|Steve Binder Director|
Will Chewbacca escape the Empire and make it home to celebrate Life Day with his family? Or Han Solo saves Christmas.
I have made contact with the rebels and all is proceeding as you wished, Darth Vader.
Good work, but I want them alive. Now that you've got their trust - maybe they will take you to their new base.
This time we will get them all.
1 More Quote
I see why they call you the best bounty hunter in the galaxy.
|Mark Hamill||Luke Skywalker|
|Harrison Ford||Han Solo|
|Carrie Fisher||Princess Leia Organa|
|James Earl Jones||Darth Vader|
|Don Francks||Boba Fett|
|Diahann Carroll||Mermeia Holographic Wow|
|See Full Credits|
The Star Wars Holiday Special is a 60 minute long (97 with commercials) made-for-TV movie/ variety special that aired on the CBS Network on November 17, 1978.
Set in the Star Wars Universe, the movie features cameos by the heroes of the 1977 film Star Wars (including two musical numbers by Carrie Fisher). However, the primary cast consists of costumed Wookiee characters. It also featured celebrity appearances by Art Carney, Harvey Korman, Bea Arthur, and the musical group Jefferson Starship.
It is almost universally considered to be terrible. Although the Holiday Special attempts humor, it is considered funny for different, ironic reasons.
Most viewers of the Holiday Special find it awful if not cringe inducing.
The Holiday Special was produced to capitalize on the success of Star Wars among children. Despite its fairly sizable budget, tt was cheaply made and primarily used to draw in toy company ad revenue.
Production on the program was primarily handled by CBS and 20th Century Fox executives and staff writers. Most famously, Bruce Vilanch was brought in to punch up the script with jokes.
Star Wars creator George Lucas had little involvement in the making of the Holiday Special other than creating the Wookiee Life Day story line. He was deep in production on the Star Wars sequel The Empire Strikes Back.
There was a high turnover during production among producers and directors. Before leaving the production, George Lucas picked a USC Film School friend, David Acomba, to direct. Acomba disagreed on the creative direction the production was taking. He fought with producers and writers Ken Welch, Mitzie Welch, and Gary Smith over. Acomba lost the fight and was replaced after directing only three scenes. The producers chose Steve Binder as the replacement director.
Stories swirl around the making of the program on the topic of drug use. Many known drug users (Carrie Fisher, Harrison Ford, several of the writers and production designers) may have been using psychedelics during the production. These accusations may derive from the colorful yet trippy design of some of the sequences during the special.
In the end, elements of the cast and crew felt they had turned in a very perfunctory film. 20th Century Fox would have pulled the plug before finishing the movie, but advertising had been sold. CBS pressured Fox to continue based on the prowess of the Star Wars name. The budget ballooned to over $1 million dollars.
Lucas objected to the movie and its troubled production. In interviews, he jokingly pretends that it never happened. He hints at a commercial release of the program on home video formats citing the fact that it has become part of Star Wars Culture.
It is rumored that Lucas has spent the time since the airing of the Special paying large sums of money to buy local affiliates' broadcast masters from around the world. Then he destroys them, trying to eliminate all copies and control the memory.
With the advent of the Internet, his alleged efforts were for naught.
There are many recordings of the movie. The most widely circulated copy of the Holiday Special is a home video recording of WCBS-2 New York's broadcast. Copies of the tape have circulated for three decades. It is also widely distributed on the Internet via such video sites as YouTube.
It has a complete set of advertising for toys, automobiles, refrigerators, and the "union label" jingle. The toy commercials include those for Star Wars toys, a robot called Tobor ("Tobor is robot spelled backwards"), and a toy bus that follows black lines.
It also has teasers for the local news in which anchor Roland Smith teases a report on "Fighting the Frizzies at 11."
The Star Wars Holiday Special has burrowed into the Star Wars community. Many accept it as canon. Many more enjoy it for its camp value.
In an episode of South Park title "Mr. Hankey's Christmas Classics," commercial bumpers feature a mustachioed news anchor teasing "Fighting the Frizzies at 11." During the end credits, the anchor boxes a mess of tangled hair.
Three of the stars of Mystery Science Theater 3000 from Rifftrax.com sell a humorous audio commentary meant to be played over the viewing of the WCBS version of the Holiday Special.
In the music video for "Weird Al" Yankovic's song "White and Nerdy," Weird Al purchases a paper bag containing a VHS copy of the Holiday Special.
