I remember watching The Mike Douglas Show with my parents every afternoon after school, but they must have shielded me from this evil KISS appearance in 1974. Oh how our parents hated KISS. I still remember my best friend's mother making him destroy his Love Gun album — not give it away — Destroy It! About half of the interview with Gene Simmons was missing as well as the "KISSing" contest, but the minute or so you do get is pretty fascinating. It was hilarious to watch Gene ogle 1960s comedy icon Totie Fields as she first stares in bewilderment and then proceeds to rip him with her droll one-liners, "he's just a nice Jewish boy... you can't hide the hook." Shows like Mike's always relied on lip-synched performances back then, which were usually pretty lame, but watching KISS unleash "Firehouse" on the world in 1974 was still quite a treat.
KISS showed up on a few other music-based TV shows of the era including The Midnight Special in 1975, and Don Kirsher's Rock Concert in 1977. The Midnight Special appearance came on the heals of their Dressed To Kill album, when they were still a struggling band looking to break out. According to Gene, they were still each only making about $75 per week at that point. The show features a killer early performance of "She", from the new album, as well as their now legendary anthem "Black Diamond", which appears a total of seven times on my three-disk set. Over the course of two short years, KISS went on to release three hugely successful albums, Alive!, Destroyer, and Rock & Roll Over, which finally launched them to superstardome. The Rock Concert appearance promoted the new Rock & Roll Over release, and they lip-synched their way through three of that album's best songs, "Hard Luck Woman", "Love Em & Leave Em", and "I Want You".
One of the KISS TV appearances that I do fondly remember as a kid, was when they showed up on the Paul Lynde Halloween Special in October of 1976. KISS was the perfect Halloween guests along with Margaret Hamilton, who played the wicked witch of the west in The Wizard of Oz and was also in full costume. Lynde was the forever center square on the classic game show, Hollywood Squares, and his quick wit was the perfect antidote to the band's purposely menacing demeanor, which made for a hilarious episode. Although KISS lip-synched three songs during the actual broadcast, only one, an abbreviated "King Of The Night Time World", is presented here.