Saturday, March 29, 2014

I've been reading about Hollywood economics. One of the disasters? The Star Wars Holiday Special, a 1978 holiday one-off that aired on CBS.

It's Life Day (a Wookee holiday startingly similar to Christmas), and Chewbacca and Han Solo are headed to see Chewie's family. Star Destroyers chase them but they escape. Meanwhile, Malla watches a cooking show hosted by Chef Gormaanda (Harvey Korman). Malla contacts Luke Skywalker and R2-D2, but they don't know where Han and Chewie are. Malla contacts Saun Dann (Art Carney), a human trader, who says the boys are on their way. He drops off some Life Day gifts for everyone.

Chewie and Han land in an unpopulated northern area of the Wookee homeworld. Lumpy, hearing the ship roar overhead, opens the door to look out -- and two Stormtroopers and some officers forced their way in. Malla distracts them with a holographic music box (which plays a video by the band Jefferson Starship). While the Imperial troops search Lumpy's room, Lumpy watches a cartoon.

The cartoon -- which the audience sees as well -- shows Luke, Han, and Leia meeting with Boba Fett. (Note that this is two years before Empire, so this is the first time people see Boba Fett.) The cartoon shows the group landing on the water planet Panna, where Fett saves Luke from a monster. Luke and Han get sleeping sickness from a talisman, and Fett and Chewie go to Panna City to find the cure. Fet separates from Chewie, and contacts Darth Vader. As C-3PO cares for Han and Luke, R2-D2 intercepts the call between Vader and Fett. Fett and Chewie return with the cure, but Fett is exposed and escapes using his jet pack.

Lumpy decides to create a device that will fake a transmission from the Imperial base demanding the Stormtroopers return. He watches an instruction video hosted by a malfunctioning robot (Harvey Korman again).

Lumpy watches TV again, and sees an announcement putting Tatooine under martial law. Then there's a sequence of Ackmena (Bea Arthur), the owner of the Mos Eisley Cantina, running her saloon. She is approached by Krelman (Harvey Korman yet again), who is in love with her. The bar closes due to a curfew, and she sings the song "Good Night, But Not Goodbye" set to the "Cantina Band" theme. Lumpy successfully uses his device, but a lone Stormtrooper stays behind. He realizes the others were fooled, destroys the device, and chases Lumpy.

Han and Chewbacca arrive and Han kills the Stormtrooper. The family is seen holding candles and magically traveling though space toward a star. They walk into the light, and see the Tree of Life, where many Wookiees dressed in red robes are gathered. C-3PO, R2-D2, Luke, Leia, and Han appear on a stage. Leia talks about how important Life Day is. She then sings the Star Wars theme song, to the tune of the John Williams score. We're magically transported back to the Chewbacca household, where the family sits around a table eating.



The Chewbacca family.





The robotic cooking show!





How to build a communicator that fakes Imperial transmissions.





"Maud" takes a break from being liberal to run a saloon.





Saun Dan, the human trader, helps out in various ways.





Toon time!





Krelman the alien has a drink through his head.





More toons.





Sing a song of Star Wars...





Poor Carrie Fisher misses the high note during the song, and her voice cracks.



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