|Glee Christmas 2011: Chris Colfer as Kurt Hummel with Chewbacca|
|The Judy Garland Show's Christmas Show (1963). Left: Mel Torme, Judy and Jack Jones.|
|Liza Minnelli with her mother Judy in 1963's Christmas Show|
Despite her professional demeanor, Judy really seems to be uncomfortable, at times appearing to be forcing the Christmas spirit. She seems distracted and fidgety, not really focused during the entire show. And later, tension can be felt when Garland sits at the piano to sing with Tormé the song so synonymous with the holiday that it’s often overlooked that Tormé himself co-wrote it--‘The Christmas Song.’ Harmonizing along side the ‘Velvet Fog,’ Judy accidentally flubs a line and Tormé reacts jovially, laughing and making the aside comment, “Close....” But there is clearly some friction when Judy purposefully alters the next line to add a lyric from her signature tune ‘Over the Rainbow’ on top of his masterpiece. The first lyric change was a mistake but she’s clearly manipulated the lyrics vengefully the second time.
|Judy (center) with son Joe (left) and daughter Lorna (right)|
However, even when Judy isn’t at her best, she’s still better than most. This explains why her Christmas special remains a very popular vintage favorite. This installment is currently available for viewing on DVD.
|Chewie with his family: wife Malla, son Lumpy and father Itchy.|
Eventually, Darth Vader sends orders to catch the rebels by setting up a blockade around Lashyyyk, making it even more challenging for Chewbacca and Han Solo to return on Life Day. The Imperial guard turn up at the Wookie home and ransack the place looking for confirmation of their rebel sympathies, but Lumpy keeps himself busy watching an animated segment about his father and his friends on an adventure. When Chewbacca does finally return home, the family gathers to celebrate Life Day, where they each raise an orb to transport themselves to some enigmatic, celestial plane, reuniting with Luke, Han Solo, C3-P0, R2-D2 and Princess Leia, who sings a song about the holiday’s meaning.
|Bea Arthur at Mos Eisley's cantina in Star Wars Holiday Special|
This TV special is the first introduction of the bounty hunter Boba Fett, a character who goes on to appear in the later films and captures the imagination of many Star Wars fans. He can be found in the animated segment which was originally made by Canadian animators, Nelvana.
For more about both of these classic TV specials, see my book The Christmas TV Companion (2009) available for purchase on this blog or at Amazon.com.