The Star Wars Holiday Special, the condensed version

| September 6, 2007

First, some background via Wikipedia:

A Gary Smith-Dwight Hemion Production in association with 20th Century Fox Television, The Star Wars Holiday Special was produced with a budget of a little over a million dollars. At the time, it was considered one of the most expensive TV endeavors of its kind. Taping began in October and ended sometime in November. David Acomba, the original director hired for the show, was an old roommate of Lucas’s from his years at the University of Southern California and knew his film-making style quite well. Acomba only managed to shoot the Cantina sequence of the special before he was fired by the producers due to “creative differences.” A new director was hired, Steve Binder, who was apparently much less familiar with Lucas’s work, or with Star Wars.

Lucas, who had had very little to do with production since his initial plot outline, was given a private screening of the completed film before it aired. According to reports, he was disgusted with what the producers had done to his story and greatly disliked the special. Rumor has it that he had signed an agreement for it to air at least once, and after seeing it, decided that it would never again be shown on any network after its first airing. The show was greatly hyped on broadcast TV, however, prior to its debut on November 17 [1978]. Although ratings were excellent, since the airing many have considered it a general disappointment, and even an insult to the Star Wars saga….

For the most part, The Star Wars Holiday Special has received a large amount of criticism, both from Star Wars fans and the general public. David Hofstede, author of What Were They Thinking?: The 100 Dumbest Events in Television History, ranked the holiday special at number one, calling it “the worst two hours of television ever.” Shepard Smith, a news anchor for the FOX News Channel, referred to it as a “’70s train wreck, combining the worst of Star Wars with the utter worst of variety television.” Actor Phillip Bloch explained on a TV Land special entitled The 100 Most Unexpected TV Moments, that the special “just wasn’t working. It was just so surreal.” On the same program, Ralph Garman, a voice actor for the show Family Guy, explained that “The Star Wars Holiday Special is one of the most infamous television programs in history. And it’s so bad that it actually comes around to good again.” Most critics have expressed similar views of the special. Generally, it has never been well-received by fans, who often see it as silly, with some even viewing it as an insult to the Star Wars series.

As far as I’m concerned, it’s the TV equivalent of Vogon poetry. I could barely make it through this five-minute condensed version, and I spent most of that cringing on behalf of everyone in and associated with the show. Watch it if you dare!

Hat tip to, via Conservative Grapevine. ..bruce..

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Category: Humor, Main, Movies, Star Wars

About the Author ()

Webster is Principal and Founder at Bruce F. Webster & Associates, as well as an Adjunct Professor of Computer Science at Brigham Young University. He works with organizations to help them with troubled or failed information technology (IT) projects. He has also worked in several dozen legal cases as a consultant and as a testifying expert, both in the United States and Japan. He can be reached at, or you can follow him on Twitter as @bfwebster.

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