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  • I recently reviewed all 13 episodes of the Pat Paulsen Half a Comedy Hour as part of a project to bring the series out on DVD. I may be considered biased in this review since I have a stake in the project, and am related to Pat Paulsen, but I will attempt to be as objective as possible, and invite readers to check and confirm the information I present here, which will be easy to do in the near future as the DVD collection becomes readily available to the general public.

    My primary purpose in writing this review is to address what I believe to be inaccuracies or misconceptions I found in another review listed here.

    Regarding the comments about Pat Paulsen being unable to memorize lines and glancing angrily off to stage right to read cue cards, well, that's patently silly. For one thing, cue cards (before TelePrompters) were always positioned just below the camera to give the most convincing eye-line possible. Cue cards were in fact used for this TV series, but were part of the plan from the beginning, since the taping schedule called for multiple shows filmed in a day, and a very short lead time between writing the skits and performing them. Hence, no time to memorize the lines, and no plans to do so. Most of the variety shows at the time were designed to incorporate cue cards. Many today are done so also, but now with TelePrompters it becomes less obvious. The reviewer may be thinking of other skits on other shows where Pat glances off stage during the skit. A notable occurrence can be found on YouTube during a performance in black-face on the Merv Griffin show. It is obvious from viewing the clip that the technique is used just to take up time during extended audience laughter.

    As for the reviewer's comment about Pat's career foundering because of his inability to hide "his own extremely vicious personality," well... this seems way out of line for a review here. First of all, it's untrue and I'm not sure why the reviewer would presume to know the inner workings of someone's personality, especially someone the reviewer doesn't know. Yes, Pat sometimes assumed the manner of a grumpy fed- up politician, but this is called acting. He also played a bumbling dimwit at times, but no one who knew him ever considered him dumb. Finally, Pat's career continued to flourish throughout his life, with constant performances in stage plays (which of course require 2 or 3 hours of memorized dialog, with no use of cue cards), and stand up comedy, in which he was in high demand at comedy clubs and colleges well into the 1980's.

    I'll leave alone the reviewer's comments on the series itself. I think they are fair assessments from his point of view. Other viewers will soon have the ability to see the series on DVD and judge for themselves. The reviewer certainly has his facts right, which puzzles me a little, considering this show has not been aired since 1970 as far as I know. I'll give the reviewer credit also for the pun in his review title. "We Can't Stand Pat," was a Pat Paulsen slogan from the 1968 campaign, made famous by Richard Nixon in one of his debates with John Kennedy, regarding American foreign policy. We Can't Stand Pat, indeed.

    Update: November 2015 - Just for yuks, I finally did and internet search on "F. Gwynplaine MacIntyre" and found some interesting things.

    Normally I wouldn't give someone like this much more thought, and as you can see, it took years for the idea to come to me. In light of his comments about a "vicious personality", it might be telling to note that Mr. MacIntyre "was arrested after a neighbor said he duct- taped her to a chair, shaved her head, and spray-painted her black. He wound up pleading guilty to third-degree misdemeanor assault." (quoted excerpt from Wikipedia).

    There is plenty more information available online about Mr. MacIntyre, who killed himself in 2010 in a crazy episode, which you can read about yourself in a New York Times article.

    I share some of this information on Mr. MacIntyre, all of which is publicly available and a matter of the record, not to disparage the man, but to add perspective to the validity of his comments. Like I said in the original review, I still believe his comments on the series are within the valid realm of IMDb's purpose. However his personal attacks, with no relevance or basis in actual reality, by someone whose life story is clouded with such incidences of violence, viciousness and mental illness, are something that I feel should be addressed and refuted. - MP
  • I was so happy to watch to watch all 13 episodes of "Pat Paulsen's Half a Comedy Hour". I hadn't seen it since I was in High School, but remember it as a hilarious light hearted comedy show. For over 10 years, I had written to all the video companies to please release the show to the general public, and it's finally happened!

