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EPISODE 126 - The Star Wars Holiday Special

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Celebrate Life Day with Paul, Jason, and special guests Matt Gourley of I Was There Too and Eden Sher of The Middle as they discuss the infamous 1978 CBS TV film The Star Wars Holiday Special. They'll talk about Chewbacca being a bad father, the Diahann Carroll virtual reality porn, Harvey Korman being truly committed in all of his "comedic bits," and much more. Merry Christmas and Happy Life Day from HDTGM!

 

Don’t forget to check out Blake Harris’ Oral History of The Star Wars Holiday Special over at www.slashfilm.com!

 

Get yourself a BB-8 "What Is Its Mission?" T-shirt or Tote Bag over at http://howdidthisgetmade.bigcartel.com/!

 

People of the internet: Watch Paul in Fresh off the Boat on ABC and a while ago, Paul and Rob Huebel did a comedy special on a 60 foot glass bus that traveled around LA and now you’ll be able to see it. Go to https://itun.es/us/3M4J9 now to buy it! You can also see Jason in Transparent on Amazon and in Sleeping With Other People on iTunes! Also, check out June in Grace and Frankie available on Netflix, and in all the episodes of NTSF:SD:SUV:: on HULU for free, and Jason in The Dictator (he’s still in it!).

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I've read about it, but never saw it before tonight. It's 90 minutes. It's practically Episode IV 1/2. It's worth watching for remembering how awful sci-fi or the late 1970s or both at the same time were to watch. Here are a few highlights, but it must be seen to be believed.

 

1. Multiple of instances of long stretches, 10 minutes or more, with no dialogue. Only Wookiee growls. No subtitles.

2. Chewie's family reminds me of Donkey Kong Country. Chewie is Donkey Kong. His wife is Kandy Kong, his son is Diddy Kong, his dad is Kranky Kong.

3. Cirq du Solie shows up.

4. There in an entire sequence in which Chewie's wife watches a cooking show.

5. Chewie's dad starts watching what at first seems to be a porno, in the middle of the living room. A human woman shows up in what looks like his virtual reality headset, says she's all of his fantasies, and says she finds this thing, which you have to see, is adorable. He rewinds and replays that part multiple times. He may be about to start beating his Wookie dork like a it owes him Republic credits, but she sings a song instead. The visuals make her look like an extra from an Earth, Wind & Fire video.

6. Chewie's kid is a little shit. I wanted the stormtrooper to shoot him in the face. Gramps thinks he's a little shit, too.

7. Mark Hamill looks like a human Ken doll.

8. Wookie Christmas is called Life Day. They celebrate by wearing snuggies, holding snow globes, and listening to a coked up Carrie Fisher sing.

9. Harrison Ford isn't even trying to act, and he's still pretty good in his 2 scenes.

10. Art Carney plays a huckster/handyman/salesman. He's more unbearable than 3PO on smack.

11. A band that I thought was Yes has a musical number. The singer's microphone looks like a pink/purple lightsaber dildo.

12. Oh shit, is that Bea Arthur?!? It is. She gets a musical number, too.

13. Going by end credits, George Lucas didn't make this, but he was not even given a "created by" credit. I can see why he's disavowed this piece of shit.

14. I bet a lot of people were disappointed to see this on CBS that night. It took the time slot of Wonder Woman and The Incredible Hulk.

15. Multiple instances of implied bestiality beyond gramps jerkin' his hairy lightsaber to the girl in the music video: Chewie's wife gazes lustfully at Han. Captain Solo was bangin' his first mate's old lady! WTF!

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Bradley G, you pretty much nailed it. My favorite parts are when they recycled unused Star Wars footage from the movie and carefully cut it into place, Like no one would could tell.

 

20 million Christmas movies on and I'm watching showgirls. God they have to do this one soon.

 

Merry Christmas everyone.

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Great episode! I missed June, but the guests were lovely (it's ✨STAR BUTTERFLY!!✨) . Honestly, the special was too painful for me to sit through - had click fast forward a lot of it.... I would rather watch 15 hours of Thomas the Tank Engine .

 

Lots of interesting things, like Boba Fett's debut! Beautiful young lady, Luke. Amazing.

 

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Merry Christmas + Happy Life Day

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Watching your grandparents watch hardcore porn for 90 minutes would not induce the levels of cringe reached by this monstrosity.

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4. There in an entire sequence in which Chewie's wife watches a cooking show.

A cooking show featuring Harvey Korman in one of three different roles. The cooking show was cheesy, but it was better than the instructional video thing where he played a robot.

 

8. Wookie Christmas is called Life Day. They celebrate by wearing snuggies, holding snow globes, and listening to a coked up Carrie Fisher sing.

