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Thursday, December 22, 2016

Cinema Spotlight on The Weirdest and Worst Holiday Special of All Time-The Star Wars Christmas Special

Anyone who reads this blog knows what a devoted trekkie I am:


On the other hand, I've never been much of a Star Wars fan.  I appreciated the original movies as fun, goofy, block busters but I never saw them as particularly great.  However, I have recently begun to enjoy Star Wars a bit more, I liked the Force Awakens a lot, and I loved Rogue One.  So maybe I've been seduced by the dark side a bit, and I even bought this:

40 hours of extras!  I mean what the hell could be on this thing.

Still Star Wars will never hold a candle to Trek for me and my absolute favorite thing in the Star Wars oeuvre is something that most people have either never heard of, or would rather forget.  The Holiday Special

It aired in November of 1978 after the first movie had become a mega-hit and it is incredibly weird and awful.  I pride myself on being a connoisseur of so bad there good, as in funny, movies and I'm a devoted fan of the make fun of bad movies show MST3K and its later incarnation Rifftrax, still the Star Wars special threw me through a loop.  Even after a life time spent watching bad movies, the weirdness of this one comes as a shock. 

The basic premise of the special, if you can go so far as to say that it has one, is that Chewy the Wookie is trying to get home to his family to celebrate the big Wookie Holiday Life Day 

Obviously it is a mistake to focus a television special on characters that communicate by grunting.  Never the less the producers of The Star Wars Holiday special did just this, at least half of the special is Chewy's family grunting at each other.

  At some point CBS must have realized they couldn't get by on grunted conversations alone and they threw in some guest stars of the kitschiest caliber and created a sort of variety hour.   Art Carney appears as the Wookie neighbor

 Bea Arthur sings in an alien bar

and  Disco Star Dihann Carol appears as some sort of virtual reality entertainment of a rather mature sort :

 The whole thing culmintates in the Wookies donning rather creepy red robes for Life Day and walking off into the stars while Princess Leia sings the Life Day song:

The special is so bad that it remained virtually hidden for years with George Lucas trying to bury it and erase it from the collective conscious.   It was never re-aired and never released, but it couldn't be destroyed and with the release of the Force Awakens the Holiday special crawled out of the wood work.  It can be seen on you tube as can all of the wonderful 1970s commercials:

   but if you are going to watch it, and I strongly recommend that you do because it is hilarious, you really need to see the Rifftrax version.  

It's just so bad and so weird that I'm afraid without the riffing it would be unwatchable, but with the riffing it may well be the funniest Holiday movie ever

Happy Life Day!



  1. I'm also a fan of so bad it's funny. Can't wait to see this with friends with similar appreciations.

  2. Oh my god - I had completely forgotten about this!! (George's plan was working!) I was 12 when Star Wars first came out and my BF and I were HOOKED on it. We saw it many times, and we'd listen to the score over and over! So I was really excited to watch this stupid special - and even my not-very-discriminating-13-year-old self could see what a cluster this thing was. Thanks for the blast from the past!

  3. Didn't know there was Star Wars holiday special show but it does sound oh so bad. LOL. Though clip of Chewy's family grunting each other is kind of funny :-)

  4. Oh my gosh! Had forgotten all about this! Have been a Star Wars fan since I was 7 years old. The first time I saw Harrison Ford it was love!!!

  5. SHE only watched Star Wars because the kids were using the characters in their writing. Liked the first one...sort of a Sci-fi western. Never saw anymore. Never heard about this one, but as someone who laughed all the way through Sharknado, it would probably be appreciated!!!

  6. I've never seen it, but it is legendary! I don't know if I can bring myself to watch it, I'd hate for it to spoil the films for me. (Then again, if Jar-Jar couldn't stop me going to see them, nothing will.)

  7. Wow, Mom doesn't remember that - but it just might be worth a laugh
    to watch
    Mr Bailey, Hazel & mabel

  8. I've never seen it, but maybe I should ... But how cute are your dogs in their "Trekkie" T-shirts! Have a great Christmas, Kate! xxx

  9. Never heard of it! It was made when I was in college so maybe I wasn't paying much attention. It sounds awful!

    Merry Christmas!

  10. I have never even heard of this, but I did see the Ewok spin off at the cinema, Caravan of Courage I believe it was called. I recall being unimpressed xxx

  11. LOL! This sounds hilarious! :D Thank you for posting about this!


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