HAPPY LIFE DAY!
The Star Wars Holiday Special is horrendous.
But you already knew that. It's a well documented fact. Chewie has a family that's so annoying that you completely understand why he stays so far away from them. His dad watches virtual reality porn featuring Diane Carol. Art Carney, Roger Corman, and Bea Arthur are in it for some fucking reason. So is Jefferson Starship… before Grace Slick came back, so they really suck. Boba Fett is introduced in a herky-jerky cartoon segment that drops the word "friend" about 38 times in five minutes. Carrie Fisher is high on cocaine and singing a song about "Life Day," and Mark Hamill is wearing eye shadow. The show opens with like ten solid minutes of Wookie mime. The special effects are either cut directly from the movie or Land of the Lost-level bad. It's a surreal extravaganza of cheese.
But you knew that.
What you didn't know, or don't remember, is that commercials, like the one’s that ran during this special, used to be batshit insane.
Here's proof, baby:
FIRST COMMERCIAL BREAK:
Willie Rawls: Utility Man. He's not tied down to one job at GM. He has a bunch. But soldering is the best: it takes skill. But he's just killing time until he can get his pimp threads out of his locker and hit the bricks. This is a commercial for General Motors which features how it's a good place to work with plenty of camaraderie and support. Willie Rawls is an actual dude. He’s kind of a homely cat who, presumably, actually worked at GM. How often do actual dudes show up in commercials anymore? And how often do corporations advertise that their employees aren't miserable?
Kenner used to make a toy car that would go wherever you drew a line. It was called the Trail Tracker. Remember when toys used to come out that didn't have to be attached to some property? Even as you watch the Holiday Special you know that Star Wars is crushing these kinds of toys and relegating them to Dollar Store status with the other generic and anonymous cavemen, spacemen, pirates, and cowboys.
Hey, I want a rolling Millennium Falcon that goes wherever I draw a line.
SECOND COMMERCIAL BREAK:
60 Minutes will come on tomorrow night, followed by Alice, Lucy Goes to Nashville (and meets Ronnie Milsap in an outfit no sighted man would wear), and then Dallas, starting at "7 PM Central time, 8 o'clock Mountain." Remember when they used to talk about Mountain Time? Somebody explain this shit to me. What mountains? The Rocky Mountains?
A husband and wife have separate sides of a medicine cabinet. The husband loses: she has COMTREX!
What happens next is straight out of John Waters: a dude with wrecked up teeth, a comb over, and a peach shirt is lamenting the lack of work in the International Women's Garment Industry. These jobs are being farmed out to other countries and his family can't get the things "all Americans want." Then a bunch of ugly people come out and sing "Look for the Union Label."
Ugly people used to get on TV with a lot more regularity than today.
The Saturday movie is "The Bible" which looks like what I saw the second time I ate shrooms, which I have since called "The bad trip I took on shrooms." There's a part where this broad has eyeballs on her hands.
I used to just lay in bed and trip and then go to school the next day. It ruled.
A mustachioed newsman of the celebrated type they just don't make anymore pops on and says "Fighting the frizzies, at 11."
I have no clue what that means.
THIRD COMMERCIAL BREAK:
James Rock also enjoys working at GM. He wears a helmet. Made of hair.
Marilyn Makela switched her Duncan Hines yellow cake to Pillsbury and to prove it she slowly sucks a piece of cake off a fork. It looks even better in rewind: she spits a perfectly formed piece of cake out.
"Hongry! Hongry Jack!" Hungry Jack is a gigantic hillbilly who forces his mom to keep cooking biscuits or he will smash her with his massive hands and feet.
In a sobering CBS Update, it's reported that Soviet President Brezhnev has told US Authorities that Russia has tested a Neutron Bomb. "That's the kind of bomb that kills people but leaves buildings standing" the news bitch bitches. Cold blooded. To add insult to injury, a CIA agent has just been busted selling secrets to the Russians. This makes you wonder though, all this stuff we worry about now with North Korea and Al Qaeda, they worried about the same shit like 30 years ago, and they got out alright.
After this extremely sobering newsbreak, Valerie Bertinelli lets us know about Bobby Vinton's “Rock Around the Clock Extravaganza!” It's like Grease on wheels! Featuring Penny Marshall, Fabian, and... wait for it... Erik Estrada! It’s from the producers of Donnie and Marie!
Bet that was awesome.
I'm only kind of joking.
