“If I had the time and a sledgehammer, I would track down every copy of that show and smash it,” George Lucas once said of the 1978 television film the Star Wars Holiday Special . It’s the weird variety movie (loosely about a trip to Chewbacca’s home planet) that everyone wants to forget, but has been burned into our minds for all eternity with its awfulness.
On the weekend of a new chapter in the Star Wars universe, we’re revisiting some of the show’s more bizarre moments, including the strange cast (Bea Arthur is groaning at us from the grave right now), stranger musical segments, and all-around weird.
Bea Arthur plays a bartender
Golden Girls star Bea Arthur plays a bartender in the Mos Eisley cantina. She sings “Good Night, But Not Goodbye” to a bunch of drunk aliens — and then the thing turns into a sketch from Golden Girls as she tries to fend off the advances of a barfly named Krelman (played by Harvey Korman of The Carol Burnett Show and Blazing Saddles fame). It’s an oddball mismatch, and Bea’s singing has never been a favorite of the fans.
Harvey Korman’s weird characters
Speaking of Harvey Korman’s character Krelman, the alien disguised as a human drinks his booze through a hole in the top of his head. Korman also appears in drag as a Julia Child/Willy Wonka-esque character with four arms.
There’s a psychedelic music video!
Art Carney (yes, really) from The Honeymooners appears as an electronics salesman, who uses a Jefferson Starship hologram music video to soothe an angry Imperial officer. The group plays “Light the Sky on Fire,” which manages to be one of the high points of the awful television film — but it’s another head-scratching mélange of talent.
Sexy Diahann Carroll seduces Chewbacca’s father
“I am your fantasy, I am your experience — so experience me. I am your pleasure,” coos a sexy Diahann Carroll (Carmen Jones, Porgy and Bess, Dynasty) to Chewie’s equally hirsute father, Itchy. She appears in a virtual reality machine, which was a gift to Itchy. Carroll sings a too-sultry version of “This Minute Now.”
Miserable Han Solo
Harrison Ford’s Han Solo returns with Chewie to his home planet, Kashyyyk, and greets the Wookiee’s furry family. There’s a lot of awkward smiling near the end of the visit. Ford looks pretty miserable at certain points in the special, because he initially wanted Han killed off. “It was a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away… I thought the best utility of the character would be for him to sacrifice himself to a high ideal and give a little bottom, a little gravitas to the enterprise, not that there wasn’t some already but I just wanted in on some part of it. That was at the third occasion of filming the original three,” he previously told Conan O’Brien.
Too many Wookiees
And then there’s an entire segment of Wookiees at home, grunting.
Luke Skywalker trying to get Chewbacca’s wife Malla to smile
A surreal cartoon
Dinosaurs, a talisman, and a planet made of purple goo.
Tiny dancing people
They really kitchen-sinked this with the addition of mini circus people.
Singing Princess Leia looks high as a kite. Chewie looks like a Satanic priest in a scarlet robe. Han is pondering how he got roped into this. No one is unscathed.