The Star Wars Holiday Special (1978): It’s Oh So Kitsch

Let’s do the time warp today and revisit the Not-S0-Golden Age of American Television. The year was 1978. Star Wars fever still gripped America, and the Variety Show TV format wouldn’t say die. So, producing The Star Wars Holiday Special (find Part 1 above, Part 2 here) was a no-brainer. The two-hour show takes you inside the domestic world of Chewbacca and his family — his father Itchy, his wife Malla, and his son Lumpy — and features guest appearances by Jefferson Starship, Harvey Korman and Bea Arthur, plus a little stock footage of Alec Guinness. As for the production quality and special effects? They’re all textbook kitsch.

You’ve heard enough to know that this wasn’t the finest hour for the Star Wars franchise. One critic called it the “the worst two hours of television ever.” And, when he’s willing to acknowledge the existence of the TV special, George Lucas readily admits that turning Star Wars into a variety show “wasn’t the smartest thing to do.” But because the show only aired once in its entirety, the holiday special has gained something of a cult status and circulates “underground” on the web. Vanity Fair has more on this misadventure in television programming here. H/T goes to Dangerous Minds.

Related Star Wars Goodies:

Star Wars as Silent Film

Star Wars the Musical: The Force is Strong in this One

Darth Vader’s Theme in the Style of Beethoven

Kurt Russell Auditions for Star Wars

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