i was there. 45 years ago. On November 17, 1978, he was sitting in his girlfriend’s living room, tuning in to CBS and waiting. love boattonight Lou Ferrigno or Lynda Carter – tonight was booked (audio from epic trailer:) star wars holiday special.
I kept clicking the dial on the TV. wio Then I sat down on the sofa. On the screen they announced: incredible hulk There was no broadcast tonight, the lights dimmed as the word “SPECIAL” spun in different colors, and the Millennium Falcon roared away from a grimy brown planet that looked a lot like Tatooine.
Of course, the lights didn’t dim. My parents had a probably 24-inch tube TV with built-in speakers, but it crackled if you turned the volume up too high. But I didn’t care – I was back in a galaxy far, far away.
when people talk about it star wars holiday special Words like creepy, stupid, and absurd come up a lot these days. It’s as if he’s looking back with disdain, not just at the show, but at the 13 million or so of us who were huddled around the television set. As if we didn’t even know. Even at 8 years old, it was obvious to me that I could put together science fiction masterpieces such as: Star Wars in the form of carol burnett show It was questionable at best.
But it was Star Wars! Join Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, Princess Leia, Chewbacca, C-3PO, and R2-D2! Who cared if they brought Harvey Korman and Bea Arthur along for the ride?
You know, back then we didn’t have Disney+, we didn’t have Cartoon Network, we didn’t have Blu-ray, we didn’t have DVD, we didn’t even have VHS. My first Star Wars recordings consisted of a cassette of his 90 minutes of personally recorded audio from his February 1984 CBS Network TV premiere. VHS had been released the previous year. finallybut it was $80.00 For clamshell videotape.
In 1978, all we had was one movie – Star Wars – It ran for over a year in still pretty packed theaters. The movie disappeared after just a week while FOX replaced the first reel in all theaters across the country, and the following week the opening crawl told us this Star Wars Episode 4, A New Hope!
Sure, Alan Dean Foster novels, toys, and comics were published, but the first issue was released over a month before the movie was released (on my birthday!). In fact, two issues of his were released before the movie’s release, and it was supposed to be a big spoiler, but at the time reading the comic book was almost as good as watching a good science fiction movie of his in the theater. It was just as popular. But still, even if they were small, they all paled in comparison to seeing real-life heroes on screen.
people wanted more Star Warsand they figured it out.
From a certain point of view
Well, maybe it was weird that we met Chewbacca’s family, including Chewbacca’s father “Itchy” and his son Lumpy. However, George Lucas collaborated with Lawrence Kasdan and Irvin Kershner, the empire strikes back. The five authors among them are star wars holiday special – Including comedians Bruce Vilanch and Pat Proft (who would later write the story). police academy The film only had snippets of Lucas’ media interviews and some haphazard ideas.
In his original script, Star Wars, Lucas had a primitive Wookiee society overthrow the technologically superior Empire. This was one of his many ideas that got canned due to budget issues, and in this case it was for the better.Of course, Lucas brought them back – or at least a smaller version.
revenge return of the jedi – Ewok.
To be honest, it’s not like George was a storytelling genius either. He’s fondly remembered now, but it doesn’t take much digging to find records of Mark Hamill and Harrison Ford complaining about unwieldy, jargon-filled conversations. Or how our friends at the University of Southern California (and Spielberg) worked with us to fix it after the initial review didn’t go well. Alternatively, the story was ultimately saved by his then-wife and editor, Marcia Lucas, who restructured the story more closely around George’s Jungian/Campbellian hero’s journey narrative. It will be done.
So why couldn’t we visit Kashyyyk, the Wookiee homeland built inside Warner Bros. Sound Stage #1 (where Ellen recently hosted a talk show)? Couldn’t you just play with the same Kenner toys? And since Wookiees can’t vocalize English or any other human language, why not add a human character? Especially since Wookiees can’t vocalize English or any other human language. Played by top stars of the time – Beatrice Arthur (mode), Art Carney (honeymooners), Harvey Korman (carol burnett show) And, well, of Jefferson Starship (the Zoroastrian theme of their hit song “Miracles” is a perfect fit for Lucas’ Force)?
a bygone era
What’s truly amazing is that broadcast network television even attempted this. After the opening sequence where Han and Chewie flee the Empire and attempt to jump home at the speed of light to celebrate Day of Life with Chewie’s family, we spend nearly 10 minutes with the Wookiees, which is understandable. There was no speech at all.
That may have also been when non-superfans stopped watching.
Then you get to chat with Luke Skywalker. He was miraculously able to understand the Siriuk language on a screen smaller than his parents’ television, even at subspace distances. Luke reassures the worried Wookiees that Chewie has never missed a Day of the Dead (never mind that he was a slave to the Empire all his life!) and that he won’t forget this year either. He then went back to repairing the engine on his Artoo and is probably grateful to be (temporarily) away from the show. Han and Chewie continue their journey, interspersed with recycled movie footage, including a cameo from Darth Vader.
The Wookiees then attempt to contact the trading post on “Wookiee Planet 3.” While distracting Imperial soldiers, Art Carney onscreen proposes the worst code word play ever to Chewie’s wife Maratback, telling her that she was “expecting…a hairy carpet made by Handi Solo.” will appear,” he assured her.
While waiting, Mara enjoys a cooking show hosted by Harvey Korman, who plays a four-armed alien and Julia Child-style chef. Then some sort of Imperial commander (he has no clear rank or insignia) announces martial law and a blockade of “Kazook Planet”.