I mentioned this in the minisode thread, but Life Day is actually supposed to be a stand-in for Thanksgiving. The special aired on November 17, and much of the intent of Life Day was similar to traditional harvest festivals, such as American Thanksgiving.

 

Starting with Star Wars Galaxies, it was retconned into being more closely aligned with Christmas. However, the original intent was for it to be a Wookiee version of Thanksgiving, but since it wouldn't make sense for Wookiees to be celebrating an American holiday, Lucas changed it to Life Day in his original script. Despite all the changes the producers made to his script, that was one of the elements that made it to the final version.

 

Unrelated note: I could not be happier that Matt Gourley is one of the guests. As I was watching this yesterday, I was thinking that Scott, PFT, or Matt Gourley would be perfect for this ep. Their Ewok conversation near the beginning of The Brochelor ep of CBB is something I keep going back to because it cracks me up every time.

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Watching your grandparents watch hardcore porn for 90 minutes would not induce the levels of cringe reached by this monstrosity.

That reminds me of a story my dad told me about he and my uncle having to pull a Winston Wolfe on my grandpa's apartment about 30 years ago.

 

My mom's parents had been divorced when her dad passed away in (I think) 1982. Anyway, all the kids were coming from all around and were going to meet up at his place to divvy up belongings and whatnot. My dad arrived first with my mom's brother, and apparently they found mountains and mountains of porn. And this was 1982 porn, so there were books, magazines, video tapes, actual film reels, the works. All this stuff would fit on a thumb drive these days (or so I've heard...), but back then, it took up half an apartment. Whatever they did with it though, they were able to clear the place before my mom, my grandma, my three aunts, me, my sister, and all our little cousins arrived.

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I'm surprised Gourley didn't say anything, but Luke is working on his X-Wing. Paul called it a TIE Fighter several times. TIE fighters are Imperial ships.

 

Also, this was filmed well after Hamill's accident, which happened in January 1977, near the end of production on A New Hope. I think this is part of the reason they caked his whole face in makeup until he looked like Julie Andrews in The Sound of Music.

 

And one thing that stuck out to me that I thought the gang was going to hit upon was that before Itchy and Malla call Luke, Itchy goes to this computer. I think Paul mentioned that when they call Leia, it's all Xs and Os on the screen, but here, when Itchy is looking at the screen, all of the text is in English.

 

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They couldn't put subtitles on the Wookiees so you could tell what the fuck they were saying, but god forbid we don't know that the computer couldn't find the Millennium Falcon!

 

Also, I mentioned this at the end of the minisode thread, so it might have gotten lost, but I want to know: was I the only one that was kind of creeped out by this line from Luke?

 

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So, although I remember watching it as a kid, I was floored by how long it was and how much it was basically about wookies watching TV. It really was amazing to watch. I kind of wish my version had the original commercials, because we could have used the breaks along the way. We had to stop it half-way through, smoke cigarettes, take shots, hit the bong, and shoot heroin in order to make it through the second half.

 

Did you notice how the stars from Star Wars were all wearing EXACTLY the same outfits as their action figures? I figured they had to appear in the TV special under contractual obligations to help sell toys at christmas. My version included several minutes of the original Empire Strikes Back Commercials and all the toy commercials.

 

As a kid, I loved Harvey Korman on the Carol Burnett Show, but I had no idea who Diane Carrol, Art Carney, Bea Arthur, or Jefferson Starship were. I remember that it was normal for stars would have variety specials just like that all the time. If it did well, they'd develop a show for them, so it did seem like they could have been setting up a Star Wars Wookie TV show.

 

As campy as it was, it was typical campiness for CBS audiences. Even the opening was typical formula for those kinds of shows: "Welcome to the _________ Variety Special, with Special Guests, Lyle Wagoner, funny man Harvey Korman, etc...... brought to you by Prell--You get your hair cleaner with Prell; and, Crest--Get your teeth cleaner with Crest; and, Archers-Daniels-Midland. "

 

The cooking show.... the whole thing is a build up to the multi-arm joke. WTF??? We had a watch-party for this and everyone has continued to chant "Stir, whip, stir, whip. Whip, whip, stir." when they cook.

 

I'm in my 40s, but when Carrie Fisher as Princess Leia started singing, I went faint for a second. My knees buckled and my eyes rolled back. I could NOT process what was happening! It was a little like finding out the Star Trek theme had lyrics... but his is so, so much worse.

 

CORRECTION: Mork and Mindy had just premiered that fall, but it was on ABC. Back in the days of 3 networks, they wouldn't have been so apt to trade their network's branded stars as easily. We should consider ourselves lucky that CBS didn't try to tie-in more stars from other CBS shows. Could you imagine the guys from the Dukes of Hazard showing up in cross promotion? Although thinking about it, Linda Lavin would probably have done a better singing number.

