Star Wars Holiday Special

The Star Wars Holiday Special is a 1978 American two-hour television special (including commercials) set in the Star Wars galaxy and was the first official Star Wars spin-off produced. Directed by Steve Binder (who later directed the Super Mario Bros. Super Show), it was broadcast in its entirety in the United States only once, on Nov. 17, 1978 on CBS. In the story, Chewbacca and Han Solo visit Kashyyyk, Chewbacca’s home world, to celebrate Life Day. Along the way, they are pursued by agents of the Galactic Empire who are searching for members of the Rebel Alliance on the planet. The special introduces three members of Chewbacca’s family: his father Itchy, his wife Malla, and his son Lumpy.

Rating: 1 out of 10

This is one of those movies that nerds like myself hear whisper of from one Star Wars fan to the next. George Lucas, who is usually a money-grubbing whore that will put Star Wars on anything to make a buck, has done everything in his power to keep this from getting out there. I was lucky, I guess, to have a friend with a DVD copy he picked up at a comic book convention. And let me tell you, it’s one of the worst things I’ve ever seen. The quality of copies floating around isn’t good, but it’s not like it would make a difference in how awful this was.

I’m a giant Star Wars fan. I mean, I have the rebel alliance logo tattooed on my arm. But there was nothing about this “special” that was redeeming. On top of that, it’s a musical. I really awful musical that is nearly two hours long. It wasn’t even funny bad, like “The Room.” This was painfully bad. The first ten minutes of the film follow Chewbacca’s family, which wouldn’t be bad, except they just grunt like wookies the whole time while nothing happens.

On top of the awkward wookies, there are even more awkward dance and song numbers — one featuring Bea Arthur as a surly bartender who dances with aliens in her cantina. Even Princess Leia got in on the act, singing a Life Day song. She actually had a nice voice (her mom was Debbie Reynolds). Another dance number features some holograms being watched by Chewbacca’s son who juggle and do acrobatics for about five minutes. Another number features Jefferson Starship dressed like spacemen performing under horrible, fuchsia lighting.

There were a couple attempts at comedy with Harvey Korman (Blazing Saddles) as he played the cross-dressing alien host of a cooking show that Chewbacca’s wife watched as she prepared the Life Day feast. I can’t tell you what a mind-numbing experience it was for this fledgling bit to drag for more than five minutes.

Everything in this movie takes forever! It drags and drags with failed bit after failed musical and horrible effects and acting. They even got Academy Award winner Art Carney (Harry and Tonto) to fill in as a friendly trader and friend of the rebellion. The only thing that was decent was the 10-minute cartoon entitled “The Faithful Wookie,” which wast the first appearance of Boba Fett.

This movie was just unwatchable. Terrible on every level. It makes Episode I look like a masterpiece.

The first segment of the Star Wars Holiday Special


8 responses to “Star Wars Holiday Special

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  4. Wow, as I’m 2 years younger than that holiday un-special I had no clue it existed. Now I am morbidly intrigued and I see an episode of MST3K is due. (True geeks know what I mean). Since Joel and his bots have retired, I may consider volunteering to resurrect the genera just to punk that special – who’s in?

  5. I watched the whole show on youtube. It’s actually disturbing how bad it is. No wonder George Lucas had it suppressed.

  6. Ha! It’s truly awful, isn’t it? Seeing is believing. I wrote about the Holiday Special at the end of a blog I did on Star Wars.

    Well observed, Matt.

  7. great blog! I think I’ll stay away from this one…

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