The scene: an octogenarian Wookiee watches what appears to be porn on a virtual-reality headset, surrounded by his family in an Astroturf-covered living room. Your eyes are already bleeding, and these are just the first moments of the Star Wars Holiday Special. Haven't heard of it? That's because there was only one sanctioned airing in the U.S., on November 17, 1978. The televised train wreck features the cast of the original movie, including Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, and Mark Hamill. It's a piece that transcends bad and dissolves into laughs, then transcends laughs and leaves you in a confused netherworld somewhere between delight and a cartoon of Boba Fett. Then, finally, Bea Arthur appears in a space cantina to sing "Good Night, But Not Goodbye" to her drunk alien patrons as she shoos them into the desert, and God help you but there's nothing left to hold on to. The best way to watch this thing is with a highly alcoholic drink in hand, steadying yourself against the onslaught of confusing images and stupefying cameos. (Seriously, was that Jefferson Starship?) Despite George Lucas's best attempts to destroy all evidence of the Star Wars Holiday Special, it has resurfaced and endured, and has become a beloved holiday staple at Bryant-Lake Bowl over the past few years. This year marks the show's 35th anniversary. Wednesday's screening also serves as a benefit for Toys for Tots, and admission is free when you bring a new toy to donate.
Wed., Dec. 11, 7 & 10 p.m., 2013