for is right here:
by L. Wayne Hicks
The release this month of "Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith" brings to a close the interstellar saga George Lucas started 34 years ago. Lucas, who began writing "Star Wars" in 1971 and finally saw it hit the big screen six years later, now says he wants to bring the story of a galaxy long, long ago and far, far away to television as a continuing series.
But he'd like to forget about the first time he brought "Star Wars" to television. The occasion was something called "The Star Wars Holiday Special," which aired on CBS only once, on Nov. 17, 1978. Although CBS hailed it as a two-hour "visual and audio delight," the made-for-TV mess was anything but.
Legendary producer Dwight Hemion, whose credits include specials for Barbra Streisand, Frank Sinatra and Elvis Presley in addition to "The Star Wars Holiday Special," told National Public Radio a few years ago: "That was the worst piece of crap I've ever done."
David Hofstede included the special in his 2004 book, "What Were They Thinking? The 100 Dumbest Events in Television History." In fact, he ranked it No. 1 and dubbed it "the worst two hours of television ever."
Still, fans clamor for it. One online petition calling for Lucas to release "The Star Wars Holiday Special" on DVD has collected hundreds of signatures. But a spokeswoman for Lucas says there are no plans for a DVD release. Lucas himself said during an online chat with "Star Wars" fans: "The Holiday Special does not represent my vision. It will remain in the Lucasfilm archives."
Lucas also has been quoted as saying at various times that he would be happy if every copy were destroyed. "If I had the time and a hammer, I would track down every copy of that program and smash it," he once reportedly said.
But "The Star Wars Holiday Special" lingers like a bad prom picture. Made between the original "Star Wars" and "The Empire Strikes Back," the TV program featured movie stars Mark Hamill (Luke Skywalker), Harrison Ford (Han Solo), Carrie Fisher (Princess Leia), Anthony Daniels (C-3PO) and Peter Mayhew (Chewbacca), and revolved around Chewbacca trying to get home to celebrate Life Day with his family: wife Malla, son Itchy and father Lumpy.
This being the 1970s and the height of the variety show era, the producers threw in Bea Arthur, Harvey Korman, Art Carney, Diahann Carroll and Jefferson Starship.
Long stretches of "The Star Wars Holiday Special" are without dialogue. Instead, viewers are treated to Chewbacca's family talking to each other in the bearish growls that make up the Wookie language.
Simply put, "The Star Wars Holiday Special" is awful.
"I tell fans all the time that in order to be a real 'Star Wars' fan, a true 'Star Wars' fan, you have to learn how to suffer," says Lee Demarbre, from Ottawa. "You had to learn how to suffer through Jar Jar Binks and now we have to learn to suffer through Bea Arthur and Art Carney and the atrociousness of 'The Star Wars Holiday Special.'"
"Star Wars" fans who have seen the special say its only redeeming point is the 11-minute cartoon in the middle that features the introduction of galactic bounty hunter Boba Fett.
"The Star Wars Holiday Special" isn't available for purchase legally. Bootleg copies do make the rounds on eBay, and at science fiction conventions, and the movie once was even shown at the Library of Congress. Demarbre shows "The Star Wars Holiday Special" at a bar in Ottawa, drawing a crowd each of the three times he's brought out his bootleg copy. He tells his audience if they boo loud enough, he'll fast-forward through certain scenes.
Demarbre, 33, remembers watching the special when it aired. The appeal at the time was getting a "Star Wars" fix at home. Since this was well before VCRs, the movie wouldn't be available on home video for years, and "The Star Wars Holiday Special" contained enough flashbacks from the movie to please the fans.
"It was kind of neat seeing 'Star Wars' at home, even those little snippets," he says. "When I was a kid, I loved it. I was so into it. I cried when the storm trooper broke little Lumpy's toys. I've talked to a lot of people who remember it as a dream. They saw it, but it didn't seem real. It seemed more like a dream because nobody really talked about it until recently."
Please consider a donation
so we can continue this work!
