So last week, Shelly and I were over at M & S’s house, where we were treated to the Star Wars Holiday Special, first aired in November 1978 and never shown since. This movie is arguably the worst thing ever to be shown on network television–worse than Big Brother, worse than Barney, worse than the Super Mario Brothers TV show, worse than Starsky & Hutch and Hee-Haw combined.
The show, which was produced by George Lucas, is so awful that Lucas himself said if he had the time and money, he would “track down every copy of the show out there and smash it to bits with a hammer.” The premise: Han is trying to take Chewbacca home to visit his family for the Wookie holiday of “Life Day,” and gets sidetracked along the way dealing with Imperials and (in an animated sequence worse than the classic Hanna-Barbera saturday morning cartons, Boba Fett).
The show is done as a variety act, with long and mnd-destroying scenes of life on the Wookie homeworld (including a fifteen-minute-long conversation between Chewbacca’s wife and his son, in Wookie, with no subtitles), a transvestite Harvey Korman doing a Julia-Childs-esque cooking show about roast Bantha meat, Luke Skywalker with bleached hair and so much makeup he might as well be a transvestite, and, incredibly, Carrie Fisher trying to sing.
Yes, you read that right. Carrie Fisher, right in the beginning of her long slide into drug addiction, makes an appearance, glassy-eyed and so completely blitzed out of her mind that she can barely walk, and sings.
There’s a lot of singing here. Jefferson Airplane sings in a “Wookie Entertainment” scene. Bea Arthur sings in a bar, with footage spliced in from the original cantina in the movie–and they couldn’t afford to rebuild the entire cantina set as it was in the movie, so the design of the cantina keeps changing and parts of the cantina jump around every time the camera angle changes. (Why is she singing? Because the Imperials have closed down the bar. We know this because a bunch of stormtroopers are watching a film of the bar as part of a “moral education lesson.”)Diane Carol appears as a hologram inside some sort of gadget that Chewy’s father owns, which as near as I can tell is the futuristic version of a Playboy centerfold, and she sings.
And Han meets Boba Fett, on a planet which is for some unexplained reason entirely covered in six feet of red pasta sauce.
There’s enough material in the movie for perhaps fifteen or twenty minutes, stretched out to fill two hours that feel more like twelve. The show just goes on and on and on, and every time you think it can’t get any more dreadful, it does.
We definitely need to find a copy on DVD.