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April 23, 2014

'Star Wars' Holiday Special - This IS the 1978 Variety Show You're Looking For

by Donald Deane, posted Oct 23rd 2009 6:02PM
Star Wars Holiday SpecialA 'Star Wars' variety show, starring characters named "Itchy" and "Lumpy?" An inexplicable musical number by none other than the late Bea Arthur? And since when did the 'Star Wars' universe expand to encompass Harvey Korman and Art Carney? One wouldn't be too far off the mark to accuse the creators of 'The Star Wars Holiday Special' of having been drunk on Jawa Juice when they made this legendarily bad (aka, awesome) slice of holiday entertainment.

Starring the entire "Star Wars" cast with the exception of Alec Guinness, the 1978 special was produced with the intent of capitalizing on 'Star Wars' mania. Instead, it set a low-water mark for bizarre television. The plot, such as it is, involves Chewbacca rushing home to his home planet of Kashyyyk to celebrate "Life Day," the Wookie equivalent of Christmas.Star Wars Holiday SpecialA 'Star Wars' variety show, starring characters named "Itchy" and "Lumpy?" An inexplicable musical number by none other than the late Bea Arthur? And since when did the 'Star Wars' universe expand to encompass Harvey Korman and Art Carney? One wouldn't be too far off the mark to accuse the creators of 'The Star Wars Holiday Special' of having been drunk on Jawa Juice when they made this legendarily bad (aka, awesome) slice of holiday entertainment.

Starring the entire "Star Wars" cast with the exception of Alec Guinness, the 1978 special was produced with the intent of capitalizing on 'Star Wars' mania. Instead, it set a low-water mark for bizarre television. The plot, such as it is, involves Chewbacca rushing home to his home planet of Kashyyyk to celebrate "Life Day," the Wookie equivalent of Christmas.

George Lucas had limited involvement with the special and by all reports wants to pretend it doesn't exist. Harrison Ford squirmed nervously when questioned by Conan O'Brien about it. And yet, despite the criticism and overall negative reception, or perhaps because of it, fans clamor for bootlegs to this day.

Those with the stomach for it can find much more information on the special here. And for the truly brave, clips of the show abound. Be forewarned, however: Endless braying Wookie dialogue and a scene in which Han Solo and Chewbacca get uncomfortably close may have you reaching for your blaster.

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