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The Star Wars Holiday Special


One of the most painful cult oddities that exists is the legendary "Star Wars Holiday Special!" The awesome piece of atrociousness aired a grand total of once in 1978 before being relegated to the vaults, seemingly forever (or at least until George Lucas dies, at which point money hungry execs will doubtlessly dig it up and give it an official release -- it is reputed to be the most bootlegged film of all time, after all!). By today's standards it's hard to fathom how this bizarre anomaly could possibly exist, but by 1978 standards it's a pretty run-of-the-mill variety special (yep kiddies, in the '70s we had tons of this sort of crap, frequently brought to us by the brothers Krofft). George Lucas wrote the original outline for the special, but his ideas were bastardized by TV writers Mitzie Welch, Bruce Vilanch ("The Brady Bunch Variety Hour"), Rod Warren ("Donny & Marie"), Pat Proft ("Police Academy," "Moving Violations") and Leonard Ripps ("Bosom Buddies").

Taking place on Chewbacca's home planet of Kashyyyk, there's unintelligible Wookiee talk galore, circus acrobats and jugglers, Diahann Carroll as a holographic hooker who exists solely to stimulate Wookiees, Bea Arthur as a singing bartender in the Mos Eisley cantina, Jefferson Starship in a garish music video, Art Carney as a grandfatherly trader who continuously cons the Imperial army, Harvey Korman in a variety of increasingly annoying roles which (quite tediously) eat away at the special's running time, Princess Leia warbling off-key, Luke Skywalker painted up like a drag queen, and Han Solo, Chewbacca and C-3P0 adding only a minimal amount of dignity to the proceedings.


It's generally agreed that the special has one redeeming feature, and that's an animated segment called "The Faithful Wookiee," which featured the first appearance of Boba Fett. Featuring animation by Nelvana, many seem to enjoy the cartoon more than any other part of the special... and it's the only part of the special that's ever gotten an official home video release.


George Lucas despises it.  Carrie Fisher jokes about it.  Harrison Ford claims to have no memory of making it.  Maybe one day we'll get a hi-res transfer.  Until then, bootlegs and online video will have to do.


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LINKS
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The Star Wars Holiday Special.com(!)
Wikipedia
The Internet Movie Database
Google Video


WARNING! Side effects of viewing The Star Wars Holiday Special may include but are not limited to: nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, gouging out your own eyes with a rusty fishhook, whipping out your god-given lightsaber along with Itchy as Diahann Carroll lulls you into a state of unconscious bliss, internal hemorrhaging, having a sing-along with Bea Arthur, smashing the TV/computer screen, intense psychological scarring, brutally maiming the close friend who convinced you to download the special, and extreme suicidal tendencies. These side effects might be slightly more severe for residents of Naboo. Talk to your psychiatrist and/or priest if the side effects worsen. Kashyyyk residents add 917% sales tax.
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