Television Special, 1978
Note from RD: As you can probably surmise from the title, this has nothing to do with wrestling. But since reviewing bad Christmas movies has become a holiday tradition here at the Crap, I thought there was nothing more appropriate to cover than this stinkbomb from the late 70’s. Enjoy!
November 17, 1978 is a date that a lot of sci-fi fans would like to forget ever existed. But as much as they’d like to erase it from their memory banks, trust me, there is no one on the planet that would like this date wiped from history more than George Lucas.
For it is on that day that the Star Wars Holiday Special was born.
There are likely many among you unfamiliar with this forgotten gem, and no doubt some of you are hearing of it for the first time. At the time of its first – and ONLY – airing on national television, Star Wars mania was at its zenith. The first film had shattered every box office record, and fans couldn’t wait for the sequel (which was still two years away). Toys were flying off store shelves. Heck, even that horrible Star Wars disco mix (by mega group MECCA) was selling like hotcakes.
It seemed as if Star Wars could do no wrong.
But it did…my God did it ever.
It’s not that the actors from the movie weren’t there. They were. Peter Mayhew was there in his Chewbacca get up, and Anthony Daniels slapped on the gold plates to reprise his C3PO role. Heck, even the big three put in an appearance:
Mark Hamill (who was wearing so much make up that it appeared he signed a sponsorship deal with Max Factor)…
…Harrison Ford (looking like he’d be anywhere else in the galaxy)…
…and Carrie Fisher (who looked…well, there’s just no nice way to put this…the poor girl just look absolutely coked out of her mind. Seriously, it’s a toss up between her and Drew Barrymore for the coveted “Best Stoned Actress in a Supporting Role in a Crappy Christmas Movie” WrestleCrap Oscar (and yes, before you email, of course the statue depicts a rapping fat man in what appears to be a clown suit)).
Ah, but there’s more. So much more. So painfully much more.
You see, not only are all our old friends here, but we are also introduced to new characters in the Star Wars universe.
We’ll get to all the Love Boat reject guest stars in due time, but right now, I want to discuss the real stars of our show: Chewbacca’s family.
Bet you didn’t know Chewy had a family. I know I didn’t. And after watching this entire fiasco, I wish I never did.
First up, we have Mala, Chewbacca’s wife. The more astute amongst you will note she looks just like Chewbacca, with the exception of lipstick. No, I am not making that up – she is a LIPSTICK WEARING WOOKIE. See, that’s how we know she’s female. Isn’t that clever?
Next there’s Grampa Itchy. He’s a old coot with an unhealthy porn fetish. You think I’m joking, but as you will soon see, I am most definitely not.
Finally, and most annoyingly, we have Chewbacca’s son, Lumpy.
You will soon learn to hate Lumpy. You’ll hate him when he smiles, you’ll hate him when he looks sad, you’ll hate him when he growls, and you’ll hate him when he watches his holographic Cirque de Soleil gymnasts.
On an annoyance scale, think of Jar Jar Binks and every single Ewok rolled into one, then multiply that nightmare by 3,720.
I mean, seriously – just look at him. Stop and look at that image to the right.
Tell me you have ever, in your life, wanted to set fire to something more.
Alright, I guess I should give some backstory, as there is, believe it or not, a plot to this pile of intergalactic garbage. The “holiday” in the special’s title isn’t Christmas or New Year’s or Kwanzaa or Hanukkah or any silly old earth holiday. No, it’s Life Day, which is a day when Wookies celebrate, yep, you guessed it, LIFE.
Han is trying to get Chewy home for the blessed day (via what appears to be a five dollar reconstruction of the Millenium Falcon set), but the two continually run into Imperial Forces. As the Wookie family awaits their husband/son/father, they wail and moan for fifteen minutes straight.
Now let me ensure you that I am not exaggerating; the segment from the first commercial break to the next one contains exactly zero English, or for that matter, any other earth language. Instead, we get wookie talk like this.
Unable to contact Han and Chewy, the Wookie family decides to give Luke a shout. Unfortunately, he hasn’t heard from them either, but speculates they probably ran into traffic, so no worries.
Mala isn’t buying it, but Luke is insistent that things will be ok. He then tells her to turn that frown upside down (even going so far as to demonstrate how to do so).
If you ever questioned if Luke was going to the dark side, there’s your answer right there.
Can you imagine Emperor Palpatine urging a lipstick wearing Wookie to smile?
Next, we get introduced to one of the new characters in the Star Wars saga: Art Carney!
He plays Saundun, a merchant on the wookie planet who runs a pawn shop/pet store, specialzing in…
Sadly, the Imperial lieutenant (whose helmet is so gargantuan that it almost has to be the inspiration for Dark Helmet in Space Balls) is unimpressed, instead choosing to outright steal a new billfold. Bastard!
Cut to what appears to be the Death Star (hey, didn’t they blow that up in the first film), as James Earl Jones makes his only appearance in the show. Jones utters his single line as footage from the original film (with the lieutenant’s lines being very badly dubbed) is shown.
Lord Darth Vader, Dark Lord of the Sith, commands that “every household in the system” been searched. Maybe it’s just me, but hearing Darth Vader say the word “household” just seems wrong.
Besides, you’d think with his mastery of the force, he’d know that his hired goons are just hanging out at pet shops staring at miniature fish anyway.
Worthless Trivia Moment!
I should mention that the tape I have of this fiasco actually has a ton of vintage commercials for everything from Hungry Jack Biscuits to the Reggie Jackson candy bar (get this – it’s called the “Reggie Bar”) and crappy donut shaped phones that apparently were all the rage as Christmas presents back in the day.
Note to my dear wife: don’t get me one of those phones for Christmas. I swear I’ll ask for a divorce if you do.
