Friday, October 5, 2012

The Paul Lynde Halloween Special

I was recently looking for Halloween specials on Amazon and came across The Paul Lynde Halloween Special.  This was an variety show / special originally aired on ABC on October 29, 1976.  I knew going in that anything that had Paul Lynde would be campy but I didn't know how much of a campfest this would be until I watched it today! 

The show consists of comedy routines, skits, musical / dance numbers and a host of celebrities from the time.  To know how campy this is, think of the year this aired, 1976, and the following celebrities that guest starred:  Margaret Hamilton and Billy Hayes playing sister witches reprising their famous roles of the Wicked Witch of the West from Wizard of Oz and Witchiepoo from H.R. Pufnstuf.  These two had the most interaction with Paul and provided some great laughs.  Other guest stars had roles in skits and often in musical numbers as well: Florence Henderson who sang a rendition of "That Old Black Magic", Tim Conway in many comedic skits, Roz Kelly "Pinkie Tuscadero from Happy Days" and small guest appearances by Betty White (as Ms. Halloween 1976) and Donny and Marie Osmond.  This was also the first prime time appearance by the rock group Kiss and they do three different numbers including one of their slow songs, "Beth".

This show is a time warp back to the 70s!  Some cringe-worthy routines, disco dancing, Paul Lynde's trademark joke delivery style, 70s music and clothing and some real laugh out loud moments.  It took me a little time to get back into the time and enjoy myself but once I let myself go, I really enjoyed this special.  I particularly loved and couldn't stop laughing at the Halloween Disco finale where all the stars are dancing and singing in costume to a modified version of Johnny Taylor's "Disco Lady" - "Move it in, move it out, move in and about, disco lady".  All in all, if you want to see a time capsule of what pop culture was like in 1976 and you like campy variety shows of the time, find this DVD and prepare to laugh.

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