Halloween is on Sunday. Yes Halloween, that night when people dress up and pretend that they are someone else for a couple of hours. I was Super Kid, The Bionic Woman, a princess, and Annie Hall. This year I have a vintage stewardess costume I'm planning on wearing, with a white pillbox hat. However I have a guilty pleasure to share with you all: Around Halloween, I love watching The Paul Lynde Halloween Special on YouTube.
Yes, that wacky Paul Lynde had a Halloween special in 1976. Who knew the Center Square loved Halloween? Because let's face it, when you think of Halloween, you think Paul Lynde, right? Right?
Okay, just go with me on this.
Lynde starts off the special with a monologue, mostly about how fat he was as a kid. Then he bursts into song with his signature tune "Kids" from Bye Bye Birdie. Joining him at the end is Donny and Marie (Lynde did guest star appearances on their show) and I swear, their teeth shine so white it makes you want to know what toothpaste they used back then.
Lynde has a couple of sketches in his special that are, well, lame. It includes him being engaged to a waitress played by Roz "Pinky Tuscadero" Kelly. You might be reading this and thinking "Jennifer, he's gay." Yep. This was 1976, and you just have to go with it. You have to watch this for the guest stars. We have Margaret Hamilton playing Lynde's housekeeper, and oh yeah, she's a witch!
Billie Hayes is Witchypoo!
They help Lynde with his special guests. Florence Henderson sings "Old Black Magic" and gets her groove on in a black dress that makes you think "Mrs. Brady! What would the kids think?'
Then comes my favorite part, when Peter Criss from KISS sings "Beth."
So here's the deal: I love that song. I'm not a big KISS fan, but when I hear the song I start singing: "Just a few more hours and I'll be right home to you. I think I hear them calling, oh Beth what can I do?" Now I know the real Beth was probably sitting home thinking "You can come home pal! You're going to miss Mary Hartman Mary Hartman and I have a bottle of Boone's Farm on ice!" Beth babe, you got a song out of it! Then at the end the rest of the KISS members surround Peter Criss, like they're telling him "We told you to dump her. Oh well, it's a nice slow ballad and it went gold. Continue being sensitive, man!"
Lynde tries to joke with the guys. This goes as well as Michael Bolton's dancing. "I know how you got your name! Your mothers told you to KISS and make up!" He proceeds to go on "Peter and Paul, is this a religious group?" Oh Paul stop it! You're killing us!
Yet the best comes at the end. Everyone is dancing (except for the KISS guys, they're too cool) and Lynde yet again starts to "flirt" with Roz Kelly, calling her Pinky. She flirts back the best she can. Then she starts to sing "Shake it out/ Shake it around/move it in/move it out/move it around and out/disco baby!" Lynde starts to sing as well, and he exclaims "I love that funky stuff!"
The show ends with Lynde thanking the audience for making him feel "wanted." He thanks all his stars, and wishes everyone Happy Halloween. It ends with Lynde shaking his booty with Pinky and Witchypoo getting down with Tim Conway.
I love the special because it's perfect to watch when you're feeling blue—I was a bit after writing yesterday's blog—yet even though it's so cheesy, there's something great to watch a moment captured in time of power ballads, bad flirting, bad jokes. Despite it all, there's also a spirit of fun as well. Plus, darn it, Paul Lynde looks good in San Francisco Giants colors.
Happy Halloween everyone! Sing the song with me: "Beth I hear you calling, but I can't come home right now..."
Causes Jennifer Gibbons Supports
Gilda's Club, Greenpeace, Rosie's Broadway Kids,Westwind Foster Family Agency, Amber Brown Fund, Linda Duncan Fund for Contra Costa Libraries