Monday, October 03, 2005

Paul Lynde


I swear to God, long after I knew what “gay” meant, it never occurred to me for a second that the late comedian Paul Lynde was gay. Most people seem to feel that he was the most obviously “outed” performer on television in the sixties and seventies (I always gave that honor to puppeteerWayland Flowers, myself). I even researched Lynde for my nigh-legendary, unpublished book of cartoon voice actors in the late eighties and still didn’t have a clue! A new arrival at the Library this week is CENTER SQUARE, THE PAUL LYNDE STORY, a smallish but detailed warts-and-all bio put out by the gay lifestyles magazine, THE ADVOCATE. This, along with the recent TV biography, reveal Paul to be a sad, troubled man whose talents for making people laugh were rarely utilized to their fullest. There’s quite a bit in the book about Paul’s annual returns to appear onstage in summer stock in his native Ohio. I never saw him there but I DID see his fellow HOLLYWOOD SQUARES co-stars Karen Valentine and Rose Marie (along with future star James Naughton) and their after show bull session with the audience was completely dominated by questions about…Paul Lynde. From cartoon voices to game shows to BEWITCHED reruns, you’re STILL making me laugh, Paul! I hope you’re happy these days.
Here's an incredible site with scores and scores of rare, hilarious clips of Paul Lynde!http://paullynde.info/clips.htm

2 comments:

normadesmond said...

you didn't know that paul lynde was gay? what else have you missed?

Dr. Mark said...

>>> I swear to God, long after I knew what “gay” meant, it never occurred to me for a second
>>> that the late comedian Paul Lynde was gay.

Same here. (b.1960) It was just such an innocent time. Paul, Liberace, etc. My family always called them "sissy men." And that was it. BTW...

>>> Paul’s annual returns to appear onstage in summer stock in his native Ohio. I never saw him there...

That would have been THE KENLEY PLAYERS. Local for me in Columbus Ohio. Unfortunately, I never saw Paul there either, but saw many KENLEY PLAYERS shows w. the likes of Florence Henderson, Vincent Price, Barry Williams, Henry Winkler and others. While we were at the first Kenley show I saw, my mother was talking to an older woman sitting next to her, who said she had been Paul Lynde's -nanny!- many years before. (Paul was from Mount Vernon Ohio.) Talk about small world... That first Kenley play I attended was NO NO NANNETTE- starring VICKI LAWRENCE (from the Carol Burnette show), old movie star VIRGINIA MAY and tv star GALE GORDEN (from THE LUCY SHOW). He even did one of his trademark CARTWHEELS during the show!!! That was probably c. 1975. What a memory.

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