Review: Center Square: The Paul Lynde Story

Center Square: The Paul Lynde Story
Center Square: The Paul Lynde Story by Steve Wilson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

It’s been awhile since I’ve read a celebrity memoir, since those usually aren’t my thing (unless they’re about Frank Zappa). I will however occasionally indulge myself with one if it’s about a unique individual or favorite actor. Center Square fits both those criteria.

I remember Paul Lynde as a pretty versatile comic actor – though like most of his characters, they were just versions of himself – and pretty quick on the quip. I never really even considered he was gay – he was just the goofy guy who had KISS on his Halloween special, and was always in the middle of the Hollywood Squares board. According to this biography, Paul was a much more complex person than I would’ve realized, and occasionally much more troubled and petty.

The book has two pages of photos, and covers all of Paul’s career, from his days with WAA-MUU, summer stock, early TV, Bye Bye Birdie, his failed TV shows, and all the other high and low spots. The book is very straight-forward about the uniqueness of Paul’s homosexuality; considering his status as a star from the game show and being in America’s face daily, as it were, it surprising that it wasn’t as big an issue in the day.

Overall, this is a very well-written and researched book. If you enjoy Paul Lynde’s comedy, you’ll like this. And if you’d like to understand more about the TV pilot process in the sixties, this has a lot of inside information on that as well.

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