Here's a new one that I've just added to my collection: a 1976 ABC primetime variety special imaginatively called THE PAUL LYNDE HALLOWEEN SPECIAL. First of all, if you don't know who Paul Lynde was he was a very popular actor in the 60's and 70's. Among many other roles he played Uncle Arthur on BEWITCHED, he was the voice of Templeton the rat in the old animated CHARLOETTE'S WEB movie, and he was the center square on the old HOLLYWOOD SQUARES. (Not the one hosted by John Davidson...ya gotta go back further than that!) If you still don't know who he was, let's just say he was gayer than all the styling mousse in France and no one ever made a mention of it! He used to do primetime specials and this particular Halloween special has become legendary for it's line up of celebrity guest stars. It was thought that copies of the entire show no long existed, but the show's original producers were recently able to find the master tapes and now the show can been seen for the first time in 31 years! It just came out on DVD a few weeks ago and it is pure television magic, my friends!
The show kicks off with a rousing musical number where Paul sings the song "KIDS" a song he sang in the Broadway hit BYE BYE BIRDIE! That song has nothing to do with Halloween, but when Donnie and Marie Osmond drop in on the fun...who could care! Right? So then, Paul and his housekeeper Margaret go for a drive in the country to visit Margaret's sister. When they arrive at her house it turns out that Margaret's sister is actually Witchiepoo from H.R. PUFNSTUF and Margaret is actually Margaret Hamilton the Wicked Witch from THE WIZARD OF OZ. Mr. Lynde is creeped out and wants to leave, but the witches offer him three wishes to get him to stay! He agrees, and his first wish is to be a truck driver with a rhinestone covered jacket! (No, seriously!) So then there's a skit with Paul Lynde as a Super-gay Truck Driver and Tim Conway and another truck driver fighting for the love of Pinky Tuscadero. (I had no idea who Pinky Tuscadero was until I looked her up on Wikipedia and found out she actually a character from HAPPY DAYS!?) Anyhow...this truck stop romance turns into a big musical number!
O.K...so then KISS make their their primetime television debut playing "Detroit Rock City", there's another dream sequence where Paul plays a Shiek trying to woo Florence Henderson, and then Paul gives his third wish to the witches. They wish to go to a Discoteque...sure, who wouldn't??! So they all go to a Discoteque where Florence Henderson sings a disco version of "Strangers in the Night". KISS sings two more songs, oh...and I forgot Billy Barty is the witches butler and Betty White pops up somewhere in the middle!
As you can see, it's pure entertainment gold! As someone wrote in IMDB.com, "it's one of the best things ever committed to videotape." With the exception of THE HANNA-BARBERA ALL-STAR COMEDY ICE REVIEW hosted by Roy Clark and Bonnie Franklin, I just might have to agree!
Here's a clip...