Thursday, August 2, 2012

The Star Wars Holiday Special (1978)

The Star Wars Holiday Special (1978) - TV special review plus screencaps:

I recently had the opportunity to use my time machine to travel back in time, and have my 6 year old self liveblog the Star Wars Holiday Special as he watched it being broadcast on TV on November 17, 1978...

7:56 PM
Wow! There's gonna be a Star Wars Christmas special on TV tonight! I can't wait! It's gonna start in a minute, I'm going to write about it as I watch it... this is going to be so cool!
TV Guide Ad
8:00 PM
It's starting!

Han Solo and Chewbacca are in the Millenium Falcon, pursued by Imperial forces.  They're trying to get Chewbacca home to his family for something called "Life Day."

8:01 PM
They're introducing the characters: Luke, Leia, Han, Chewbacca, R2-D2, C-3PO, Darth Vader... wow this is going to be AMAZING!

8:02 PM
Wait, Chewbacca is married? He has a dad named "Itchy," and a son named "Lumpy?" Seriously?

8:02 PM
Also starring... Bea Arthur, Art Carney, Diahann Carrol, The Jefferson Starship, and Harvey Korman? I've got a bad feeling about this.
(Not Pictured: Jefferson Starship)

More after the jump...

8:03 PM
Okay the story is starting... Chewbacca's Wookie family are grunting around in a treehouse.
"Special" Effects.  No, this is not from the animated segment.

8:08 PM
It's literally five minutes later, and nothing has happened except for three Wookies walking around grunting incomprehensibly. Is this live? Did they forget to write a script? What's going on?

Now the Wookies are watching TV... on TV. A bunch of people in colorful bug costumes (or something) are dancing around aimlessly.  And we get to watch the wookies watching it.  For three minutes!

12 minutes... hey it's Luke and R2-D2! The Wookies are calling them on their TV phone. It looks the story is about to start for real! And now they're... going back to the Wookie's house? NO!
Is is just me, or is Luke just a mite too happy to be talking to a wookie?

Oh good, now the wookies are using another one of their TVs to watch a live video feed of Art Carney selling stuff in his general store.
Watch in amazement as this dude slowly looks at one item, and then another, with little-to-no emotional reaction!

8:18 PM
Finally! Spaceships! Darth Vader! Commercial! Commercial? NO!!

8:19 PM
We'll be back to the Star Wars Holiday Special after these brief messages from our sponsors:

Willie Rawles...  Utility Man by Day, Private Investigator By Night!  This Fall on CBS!  Willie Rawles is sponsored by Trailtracker: The Crayon Hunting Van!  No Crayon is Safe!

8:20 PM
And were back... in the wookie's treehouse again! More incomprehensible grunting! They're watching TV again. We're watching wookies watching TV... on TV.  Oh boy... it's a Harvey Korman "comedy" sketch. What the hell? Who thought this was a good idea?

8:25 PM
Okay now were with Han and Chewie on the Millenium Falcon! They're in an exciting spaceship battle!  Maybe now the story is really really about to start!
Pew! Pew! Pew!  Ker-Plow!

8:26 PM
And... we're back in the treehouse! NO! NO! NO! I already feel like I've been watching these wookies grunt for hours!  They're watching an Imperial Officer make an official announcement on one of they're TVs.  Did he just say the name of the wookie planet was "Gazook?"  Earlier it said the planet was "Wookie Planet C."

8:27 PM
Now someone is knocking on the door, and everyone is scared.  But aren't they expecting Chewbacca to arrive?  Shouldn't they be excited and happy?  Oh, it's Art Carney.  No wonder.
Knock knock!  Who's there?  It's Dave, man, open up, I've got the stuff!

8:30 PM
Now Chewbacca's dad Itchy is having the TV beamed directly into his brain. Why not?  He's watching Diahann Carrol... and she's moaning orgasmically, and making suggestive comments, such as, "Oh yes!" and, "We can have a good time, can't we?," and, "I am your fantasy," and, "Experience me," and, "I am your pleasure."   I think Itchy is getting off on it!   It's like G-Rated space porn! Eww! Why would they show this?  I thought this special was supposed to be for kids?

8:37 PM
Princess Leia and C-3PO! They're talking to Chewbacca's wife on the TV phone. Princess Leia is staring into space with a fixed smile and a glazed look in her eyes.
How many TVs do they have in this treehouse?  I've lost count

8:40 PM
Han and Chewie are arriving at the planet. But meanwhile back at the treehouse... Stormtroopers! With their blasters drawn! Maybe now we'll get some action! ...or a commercial.
Dave's not here!

8:41 PM
We'll be right back to... The Star Wars Holiday Special... after these words from our sponsors!
"Reggie" Candy Bars: The only candy flavored with Reggie Jackson's natural juices and drippings!

8:48 PM
The Stormtroopers are watching another TV at the Wookie's house. These wookies sure have a lot of TVs.  I'm watching the Stormtroopers watch TV... on my TV.

They're watching a Jefferson Starship video. Remember when these guys used to be called Jefferson Airplane in the 1960s, and were a cool folk and psychedelic rock band?  Well, now it's 1978 and they're a crappy prog "rock" group.  Hooray for progress.  This must be what DEVO are talking about when they sing about De-Evolution.  Man, why couldn't they have got DEVO for this special?  That would have been neat!

Oh good, Art Carney is dancing and rocking out.

The other "guest star" actors on the show are playing characters, but Jefferson Starship are playing themselves.  Apparently Jefferson Starship are an official part of the Star Wars universe.
Jefferson Starship.  We never really get a good look at these guys.  But maybe that's for the best.

