Thursday, October 31, 2013


Back in the mid 1970's television had all kind of variety shows and since there wasn't a slew of stations to pick from as there is now, these variety shows actually had a variety of acts, as is evident in The Paul Lynde Halloween Special. Paul Lynde, who was riding high on his fame from his appearance as the center block on Hollywood Squares, hosted this special which was shown only once on October 29, 1976 on ABC.

The guests on this special were Margaret Hamilton, Billie Hayes (Witchie-Poo from H.R. Pufnstuff), Billy Barty, Tim Conway, Roz "Pinky Tuscadero" Kelly, Florence Henderson, Betty White, Donny and Marie Osmond, and KISS in their first TV appearance. Donny and Marie make only a very brief appearance in one skit. I can only assume, they were trying to promote their own weekly variety show by dropping in for this one skit. Florence Henderson sings a disco version of "That Old Black Magic" during a disco skit. If you think that would be pretty bad, you're exactly right. Kiss perform three songs during the show "Detroit Rock City", "Beth", and "King of The Night Time World" and interact briefly with Paul Lynde after they are introduced to him by the Wicked Witch of The West (Margaret Hamilton). One more musical number closes out the show, "Disco Baby" performed by Lynde and "Pinky Tuscadero" Kelly . This is so bad, it made me decide Florence Henderson's performance wasn't that bad after all.

I hear a lot of people bemoaning the fact that they just don't make TV shows like they used to, and The Paul Lynde Halloween Special is a prime example of why that's probably a good thing. Personally, I enjoyed the bad jokes and appreciated the appearance of all these "stars", more in 2013 than I would have in 1976. The camp factor is so high here, it's almost off the charts...I mean Florence Henderson singing disco, Paul Lynde mincing his way through skits with Tim Conway, Florence Henderson, and Pinky Tuscadero from Happy Days, and then add in KISS showing up for their first TV appearance, what more could you want out of a TV special! While The Paul Lynde Halloween Special is in print on DVD, it is also available for free on YouTube.