Back to the insanity we go, as when we return, we’re with Mala in her Wookie kitchen whipping up some Wookiechow. Unsure exactly how to make a Bantha Rump Roast, she turns on her TV to find a FOUR ARMED HARVEY KORMAN IN DRAG.
This leads to a comedy (??) bit in which Harvina (so this is where Whippleman got the idea!) and her Nerf-looking limbs flail about and fling slop all over the place.
Are you laughing yet?
I know I’m not!
But the torture hasn’t even really begun yet. Oh no.
The real crap begins when Saundun brings Itchy a virtual reality set featuring, and I’m just quoting the guy here, lots of “wow, if you know what I mean.”
Well, I don’t know what he means, and to be honest, I’m not sure I want to.
Once the headset is wrapped around Itchy’s cranium, the old guy is treated to silhouttes of women swimming by; just imagine a poverty stricken man’s James Bond intro and you’ll get the picture.
As the scene finally clears, Itchy is left alone with 1970’s disco diva Diahann Carroll, who proceeds to give the geriatric Wookie a virtual blow job. Itchy responds by bouncing up and down in what can only be described as sexual delight.
Laugh all you want – I just WISH I was making this up.
I guess the old saying really is true: nothing says “Happy Life Day” like Wookie ejaculate.
(Oh, and I should note that on IMDB, Carroll’s character is listed as “Holographic Wow.” I could retire if I could write comedy that good.)
Thankfully, we finally get away from Papaw Itchy’s Spankathon to visit C-3PO and Princess Leia in what appears to be an interstellar space office. In fact, Leia is operating what appears to be an ADDING MACHINE, thus lending credence to my theory that the “Long Time Ago” in the opening crawl actually refers to 1973.
Long story short, they don’t know where Han and Chewy are, either.
Around this time, however, Lumpy hears the Falcon soar over top the family abode.
The ship’s approach is visualized by footage from the first movie with the blue planet of Yavin turned green – in fact, they just turned the entire screen green, as the Falcon is now jade colored now as well!
Excited at the thought of his dad coming home, Lumpy rushes to the door. But instead of finding Chewy, he discovers more Imperial forces!
Sadly, before they can shoot anyone, Saundan shows up with another zany invention, which he demonstrates to one of the guards.
And this device too offers plenty of “wow.”
It’s just a different kind of wow.
Ohhh…I apologize. That’s just a penile shaped microphone. Silly me.
It’s actually Jefferson Starship, playing a song so atrociously awful that it makes one long for a Kenny G-Michael Bolton duet.
It seems things can’t possibly get worse, and amazingly, they don’t.
We actually get a glimmer of hope, as Lumpy dons a headset and watches a a Star Wars cartoon.
Though the artwork is insanely horrible (check out Han Solo!), the story itself is actually ok. On top of that, we are introduced for the first time ever to…
Yes, the best bounty hunter in the galaxy was first introduced to fans on the STAR WARS HOLIDAY SPECIAL. Frightening.
At the onset of the cartoon, he actually befriends Luke. He cleverly convinces Luke he is a good guy by continually calling him “friend”.
You know, for a guy who’d eventually become the most powerful Jedi in the galaxy, Luke is pretty dumb here.
Soon enough, though, the cartoon ends and it’s once again back to the horrible live action stuff, as we head inexplicably to Tatooine and the Mos Eisley cantina. Here we find Harvey Korman, who has changed outfits and is putting the moves on new cantina owner (and I can’t believe I’m even typing this) Bea Arthur.
Yes, THAT Bea Arthur, she of Golden Girls fame.
Sadly, Bea rebukes Harv’s advances….
…so he drowns his sorrows by pouring drinks into a hole atop his head.
Hey, as long as he’s not in drag or watching porn, I’m cool with that.
The Empire, however, isn’t cool with anything, as they decide to shut down the cantina.
Bea is so devastated by the events that she dances a jig…
I’d write about how idiotic this is, but really, as long as no one sings a song to say, the main title theme, I guess I can handle it.
Finally…finally!…Chewy makes it home, and he and Han take out the stormtrooper holding the family hostage.
How you ask?
By tripping him and causing him to fall to his death.
I know those guys were inept and stupid and horrible shots and all, but that seems a wee bit far fetched.
Han shares a tender moment with the Wookie clan in a moment that will have each and every one of you reaching for the Mylanta.
And if that’s not bad enough, Han Solo, rogue space pirate, devil may care mercenary, mutters this.
Screw Greedo shooting first, this makes Han look like the biggest puss in the galaxy. Seriously, after that line, Han makes Alf look like a sci fi bad ass.
With heart in hand, Han departs leaving Chewy and Mala to get it on.
I’d make a joke here, but seriously – it’s two WOOKIES MAKING OUT.
What the hell could I ever say that would top that?
The clan dons red robes and carries candles to…some pit or something.
Hell, I don’t know. I just want it to end.
And it does, but not before Princess Leia sings (well, TRIES to sing) a song to…oh dear Lord no…the STAR WARS MAIN TITLE THEME.
Again, generally I’d be a smart ass here, but there’s nothing I can say that compares to this, so I won’t even try.
No doubt by this point you realize just how horrendous this dung heap was, but let me just add this one final tidbit. George Lucas, the man who has brought to market no less than like ten different video versions of the Star Wars films and the biggest marketing shill this side of Gene Simmons, won’t release this turd to the home market.
Think about that – he’s actually willing to give up money just so this thing stays hidden.
In fact, during an Australian convetion, he remarked, “If I had the time and a sledgehammer, I would track down every bootlegged copy of that program and smash it.”
I’ll be right there with you, George.
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