One of the major reasons for doing The Magic Flute at Northwestern a few months ago -- other than, of course, trying to maintain my sanity -- was to be able to look at through the Paul Lynde archives there at the library.
Some of you may not know that Lynde went to school there from '44 - '48, along side the likes of Charlotte Rae, Cloris Leachman and Patricia Neal, among others. Of course, I am a HUGE fan of Lynde and, eons ago, spent almost four years of my life, writing a one-man show that was stopped by the Lynde Estate. While I was not interested in dredging up any mental funk, I still wanted to see those archives. Had I the opportunity to see them when I wrote the play, they would have been the final stop in the list of places to see regarding research.
|Part of the Lynde file at the NU Archives Department|
Upon finally being able to make an appointment on the phone, I found the reaction almost a verbal reaction of, "Oh, you, too?" With my windows for appointments limited and sporadic, I took the first available and made my way over a few days later. The mountain of information that I found waiting for me that day was astounding. Many of what awaited me was from the tenure of his college education, rather than copies of said material. One of the cool things from the pile was a script from one of his Waa-Mu shows, complete with pencil marks of one of the actors. So cool!
While digging through the material, I was reminded of an amazing (and terrible) incident that occurred across the street from the NU's Music Building. Back in '77, Lynde was invited back to head up the year's Homecoming festivities. One of his "duties," as it were, was to lead the parade before the football game. He did. As Lynde was want to do at that time, the later in the day it became, the more drinks he had consumed. By the end of the night, he was ready for a greasy meal and he walked on over to the local Burger King (which is still in the same location). There's more to the story, of course, but Lynde walked into the Burger King and got into a verbal altercation with an African-American man in the line. A few racial slurs were tossed about and the next morning, the story was quite popular. It turned out that the man he yelled at was a professor at NU. Lynde was forced by the University to apologize, which he did, but he was never asked back to Evanston, IL, again.
How 'bout those alumni? Go, Wildcats!
|The scene of the crime!|
For more pictures of my Lynde visit, please take a look at my Facebook page.