Happy Thanksgiving from GEI – our first! So, since it’s the holidays, there’s been mention of the 40th anniversary of the Star Wars Holiday Special that aired only once on November 17, 1978.
Once. That’s correct.
Yes, there’s a story there. Okay, so back in 1978 there was an infamous Star Wars Holiday special which was nearly 2 hours of Wookie dialogue, Princess Leia singing (not making this up), and just a really bad attempt to blend big screen sci-fi with the variety shows that were very popular at that time.
Basically, Chewbacca is trying to get home to his planet for their Life Day celebration. Han Solo is there to help him but Imperial forces get in the way so we spend his storyline fretting over whether or not he’ll make it home. The other side is his family waiting for him at home in the treehouse.
Pros: We are introduced to Boba Fett for the first time before the Empire Strikes Back. It’s also made known for the first time that James Earl Jones was the voice of Darth Vader. Also, the special gave us glimpses of future technology which wasn’t too far off the mark from videophones to virtual-reality devices. There are cameos from Art Carney, Bea Arthur, and Harvey Korman.
Cons: Everything else. It’s basically two hours of reframed Star Wars footage, bad dialogue, comedy and musical sequences, and an original cartoon (which wasn’t terrible).
At the end of the day: “If I had the time and a sledgehammer I would track down every bootlegged copy of that program and smash it,” George Lucas famously said of the special.
Many shared his opinion. It aired only once and was never released anywhere on video after that. Thanks for the dedication of bootleggers and Star War fans of old, it still exists in its entirety on YouTube and other obscure places.
Many Bothans died trying to keep this off the internet…
Okay, so if you want something to watch later when you’re in a food coma or you have a few minutes to kill while everyone is wrapping up holiday conversation, check it out.