Local Kid Shows / Movie Stars on TV / Saturday Morning Shows / Video Vault / TV Goodbyes / Fabulous Fifties / Unseen Scenes / Game Shows / Requested Forgotten TV Shows / The Super Sixties / The New * * Shows / 1980's Wrestling / TV Blog
|TV's Embarrassing Moments / Action Shows of the Sixties / TVparty Mysteries and Scandals / Variety Shows of the 1970s / The Eighties / The Laugh Track / 1970's Hit Shows / Response to TVparty / Search the Site / Add Your Comments|
Hit Shows of the Seventies: Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy / Gene Roddenberry in the 1970s / 1977-1978 Superhero & Science Fiction TV Shows / Patrick Duffy of Dallas Interview / Best Season of Dallas Ever? / Ken Berry Interview / TV Show Book Tie-Ins / Mary Kay Place Albums of the 1970s / Bill Cosby - WTF?!? / Mary Kay Place Albums of the 1970s / That Girl & TV's Single Working Women / Star Trek Animated / Dark Shadows / Dark Shadows Movies / Dark Shadows Novels / Dawn Wells / Betty White : An Appreciation / Gavin McLeod / The Next Step Beyond / The Music Dark Shadows / 1970 TV Shows / Mike Wallace, Virginia Graham & Jim Longworth / Dick Clark / Carson Tonight Show / 1973 TV Shows / Thriller / The Jacksons TV Show / Fall Previews of the 70s / Lance Link, Secret Chimp / Star Wars Holiday Special / Alias Smith and Jones / 1977 Year in Review / Top Ten 1970-76 / The Rockford Files / All in the Family / Sam Hall (Dark Shadows) Interview / Actor Ed Nelson / Death of Archie / Battlestar Galactica / Wonder Woman / Network Jingles / Class of '74 / Happy Days / Good Times / Mr. Bill / Dinah! / Maude / Doris Day Show / Pamelyn Ferdin Interview / The Bicentennial Minute / Jingles & Catch Phrases of the 1970s / Early Cable TV 1970s / TV commercials for Women / TV Moms / Country Music TV Shows of the 1960s & 1970s / Betty White Show / Ron Palillo / Shirley Jones Interview / Tom Bosley / Rodney Dangerfield / How Sanford & Son Ended / Sanford & Son Spin-Off Grady / Great Memoirs / Virginia Graham Show / The "N" Word on TV / 10 Classic Comedy Routines You Have To Laugh At Before You Die / Hollywood Squares / 1970's Teen Idols & The Hudson Brothers / TV Stars with 3 Hit Shows / The Rookies / Unsold Pilots / Jackie Cooper / The Good Guys / Match Game / Make Room For Granddaddy / Mannix & Gail Fisher / Bette Midler in the 1970s / Bonus 1970's Stuff: Silent Star Marion Mack / Biff Burger / 1970s Fast Food Chains / Latin Casino / Beverly Hills Supper Club Fire / 1970's Daytime Talk Shows / The Fess Parker Show / Love, Loss & What I Watched
|Classic TV Commercials / 1950's TV / 1960's TV / 1970's TV / Lucy Shows / Classic Cars / John Wayne / Gene Roddenberry / Rockford Files / Sea Hunt / Superman on DVD / Toy Gun Ads / Flip Wilson Show / Big Blue Marble / Monty Hall / Carrascolendas / Mr. Dressup / Major Mudd / Chief Halftown / Baby Daphne / Sheriff John / Winchell & Mahoney / Fireball X-L5 / Mr. Wizard / Captain Noah / Thanksgiving Day Specials / Disney's First Christmas Special / Saturday Morning Cartoons / The Magic Garden / Amahl & the Night Visitors / Holiday Toy Commercials / Lucy & Desi's Last Christmas Show / Joey Heatherton / Fat Albert / The Virginian / Bewitched / Death of John Wayne / 1974 Saturday Mornings / Chuck McCann / Rudolph Collectables / Shrimpenstein / Local Popeye Shows / New Treasure Hunt / 1966 ABC TV Shows / 1967 TV Shows / 1968 TV Shows / Ric Flair, Dusty Rhodes & Baby Doll / Fridays / TV Moms / Red Skelton / George Lindsay / Star Wars / KISS / Lancelot Link / Saturday Morning Cartoons / The Magic Garden / Wonder Woman / Classic Comic Books / Andy Griffith / Cher / TV Shows on DVD / Outtakes & Bloopers / 1967 TV Shows / Romper Room / ABC Movie of the Week / The Goldbergs / Daws Butler Commercials / Saturday Morning Commercials / Captain Kangaroo / Chicago Local Kiddie Shows / Boston Local TV / Philly Local TV / NYC Local Kid Shows / Amos 'n' Andy / Electric Company / Bette Davis / Judy Garland / Christmas Specials / Redd Foxx / Good Times / Sitcom Houses / What's Happening! / Winky Dink & You / Sonny & Cher / Smothers Brothers / Commercial Icons of the 1960s / Soupy Sales / TV Terrorists / Irwin Allen / The Untouchables / Carol Burnett Show / Batman TV Show / Green Hornet / Today Show History / Our Gang / Doris Day Show / 1970's Commercials For Women / Bill Cosby in the 1970s / The Golddiggers / Lola Falana / 1970s TV Shows / David Bowie on TV / Hudson Brothers / Jackie Gleason / Hollywood Squares / Match Game / Bob Keeshan / Gumby / The Flip Wilson Show / Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour / The Bobby Darin Show / The Richard Pryor Show / George Burns / Celebrity Commercials / Rudolph / Movie Posters & More!|