No Joke

Entertainer Eddie Cantor came up with the idea of donating dimes to fight polio, suggesting the name “March of Dimes,” a play on the radio and newsreel series, The March of Time. Cantor urged people to send dimes to the White House to celebrate President Franklin Roosevelt’s birthday in January 1938. Thousands responded and mailbags filled with envelopes containing dimes, quarters and dollar bills began arriving at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, mostly from children who wanted to help children afflicted with polio. Before it was all over, a “silver tide” of more than $85,000 in small donations had swamped the White House. Roosevelt, diagnosed with polio in 1921, founded the March of Dimes to support polio research and education.



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