Celebrating the Star Wars Holiday Special

It’s amazing how George Lucas’s personal Waterloo – the Star Wars Holiday Special of yore – simply refuses to die.

Rather, it’s gotten even more attention with Chewbacca guesting on Glee, which was apparently a nod to the Holiday Special. And, just in time for Christmas, there have been tongue in cheek remembrances for it all over the ‘Net.

As we previously discussed, the Star Wars Holiday Special was created as a way to bridge the gap between Star Wars and The Empire Strikes Back, and it only aired once on November 17, 1978 on CBS. (It even had the indignity of being beat out in the ratings by The Love Boat). 

Still, there were people that had VCRs back then, and copies have floated around forever.  Of course, you can also catch most of the special onYouTube, and no geek convention would be complete without someone selling a DVD of it in a corner somewhere.


There was a rumor that the Holiday Special almost came out in 2007 as a DVD extra, and although Lucas would love to pretend it doesn’t exist, putting it out officially would actually be a very good idea. Such a strategy would end the bootleg copies, and good, bad or indifferent, fans will buy it, even if it’s just to have an official copy of it. As we learned back in the 70’s when Star Wars revolutionized movie merchandising, just about anything Star Wars related will sell.


Plus, now here’s something Lucas can tinker with and the fans won’t revolt! (Although there are undoubtedly some diehards who will probably demand it be presented in its original form). Much like the Jerry Lewis movie that was so bad it couldn’t be released, The Day the Clown Cried, if the Holiday Special comes out officially, letting the boogey man out of the closet would make it much less scary, and satisfy a lot of weird curiosity about this bizarre 70s pop culture artifact.


Considering Lucas will be putting out Star Wars stuff for the rest of his life, it can still make an extra for the next format change, or come out as its own thing. I recently asked Frank DiGiacomo, who wrote about the Holiday Special for Vanity Fair, if he feels there would be a big demand for an official version.


“It’s hard to tell. I highly doubt it would sell as  many copies as say, pick whatever you think is the least watchable of the trilogies. But I do think it would be kind of a perennial. People would come to it, because it’s a very unique moment in  TV.

“I bought a bootleg copy of it at a comic convention and struggled through it. Parts of it are hard to sit through, but I don’t know… I enjoyed it. It’s interesting to see that this thing does have a place in the culture, and it’s not going to go away.”