Sunday, October 25, 2015

Creepy TV: The Paul Lynde Halloween Special (1976)

After flopping twice as a lead in sitcoms, Paul Lynde landed his first and only primetime special in 1976 for ABC. If memory serves me correctly, the Paul Lynde Halloween Special aired in place of Donny & Marie on a Friday night. Not that it made much difference, since the Osmond sibs made an unbilled appearance on the show, which was already loaded with guests, including Betty White (The Mary Tyler Moore Show), Tim Conway, Margaret Hamilton (who was shilling for Maxwell House back then), Billy Barty, Roz Kelly (Happy Days), Billie Hayes (reprising her H. R. Pufnstuf role as Witchiepoo), and musical guests KISS. Ernie Anderson is the announcer.

Had this been on NBC, you could've banked on a Hollywood Squares crossover of some form. Hamilton donned the green makeup of the Wicked Witch of the West ("Wizard of Oz") after more than 25 years, and I'm not sure if Hayes did any other skits than working as Witchiepoo. This wasn't a Krofft production, unlike Donny & Marie, which at the time was under the Kroffts' stewardship, and Lynde was making regular appearances there in addition to his Squares gig. As you could probably guess, I didn't see it the first time (I wasn't even home the night it aired, if my memory is correct), so there is no rating.

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