• Mattie Stu

10 Things You Didn't Know About the Star Wars Holiday Special (Probably)

Happy thanksgiving everyone! Yes, my gift to you is a dedicated '10 Things You Didn't Know' all about the Star Wars Holiday Special... Sorry!

Number 01.

Now it's no secret that the Star Wars Holiday Special is rather awful. It is almost as if everyone involved were completely off their rockets on some spiked Wookiee-ookiees, am I right?! Well, as it turns out, they kinda were. Bruce Vilanch, for example, has admitted to using cocaine regularly throughout the project.

Number 02.

As if intoxicated writers weren't bad enough, producer Mitzie Welch has described the sequence involving Diahann Carroll as "soft-core porno that would pass the censors." Fair enough, I suppose.

Number 03.

When aired in Sweden, the Holiday Special was titled “Star Wars and Peace”, or as I like to call it: "Stjärnornas krig och fred"... Nailed it!

Number 04.

Bizarrely, both The Hollywood Reporter and Starlog magazine praised the Holiday Special upon release, so much so that the latter publication described it as: "one of the most ambitious television spectaculars ever attempted by an American network."

Number 05.

One man who would have undoubtedly hoped for continued positive reviews is none other than James Earl Jones. Why, I hear you ask? Well, the Star Wars Holiday Special marked the very first time he was credited as the voice of Darth Vader.

Number 06.

Contrary to some reports, R2-D2 was portrayed not by Kenny Baker, but rather via remote control.

Number 07.

Another character you may have confused for another is Saun Dann. In fact, the jovial trader strikes an uncanny resemblance to Lando Calrissian in early drafts of The Empire Strikes Back. George Lucas' notes, for example, refer to the character as a gambler who runs a general store on the Wookiee planet, and “a guy who trades with the Indians”... Whatever that means.

Number 08.

Speaking of the Wookiee planet, Kazzook was one of the names George Lucas considered when naming Kashyyyk.

Number 09.

As a means of voicing the likes of Malla, Itchy and Lumpy, legendary sound designer Ben Burtt used recordings of bears and lions from the Olympic Game Farm in Sequim, Washington – as well as various cubs from the San Diego Zoo.

And, last but not least...

Number 10.

I'm sure we all know by now how early Star Wars often recycled props from previous films and even other franchises as a way of cutting costs. But what you may not know is that the large white rat suit was reused from 1976's The Food of the Gods. Unfortunately, those wearing alien costumes in the very same cantina sequence were all but guaranteed to pass out at one point or another, during the fully day of shooting. So troublesome was the lack of air circulation that crew members were left with no other choice than to pass around oxygen tanks in-between takes.

Were you surprised by any of today's facts? Let us know in the comments below.

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