Next year at this time, I’ll be in a movie theater watching “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” for the 15th time (as long as it’s not some Phantom Menace fiasco, in which case I will have seen it only 12 times, max). But this year, with the theaters all-but-shuttered, it’s time to stay home and celebrate Life Day in the spirit of the Star Wars Holiday Special.
Tis’ the season to sit around Malla’s music box and watch San Francisco’s interstellar musical children Jefferson Starship sing their forgotten classic, “Light The Sky On Fire”. Or if you want to get really freaky, pop on a holoprojector to watch some see-through miniature trapeze artists, or fire up the mind evaporator and listen to the soothing sounds of one our favorite outer space entertainers, Mermeia (known on Earth as Diahann Carroll).
If you have no idea what I’m talking about, then you haven’t treated yourself to the Star Wars Holiday Special. It’s been widely critiqued. It has been called the “Dumbest Event In Television History.” The special’s producer, Dwight Hemion, called it “the worst piece of crap I’ve ever done.” And George Lucas called it “one of those things…I have to live with” (Maxim, May 2002). Some revisionist critics, in reappraising the film, have been kinder, loftily claiming that it “wasn’t the worst thing to come from 1978.” But don’t let that stop you from slipping on a pair of Chewbacca cufflinks (We’ve got a bunch more options online and in-store if you need a last-minute gift for the Geek Who Has It All), and enjoying the maligned masterpiece.
By the way, you won’t be able to watch this on TV. The master tapes were surely destroyed years ago, like the Jedi order in Operation: Knightfall. Even if some irony-laden station like FXX wanted to show it, they would have to search for a bootlegged version, with shoddy quality and straight from ’78 commercials. You would have better luck at beating Han Solo at sabaac than finding a decent copy of this film. This special is so embarrassing it would make Jar Jar Binks blush; I’m starting a rumor that it’s the underlying reason that George Lucas is opening his museum in Chicago, a galaxy far, far, away from here, where he won’t be recognized as often.