About Christmas TV History

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Star Wars Holiday Special

It seems everyone is talking to me lately about the Star Wars Holiday Special. Tis the season, I guess. I spend five pages of the book discussing it, speculating on what went so horribly wrong. I still can't believe that I didn't see it--or even know about it when it originally aired in 1978. I was their prime target: I was 10 years old, a devoted Star Wars merchandise acquirer and a TV junkie. I'm speculating that my parents actually plotted to keep me from knowing about it and thus watching it as a way to curb the toy demands I was making back then. Lousy parents. But like most everyone else, I had heard the rumors about it and the bootleg VHS copies that floated around for years. Thank god for You Tube--now everyone can now share in the pain of knowing just how bad it really is.

If you are someone who giggles at the mere mention of the SWHS title, you may find some sick joy in watching 2005 's made-for-TV movie Chasing Christmas, starring Tom Arnold. I'm not actually recommending you watch this movie--except that it includes a reference to the 1978 clinker. For you curious few, you may find it entertaining that Tom Arnold's character is treated to a travel in time--ala Ebenezer Scrooge--where he finds himself back in 1978, among other dates. In the scenes during 1978, the Star Wars Holiday Special is supposedly playing on the TV over the bar. A nice nod to a specific time and place in American history. But more devoted Christmas TV watchers may recognize that in this scene from 1978, the SWHS is airing on Christmas Eve--but it actuality it only aired once and it was November 1978. So....there I've gone and spoiled the excitement of it all. But perhaps its enough to know that this more recent made-for-TV movie was attempting to make a nod at such a remarkable piece of television holiday pop culture. Maybe, just maybe I've saved you from another Tom Arnold Christmas movie.

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