Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Paul Lynde Halloween Special|
Actors: Billy Barty, Margaret Hamilton, Billie Hayes, Florence Henderson, Kiss
Genres: Comedy, Music Video & Concerts, Television, Musicals & Performing Arts
The Paul Lynde Halloween Special aired only once (on October 29, 1976) and featured a "Who's Who" of mid-'70s TV and film stars; Paul held everything together as the ringmaster of a circus that featured Margaret Hamilton (... more »
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Robert I. Hedges | 11/13/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This Halloween special aired once on television, on October 29, 1976. It is perhaps the most quintessential 1970's camp classic available on DVD. Starring Paul Lynde, with a bevy of guest stars such as Tim Conway, Billy Barty, Florence Henderson, Donny and Marie Osmond, KISS, and best of all, Margaret Hamilton and Billie Hayes, this show is only 50 minutes long, but what it lacks in length it makes up for in cheese.
It is essentially a sketch comedy show with the faintest of connective sinew: Paul Lynde and his housekeeper, Margaret Hamilton, visit Hamilton's sister, Billie Hayes at her castle. Obviously this is an excuse for Hamilton to reprise her role as the most famous witch in history, the Wicked Witch of the West from "The Wizard of Oz," while Hayes dons her Witchiepoo outfit from "H. R. Pufnstuf." Along the way there are lots of lame jokes, skits, and music.
To capitalize on the then huge song "Convoy" and television show "Movin' On" there is a musical nightmare where Lynde (in a sequin jumpsuit with enormous lapels) and Conway play truckers dueling for the love of Pinky Tuscadero (Roz Kelly). Although that has nothing to do with Halloween and everything to do with the strangely popular CB radio boom, the setting quickly shifts for most of the balance of the show to Hayes' house. I especially enjoyed the interactions of Hayes and Hamilton in the castle where they introduce KISS (their first major television appearance) as chamber musicians who "make such very soothing, quiet dinner music."
There are other diversions, such as when Lynde becomes a sheik who kidnaps Florence Henderson (who he falls for after seeing her milk a cobra). He tries everything to win her heart, even sharing a decanter of hyena wine with her. In the end, she is won over by a gift of a cockatoo "once owned by Baretta," leading to the most unerotic kiss in screen history. She also gets a chance to sing "That Old Black Magic" with a disco arrangement. The entire disco scene, in fact, is surreal: the hair and costumes will haunt me for a long time, and everyone in the cast (except KISS, which looks on, mortified) dances to an excremental tutorial taught by Pinky Tuscadero titled "Disco Baby".
The show is very cheesy, as only a 1970's star-studded spectacular could be. If you want a good laugh (but not at the jokes) or a humorous reminiscence of those colorfully tacky days, this is absolutely not to be missed."
The ultimate 1970's camp fest, finally on DVD!
Bob Lind | Phoenix, AZ United States | 10/14/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"If you are fan of 70's kitchsy camp, be sure to get a copy of "The Paul Lynde Halloween Special", released earlier this month on DVD. Originally (and only, never repeated) broadcast on October 29, 1976, the show was believed to have been lost for almost 31 years, until one of the writers recently uncovered a tape, from which the DVD has been produced (As the DVD packaging cautions, the quality and picture aren't perfect, but it was actually a lot better than I was expecting with that warning up front.)
The cast is like a wet dream of gay camp! Besides Paul (in full-out "bitchy" mode), there's Margaret Hamilton (Wicked Witch of the West from "Wizard of Oz"), Billie Hayes (as Witchiepoo from "HR Pufnstuf"), Betty White, Billy Barty, Tim Conway, and would you believe Florence Henderson ... singing a DISCO verion of "That Old Black Magic"??? Musical guests are KISS, on their first network appearance. The entire cast joins in a disco salute as the finale (which is in itself worth the price to see KISS briefly singing DISCO!)
A friend ordered 30 copies for all his gay friends as Christmas presents! DVD extras include some lots of photos, exerpts from interviews with Paul Lynde, a multiple choice test on some of his "Hollywood Squares" responses, and an interview with that show's host, Peter Marshall, with remembrances of the late Mr. Lynde.
Neither very Halloweeny nor very Special.
Hammock Rider | Talk of the Town Trailer Estates Park - Southern C | 09/22/2008
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Let me start out saying that I am a fan of both Paul Lynde and Halloween. A Special that features both seemed like mixing your chocolate with my peanut butter. I was really looking forward to it. Unfortunately, I found the whole mess pretty mediocre.
This is the premise: Margaret Hamilton playing herself as Paul Lynde's housekeeper (?) asks Paul to give her a ride to her sister's house, her sister being Witchiepoo from H.R. Puffnstuff. When they get there it turns out Paul was brought with an ulterior motive in mind. It turns out the winner of the witches Miss Halloween contest was promised a date with Paul Newman as her prize by Hamilton and Witchiepoo. Since they can't deliver Paul Newman they deliver Paul Lynde, because he is the only famous Paul who is available. Miss Halloween takes a rain check and Lynde is left feeling dejected. The witch sisters decide to cheer him up by giving him 3 wishes. The fulfillment of those wishes forms the body of the Special.
They should have had a lot of fun with this. Paul's first wish is to be a trucker, and not just any trucker but The Rhinestone Trucker, a bedazzled fella who goes by the handle Ruby Red. He later wishes to be a red-hot desert sheik ala Rudolph Valentino. Finally he wishes to take the witch sisters to a disco. There were lots of opportunities for some great humor here yet the writers and cast seldom take advantage of them. I especially like the idea of Paul Lynde playing a famous performer who lives a pretty normal lifestyle. The show's almost written like an episode of the old Jack Benny or Burns& Allen shows, where they were also famous performers who lived normal lives in quiet little neighborhoods like normal folk. This show was like that, almost too much like that. It was just too dry and flat. Lynde didn't seem to have his heart in it and nobody made the most of the many chances for solid humor that were available. It was funny watching Paul romance the smoking hot Roz Kelly, who should have had her own special, but it was also a little cringe inducing. There was no sly wink or nod, which would have made it funny. Maybe back then he wasn't able to do that, but I was kind of hoping he would have been able to do something to let us know he thought it was all a pretty funny joke too.
It had all the ingredients for some great genuine camp but for some reason for me the whole did not live up to the sum of the parts. It was Ok but that's about it. It pains me to say this, but this Special was a little more Trick than Treat