#571: Nine Star Wars Spoilers

December 21st, 2015

1. Han and Chewy save Lumpy, Itchy and Malla, but the real hero is comedy legend Art Carney.
2. The Sith’s darkest dark lord is Mel Brooks mainstay Harvey Korman.
3. “The Star Wars Holiday Special” (1978) was written in a truly dark era of sci fi, comedy and CBS programming.

There are horrible things in this world. There is horrible art in this world. There is also, probably still extant somewhere on this planet, the boy-sized fursuit that allowed someone to play Chewbacca’s impish sprite son Lumpy in the legendary television abomination “The Star Wars Holiday Special.”

The two-hour (two-hour!) spectacle was a celebration of Star Wars’ vaguely Christmassy nondenominational celebration of “Life Day,” which is basically what fundamentalist preachers believe will happen if society keeps letting people say “Happy Holidays!”

On Dec. 20, 2015, several friends and I sat down for the RiffTrax version of said monstrosity.

These are a few things we learned.

4. The lyrics to the stirring John Williams “Star Wars” score are and apparently have always been a clearly coked-out Carrie Fisher singing about Life Day.
5. Similarly, the famous song in the Mos Eisley cantina also has lyrics. They are sung by Bea Arthur.
6. In space, no one can hear you listen to guest musical act Jefferson Starship.

RiffTrax is an online show wherein several former cast members of “Mystery Science Theater 3000” create a new voiceover mocking a movie, in this case a bootleg someone recorded off CBS during the special’s lone airing.

The special was regarded as so terrible even at the time, George “Jar-Jar/Crystal Skull” Lucas and kith had it pulled off the air. It has never been aired legally since.

Mocking the special helped, as did my friend Tommy’s homemade egg nog.

7. Entertainment legend and Oscar winner Art Carney had more screen time than Han Solo.
8. Entertainment legend and Oscar winner Art Carney had not aged well, even by 1978.
9. Entertainment legend and Oscar winner Art Carney saved the day by covering up the brutal murder of a low-level imperial stooge.

“If ‘The Star Wars Holiday Special’ has a single virtue, it’s that it does eventually end,” said television critic Nathan Rabin.

“They’ve managed to weaponize boredom,” said my friend Ben.

Last week “The Force Awakens” debuted to fanfare, acclaim and a collective sigh of relief among nerds that our childhoods have not been further savaged. But let us not forget the dark backstory of the franchise we love.

When we think of Star Wars, among the light saber fights and telepathic Yodafrogs, among all the things that made our childhoods what they were, let us not forget Lumpy the Wookiee, forever waiting for his father to return to the giant treehouse so they, Lumpy’s mother and Lumpy’s perv grandpa Itchy can hold up their magic Life Day rocks to get teleported into both the sun and a costume change to a magic Life Day cavern to listen to a rousing Life Day carol because that is seriously what happens at the end of this awful, awful thing.

A joyous Life Day to you and yours, and may the Force be with you.

Read why George Lucas’ planned Chicago museum should fail

Read about a man wandering the downtown streets dressed as Chewbacca

Support 1,001 Chicago Afternoons on Patreon

What's this?

You are currently reading #571: Nine Star Wars Spoilers by Paul Dailing at 1,001 Chicago Afternoons.

  • Get Stories by Email

  • Chicago Corruption Walking Tour

    Join the email list for tour dates and info.