee that he named St. Jude after the Roman Catholic patron saint of desperate cases and lost causes.
Danny passed in 1991 after a longer than fifty year career as a night club comedian, actor, producer and philanthropist. His Danny Thomas Show is still named as one of the longest running network televisions shows in history, airing from 1953 to 1964. Some years ago Danny’s daughter Marlo Thomas, remembered by many for her own network TV Show, “That Girl,” took over the fund raising efforts for St. Jude, and at holiday time you see and hear commercials everywhere asking everyone to “Give Thanks” with Marlo and several celebrities encouraging us to give thanks for the healthy kids in our lives and to donate to St. Jude for those not so lucky. A few years ago at a grocery store in Wisconsin, where I was working, they had sock hats for sale to help raise money for St. Jude (one that I bought and still wear is pictured.) Many charities should be ashamed of how little of each dollar donated actually goes to the cause for which it is given. St. Jude is not one of them with 82 percent of every dollar given going to children’s disease research and the treatment of sick children, verified by the independent charities evaluation agency, Charity Navigator.
Danny Boy, you started a good thing and have left a legacy to be proud of.
Your friend and fellow traveler,
Give Thanks! And if you are looking to give to a charity that continues to make a real difference in the lives of children and their families give to St. Jude Children’s Hospital and help Danny’s good deed continue to bless the lives of many, many more. Give, thanks.