Musical Monday: Bye Bye Birdie (1963)

It’s no secret that the Hollywood Comet loves musicals.
In 2010, I revealed I had seen 400 movie musicals over the course of eight years. Now that number is over 500. To celebrate and share this musical love, here is my weekly feature about musicals.

This week’s musical:
Bye Bye Birdie (1963) – Musical #168

Studio:
Columbia

Director:
George Sidney

Starring:
Dick Van Dyke, Ann-Margret, Janet Leigh, Paul Lynde, Maureen Stapleton, Bobby Rydell, Jesse Pearson, Mary LaRoche, Michael Evans, Robert Paige, Frank Albertson, Trudi Ames, Bryan Russell, Kim Darby (uncredited), Melody Patterson (uncredited), Melinda Marx (uncredited)
Themselves: John Daley, Ed Sullivan

Plot:
Rockstar Conrad Birdie (Pearson) is being drafted. Before he goes into the Army, Rosie DeLeon (Leigh) creates an idea for Birdie to kiss a fan from Ohio on the Ed Sullivan Show as his big send-off. Rosie’s idea is that Birdie will sing a song written by her boyfriend, Albert (Van Dyke), it will become a hit and he will make enough money so his mother (Stapleton) will be set and he can marry Rosie. Birdie’s visit to Ohio turns the town upside down and creates problems between the young girl Kim (Ann-Margret), her new steady boyfriend Hugo (Rydell) and her family (Lynde, LaRoche, Russell).

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On the Small Screen: The Paul Lynde Halloween Special (1976)

Comet Over Hollywood is spotlighting Halloween episodes of classic television shows.

The Paul Lynde Halloween Special
Air Date: Oct. 29, 1976

In the 1960s and 1970s, TV specials were abundant. It seems that almost every TV star, major musician and their Great Aunt Pearl had their own special. From musical performances like “My Name is Barbra” (1965), a musical special with Barbra Streisand, to “Really Raquel” (1973), where Raquel Welch performed her nightclub show. Telly Savalas even had a 1976 musical specials called “Telly…Who Loves Ya Baby?”

lynde

Many of these specials also focused on holidays, and performers such as Perry Como, Bing Crosby, Bob Hope and Andy Williams always had a Christmas special. And thanks to Paul Lynde, Halloween wasn’t forgotten in the mix of Halloween specials.

Airing on ABC on Oct. 29, 1976, “The Paul Lynde Halloween Special” is a ridiculous, campy (but hilarious) special featuring Margaret Hamilton as his maid, Tim Conway, Billie Barty, Betty White, Florence Henderson, Billie Hayes, Roz Kelly, and…performances from the rock band KISS.

It begins with Lynde not sure what holiday it is, celebrating Christmas, Easter and Valentine’s Day, when Margaret Hamilton exasperatedly reminds him that it’s Halloween—a holiday that is close “to the scariest holiday of them all: Election Day.”

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