The Paul Lynde Show
The Paul Lynde Show title card
Created byRon Clark
Sam Bobrick
Based onHowie
by Phoebe Ephron
Directed byWilliam Asher
Bruce Bilson
Jack Donohue
Jerry London
Oscar Rudolph
Coby Ruskin
George Tyne
StarringPaul Lynde
Elizabeth Allen
John Calvin
Jane Actman
Pamelyn Ferdin
ComposerShorty Rogers
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
No. of seasons1
No. of episodes26
Executive producerHarry Ackerman
ProducerWilliam Asher
Camera setupMulti-camera
Running timeapprox. 25 mins.
Production companiesAshmont Productions
Screen Gems
Original networkABC
Audio formatMonaural
Original releaseSeptember 13, 1972 (1972-09-13) –
March 14, 1973 (1973-03-14)
Elizabeth Allen and Paul Lynde

The Paul Lynde Show is an American television sitcom that aired on ABC. The series starred comedian Paul Lynde and aired for one season, with original episodes airing from September 13, 1972, to March 14, 1973.


The series starred Lynde as Paul Simms, a general-practice attorney and the father of a family that consisted of his wife Martha (Elizabeth Allen) and daughters Barbara (Jane Actman) and Sally (Pamelyn Ferdin). The Simms family lived in the fictional city of Ocean Grove, California.

It also starred John Calvin as Barbara's husband, Howie Dickerson, an eccentric university student who was of genius intelligence (IQ 185) and was a whiz with everything and full of advice, but inexplicably, he could not manage to hold down a job, and Jerry Stiller and Anne Meara as Howie's divorced parents, Barney and Grace Dickerson. Howie's misadventures around the house and his lack of steady employment brought his father-in-law to a state of slow-burn anger and drove him to distraction.

Critics perceived the show as derivative of All in the Family, then television's most popular primetime program, and the Paul Simms role bore similarities to Lynde's best-known film role, that of Harry MacAfee from the film and musical Bye Bye Birdie. For his role in the series, Lynde was nominated for a Best Actor Golden Globe.



The show was based on the play Howie, about a lawyer, played by Lynde, whose daughter marries a slacker named Howard, or "Howie". The Lynde character despises him as he is not interested in earning money or traditional pursuits. Howie was developed for CBS in 1962, as a replacement for The Dick Van Dyke Show, but when that series was saved from cancellation, plans for Howie were shelved.[1]

William Asher later resurrected the Howie concept for ABC and Screen Gems as a replacement for Bewitched. Asher and then-wife Elizabeth Montgomery were contractually obligated for two more seasons of Bewitched for ABC. Montgomery was not interested in continuing the series (she and Asher were also on the verge of divorcing), and Lynde was also under contract to ABC. The Paul Lynde Show (along with the first incarnation of Temperatures Rising) was created to fulfill the contracts. Lynde had appeared numerous times on Bewitched as "Uncle Arthur". Asher designed The Paul Lynde Show to be ABC's counterpart to CBS's All in the Family; however, the show lacked the controversial and topical issues brought up by All in the Family, due to ABC's continued restriction on social issues at the time. This was despite Lynde's rewrite of the show's dialog in an effort to make the series more lively and comedic.[1]

The show was filmed before a live audience, with a laugh track added during post-production for "sweetening" purposes. Unusual for such a series, the production included a frequently seen backyard set with a fully functional swimming pool, which Lynde would occasionally fall into.

The next season, ABC would cast Lynde as the lead on the re-tooled Temperatures Rising over Asher's objections. That series lasted until 1974. ABC would burn off Lynde's contract by placing him in variety shows such as The Paul Lynde Halloween Special, 'Twas the Night Before Christmas and Donny & Marie.[2]


Scheduled opposite the first half of the Top 30 hit The Carol Burnett Show on CBS and the Top 20 hit Adam-12 on NBC, the first episode proved to be a major hit; strong negative reactions led to bad word of mouth and a resulting collapse in ratings.[2] The show was canceled after a single 26-episode season.


