Wednesday, October 26, 2016

The Paul Lynde Halloween Special - 1976

By Steve D. Stones

This fun 1976 TV episode of the Paul Lynde Show is like a pairing of the 80s TV show Solid Gold meets The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975). The three musical performances by the rock icons KISS is obviously staged and lip-synced. KISS perform their super hits - Detroit Rock City, Beth and King of The Night Time World, all from their Destroyer album. Florence Henderson gets into the lip-syncing act by singing That Old Black Magic in a black dress.

The funniest skit of the show is Lynde playing a truck driver named "Big Red" the Rhinestone Trucker, which is an obvious parody of Rhinestone Cowboy. Rhinestone Trucker wants to marry a sexy waitress named "Kinky Pinky" at Big-D's diner, played by Roz "Pinky Tuscadero" Kelly.

Comedian Tim Conway creates a love triangle by rushing to the diner in an attempt to marry Kelly on the same night at midnight.  Lynde crashes the wedding by driving his semi-truck into the diner. Lynde eventually gets the girl and gives her a lug-nut wedding ring from his truck tire.

Lynde begins the episode by dressing as Santa Claus and making us believe that it is Christmas instead of Halloween. His housekeeper, Margaret Hamilton, reminds him that it is not Christmas. He then switches to Easter, then Valentine's Day, and finally realizes it is Halloween season. Hamilton repises her wicked witch of the west role from The Wizard of Oz (1939) by dressing in a black witch's costume with green make-up.

The entire episode is filled with pop-culture references. Don't miss the young Donnie and Marie Osmond shoving Lynde into a garbage can in an early musical number in the episode. Betty White also makes an appearance.

This episode of The Paul Lynde Show only aired once on October 29th, 1976, and was thought to have been lost forever. It's fortunate that the episode was found through one of the producers of the TV show and put out on DVD a few years ago. For fans of KISS, this is a must have in their collection. Happy Halloween.

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