 

 

 

Thanks for doing it on HDTGM.

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CORRECTION: Mork and Mindy had just premiered that fall, but it was on ABC. Back in the days of 3 networks, they wouldn't have been so apt to trade their network's branded stars as easily. We should consider ourselves lucky that CBS didn't try to tie-in more stars from other CBS shows. Could you imagine the guys from the Dukes of Hazard showing up in cross promotion? Although thinking about it, Linda Lavin would probably have done a better singing number.

Ummm...are you saying Bo and Luke in the Millennium Falcon wouldn't have been amazing?

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i havent had a chance to go see the force awakens yet ... is it safe to listen to this? any spoilers?

None that I recall. Matt vaguely alludes to a parallel between the Holiday Special and The Force Awakens, and Paul mentions a few character/location names without going into specifics.

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CORRECTION: Jefferson Airplane did not become Jefferson Starship as a result of losing Grace Slick. She appears on all of Jefferson Starship's albums except for 1979's "Freedom at Point Zero", their sixth album.

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Also, there's empty chairs prominently featured in the episode pictures. Someone should photoshop Jason in there as a Jedi Force ghost.

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We need to team up and add the missing subtitles to this tv show. it's going to be our gift to the world.

 

when they get into the fight about calling Chewbacca you know it's going to get ugly. "I told ya never to let Chewbacca go on that stupied ship with Han Solo, I never trusted that son of a bitch! some of us would like to eat our life day dinner while it's still hot! " They are never on time.

 

I would just of loved it if they could of waited till empire to make this holiday special and have the Chewbacca Wookiee family phoning the Millennium Falcon during the asteroid field scene. have caption Solo screaming "NOT NOW!" don't mind me I am just saving the galaxy!. then again later in jedi with lando. who the hell is lumpy and why is he calling me now, as he's entering the deathstar.

 

and what is up with that phone system, to call someone in that galaxy is a real test of patience. all that was missing in that subtitles was where is my dos boot disc? seems like it's easier to make a jump to hyperspace then it is to make a video phone call.

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Correction, they do acknowledge Anthony Daniels as the voice of c3po

I had to go back and double-check, but you're right. Kenny Baker (dude inside R2-D2) is the only one who gets the slight on this one. IMDB lists Baker as having appeared in the special, but I don't know for sure if he was in it or not.

 

Also, speaking of credits, this is only one of two times that James Earl Jones was credited as the voice of Darth Vader in the early Star Wars films, the other being Return of the Jedi. He was uncredited for both A New Hope and Empire Strikes Back.

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It is a tough one to get through. Really bad but you can't look away.

What I took away, CBS was ahead of its time in invisioning VR porn.

Only watchable part was the trippy mini Star Wars episode animation that Introduces Boba Fett before he was in the movies.

 

Gonna listen to the podcast now, Should be a good one.

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Also, I mentioned this at the end of the minisode thread, so it might have gotten lost, but I want to know: was I the only one that was kind of creeped out by this line from Luke?

 

WXXIBhS.gif

 

It was very creepy, but Luke saying anything with all that makeup on would have been creepy.

 

For anyone who wants to delve deeper into this abomination, the guys at Red Letter Media did a funny take-down last year for their Best of the Worst. They touch on Hamill's accident (which also explains the bangs that cover his entire forehead) and the incriminating evidence that the Wookie planet looks suspiciously similar to how it looks in Episode 3. Also on Youtube is an interview with Anthony Daniels who warns people that they'll literally die if they watch this.

 

 

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I now honestly want to see one of those exotic fish tank shows create a bandolier fish tank for Chewbacca.

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I was disappointed when i found out Chewbaca had a family.

 

I always viewed Chewbaca as a free bird, no woman could hold him down, anywhere he laid his head was home, born a ramblin' wookie.

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that's like, totally f'ed up man.

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Correction, they do acknowledge Anthony Daniels as the voice of c3po

 

Did anyone see a version without it? The one I watched on YouTube mentioned Daniels (but not Kenny Baker, which I thought was weird), and the description said "the weird credits narrator guy has been removed" among the clean-ups the uploader had done. So there may have been one version crediting Daniels and one not? But if it only aired once, I don't know how there could be multiple versions or what this guy "removed" since it did have a voice doing intros.

 

Anyway, this thing is completely fucking bonkers and this episode was great.

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Apparently this was broadcast in Sweden as "Stjärnornas krig och fred" (pronounced something like ste-yair-nor-nas krig och fred) which is a bit of a pun and play on the words with the original. The original was "Stjärnornas krig" literally meaning "The Stars' war" and add an "och fred" and you get "The Stars' War and Peace."

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