Another generic-ass toy, this one with a funked-out Soul theme song that sounds like Sam Moore of Sam and Dave (and very easily could've been, as the 70's weren't so kind to Sam and Dave)
It's time to go!
You must stop that!
McDonaldland Glasses! Collect them! It's fun! There's more than just one! This week, it's Captain Crook!
Anybody remember Captain Crook? He was this Pirate who wanted to eat Big Macs on his boat. They should bring him back since everybody is all gay for Pirates now.
It's fighting the frizzies at 11 again! Is this linked to the bomb?
FOURTH COMMERCIAL BREAK:
You watch enough of this shit it feels like your brain has been taken out and put back in backwards, I swear to God.
Another non-tie in toy: Tobor, the Telesonic Robot. He's under your control. You tell him to circle and go forward. You tell him to pick up the Tobor Module. And bring it to you. It ends with a bombshell.
Hold on to your ass.
"Tobor is ‘Robot’ spelled backwards."
No. Fucking. Way.
Chicks put on blush!
Girls orgasmically wiggle around as they apply bright red, whorish make-up to their faces. One sticks her head in some water and comes up throwing water around wildly but with her face un-mussed.
A Whirlpool ad airs featuring a bald eagle swooping down and pulling fish out of water. A forceful announcer voices over about how America was founded on a commitment to excellence, but now it's slipping away.
Commercials can tell us a lot about the societies they advertise to and can betray things that history books don't recall. There's this mix of post-pill/pre-aids open and innocent sexuality crashing into paranoid Patriotism without the super advanced product peddling of today's world, where no free dollar is left blowing around un-snatched. I was just being born, but I wish I could've partied with Tobor, man.
Bea Arthur danced with Greedo and my brain shut down for like 30 seconds because it automatically does when I see something that fucked up.
FIFTH COMMERCIAL BREAK:
Glad it started up again in time for this commercial for strong (yet safe) Anacin. This was about the time people started ODing and accidentally killing kids with Aspirin.
Sheer Indulgence Pantyhose make girls shake their asses.
There's more in the middle of an Egg McMuffin than an egg in the middle of a muffin, and that whole concept is more than a couple of hillbillies can handle.
Schneider introduces a promotional spot for an entirely forgotten show about airline stewardesses called Flying High coming on next that I'm pretty sorry isn't on the tape. "The girls take it off and Pam has a great Layover!" I'm nostalgic about this, but it seems like sex was more of a party at this point in our history than today and man, I wish I was there for it. Paco Ignacious III said that "We feel nostalgic for the things we have not seen, the parties we have not been to, the pots we have not drank from, the women we have not slept with." Now it seems like we're more uptight, even though sex permeates everything now it's not like this fun thing. It's super serious, it's girls who are very young so it's sinister, it's fetishistic and weird, and it’s this big deal. In the day, or on TV commercials at least, it was like "Hey, let's take our clothes off and roll around, it'll be cool."
After that the mood changes with this Sweathog Reject talking about how he loves fun, his friends, and milk. I don't have to think about what to drink if Milk's the one for me! Like I really sit around thinking about what I want to drink. I could be blown to atoms any second now and this dink is drinking milk so he won't have to consider if we wants water or soda or what.
An Animal House commercial! Fuck yeah!
... frizzies, at 11.
SIXTH COMMERCIAL BREAK:
A dude in a gold body suit and winged hat delivers flowers to old ladies in hospitals.
If you want to give your man underwear, you want the Fruit of the Loom fruit dudes.
No Nonsense pantyhose make good sense.
Do women wear pantyhose anymore?
God, I hope not.
Then it finally happens. Kenner drops an ad for their tsunami of Star Wars products. This was the Christmas of 1978 and I was 2 months old, but by the time I could hold something in my hand it was the Star Wars figures in this ad.
Not to sugarcoat it too much, because watching the crap wrapped around these sweet commercials has most likely caused me to lose valuable IQ points, but the parts with the actual Star Wars cast have charm to find in them. Harrison Ford especially; when Han is bonding with Chewbacca's family you almost forget how awful the thing has been in the last hour or so that he hadn't appeared in. These characters and the actors who played them are like members of a family to me, and I'd assume to everyone who grew up as I did, and at Christmas time especially, in the world Star Wars created. I've gotten Star Wars related stuff for Christmas every single year of my life to date. It's amazing how many of my happiest memories center on Star Wars.
And that's why Star Wars can survive the Holiday Special.
It really, truly sucks.
God, it sucks.
Happy Life Day!
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