No.TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air date
1"Howie Comes Home to Roost"William AsherSam Bobrick & Ron ClarkSeptember 13, 1972 (1972-09-13)
Paul's daughter arrives home from a trip with a brand new husband, Howie, and the young couple sets up residence in the Simms house.
2"Whiz Kid Sizzles as Quiz Fizzles"William AsherEd JuristSeptember 20, 1972 (1972-09-20)
Paul Simms is horrified when his son-in-law, Howie, refuses to accept his $4,000 winnings on a quiz show
3"The Landlord"William AsherS.A. LongSeptember 27, 1972 (1972-09-27)
Paul tries to reconcile Howie's estranged parents (Jerry Stiller and Anne Meara), hoping they'll invite Howie and Barbara to live with them.
4"No Nudes Is Good Nudes"William AherBob Fisher & Arthur MarxOctober 4, 1972 (1972-10-04)
Paul tries to close down a nude stage production, and finds his son-in-law Howie is in the show
5"To Commune or Not to Commune"Bruce BilsonBob Fisher & Arthur MarxOctober 11, 1972 (1972-10-11)
After several arguments with his father-in-law, Howie and his wife Barbara pack up and leave, and move into a commune. Martha refuses to talk to Paul until Howie and Barbara return.
6"How to Be Unhappy, Though Poor"William AsherS.A. LongOctober 18, 1972 (1972-10-18)
Paul schemes to jolt son-in-law Howie into getting a job. He pretends he's been fired. Howie's reaction is not what Paul desired. Howie decides, rather than find a job, the family must practice severe economies.
7"Pollution Solution"Jack DonohueBob Fisher & Arthur MarxOctober 25, 1972 (1972-10-25)
Ecologists Howie and Barbara lead Paul to an anti-pollution demonstration, only it turns out the protest is against one of his own clients.
8"To Wed or Not to Wed"Ernest LossoBud GrossmanNovember 1, 1972 (1972-11-01)
A snide glow overwhelms Paul when he learns daughter Barbara and husband Howie may not be married after all. Paul sees a way to end the relationship.
9"Unsteady Going"Jack DonohueBob Fisher & Arthur MarxNovember 8, 1972 (1972-11-08)
When Paul Simms orders his daughter Sally to break up with her boyfriend, she runs away from home.
10"Whose Lib?"Ernest LossoBob Fisher & Arthur MarxNovember 22, 1972 (1972-11-22)
Paul hopes to obtain a gorgeous girl as a vacation replacement for his secretary, but his son-in-law Howie is better qualified for the job.
11"Meet Aunt Charlotte"George TyneEd Jurist,
Stan Dreben
November 29, 1972 (1972-11-29)
Paul's efforts to make a business deal with a Japanese tycoon (Ray Walston) are halted when the gentleman showers attention on Paul's sister Charlotte (Charlotte Rae).
12"An Affair to Forget"George TyneBob Fisher & Arthur MarxDecember 6, 1972 (1972-12-06)
Paul Simms' jealousy is aroused when his wife Martha takes a job as receptionist to a doctor (Roger Perry) who has more than a professional interest in her.
13"Martha's Last Hurrah"Jack DonohueWilliam Raynor & Myles WilderDecember 13, 1972 (1972-12-13)
Martha Simms decided to raise funds for a women's lib candidate for the city council. When she's arrested for "soliciting," Paul is called upon to use his legal skills to fight for her cause.
14"Paul's Desperate Hour"Bruce BilsonBen StarrDecember 20, 1972 (1972-12-20)
A young man tries to mug Barbara, but she talks him out of it and brings him home. Paul is furious when the mugger becomes a holdup man, and calls his girlfriend to help him haul away the loot.
15"No More Mr. Nice Guy"George TyneBernie KahnDecember 27, 1972 (1972-12-27)
Paul's blood pressure is up so he has to make an effort to lower it by being nice to Howie. This proves a tremendous strain to everyone, especially when he snaps at the rest of the family and is kind and gentle to Howie.
16"The Bare Facts"George TyneRobert Fisher & Arthur MarxJanuary 3, 1973 (1973-01-03)
Paul is campaigning for presidency of the bar association. His campaign seems to have come unglued when a tavern owner purchases a nude portrait of his daughter, one painted by his son-in-law.
17"Howie's Inheritance"Jerry LondonLawrence MarksJanuary 10, 1973 (1973-01-10)
Righteous Howie learns he has inherited $10,000 but, much to his father-in-law's chagrin, he spurns it because his uncle who left him the money owned a firm which is a big polluter.
18"P.S. I Loathe You"Jack DonohueBob Carroll Jr. & Madelyn DavisJanuary 17, 1973 (1973-01-17)
Paul Simms vents his hostility toward a senior law partner (James Gregory) by writing a letter which he doesn't intend to mail, but the dry cleaner does.
19"The Congressman's Son"George TyneLeo RifkinJanuary 24, 1973 (1973-01-24)

Paul Simms' hopes of obtaining legal representation of a congressional committee rise when Howie becomes friends with the committee chairman's son.

Note: Tom Bosley guest stars as the congressman
20"Out of Bounds"Oscar RudolphWilliam Raynor & Myles WilderJanuary 31, 1973 (1973-01-31)
When Paul learns that his fence is on a neighbor's (Roger Bowen) property, his legal expertise provides him with several courses of action, all futile.
21"Is This Trip Necessary?"George TyneRobert Fisher & Arthur MarxFebruary 7, 1973 (1973-02-07)
Paul's mother-in-law (Mabel Albertson) causes his wife Martha to become jealous of his beautiful young law assistant (Elaine Giftos).
22"Everything You Wanted to Know About Your Mother-in-Law But Were Afraid to Ask"Coby RuskinRobert Fisher & Arthur MarxFebruary 14, 1973 (1973-02-14)
Paul gets bar-side advise from a psychiatrist (Alan Hale Jr.) on handling his mother-in-law (Mabel Albertson) - conquering by kindness
23"Back Talk"Oscar RudolphPhil SharpFebruary 21, 1973 (1973-02-21)
Paul takes to his bed to avoid taking his wife to an annual charity dance, but he makes an instant recovery when Howie brings home a Chinese restaurant owner with acupuncture needles.
24"Barbara Goes Home to Mother"Jerry LondonT : Marilyn Miller & Monica McGowan
S/T : S.A. Long
February 28, 1973 (1973-02-28)
Barbara and Howie have a battle and Barbara storms out. Paul is rather pleased about the fight, but his pleasure soon is diminished when Barbara moves into her parent's room, forcing Paul to sleep on the couch.
25"Togetherness"Ernest LossoBarry E. BlitzerMarch 7, 1973 (1973-03-07)
Paul's attempts to have a family day to bridge the communications gap turns out to be a disaster.
26"Springtime for Paul"Ernest LossoS.A. LongMarch 14, 1973 (1973-03-14)
Paul becomes the victim of a college girl's crush when he helps her out with a school paper.


  1. ^ a b "Features | Film Threat". Retrieved Feb 2, 2023.
  2. ^ a b Bruce Vilanch on "The Paul Lynde Halloween Special". Archive of American Television Interviews via YouTube (August 2, 2016). Retrieved February 26, 2020.

Media related to The Paul Lynde Show at Wikimedia Commons