A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from May 31, 2006
Begathon (Beg-athon; “beg” + “telethon")
Marvin Kitman is a longtime Newsday television critic who has often appeared on New York area television. I wrote to him several years ago, and he told me that he coined the term "begathon" for the public television "telethons" that constantly beg for viewer money.

Television critic Tom Shales of the Washington Post used "begathon in 1978, but Newsday is not fully digitized for easy searching.

Begathon, n.:
A multi-day event on public television, used to raise money so
you won't have to watch commercials.

(Google Books) (full text not available)
The Second Barnhart Dictionary of New English
by Clarence L. Barnhart, Sol Steinmetz - 1980 - 520 pages
Page 43

15 July 1974, Chicago Tribune, pg. 16:
Democratic "Beg-athon"
DOWNERS GROVE -- After watching the recent Democratic "Beg-athon," it wasn't difficult to determine where the philosophy came for George McGovern's statement of "Crawling to Hanoi to achieve peace."
A. D. Vinikour

19 March 1978, Washington Post, pg. F1:
The Marathon Begathon
What's More Dignified Than Pitching
For Bucks on Public Television?

9 December 1979, Washington Post, "Pay or Be Dumb: The Marathon Begathon" by Tom Shales, pg. A1(?):
In honor of public television's current -- and umpty-umpth -- fund raising membership drive, we present a rerun of our own: "Pay or Be Dumb: The Marathon Begathon," first published in March 1978. Little revision has been necessary because nothing much has changed.

17 August 1983, Chicago Tribune, pg. D9:
Both stations -- well versed in the annual fundraising "begathon" -- had telephone banks in place for clients seeking only audio conferencing.

Posted by Barry Popik
Radio/Television • (0) Comments • Wednesday, May 31, 2006 • Permalink