Carney stops by the house with presents like Santa from Star Wars. Mara got a holoprojector that looks like a sewing machine, Lumpy got a space Lego set, and Itchy got a cartridge for her VR chair. This is where it gets really creepy. I don’t know if 8-year-old me could have fully understood what kind of fantasy Dearhan Carroll’s mermaid was for Itchy, but it’s been around forever. Method Too long.
Look; another cameo!
Princess Leia and C-3PO interrupt with a nonsensical message, and we return to the Wookiees. Finally, just before the halfway point, Han and Chewie arrive at the Wookiee homeworld. The Falcon appears to be green screened over a much different landscape than the Ralph McQuarrie matte paint/model mockup of the Wookiee treehouse we saw earlier.
But it’s a feint! The ship they heard is actually an Imperial Stormtrooper. The Imperials searched the treehouse, and Art Carney distracted them by distributing more schtick than usual. He turns on Mara’s holoprojector for the Imperial military, and we all enjoy “The Jefferson Starship,” which plays “Light the Sky on Fire,” which is full of fun, mystical lyrics.
While Imperial forces continue their hasty search of the treehouse, Mara sits in Lumpy and watches an afternoon cartoon sponsored by the Alliance. And then arguably the best part of the show begins. A cheesy Star Wars animated cartoon starring a previously unknown character, Boba Fett. This animated show features his Rebel friends in a style that alternates between classic Rankin-Bass and Genndy’s Tartakovsky-like animated style.
Of course, this isn’t the Fett we’ve seen since, even on Disney+. He rides a Sea Serpent, rescues Luke, speaks well, often uses the nickname “Friend,” takes Chewie on a quest to steal an antidote from Imperial forces in a nearby city…and reports to Darth Vader. To do. Later, when his loyalties are revealed, he activates his rocket pack and takes off… Okay, so he’s like the Fett we know.
As the Imperials are finishing up their not-so-hurried search of the treehouse, the mandatory broadcast begins. It’s a morality documentary that predates this show, but it’s oddly reminiscent of it. police officer.
“Life on Tatooine”
It features an extended scene in a familiar saloon, with Bea Arthur playing the bartender and Harvey Korman, making his third appearance, playing a lovesick patron who has an unrequited love for her. And just when it feels like this SNL-style sketch will never end, it’s interrupted by another edict, which somehow simultaneously interrupts the documentary and plays within it?
Bea Arthur somehow reacts to the very cue that interrupted her scene with Corman and runs around the bar, trying to kick out the patrons. All the Mos Eisley aliens are here. And there are some newcomers, including a giant mouse and a Michael Myers (Halloween) lookalike. When they protested her evacuation, she gave up, singing and dancing with the Devaronians and Rodians. Sadly, Greedo doesn’t shoot first and put us out of our misery, but he sings everyone but Corman out of the bar.
The Imperials receive a phone call disguised as Lumpy’s android (also Korman) and leave except for one Stormtrooper, who discovers the ruse and pursues Lumpy, when Chewie and Han come to save the day. suddenly appeared. Han pretends to kick the troopers out of the tree house. Cue Wilhelm shouting – seriously. Han greets his family and leaves poor Chewie alone in this mire of Life Day Special.
Finally, Life Day!
Chewie and Mara have a romantic reunion, but are interrupted again by an announcement looking for the missing trooper. Art Her Carnie saves the day once again and the True Life Her Day celebration begins.
The glowing snow globe somehow transports the maroon-robed Wookiees to the line, where they march. Sun, bright cave entrance, in the Tree of Life, they somehow reunite with C-3PO and R2-D2, despite not being near or together on the planet. And, of course, Luke, Leia, and Han join us soon.
And Carrie Fisher sings.During the celebration, we squeeze Chewie in and he tells us about meeting Luke and Obi-Wan for the first time, flying in the Falcon, playing Dejarik (Holochess), and seeing the Death Star. , scaring the mouse droid, Vader killing Ben Kenobi, and the awards ceremony he attended. did not do it Win medals.
Then we return to the treehouse, the Wookiees pray for food, and we slowly fade into darkness.
Yes, that sounds crazy and unnatural. That’s exactly what happened. But it’s also Star Wars, and as a friend of mine likes to say, “Star Wars is like pizza…even if it’s bad, it’s still pizza.” With 13 million viewers, it’s a niche show. Although that sounds like a tremendous number in the age of mainstream streaming, the special didn’t even crack the top 10 Nielsen ratings that week.
Despite the outrage of George Lucas, the show was never officially released after its airing on CBS stations nationwide was stopped, but pirated VHS and DVDs have been made available at Star Wars Celebrations and nearly every It can be found at fan and comic book conventions. Of course, there are some decent recordings available on YouTube.
Wealth of Geeks & Media Decision Editor-in-Chief
Paul Rose Jr. is a journalist and television news producer for MSNBC, NBC, ABC, CBS, and Paramount.
In addition to my administrative duties, I currently manage the Associated Press syndication program for The Insiders network.
Paul is a former TV editor at InfuzeMag and has worked as a small business SEO trainer, forensic analyst, train conductor, and Chartered Financial Principal.
He owns more books, DVDs, and comics than most people will ever see in a lifetime.
When he’s not writing or editing Wealth of Geeks, he uses his creative talents to write screenplays and act in film and television in Los Angeles, California.