Monday, November 12, 2012

More Zingers from The Hollywood Squares

1978, possibly first edition, from Popular Library
Compiled by Gail Sicilia
More Zingers from The Hollywood Squares
Original price $1.50, purchase price unknown
Worn paperback

Not surprisingly, the funniest zingers come from Mr. Center Square, the late lamented Paul Lynde.  (He died four years after this book came out, one year after the show was cancelled.)  His campy, bitchy, kinky, and oh so politically incorrect humor shines through on nearly every line.  I was also pleasantly surprised that most of the political, especially anti-Nixon, one-liners are his, as with
Q.  In order to keep the monkeys in the zoo occupied, they are given something to pick apart.  What?
A.  The President's foreign policy.

One line that wouldn't seem as funny without going back to the 1970s mindset (which I can do easily, so it made me laugh) illustrates what The Queening of America (coming up in 1995) reveals as the tricky game Lynde played with the host, the audience, and his own identity.
Q.  In the final scene of the classic movie On the Waterfront, Marlon Brando staggers up to a burly guy in an overcoat and the guy says "Let's...."  Let's what?
A.  Let's adopt.

Other times, it's just Lynde's absurdity, or even surrealism, that amuses me.  The other contestants are hit or miss.  If you like Rose Marie's horny spinster act and George Gobel's wimpy older guy act, you'll be pleased they're here, along with Vincent Price, Roddy McDowell, Carol Channing, Redd Foxx, Joan Rivers, Karen Valentine, future Squares host John Davidson, and of course Charo.

Along with a lot of sexual innuendo, there's also occasional drug humor.  The only tasteless jokes that actually offended me were the ones about rape, and the one about an exploding maid.  As near as I can tell the "real" answers are true, except about Henry VIII executing Jane Grey.

Sicilia not surprisingly compiled the first "Zingers" book, and went on to associate-produce a few 1980s Woody Allen movies.

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