7.5/10
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8 user 11 critic

The Paul Lynde Halloween Special (1976)

Witchipoo and the Wicked Witch of the West give Paul Lynde three wishes for Halloween. KISS performs three songs. Florence Henderson sings a disco version of "That Old Black Magic."

Director:

Sid Smith (as Sidney Smith)

Writers:

Bob Booker (writing supervisor), George Foster (writing supervisor) | 8 more credits »
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Cast

Cast overview:
Paul Lynde ... Himself / Big Ruby Red / Sheik
Tim Conway ... Dynamite Dan / Long Haul Howard / Seymore
Roz Kelly ... Herself / Hinky Pinky (as Roz 'Pinky Tuscadero' Kelly)
Margaret Hamilton ... Housekeeper / The Wicked Witch of the West
Billie Hayes ... Witchiepoo
Billy Barty ... Gallows
Florence Henderson ... Herself / Cecily Westinghouse
Betty White ... Miss Halloween
KISS ... Themselves
Donny Osmond ... Himself
Marie Osmond ... Herself
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Storyline

Paul Lynde attempts to celebrate Christmas, Easter and Valentine's Day before his housekeeper, Margaret, gives him the bad news. It's Halloween: the time of the year when a kid can carve up a pumpkin and Lynde's sports car at the same time. Lynde is no fan of ignorant youngsters, who seem to know more about Alice Cooper than Alice Faye. Margaret drives her employer to her sister's house, so he can escape the little pranksters. Unluckily, the sister turns out to be Witchipoo; and Margaret herself is the Wicked Witch of the West. The two witches believe witches in general have a bad rap. And so they want Lynde to be their spokes-human. In return, they give him three wishes. Lynde uses two of them to become a rhinestone trucker and a romantic sheik. Meanwhile, KISS performs three songs and Florence Henderson sings a disco version of "That Old Black Magic." Written by J. Spurlin

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

What better place to spend Halloween than in a haunted house with Paul Lynde?

Genres:

Comedy

Certificate:

Not Rated
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

29 October 1976 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Paul Lynde Halloween Special See more »

Filming Locations:

Beverly Hills, California, USA See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Hoysyl Productions See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

After Betty White (as Miss Halloween) departs, Paul Lynde cracks: "She has a striking resemblance to Betty White. But then so many witches do." This special was made when White's best-known role was the bitchy Sue Ann Nivens on Mary Tyler Moore (1970) See more »

Goofs

Cut to a different angle as the closing credits roll and everyone on the dance floor is differently positioned. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Paul Lynde: [singing] # We wish you a Merry Christmas, / We we wish you a Merry Christmas. #
See more »

Crazy Credits

During the closing credits, the announcer says, "The character of Witchipoo is from the World of Sid & Marty Krofft." See more »

Connections

References The Sound of Music (1965) See more »

Soundtracks

Disco Lady
(uncredited)
Written by Harvey Scales, Albert Vance and Don Davis
See more »

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User Reviews

The casting alone make this one a guilty pleasure to watch!
29 May 2014 | by MartinHaferSee all my reviews

If there was some sort of award for the weirdest casting ever for a TV special, surely "The Paul Lynde Halloween Special" would take it! Think about it….Lynde's guests were Margaret Hamilton (of The Wizard of Oz fame), Billie Hayes ('Witchiepoo' from "H.R. Pufnstuf"), Florence Henderson, Billy Barty, Betty White, Donny and Marie Osmond…and KISS!!! It seemed as if some producer simply closed their eyes and picked celebrities out of a hat!! So is this strange mélange any good? Nah… it's pure crap!

I have nothing against the host, Paul Lynde. In his own may, he had a niche—whether as the center square on the American TV show The Hollywood Squares, as the befuddled father in Bye, Bye Birdie or playing the deliberately annoying Uncle Arthur on Bewitched. However, no one would say that he was a man who could do it all. Yet, oddly, here in the special Lynde was given EVERYTHING to do—from comedy, singing, stand-up and playing the great, straight lover. None of them worked very well but the worst was definitely his attempt at stand-up at the beginning of the show. This routine wouldn't have worked even if Jerry Seinfeld or Henny Youngman had delivered it—and having a non-stand-up guy like Lynde deliver it was downright painful—especially since the laugh track was horrid. EVERYTHING he said was unfunny and every line he delivered resulted in loud guffaws from the laugh track! It was a combination of embarrassing and awful at the same time.

There were a few skits as well—all of which were painfully bad. The most difficult to watch had Lynde playing a rhinestone bedazzled trucker who inexplicably was stuck on a trashy waitress and had to battle against Tim Conway and Billy Barty for her love. Seeing him in this jumpsuit was simply amazing…and hard to describe in its awfulness. You just have to see it to believe it!

Did it get any better? Mostly, no, it didn't. There was a lot of singing and Lynde's singing range was very, very limited—and he's clearly out of his range with "Kids" and "Disco Baby"! Florence Henderson, who possessed a nice voice, wasn't much better with "That 'Ol Black Magic" because the song and style just weren't suited to her talents. As for Donnie and Marie, they inexplicably didn't sing(!) and only KISS came off well—and sang some of their best tunes ("Detroit Rock City", "Beth" and "King of the Nighttime World"). In fact, that is why I was generous enough to score this one an F+--their tunes, though inappropriate for this lame show, were definitely the highlights and hold up pretty well today. Even if you hate KISS, I can't see anyone disliking the song "Beth".

Overall, the humor and entertainment in this tacky confection were just dreadful—even by 1970s standards. I would place this in the same category as "The Brady Variety Hour" (once "The Brady Bunch" was canceled the network execs decided to give them a variety show) and "Pink Lady and Jeff" (Pink Lady was a musical duo who didn't speak English) as among the worst of the era. The only worse and more painful excuse of a show I can recall from that same time period was the god- awful "Star Wars Holiday Special". It's all just too weird, disjoint and awful to be believed—and that's why I'd love you to see it! And, if insist on treating yourself to this mess of a show, it is available from Amazon.com.


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