Happy Holidays, and Happy Throwback Thursday, Science Fiction.com’s ongoing column dedicated to the great sci-fi of the past.
With ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ storming the box office, I thought why not look at some of ‘Star Wars’ more embarrassing escapades of the past, namely the ‘Star Wars Holiday Special.’
I recently had the “pleasure” to attend a Life Day party, which played the darn special in the background over and over and over again. As such, I feel pretty intimate with this travesty that probably deserves an MST3K, if only the franchise didn’t protect its copyrights so fiercely.
So take yourself back to 1978. ‘Star Wars’ has done phenomenally well. ‘Star Wars’ cameos killed it on the Donnie and Marie show. There will be sequels, and there are toys to be sold. What would you do?
Create a variety show about ‘Star Wars’ was probably not on the top of your list… but it was for someone. So, we have it now, even if the actors never wanted to do it, and despite how desperately it was hidden. The only way to watch it is through bootlegs of people who were the ultra nerds with VCRs in the late 70s (owing to how expensive they were).
The plot of special is that Chewbacca is trying to get back to this family for Life Day (basically Christmas). Meanwhile, the family watch different musical numbers on TV as they wait for him to get home, all the while being harassed by storm troopers and various characters dropping in from the show.
That’s right. They made Wookies the main characters… and they aren’t subtitled. It’s literally just a lot of grunting, with a character coming in every now and then and sort of translating by having a conversation with them. The beginning is 10 minutes of Wookie growling. Did you hear that? 10 MINUTES OF WOOKIE GROWLING.
Unfortunately, TV sucks in the ‘Star Wars’ universe, and what they have to watch are animated cartoons about Boba Fett (apparently he’s a famous enough bounty hunter to have his own kids show… so I imagine the children of the Empire are mourning his death as much as we mourned Mr. Rogers), and a musical number with Bea Arthur.
Yes. Bea Arthur. The Golden Girl.
Even better, Leia comes in and Linus-style tells everybody about the meaning of Life Day, which is kind of offensive because Life Day isn’t even her cultural heritage. Sorry Wookies, Leia understands Life Day better than you.
If you’d like to get just a taste of the whole debacle, you can find it here: