Star Wars Holiday Special producer tells stories from filming and George Lucas


Stephen Kramer Glickman‘s (Storks, Big Time Rush) The Night Time Show podcast had The Star Wars Holiday Special writer Bruce Vilanch on this week’s episode, and he gave some great behind-the-scenes stories of what that filming was like. Vilanch is a 6 time Emmy award winner known for his 4-year run on Hollywood Squares, as well as being a writer for the Oscars for 11 years, the Tony’s, and the Emmy’s. As you can imagine, he has some crazy stories in Hollywood and was nice enough to share some on The Night Time Show at around the 32:30 mark.

In the interview, he talked about how George Lucas had already made Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back but hadn’t released it yet and wanted to keep stuff on the back burner. Lucas had even told him that he was going to make 6 films, even though only 3 came out during that time period with the prequels coming later on. Lucas was then able to sell the variety special which focused on the Wookiees and their home planet Kashyyyk, with the main characters trying to get back to Kashyyyk for Life Day.

Vilanch went on to talk about how Bea Arthur (Golden Girls) joined the cast at the Cantina to sing, which is the reason she did it. She was originally on Broadway and popular for the Mod show at the time, which was going to showcase her talent.

Apparently Lucas stayed away for the most part of the filming since it was different from filming a movie. It was a huge hit when it aired on Thanksgiving weekend in 1978. Because of the internet, the film was uploaded and became a cult classic, and it was part of the Star Wars mythos. Although it wasn’t a hit with the critics, it’s part of the reasons that Boba Fett became popular. (He was in the film.)

Carrie Fisher also wanted to join and sang the “Life Day” song on the special which was written by Joni Mitchell. Vilanch went on to talk about writing on the Brady Bunch Variety Show and other behind-the-scenes stories from Hollywood Squares.

Without giving too much away, you should definitely check out this episode to hear more about the really cool stories from one of the best time periods in Hollywood. You can also check out other episodes of Stephen Kramer Glickman and The Night Time Show including an episode with Starship Troopers’ Casper Van Dien, who played the legendary lead role of Johnny Rico.

The Star Wars Holiday Special is a 1978 American musical science fiction television film set in the Star Wars galaxy. It stars the series’ first film’s main cast while introducing the character Boba Fett, who would appear in later films. It is one of the first official Star Wars spin-offs and was directed by Steve Binder. In the storyline that ties the special together, Chewbacca and Han Solo visit Kashyyyk, Chewbacca’s home world, to celebrate Life Day. They are pursued by agents of the Galactic Empire, who are searching for members of the Rebel Alliance on the planet.

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