The Star Wars Holiday Special 1978

With all the buzz about the new film Star Wars: The Force Awakens, which continues to break box-office records, one is bound to think back to another holiday season affected by the Star Wars franchise. After the successful release of the original Star Wars film in 1977, the following November gave television viewers The Star Wars Holiday Special.

The Special

CBS broadcast the 97-minute television show on Friday, November 17, 1978 at 8:00-10:00 p.m.  The Star Wars Holiday Special centered around Chewbacca and his family celebrating Life Day, a holiday that happens to be a lot like Christmas.

The musical-variety show featured many of the characters from Star Wars, even though many of the stars did not really want to be involved in the show. As Harrison Ford explained during a 2011 press tour: “It was in my contract. There was no known way to get out of it.” In the special, the movie stars were helped out by TV stars of the era like Bea Arthur, Diahann Carroll, Art Carney, and Harvey Korman.

The Star Wars Holiday Special included an animated segment that is notable for showing Luke, Han, and Leia having their first encounter with bounty hunter Boba Fett.  The bounty hunter, of course, would later appear in The Empire Strikes Back.

Below is the beginning of the special.

Reception

Fans of the movie had high expectations for anything related to Star Wars.  So, they were disappointed with the Star Wars Holiday Special, including its low budget and its motivation to sell toys to kids. The special became pretty much universally reviled by everyone including George Lucas.

Still, through the years, some fans have grown more fond of the show for its kitschy and nostalgic appeal. There is an entire website devoted to the TV show. And Mental Floss recently posted “An Oral History of The Star Wars Holiday Special.”

Below is a 15-minute “best of” compilation from the special.

If you still want more, you may watch the entirety of The Star Wars Holiday Special on YouTube. May the Force be with you through this holiday season.

Leave your two cents in the comments.

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    Weird Al Summarizes “The Phantom Menace”

    If you are like me, you may be or have been re-watching all or some of the Star Wars movies to get ready for Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015). Of course, everyone loves Star Wars (A New Hope) (1977), The Empire Strikes Back (1980), and Return of the Jedi (1983). And maybe you do not mind Attack of the Clones (2002) and Revenge of the Sith (2005). But what if you really do not want again to watch The Phantom Menace (1999), generally considered the worse of the lot?

    Fortunately, we have a solution from Weird Al Yankovic, who summarized Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace in his song “The Saga Begins,” which appeared on his 1999 album Running with Scissors. Set to the tune of Don McLean’s epic “American Pie,” Yankovic’s parody song presents the story from the point of view of Obi-Wan Kenobi.

    “The Saga Begins” is pretty funny in the way it rhymes all of the strange Star Wars locations like Boss Nass, Coruscant, Naboo, and Tatooine. More surprisingly, Yankovic does a really excellent job of covering the plot points. And of course there is that memorable “American Pie” tune that just makes us want to sing along.

    Oh my my, this here Anakin guy,
    Maybe Vader someday later, now he’s just a small fry;
    He left his home and kissed his mommy goodbye,
    Sayin’, “Soon I’m gonna be a Jedi, soon I’m gonna be a Jedi”

    Weird Al also made a cool video to go with the song. Maybe you do not want to watch The Phantom Menace because there is too much Jar Jar Binks or because that kid’s pod race goes on way too long. Maybe you just think the movie is irrelevant to the series or that the film is a “failure on every possible level.” Or maybe you loved the move. Either way, you probably will enjoy Weird Al Yankovic’s “The Saga Begins.”

    What is your favorite Star Wars film? Leave your two cents in the comments.

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    “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” Comic-Con Reel

    At Comic-Con this week, a panel unveiled a new video of behind-the-scenes footage of the upcoming Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015) film. The clip features more than three minutes worth of scenes showing characters, vehicles, technology, and other aspects of the much-anticipated seventh film in the Star Wars franchise.

    The video includes several revelations, including Simon Pegg as some type of alien apparently. Check out the Comic-Con video for Star Wars: The Force Awakens.



    Star Wars: The Force Awakens
    hits theaters on December 18, 2015.

    Leave your two cents in the comments.

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    “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” Teaser Trailer 2

    As the Christmas release date of Star Wars: The Force Awakens approaches, we will keep seeing new clues about the much-anticipated film. This week, we got to see a little more, including a glimpse of several old friends. Check it out.

    What do you think? Leave your two cents in the comments.

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    Imagining a Modern Trailer for “The Empire Strikes Back”

    Cameron Arrigioni has made a fan trailer for The Empire Strikes Back, attempting to create what a modern trailer for the 1980 movie might look like today. The trailer emphasizes the epic scale of the classic Star Wars movie, incorporating key scenes and music from the first Star Trek film directed by J.J. Abrams. Check it out.

    If you wish to compare this “modern” concept of the trailer to the real theatrical trailer for The Empire Strikes Back, check out the theatrical trailer below.

    Either way, I still think The Empire Strikes Back is the highlight of the Star Wars franchise.

    Do you prefer modern trailers, which often include spoilers, over older trailers? Leave your two cents in the comments.

  • The Star Wars Holiday Special 1978
  • Weird Al Summarizes “The Phantom Menace”
  • “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” Teaser Trailer 2
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  • “La La Land” Trailer Brings Back the Musical
  • Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Pratt Travel Space in “Passengers”
  • (Some related Chimesfreedom posts.)