I’m writing this in the off chance that you haven’t seen THE STAR WARS HOLIDAY SPECIAL. Everyone has by now, right?
THE STAR WARS HOLIDAY SPECIAL aired on CBS at 8 PM, Friday November 17, 1978. It would air only once.
The premise had Han Solo bringing Chewbacca home to see his family for “Life Day”. Yes, we meet an entire family of Wookies, including his son “Lumpy”.
All of the STAR WARS cast returned, along with guest stars such as Harvey Korman, Art Carney, Bea Arthur, Diahann Carroll, and Jefferson Starship.
The highlight of the special, that even those who dislike the show admire, was an animated cartoon featuring Boba Fett, his first appearance in the STAR WARS universe.
George Lucas, who had little to do with the making of it, hates it. He doesn’t want it shown. Yet, it is more fun than the prequels, in a “I can’t believe I am watching this” sort of way.
Like this clip, Princess Leia sings.
Not available on DVD, never released on VHS, it is one of the most popular bootlegs out there. You can probably find it at any record convention. I see it is even on Ebay.
And, there are plenty of clips on Youtube. In fact, all 12 parts are available.
I honestly believe that if George Lucas were to release this on DVD that, not only would it sell quite well, but those who disowned him after his tampering with the originals might cut him some slack. They might say “Hey, this guy has a sense of humor. Maybe he isn’t so bad after all”.
Happy Life Day everyone.
NOTE: This post contains YouTube clips. If reading from an outside site, click through to view.
EDIT (12-22-08): VANITY FAIR has an excellent story about THE STAR WARS HOLIDAY SPECIAL here.
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
MR. BELVEDERE was far from a great sitcom. It was a sitcom. And, for a while, I watched it every week. But I won’t pretend it was anything other than that.
It was actually the third incarnation of the character. He was first portrayed by Clifton Webb in a series of films in the late 40’s, and played by Victor Borge in a TV series from 1965.
In 1985, Christopher Hewett took the role. Hewett was best known for his stage work (he was the first to play Rex Harrison’s part in MY FAIR LADY).
As usual, the British Butler went to stay with a family, this time in Pittsburgh. Baseball personality, and beer spokesperson Bob Uecker was the father. Ilene Graf was the mom. There were three kids. Kevin (Rob Stone), Heather (Tracy Wells) and Wesley (Brice Beckham).
Each week, Mr. Belvedere would teach them about life. And, while it has been years since I last saw it, didn’t each episode end with him writing in his diary about what he learned that week? Like Mork? Or Doogie Howser? Wait, Doogie came later. Was Doogie paying an homage to Mr. Belvedere?
MR. BELVEDERE ran for 117 episodes, ending in 1990. It hasn’t played much in reruns, and isn’t on DVD. (Note: I wrote this last week. Yesterday, a message posted on the website of Shout Factory said to expect a DVD release in 2009!!!)
The show is remembered for a couple things.
In 1991, SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE had what is still one of their funniest sketches about the show. In the sketch (that sadly isn’t online), Tom Hanks played the president of the “Guy Who Plays Mr. Belvedere Fan Club”. He and his fellow obsessives talked about the show in creepy detail, about their thoughts on him, who they called “Broctune”. Chris Farley, Adam Sandler, and Phil Hartman were all in the sketch.
The too catchy theme song is still remembered.
Especially by THE FAMILY GUY.
After the show was cancelled, it wasn’t much of a stepping stone for the cast.
As for the kids, Brice Beckham took a few years off after the show but continues to act and direct and even produce. He wrote, directed, and starred in the short lived VH1 sitcom I HATE MY 30’s last year. I had trouble recognizing him, as he looked so different.
There were rumors that Rob Stone actually became Marilyn Manson. Since he had no acting credits after 1993, rumor was they were the same person. They aren’t. It looks like he has moved into producing and directing documentaries.
Tracy Wells hasn’t acted since 1994.
Michele Matheson, who played Angela, Heather’s ditzy friend (and probably the funniest person on the show), continues to act and just wrote a well received novel about heroin addiction.
Christopher Hewett only had one acting credit after this, an episode of CALIFORNIA DREAMS. He passed away in 2001
Ilene Graf still appears in TV, but never in any roles as big as this. (NOTE: In another strange bit of timing, a week after typing this, a day before posting it, a current photo of her turned up on the front page of AOL).
Bob Ueker went back to baseball broadcasting (and MAJOR LEAGUE).