Saturday, September 5, 2009

A long time ago, in a suburb about an hour away...

Last night, I was watching The Clone Wars on Cartoon Network. I must say, I rather enjoyed it.

This was a bit surprising to me. I've been unhappy with the whole 'Star Wars' thing since those goddam teddy bears ruined Return of the Jedi.

But, in retrospect, I shouldn't have been so disappointed. 'Star Wars' was in trouble long before that.

(And I don't mean The Empire Strikes Back. That? Was fucking awesome!)

No, I'm talking about The Star Wars Holiday Special.

Perhaps I should back up a bit...

I've had this on the brain ever since my good friend Lance Alameda posted this piece of animation he found on his Facebook page. He had never seen it before. What he didn't know was he had stumbled across the only redeeming thing about The Star Wars Holiday Special.

I saw the The Star Wars Holiday Special when it originally aired. I was 13. Granted, I didn't know much about, well, anything. But, I think on that fateful evening I learned what "selling out" & "bait & switch" meant.

For weeks prior, the animated piece was hyped to the gills as the first appearance of Boba Fett. What they didn't explain was 1) it was going to be a cartoon & 2) not shown until the last 15 mins or so.

The show was bad. And weird. Scenes were done in Wookie-ese without the benefit of subtitles or a human character to react and/or "translate". Granted, it was surreal- but I was 13 and didn't want surreal. I wanted Star Wars.

On the plus side- it had Bea Arthur, Art Carney & Harvey Korman in it. Which would have been great- if it were an episode of The Carol Burnett Show...

But, it wasn't. It was my (then) precious Star Wars. And it was sucking. Hard.

(Coincidentally, Bruce Vilanch was one of the writers of The Star Wars Holiday Special. Not that I have anything against him persae. But, apart from sometimes resembling a Wookie, he had no business being involved).

A few years later- as an older teen, I came across an old issue of Starlog Magazine that was published right around the release of The Star Wars Holiday Special. Here's some scans, courtesy of my photobucket page. Just click on the thumbnails for a better look.

Of course, I'd kill to see this piece of shit again. Happy Life Day, everybody!

Epilogue: The following evening (Nov 18, 1978)- Carrie Fisher hosted Saturday Night Live. It was hilarious. And she wore a bikini in a sketch. Now that's what a 13 year old male Star Wars geek wanted to see!


  1. Epilogue to the Epilogue: You can pretty much see the whole travesty that is 'The Star Wars Holiday Special' on YouTube. I started to watch it- but couldn't get past "part one" because it annoyed me as much as it did 31 years ago.

  2. years ago I was dating someone who was a bigger Star Wars geek than I was (this is well before the prequels, which ruined us all) and she procured a pirate VHS of the Holiday Special. We eagerly threw it on and were immediately horrified. We watched it all the way through in an act of pure masochism, taking joy only in the kafkaesque surrealism of it. It physically hurt to watch it all the way through. I will never do it again, no matter how nostalgic I get.