The world of network television was littered with variety shows and special presentations in the 1970s. There were only three networks to choose from and each one vied for your attention on a nightly basis. These celebrity-filled occasions were even more popular around any holiday. Halloween was no different and comedian, voice artist, and actor Paul Lynde knew exactly what he needed to attract the millions of rockers and teens to his Halloween-themed special.
“The Paul Lynde Halloween Special” aired October 29th, 1976 on ABC and millions of fans were treated to a very rare television appearance of the Hottest Band in the World, KISS. The electrifying face-painted foursome were perfect as a musical guest for a show marking a season filled with costumes and masks.
KISS hit the stage of “The Paul Lynde Halloween Special” after being introduced by Margaret Hamilton, who reprised her role as the Wicked Witch of the West for the first time ever since “The Wizard of Oz”. After the band descends in a gated elevator, Paul, Gene, and Ace strapped on their instruments and Peter climbed behind the drumkit and energetically launched into a rousing performance of “Detroit Rock City” donning their “Destroyer”-era costumes. The song ended in a blaze of fire and exploding guitar speakers as the crowd went wild. They also played “Beth” and “King of the Nighttime World” before being introduced to Paul Lynde and exchanging some witty banter with the host.
Forty years later, “The Paul Lynde Halloween Special” is still a shining example of why the world fell in love with KISS and has amassed an army of loyal fans who are still going strong four decades later. The band were reaching the peak of their popularity at the time and their dedication to putting on a great show were extremely evident. KISS still has that same fire in their eyes as they take the stage in 2016.
KISS's performance of "King of the Nighttime World" and the band meeting Paul Lynde can be seen on their DVD "KISSOLOGY: The Ultimate KISS Collection Volume 1 - 1974-1977", which is available for purchase right here. “The Paul Lynde Halloween Special” can be bought on DVD in it's entirety here. You can also watch it online here.