On Kashyyyk, Chewbacca's family awaits Chewbacca's arrival. It is Wookiee Life Day. A day for celebrating being alive and the most important holiday on the Wookiee Calendar.
His family consists of wife Malla, son Lumpy, and hideously deformed father Itchy.
The first ten minutes of family life feature no dialogue other than Wookiee grunts.
Malla bakes Wookiee-ookie cookies. Lumpy watches a circus troop perform in a colorful, ten minute sequence with a looping song of synthesizer bleeps and bloops.
Malla worries that Chewbacca has not arrived in time for Life Day and calls Luke Skywalker. Luke appears on the view screen without apparently answering the call. He is fixing his X-Wing with R2-D2. Luke confirms that Chewbacca left with Han Solo but has not seen him since. R2-D2 then breaks the X-Wing further and causes smoke to billow from the fuselage.
Malla hangs up and calls local shop keep Saun Dann (comedian Art Carney). Again, the connection is made without Dann answering. He is in the middle of selling products to a mustachioed Imperial Guard. He gives the guard a mustache trimmer to make him leave. Dann expresses his concern and will keep his ear to the ground for any news about Chewbacca.
In orbit around Kashyyyk, Darth Vader, through dubbed clips from Star Wars, establishes a blockade and orders a house-by-house search of the planet.
Back on Kashyyyk, Malla prepares a Bantha Rump dinner by watching a Julia Child-esque cooking program starring Gormaanda (Harvey Korman).She gives up in frustration.
Back in orbit, the Millennium Falcon is driven off by the blockade.
Back on the planet again, Saun Dann arrives and distributes Life Day gifts. He gives Itchy a computer chip for his "Mind Evaporator." Itchy watches the holographic program which begins another ten minute musical number starring singer Diahann Carroll.
Chewbacca and Han Solo run the Imperial Blockade and land on the Northern Hemisphere of the planet. They plan to walk the distance to Chewbacca's house. A distance that Han Solo says is "far." This feat is difficult because the planet is one big forest. Somehow, they do so in under an hour.
At Chewbacca's house, Imperial troops arrive in a troop ship. They ransack the house by ripping the head off of Lumpy's Bantha doll. Saun Dann distracts the officer in charge with a music box that projects Jefferson Starship playing their song "Light the Sky on Fire." The band features a young Sting. The officer is hypnotized.
Malla sits the young Lumpy down in front of the television to distract him from the Imperial entanglement. A cartoon comes on starring Luke, Chewbacca, and Han Solo. The cartoon includes the first appearance of Boba Fett as a deceiver and then savior of the heroes. The cartoon and the Holiday Special coincide with the release with promotional material for a Boba Fett action figure from Kenner.
After the cartoon, Lumpy attempts to build a secret radio transmitter. He follows video instructions hosted by Harvey Korman as a glitching, Max Headroom type. Needless to say, Lumpy is frustrated by the guide. This appearance by Korman is the second time in the special that he tries to give instructions.
The Imperial Broadcast Corporation airs a mandatory civics lesson that they claim is being broadcast live from Tatooine. The program is about a bartender Ackmena (Bea Arthur) who is trying to enforce an Imperial curfew. She runs afoul of patrons including Harvey Korman as a the alien Krelman who drinks through the top of his head. The patrons are costumed in masks from Star Wars and poor knock-offs. Bea Arthur sings "Good Night But Not Good-Bye" to drive them from the room.
Lumpy uses the transmitter he built earlier to fool the Imperial troopers into leaving. However, one Stormtrooper remains behind and discover the deception. He plans to punish the family as Chewbacca and Han Solo arrive.
A lame fight scene ensues with Han Solo easily defeating the Stormtrooper by tripping him. The Stormtrooper falls to his death over the railing and down the tree.
There is a happy reunion among the family members. Saun Dann arrives and calls off the Imperial search by reporting the Imperial trooper that searched the house earlier as a traitor.
The Life Day celebration begins with Chewbacca and Family donning red Snuggie-like robes. They hold glass orbs. Prior to this, Princess Leia gives a speech about the meaning of Life Day/Christmas in the same vein as Linus' in the Peanuts Christmas Special. She also sings again.
Presumably to escape Leia's singing, the Wookiees walk into the sun. (This actually happens).
They shrug off the nuclear fire of the star and sit down to dinner.
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