Star Wars Holiday Special – It Really Happened!

The Star Wars Holiday Special was long thought to be just a myth. It couldn’t possibly be true, could it? Could George Lucas really have forced his stars to go on prime time television to act in a musical story about Chewbaca’s family? It had to be a lie. And even if it was true, it couldn’t have been as bad as the rumors said. George Lucas is a genius, after all.

And then came the internet, along with computers that could convert analog VHS tapes to digital video. And finally: YouTube. The world rejoiced even as Darth Lucas braced himself for the worst: The Holiday Special was going to be discovered after all!

Most people I talk to have still never heard of the Star Wars Holiday Special. This is a healthy fact, actually, because the film was every bit as awful as was reported. Worse, actually. But still, the world needs to know! You do, too.

In a nutshell, The Holiday Special was half variety show, half story. The “story” was about a Christmasy Wookie holiday called Life Day. No explanation is given as to the origin of Life Day. One can only assume it had to do with a Jedi coming to save the residents of Hoth in the form of an Ewok. “The Banthas are lowing, the baby awakes…”

Anyway, Chewbaca is doing his best to get home to his family in time for the Life Day Snuggy Rituals, but he is delayed by Vader’s forces. If the footage of Vader and the pursuit looks familiar, that’s because it was lifted directly out of the original Star Wars film. Why Lucas thought this was a good idea is anyone’s guess. The original blockbuster Star Wars movie had only just left the theaters, so audiences couldn’t possibly have been fooled.

While the Millenium Falcon is fighting its way through the bad guys, we the viewers are left waiting with Chewey’s mind-numbingly boring family. They have names like “Itchy,” Lumpy,” and “Farty.” Okay, not Farty, but it isn’t that far fetched is it? Chewy’s family is worried sick about him, so Art Carney brings in a horde of 1970’s celebrities to entertain them. Among these are Bea Arthur and Jefferson Starship, in some of the least inspired performances ever witnessed in that part of the galaxy. There is also a Star Wars cartoon, a circus full of miniature acrobats, and a holographic dancing woman who “entertains” Chewy’s dad. Itchy is a dirty old Wookie.

When Chewy and Han Solo finally arrive, they have to hustle to get to the festival as soon as possible, because they discover Princess Leah will be performing the annual Life Day Carol. The song is sung to the tune of John Williams’s famous Star Wars Theme Music. And just when it is all getting really confusing, the participants start marching single file through outer space. Only then does the hurting comes to an end.

Now that the Star Wars Holiday Special is so readily available, I think we all owe it to ourselves to sample it. If nothing else, let’s do it for George, who is still frightfully embarrassed over it, and would rather we all forget it. But until he offers the public an apology for Jar Jar Binx, I cannot take his feelings too seriously. Happy Life Day, Mr. Lucas! And thanks for the laughs.