Friday, May 14, 2010

Serious Debate

I have found that life will sometimes throw the hard questions at you and there seem to be no easy answers.  Fortunately, I am able to seek counsel with a wise and distinguished friend who can dissect them and get to the heart of the matters.  
The difficult question I sent his way was:

Who is Cooler?

Paul Lynde


Charles Nelson Reilly?

Here is his reply via email.  After much thought on the matter, I concur with his findings.

So to pit these two against one another is one of the cleverest ideas around.  Never really thought of the comparison.  But once it's mentionied - "Well, of course" he said.
So they both had game show injections into the culture in the 70's.  There was "Charlie Match Game" and "Paulie Center Square".  Each job description required the incumbent to possess a certain pithy, offhanded insouciance.  And in each of those categories, the PL vs CNR match is Even-Steven.  They were each surrounded by a gaggle of other "celebrities" and in each instance, Chuck & Paul were the primo personalities.  So lets go to the matchup.

Game Show - Hollywood Squares vs Matchgame = Even.

Other work - PL: Bewitched;   CNR: Loveboat Appearance? = Winner, Paulie.

Attire - PL; 70's digs; CNR; 70's digs + Scarf & glasses... = Winner Charles, totally.  He totally "ascotted" a scarf.  Who can get away with that?

Boozieness- PL apparently had a few before the show.  Whoa, CNR Had a few DURING the show (tune into Game Show Network). = Winner, Charles.

Stereotypes - Even: I didn't even "get it" until I was much older.

Ballsy-One-Liners... Apparently a cop pulled Paul Lynde over once in LA.  Perhaps this is a fallacy, but the story states!... that as the officer approaced the driver, with his ticket book and pen in hand and at the ready, when he reached the window... Lynde says, "I'll have a ham on rye with mustard  - [insert Lynde laugh].  Sure, it reads like something you'd see in a movie.  But imagine actually DOING that.  Winner - Paulie.

It is now two to two and they are neck and (scarfed) neck.

Here is where Charles Nelson Reilly pulls ahead.  First, Alec Baldwin's impersonation of him on SNL is brilliant, and all the funnier because so many people (i.e. the whipper-snappers amongst us) just can't get it.  And second, I read somewhere that Paul Lynde just became kind of a broken, sad man in his later years.  And as far as I know Charles Nelson Reilly lives on.  LIVES ON GODDAMNIT!

He actually died in 2007, but why spoil the fun?

I want to say Paul Lynde, but the tale of the tape says, "Charles, Charles he's our man!"

WINNER:  Charles Nelson Reilly


  1. Excellent! Thank you for sharing.

  2. It is interesting that both Paul Lynde and Charles Nelson Reilly were in the original Broadway cast of "Bye Bye Birdie". Although, Lynde had an more important role in the play, Reilly was the understudy of Dick Van Dyke, who was the star. Comparing quality of careers, Reilly certainly is the clear winner, both in number and status of the shows and films he appeared in. Reilly won a Tony and was nominated several times for that honor and he also directed on Broadway. Lynde's appearances on Broadway were few, "Bye Bye Birdie" and three "New faces of" such and such year, although he was both a writer and director on those.

    There is certainly a certain troubling aspects to Lynde's life offstage beginning early when his lover fell to his death from a building.


  3. I really liked Paul's snarky wit better, but really enjoyed the comparisons!

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  4. I don't know who either of those men are

    check one for the whippersnappers