8:56 PM
Itchy is watching Saturday morning cartoons or something. On yet another TV!  How many TVs do these wookies have?  I'm watching him watch TV on my TV.

Okay wait... he's watching a cartoon about Han Solo and Chewbacca, plus Luke, Leia, and the Droids. You're telling me that in the Star Wars universe, these people all have their own cartoon show? I guess it could be, like, Rebel propaganda or something... sort of like Radio Free America?

9:02 PM
Pillsbury Plus: Put It In Your Mouth

Neutron Bomb

Contac: It's the Pill That's Full of Fun!

9:08 PM
You know what, though, the cartoon is kind of cool. Sort of like a "Heavy Metal" comic come to life.

9:10 PM
Wow that cartoon was actually really great! And they introduced a new Star Wars character: Boba Fett! Maybe this means the rest of the special will finally start getting good!

9:13 PM
They're watching TV again! And yes, it's a different TV set than any of the ones we've seen before.  Oh no, it's another so-called "comedy" sketch from Harvey Korman! Why, God, why?!?!

9:17 PM
Tobor the Telesonic Robot
 Tobor is "Robot" spelled backwards.  Man, that's some creepy music in this commercial.  It sounds like something from an Italian horror movie.  And Tobor's pretty evil looking, too.  I think Tobor's about to go "Demon Seed" all over those kids.

Revlon Cream-On Disco Blush

Whirlpool Appliances.  Because nothing says "washing machines" like an eagle hunting it's prey.

9:20 PM
The Stormtroopers are all gathering around to watch ANOTHER TV show at the wookie's treehouse. Who in the universe thought, "Hey, let's make a Star Wars special were all the characters just stand around watching TV" was a good idea?!?!

Well, this latest TV show is called "Life on Tattoine" and is set at the Mos Eisley Cantina, so MAYBE it will be cool. The cantina was one of the coolest parts of Star Wars.  Wait, Bea Arthur and Harvey Korman are there. All right, never mind.

Hey Greedo is there!  But that doesn't make any sense, because he's dead.  Everyone who loves Star Wars knows that Han Solo killed him, shooting Greedo first, before Greedo could shoot Han.  Yep, that's one of the most important scenes from Star Wars, as it establishes Han Solo's cutthroat nature, and makes it even more poignant when he eventually becomes a selfless hero.  It's what Hollywood scriptwriters call a "character arc."  Of course, all true Star Wars fans know this, so I don't know why I'm even writing this...

Note from Joshua the Atomic Robot (present day):  I was not aware of this when I reviewed this show as a 6 year old in 1978, but the character in the cantina is not actually Greedo, but is his brother, Bludlow.

Harvey Korman is pouring some orange juice into a hole in his skull.

9:28 PM
Bea Arthur is singing. I think I might cry.

9:33 PM
The Star Wars Holiday Special will continue in a moment...
Anacin.  Yeah, I could go for some of that right about now.

"Now we've got real panties...  Unhh!... in our pantyhose! It's Sheer Indulgence!"  It's that grunt that sells it.

According to this commercial, Egg McMuffins are more than the Hillbilly brain can safely process.

9:38 PM
Well Han and Chewie finally showed up. There's only one Stormtrooper left, though, the rest got bored and went home. Han killed the one that was left, but it was still kind of boring. And now... Han is leaving again. Oh well.
If there's one thing Han Solo is good at, it's straight-up killing dudes.

9:44 PM
Okay... now a bunch of wookies have put on red robes and are walking around in outer space, and into a big ball of light? Not sure what this is about...

9:45 PM

9:47 PM
Okay, now they're in some fog filled cave, and they're all grunting. I guess this is how they celebrate "Wookie Space Christmas."  And... R2-D2 and C-3PO are there? But R2 is with Luke, and C-3PO is with Leia, and none of them are Wookie Planet C, or wherever the hell this story is supposed to take place.

Wait, now Luke, Leia, and Han are there, too! But Han just left like 10 minutes ago. This doesn't really make any sense. And Princess Leia keeps rubbing her hands up and down Chewbacca like she's trying to make out with him... ARRGH... now she's singing! And she's STILL rubbing up all around Chewbacca's body... even if Carrie Fisher was just really, really stoned that day... why wouldn't they just edit that out? Honestly, I really think they filmed this entire thing in one take.

9:51 PM
Now Chewbacca is daydreaming about all the scenes of Star Wars that he was in? It's like Star Wars has been reedited to make Chewie the star.

 9:52 PM
Now their showing a sweet commercial for Star Wars action figures and vehicles.  Those toys look great, even AFTER watching this horrible special.
Just 37 more shopping days until Christmas!

9:54 PM
Now the Wookies are all gathered together for Wookie Space Christmas dinner. They are holding hands and praying to their pagan wookie god.... and... cue the end credits.

Aside from the cartoon, which was pretty cool, this was the longest 2 hours of my life! How could something with "Star Wars" in the title be so awful? I'll never look at Fake Wookie Space Christmas the same way again.

-Joshua the Atomic Robot, Age: 6

Rating: 1 Robot (out of 5)

1 comment:

  1. I would have been 16 when this aired, but although I liked the 1st movie well enough and collected the comics, I was hardly a Star Wars fanatic and although I think my younger brothers may have watched this holiday special, my recall thinking this smelled of appalling hokeyness which I was not interested in watching. Hence, I missed out on this and while there are many things I haven't done that I regret, that is not one of them.