“Paul Lynde Hollywood Special”

Kitsch and Camp

Amos Lassen

Paul Lynde was so gay and his kitschy and campy TV special from the 70’s, believed lost, has been found, remastered and finally released on DVD. If you remember it, you undoubtedly will remember just how campy it was and now, almost 40 years later, it is still full of gay camp.

Paul Lynde appears as a bitch to the nth degree and he  is joined by some incredible

guests—Margaret Hamilton (remember the wicked witch from “The Wizard of Oz”), Billie Hayes, Betty White, Tim Conway and Florence Henderson and rockers Kiss who sing disco here.

The show brought back some fond and wild memories of how I lived back then. Nostalgia can be fun but unfortunately it is not always good. He special looks extremely dated and the quality of the recording is poor.

Lynde’s jokes are really corny and I am not sure if I laughed with him or at him and the supporting cast tried very hard to make this special somewhat special but alas the best thing here is Kiss. Watching Gene Simmons perform was as incredible as ever even if the group sang some minor songs and seeing them do disco was wonderful (if that is the right word). I found Lynde’s mugging to be very distracting. The skits might have been funny then but now they fall flat.

A redeeming aspect of the DVD is that it contains some very good extras. Remembering that TV specials clock in at under and hour, obviously something else was needed to fill the disc. The extras include Lynde’ scrapbook and a trivial test about him, a featurette entitles “The Wit and Wisdom of Paul Lynde”, and an audio interview with Peter Marshall about Lynde’s tenure on “Hollywood Squares”.

If you are not in the mood for serious TV watching, this may just be the thing for you. It’s not bad but neither is it good and it does take us back in time.

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