‘Tis the season for watching your favorite childhood Christmas specials for the hundredth time, but here’s one you likely (luckily?) missed: the Star Wars Holiday Special.
I first saw the 1978 variety show a few years ago at a Christmas party in Manhattan. It aired only once in the U.S. (supposedly George Lucas tried his best to bury it), but had achieved camp-classic cachet among hipster geeks who trafficked in VHS bootlegs back before anyone could Google up this two-hour s&%t-show and send it to their Christmas card list with a click.
I’d heard how bad it was, but nothing could prepare me for the slow-motion spaceship wreck I was about to see. Surprisingly, most of the cast from the first Star Wars signed on; only a pained-looking Harrison Ford seems to realize what a turd this is. The simple plot — the Rebels elude “Imperial entanglements” as they race to Chewbacca’s home planet of Kashyyyk to celebrate the Wookie holiday Life Day — leaves plenty of time for “celebrity” cameos: Bea Arthur as a sassy cantina matron; musical guest Jefferson Starship (get it?); a high-larious bit in which Harvey Korman (in alien drag) hosts a cooking show (bantha stew! silly!); and Diahann Carroll performing one half of what’s best described as an intergalactic, holographic phone-bone. (True Star Wars nerds will note that the special also features the official debut of future fan favorite Boba Fett.)
If you’re too busy spreading comfort and joy to watch the entire show, check out the segment embedded below, in which a
clearly possibly stoned Carrie Fisher, in all her lipglossed glory as Princess Leia, warbles a song honoring Life Day. (A little pitchy, Princess.) Watch (or at least jump) all the way to the end to see a blissed-out Fisher goofing on Peter Mayhew’s wookie suit.