    The review "I Can't Pat" is entirely too mean spirited as if there is something personal involved here that we don't know about. Pat maintained topical humor-- the skit with Hubert H. Humphrey, the recurring themes of "Mr. Science" (Pat being flirtatious with a girl with large breasts while trying to get rid of her friend Bob Einstein), "Hobby Hut", and "Then Came Paulsen" was about as far as you could go, innocently enough, with comedy in 1970, and for me and many others, it worked. It was a sad day when Pat aired his last show in April 1970.

    Pat Paulsen not being a popular comedian? I just have to give the one example-- when Pat did the water safety film for the American Red Cross he took his speedboat through the water at Florida's Cypress Gardens and the everyday people in the stands cheered Pat, and Pat with his big smile, waved back to them. That was one of my happiest moments for Pat. The saddest was when I read in the newspapers in late 1996 that our great comedian, with a photo of him smiling with his family, was fighting a deadly form of colon cancer.

    The DVD released regarding Pat's one and only show will help us remember what a great comedian he was, with all the great facial expressions and deadpan delivery with his clean and contemporary humor. I am very happy and all I can say is "it's about time" for Pat to be remembered!
  • I remember Pat Paulsen fondly. He was one of the better parts of the Tommy and Dickie show. His popularity was at least as great as the Smothers Brothers during the run of their show. That however is not high praise. They were wildly popular for 15 minutes and then shunned by the public from that point forward. None of them were ever stars again.

    Following the demise of the Smothers Brothers Show, Paulsen had his own short, failed TV series (which I loved) and a never-ending string of low-budget bombs. At all times, he played the same character. Most of the time, his credits were way down towards the bottom, below such powerhouses as unknown child actors and Playboy Bunnies.

    As it turns out, speaking in a monotone voice is neither a skill nor an attraction. Much like Foster Brooks, if Paulsen was on the screen for a short time, he was hilarious; but if he was a major character, his delivery became grating.

    If you want a complete understanding of Paulsen, just watch any of his work. His performance is always the same. The only reason to point out specific roles would be for the jokes, not the performance.

    Paulsen's strength was his writing. His delivery, in my opinion, was a mistake. Despite great material and a very unusual delivery very few remember him. With a more normal delivery, he could easily have been the Seinfeld of his time.
  • Pat Paulsen was an extremely ineffectual 'comedian' who had the benefit of some top-flight writers. Briefly fashionable in the late 1960s, Paulsen was acclaimed for having 'the deadest pan since (Buster) Keaton'. His career foundered when his own extremely vicious personality could no longer be concealed within the mild-mannered hapless character Paulsen pretended to be onscreen. When Paulsen became unwilling (or unable) to memorise his material, he developed a habit of glancing angrily to stage-right every few moments, grimacing in disgust but also sneaking a peek at the offstage cue cards. Paulsen is remembered for his gimmick of running for President in the 1968 and 1972 campaigns, a gimmick which wasn't even original: Will Rogers and several other comedians had already used the same gimmick.

    "Pat Paulsen's Half a Comedy Hour" was a half-hour comedy series with some impressive production values. The opening episode featured a film sequence in which Paulsen's car broke down in the wintry landscape of Minnesota. When he knocked on the door of the nearest house, the resident turned out to be former Vice-President Hubert Humphrey (playing himself), who glanced at Paulsen's auto and asked him if he'd tried washing the engine. This was an unfunny reference to an ad campaign Paulsen was doing at that time for Mobil gasoline.

    The series featured a bouncy theme tune and nice animation in the opening credits, and two episodes featured some first-rate animation from the Warner studio. In one episode, Paulsen interviewed Daffy Duck onscreen, the animated cartoon image of Daffy Duck appearing alongside the (barely) flesh-and-blood Pat Paulsen. In a later episode, the same technique was used to show Paulsen interviewing Foghorn Leghorn: the unfunny sequence ended with Foghorn's head morphing into a bucket of Kentucky Fried Chicken. The unfunny jokes on this series were made more painful by a laugh track that was too loud, too raucous, too obvious.

    Paulsen was ably supported in this series by comedian Bob Einstein (the underrated brother of the overrated Albert Brooks). Einstein played some bizarre characters here, including a lab mouse who was addicted to diet cola. I wish that this series had given more material to Bob Einstein and less to Pat Paulsen.