Monday, December 19, 2016

Surely it Won't Get Any Worse

...and picking up where I left off yesterday, with the Star Wars Holiday Special Solstice Party. First off, here's a link to yesterday's post:

Next up on our holiday horror viewing on Saturday eve was an episode of the HBO-created horror anthology, Tales from the Crypt. This particular half-hour slice of holiday warmth was titled And All Through the House, a perfect title for a little Santa Claus home invasion. Tales from the Crypt, the TV series, was based on the comic of the same name from the 1950s. The TV series ran from 1989 to 1996, and this jolly little episode we watched on Saturday originally aired on June 10th or 1989. Christmas arrived a bit early that year.

All Through the House featured Mary Ellen Trainor faced with the double dilemma of figuring out what to do with the body of her now-deceased husband, plus trying to evade a Santa Claus-attired mental institution escapee. And, yes, she had a direct hand in making her husband a corpse for Christmas. This episode is a true cup of Christmas cheer, and you'll just die laughing.

Almost forgot to mention. Santa Looney was marvelously played by Larry Drake of L. A. Law fame.

Ah, and then the grand finale, the coup de grace of the evening, the infamous Star Wars Holiday Special. Airing only once on November 17th, 1978, it disappeared, never to be seen on television again. However, a few enterprising souls way back when decided that dog should not lie still, and with their antiquarian 5,000-pound videocassette recorders, made copies. So, we thank them. I think.

There was truly no way I could adequately prepare our party's attendees for what was to follow. I still remember how excited I was when I heard that a Star Wars special would be on prime time, network television. 'Course, I had no way to record it. I couldn't afford the thousand dollars or so it cost for one of those fancy new VCRs. Nope. I had to watch it the way we did it back then. Live. And I knew that if I missed it, I wouldn't be able to see anything Star Wars-y until whenever the next film came out. That wasn't going to be for another year-and-a-half. So, yes, I was excited.

A little history first. When Star Wars first came out, no one expected it to be as big as it eventually turned out to be. Those were the Dark Ages of fantasy and science fiction. So, even though it was doing well, the studio execs and other big hoop-de-doos in charge of things decided that the public needed to be reminded of Star Wars. And the best way to do it back then? Well, you have a cast reunion special. And that meant a variety show. Now, you also have to remember that Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, and Carrie Fisher weren't household names yet (hard as that is to believe now), so they needed real, current stars of the day. They needed Art Carney, Harvey Korman, Bea Arthur, and Diahann Carroll. Oh, and Jefferson Starship. Variety show, remember.

And, as I see Ghost of Christmas Present telling me it's time for bed, so there will be more to this saga tomorrow.

Keep writing, friends.

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