Star Wars: The Holiday Special (1978)
Christmas comes early for Star Wars, Bea Arthur fans
So you think you know the whole Star Wars saga?
Sure, maybe you’ve seen all six Star Wars films. Maybe you’ve watched the “Clone Wars” cartoons. Maybe you’ve read all of the countless Star Wars novels – really, you’ve read those? Wow.
But you haven’t experienced the entire Star Wars story until you’ve seen the rarest, and perhaps greatest chapter – Star Wars: The Holiday Special.
Star Wars: The Holiday Special is a landmark television event that aired on November 17, 1978. Unfortunately, it has never aired since then, and has also never been commercially released on VHS or DVD. Apparently George Lucas is a real greedy jerk, and doesn’t want anyone else to experience the joy that is the Star Wars: The Holiday Special. In fact, he has said he wished he could gather up all of the copies of it that are out there. When will you ever have enough, George?
Luckily I was able to steal a bootleg Betamax copy from the bindle of a hobo. I left him a turkey sandwich in return – it seemed like the classy thing to do.
The special begins with Han Solo (Harrison Ford) and Chewbacca trying to make their way through a brigade of Imperial spaceships. Han is driving Chewie home so the big fellow can be with his family for Life Day, which I believe is the day that Chewa-Christ was born.
The action then switches to the home of Chewbacca, where his wife Malla, his son Lumpy, and grandfather Itchy are waiting for Chewie. The next 12 minutes are filled with a conversation that takes place entirely in Wookie-nese. Scholars who have studied this tape have concluded that they are either discussing the repercussions of an increased Imperial presence on their planet, or what happened on the previous night’s episode of “Welcome Back, Kotter”.
Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) and Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher) periodically check in throughout the special with Chewie’s family to make sure he has arrived safely, but his wife Malla (who is quite a looker) is at a loss as to what is taking him so long. Does he ever make it home to celebrate Life Day? Well if you’ve seen the five Star Wars films that have been released since this special, you know the answer.
The forces of evil are also represented, with Darth Vader (James Earl Jones), and in an animated segment, the first ever appearance of Bobba Fett.
Along the way, plenty of big stars also make special appearances. Plenty of big stars in 1978 anyways. Among them are Jefferson Starship, Harvey Corman (“The Carol Burnett Show”) and Art Carney (“The Honeymooners”). Carney plays Saun Dann, operator of a trading post, and friend of the wookie family. He’s such a good friend that he brings grandpa Itchy what can only be described as “holographic space porn.” Take a look at this exchange between Itchy and the female holograph:
Holograph: I am found in your eyes only – I am in your mind as you create me. Ohhh yes… I can feel my creation… [giggles ]
Holograph: I’m getting your message – are you getting mine?”
Itchy: [ orgasmic sounding ] ARRGGHHHUGHH!
Holograph: Oh… oh… we are excited, aren’t we?
I’m sure you will agree – that’s hot.
But it gets even better! Do you remember that one scene in the first Star Wars film where Han and Chewie were in the Cantina on Tatooine, and there was that really cool band playing that unforgettable song? Well, someone had the brilliant idea to write lyrics for it. And the even more brilliant idea to have Bea Arthur (“The Golden Girls”) sing it.
Bea Arthur isn’t the only one singing. Princess Leia performs a little ditty to the tune of the famous Star Wars theme song. As much as I enjoyed the last three films, I couldn’t help but feel they would have been better if Natalie Portman and Samuel L. Jackson belted out a few tunes.
I strongly recommend that you get your hands on a copy of this masterpiece. Whether you have to steal it from a hobo, or steal it from the Internet, it will be well worth the effort. The Star Wars: The Holiday Special is a magical gift that you and your family should unwrap this holiday season.