“He just didn’t smell right.”

Princess Leia on space dust

US flag The Star Wars Holiday Special 1978

Fear is the path to the Dark Side. Fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate; hate leads to the Star War Holiday Special.”

The facts: “The Star Wars Holiday Special is a 1978 American television special set in the Star Wars galaxy. It was one of the first official Star Wars spin-offs, and was directed by Steve Binder. The show was broadcast in its entirety only once, in the United States and Canada, November 17, 1978, on the U.S. television network CBS from 8:00 pm to 10:00 pm, Eastern Standard Time (EST), and on the Canadian television network CTV from 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm, Eastern Standard Time.”

Broadcast only once. This ought to tell us something. I, of course, had to see it for myself. Some decisions you cannot help but regret.

A helpful grey market vendor hooked me up with a shabby video copy. The most hideous elements of the special are Harvey Korman doing some kind of heavy schtick television comedy from the 1970s and Bea Arthur overacting and singing a very long and drawn-out Dr. Zhivago type of song. It’s excruciating. And it goes on and on. I’ve only watched it once. And regretted even that single viewing. It’s horrible. But fascinating.

There’s a weird musical segment with Diahann Carroll, a black singer/actress from the 1960s/1970s, another with the Jefferson Starship… there’s a tiny animated segment with the Boba Fett bounty hunter which is actually quite good. The rest of the special is HORRIBLE, beyond cringe-inducing. Such as the Carrie Fisher song in the Princess Leia costume. She looks like she’s been hitting the space dust pretty hard. Simpsons eyes, independently focusing… It’s like every stale joke that had been recycled since vaudeville was included. The writing is early-70s television comedy writing. Claustrophobic and stale. How this thing was produced is beyond my comprehension.

Really, really awful.

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