"Well, I know that George Lucas doesn't like it at all—when I was working on The Illustrated Star Wars Universe, he told me that he would be happy if every copy could be tracked down and burned..."
―Kevin J. Anderson
It’s been 37 years since CBS aired The Star Wars Holiday Special, and to the delight of George Lucas—along with pretty much everybody else involved—it hasn’t been broadcast since.
Comprising 97 excruciating minutes of variety TV, the Special was once considered the stuff of legend among fans. Banished to CBS’ deepest, darkest vaults of inventory and never released on home video, George Lucas mustered every ounce of his executive brawn to thwart further viewing of the abomination. But burying it forever would prove too towering a task…
Videotaped recordings of the original broadcast surfaced in the early ’90s, exhibiting the awfulness to a new generation. While personally attending a Star Wars convention, Lucas declared:
“If I had the time and a sledgehammer, I would track down every copy of that show and smash it.”
Good luck with that, pal. The Internet has claimed many victims in its unfolding embrace of slander and humiliation... NO ONE is free from its clutches. The very same VCR recordings circling convention circuits eventually landed online, sealing perpetuity for Star Wars’ darkest hour.
In May 2005, StaticMultimedia.com asked Lucas if the Special hampered his appetite for further TV work. He replied:
“The special from 1978 really didn't have much to do with us, you know. I can't remember what network it was on, but it was a thing that they did. We kind of let them do it. It was done by... I can't even remember who the group was, but they were variety TV guys. We let them use the characters and stuff and that probably wasn't the smartest thing to do, but you learn from those experiences.”
Are there any positives to be taken from The Star Wars Holiday Special? There’s that animated segment featuring the first appearance of Boba Fett. Which is OK. Kinda. Oh, and an impressive Wilhelm scream heard as Han Solo sends a stormtrooper hurtling over Chewbacca's (family home's) balcony. Beyond that…?
Well, it's clear Bea Arthur enjoyed singing to inebriated aliens.