Wednesday, September 7, 2011

9-7-11 The Star Wars Holiday Special

This past weekend we endured the Star Wars Holiday special as we converted it from VHS to DVD to computer files. The only reason for this special brand of torture is so that Bob can send it to his Star Wars buddy who doesn't think he can live without seeing this. 

Unfortunately, it seems there is a block of people, primarily men in the their 40s, who vaguely remember watching the Star Wars Holiday Special on CBS, broadcast only one time (THERE IS A REASON FOR THAT) November 17, 1978. These now middle-aged men fondly remember their Star Wars obsessed childhood. They would have seen the first film (or the fourth . . . George Lucas, sigh. )  the summer before, perhaps many, many times, and have then been left, bereft, until, miraculously, November 17 of the following year, which, for a kid, is an eternity. 

Fast forward the good part of a lifetime, and I can see how the allure of watching anew this childhood gift of a Star Wars sighting between the films might become an obsession. But like most obsessions, the realization  is going to be far less than the expectation or anticipation. (There are exceptions, of course. But this will never be one of them. NEVER.) There is a reason for selective memory, you see. 

The playback is two complete hours, if you can't fast forward, and we couldn't, because we were converting the whole thing start to finish. 

This abbreviated guide to the pain, however, might dissuade others from two hours of their lives that will remain forever irrecoverable, and thus it is presented here as a warning to others on their misguided desire to reclaim a part of their childhood by obtaining a copy.

The opening:


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So, Han has to get Chewy back for Life Day  . . .  whatever that is. 

We get a look at Luke after the horrific car crash that destroyed Mark Hamill's nose. I don't think we can blame the crash on that hair, though.

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Back on Kashyyyk (that would Chewbacca's home planet) other than growling at one another, the mom tries to follow the alien Julia Child's (Harvey Korman) instructions to prepare her Life Day meal. 

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This clip is 36 seconds long. The bit is over 5 minutes of this. It's excruciating.

The most disturbing portion of the "home life" crap at the wookie household is when Dad straps on the "viewer" and goes to town with Dianne Carroll. Again, imagine this clip going on endlessly.

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At some point the bad guys show up and one of them gets sidetracked watching Jefferson Starship boogie around with unfortunately shaped microphones. If this narrative sounds disjointed, it's actually more cohesive than watching the thing.

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Had enough? Because you aren't even HALF WAY through the thing! The show is known as being the first introduction of Boba Fett in the animated cartoon the kid wookie watches while the stormtroopers are trashing the place at the midway mark.

Oh, Bea Arthur turns up in the Mos Eisley Cantina as the barmaid who sings the band out the door. No, really. Another 10 minute bit of awfulness.

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Of course, Han gets Chewy home in time, where the whole clan troops off to Wookie Church to listen to Carrie Fisher SING. Yes, THIS is the big finish. Carrie Fisher singing and looking as high as a kite.  Kill me now.

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You can't help but feel George Lucas' pain when the man has said he would like to track every copy down and smash it with a hammer. It's not one of those "It's so bad, it's good" things. It's one of those "It's so bad, words are incapable of describing it." And sitting through all two hours isn't one of those character building things, it's one of those my-life-has-somehow-been-shortened kind of things.

But it's recorded now so we can shorten someone else's life, some poor misguided person who thinks he's going to rediscover his childhood. Sorry, dude. You asked for it.

My favorite part, other than when it was over, were some of the commercials:

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And your 1978 news:

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and Bobby Vinton's Rock and Rollers! Ah, 1978.

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