Yikes! This is one for the ages -- an hour-long Halloween-themed ABC-TV variety special from 1976 starring (barely) closeted funnyman Paul Lynde along with a bevy of guests including the rock group KISS, Florence Henderson, The Wicked Witch of the West from The Wizard of Oz Margaret Hamilton, Tim Conway, Donny and Marie Osmond, Betty White, and Roz Kelly as Pinky Tuscadero (Fonzie's main squeeze at the time). Legendary for many years as a lost program and especially prized by fans of KISS, The Paul Lynde Halloween Special eventually turned up from fan recorded tapes on YouTube and received a genuine DVD release a couple of years ago.
You wonder why TV variety died a few decades ago, only to recently and initially reluctantly claw itself back to life courtesy of the dancing and singing competition shows? Specials like this are the answer. Awkward at best, unbearable at times, but also fascinating; TPLHS is from a different time when you could throw together a weird multigenerational list of guest stars, get the genuinely funny and beloved (even then and not just as a gay icon) Lynde to host, and fill an hour of primetime TV.
If you're way into Paul Lynde, then you should definitely buy or rent the DVD. Otherwise, a watch on YouTube should be plenty for you. We'll embed the first segment here but after that you're on your own! I only wish that my late great buddy James "Jimmy Jim" Torrence, who could do a better Paul Lynde than anybody, was around to watch this now!
This would also seem to be the perfect time to remind everybody to watch or record tonight's 8pm episode of Glee on Fox for their much-touted homage to the eternally-wonderful The Rocky Horror Picture Show. (FYI, Fox Movie Channel will be running a 24-hour TRHPS marathon starting at 6am eastern time on Sunday, 10/31!) Even those of us who aren't Gleeks -- and I'm one -- are going to be taking a look at what the show does to the most entertaining and imaginative rock musical out there and by now a complete classic of musical theater.
Here's the promo for the episode, and of course it's not two weeks away, it's about 3 hours away now!