Star Wars' Secret Shame: The Holiday Special

1978 TV show included singing, dancing, and Wookiees
By Sarah Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 22, 2008 11:40 AM CST
LOS ANGELES, CA - AUGUST 10: Star Wars creator and executive producer George Lucas arrives at the Premiere Of Warner Bros. 'Star Wars: The Clone Wars' on August 10, 2008 at the Grauman's Egyptian Theatre...   (Getty Images)
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(Newser) – It sounded like a good idea at the time. In 1978, Star Wars was huge, but a sequel was 2 years away. So why not make a TV special? Why not a holiday special? Centered on Wookiees? "The only sound they make is like fat people having an orgasm," writer Bruce Vilanch recalls telling the producers. Suffice it to say he was skeptical, but George Lucas was sold on the idea. Vanity Fair presses "play."

Lucas was also busy. The Star Wars Holiday Special, which aired Nov. 17, 1978, morphed into a variety show—think musical numbers and "Why all the long, hairy faces?" jokes—interspersed with Chewbacca scenes. "I was like tripping on it myself, man," Jefferson Starship's ex-guitarist said. But Lucas? Not a fan. He calls the special a “travesty” and wishes he could "smash" every bootleg copy.