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100 TV Shows-#2-Hollywood Squares

Paul Lynde made me the fag-hag I am today!

I'm only talking about the "classic" show, hosted by Peter Marshall, with Charlie Weaver, Rose Marie, Wally Cox, an assortment of fabulous stars ranging from Roddy McDowell (who I fell in love with on Hollywood Squares, another sign of my impending status as a Fruit Fly) to Vincent Price to Alice FREAKIN' Cooper. Old Borscht Belt comics, deadpan cop show stars, wacky sit-com leads and pop singers. Fur coats from Dicker and Dicker of Beverly Hills. (Talk about something we'll never see again.)

And most important Paul Lynde in the center square saying and getting away with subversive, perverse, kinky, hilarious gay innuendo, every weekday and once a week in prime time. And even when he wasn't being all that filthy, his whole personal was screamingly gay. I realize it's not the most PC or Social Justice approved depiction of gay people, but it clearly hit my early developing ID to the point that I still want my on screen slash to have a bit of Paul Lynde about it. To be sly and dirty, instead of mushy and sincere. (And let's not forget all the snark and innuendo being delivered by the other stars.)

This is a show I remember watching in the afternoons with my mother, sitting on the couch in our apartment in Washington Heights, so it might have been when she was working part time or maybe when she was going back to school to get her Masters so she could go back to work. So there's me and mom, watching all these fabulous stars being all cute and funny and apparently spontaneous, (even if "the stars are briefed to help them with their bluffs) and at the same time I'm getting the early seeds of my life as a slasher and someone who to this day is never more comfortable then when surrounded by a group of bitchy, campy, gay men. Plus I was learning stuff about politics and old movies and just weird trivia, making myself the Trivial Pursuit pain the ass that I'd become in the 80's.

Watching the clips now on Youtube, I'm getting the same feeling that I get now from the British panel shows like QI and Would I Lie To You, that the celebrities are genuinely having fun, and the the people involved, both the stars and contestants were actually intelligent people.

Thank you, Mommy for being home so we could watch it together and thank you Paul. I still miss you.


( 15 comments — Leave a comment )
Apr. 18th, 2012 05:07 am (UTC)
as you may imagine, that show never made it across the Atlantic.
But I'm intrigued by the way you linked Lynde's image to your taste as slash writer; it is perhaps fitting that in my case fruit fly-ness (love you forever for that image) was precipitated by a mixture of Plato and Dante on one side and of innuendos about fashion designers on the other.

PS The reasonyou're so good a Trivial Pursuit is that you have a memory instead of a colander.
Apr. 18th, 2012 05:24 am (UTC)
I used to have a memory, now I have IMDB.

I couldn't find a lot of individual clips of Paul in action on Hollywood Squares, but sometimes it wasn't the exact words as much as the way he said them. Of course sometimes it was the exact words.

Q. Paul, why do Hell's Angels wear leather?
A. Paul Lynde: Because chiffon wrinkles too easily.

Q. It is the most abused and neglected part of your body, what is it?
A. Paul Lynde: Mine may be abused, but it certainly isn't neglected.

Q. Who stays pregnant for a longer period of time, your wife or your elephant?
A. Paul Lynde: Who told you about my elephant?
Apr. 18th, 2012 05:40 am (UTC)
They showed that on TV? Abused but not neglected? LMAO!
(So good for once to have an appropriate icon).
Apr. 18th, 2012 05:59 am (UTC)
Yes, they did. In the 1970s mind you! In the afternoon when the kiddies could see it. And you have to hear the delivery to get the full effect. Check out some Youtube segments if you have the time.

Peter Marshall: A current movie is being described as "the story of a love that changed the world forever." What movie is it?
Paul Lynde: Oh, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.
Apr. 18th, 2012 07:19 am (UTC)
I remember watching the British version of this (Celebrity Squares) when I was small, Willie Rushton was always in the centre square and was funny in a not-sitcom way. I couldn't tell you who anyone else was but I guess they had the same standard TV comedians, sitcom actors etc on that used to appear on gameshows then. I've still no idea what the game is about other than it's based on noughts & crosses, but I always liked it.

In the 1990s one of the ITV companies revived Celebrity Squares for a while, sadly without Willie Rushton (he might have died by that time) - again, the usual expected panellists - always one of the actresses from Birds Of A Feather, plus other washed-up comedians that used to have their own ITV shows, and a member of the Chippendales, who was never named - they would ask his name and where in the US he was from, but his name panel always said "Chippendale". I think that was the last time they were seen anywhere in the UK.
Apr. 18th, 2012 07:23 am (UTC)
Wow! I had no idea there'd been a British version. They also tried various revivals of the Hollywood Squares, but to me they all have a sad and canned feeling and the celebrities are quite d-list. That's why I specified that my love is only for the classic game. Without Peter Marshall and of course, Paul Lynde is just meh!

(I also didn't know that what we call Tic-Tac-Toe is Naughts and Crosses to you guys, although it certainly makes sense.)
Apr. 18th, 2012 11:27 am (UTC)
Ah, it's nice to share some cultural references with someone. I spent many an hour watching Hollywood Squares. It wasn't until I was an adult that I realized Paul Lynde was a gay stereotype. Wasn't Charles Nelson Reilly on that too?
Apr. 18th, 2012 02:40 pm (UTC)
He might have appeared on Hollywood Squares, but he's more associated with Match Game, where he and Brett Sommers also got away with a lot of innuendo, but it was a bit cruder and not quite so subversively gay. (Usually boob jokes and the like.)
Apr. 18th, 2012 04:09 pm (UTC)
Oh yeah, that's right. I watched that too. :D
Apr. 18th, 2012 04:50 pm (UTC)
Me too. After school. It was fun, but just not as clever. How many "Dumb Dora was sooooooo dumb...." jokes can you really laugh at? Although again, it was fun seeing the celebs and their personas interact, especially Richard Dawson.
Apr. 18th, 2012 04:06 pm (UTC)
Paul Lynde was awesome! my fave line of his from HS:

Peter: When Smokey the bear died did he leave a widow?
Paul: Well, let's just say at the funeral they had to sedate Ranger Bob.
Apr. 18th, 2012 04:49 pm (UTC)
Another classic!
Apr. 18th, 2012 05:24 pm (UTC)
I think he is where I learned about "gay", which he might not be so thrilled about, actually, but if there is an afterlife, I hope he's all right with it now. I had an attendant once, where we had an agreement...he was supposed to snap me out of complaining and I was supposed to stop him from being too "Paul Lynde-ish"
Apr. 18th, 2012 05:34 pm (UTC)
I do wonder what his life would have been like if he survived into an era of more acceptance. I'm not sure he would necessarily have been able to over-come the self-loathing or even to fit into a post-closet world. But whereever he is, I'm sure he's still being snarky and hilarous and camping it up big time, especially if robes and wings are involved.
Apr. 18th, 2012 06:20 pm (UTC)
I did occasionally keep
the agreement, since "hold up my end," feels all vulgar now...thanks, Mr. Lynde, but not as much as I might have...he was my first Fabulous Gay Friend(we crips would be screwed without the Gays...many of my attendants have been gay or lesbian.) and what good is it to leave home and make a FGF if he won't camp it up for you?
( 15 comments — Leave a comment )



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