Ed. note- I’m still playing catch up from 2013, so here’s an entry that should’ve hit right around Halloween. Paul Lynde is at his campy, gayest best here, and watching his Halloween special, coupled with writing this review, took me on a nostalgia trip that I very much enjoyed. I’ve included the Amazon link for the DVD, which boasts some nice extras, and the Youtube entry of the whole show as well. Oh, and though I don’t even find redheads attractive, sexy Roz Kelly should make the Hell of Fame on her parts here and in NEW YEAR’S EVIL alone.- P.F.
Long before I knew what “gay” or “camp” or “cheesy” meant, I knew I loved Paul Lynde. Whether he was goofing off on The Hollywood Squares or grinning as Uncle Arthur on Bewitched, preening as Herman’s doctor on The Munsters or helping Wilbur survive in CHARLOTTE’S WEB, Paul Lynde was funny. He was more than a little out there, and as I’ve always been an outsider myself, I smiled every time he was on my TV as a kid. This includes when I was 4, and first saw The Paul Lynde Halloween Special. It’s campy and cheesy, and Paul is certainly gay. But it’s the best kind of fun that only Lynde could uniquely provide.
Halloween provides the perfect reason for Lynde to put on a bunch of skits and musical numbers. He heaps on multitudes of one-liners, many of them aimed at himself. The nonstop hokey jokes keep coming, and they’re all welcome in my book. And lest you fear he’ll run out of material, he’s got a heavyweight cast with him to poke fun at him: Florence Henderson from The Brady Bunch; Roz Kelly, the firebrand redhead behind Pinky Tuscadero on Happy Days and star of NEW YEAR’S EVIL (and what are the odds that two of my last three reviews would star Roz Kelly?); Margaret Hamilton in double duty as his housekeeper and in her most famous role, the Wicked Witch of the West; Betty White, when Betty White was cool the first time; and at the time still shocking, the rock band KISS, among others. The whole show is a giant ball of silly puns and double entendres. And I enjoy every second of it.
I guess the reason I love it so much is that Lynde’s Halloween show is pure, honest fun. Long before it became chic to be post-ironic and snarky, Lynde was just plain snarky. I gather my 9 year old nephew wouldn’t find most of the show funny, as he’s growing up on Adventure Time and a bunch of other cartoons I don’t even understand. But for me, Lynde brings me back to a time when life was simple. It’s a nostalgia trip well worth taking. Will he pass the test with modern audiences, who don’t understand just how risqué some of his material was at the time? Probably not. But in the final analysis, none of that matters to me. “Funny” is an individual thing, and for me, Lynde does the trick on my funny bone.
So you can have your MEET THE MILLERS if you want them. I’ll take a Halloween special that boasts Lynde’s line, “As you know, there’s a really scary holiday coming up. Election Day.” Or , “Hi, I’m Paul Lynde. Well, somebody had to be.” Or to Gene Simmons in full Demon mode, “Why don’t you push the down button on your elevator shoes?” Oh wait, wait. How about…
I can go on and on. Thanks, Paul.