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Post #102828

Parent topic
Preserving the...cringe...Star Wars Holiday Special (Released)
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Date created
28-Apr-2005, 2:14 PM
Last modified
3-Aug-2020, 6:40 PM
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Right. Well, we all know how bad it is, BUT… there’s some great stuff in there worth preserving. Besides the obvious Boba Fett cartoon, there’s also:

  • cut scenes of Mos Eisley
  • a cut scene of Vader & Bast
  • close-ups of cantina creatures we can’t see well in Star Wars
  • the only other appearance of the original cast in their Star Wars outfits
  • Bea Arthur singing in all her glory!

Okay, just kidding about that last one.

So, the question comes to mind: what is the BEST possible copy of the Special out there? There are certainly plenty of horrible ones, but good ones are much harder to come by.

One of the better ones is the Angrysun Edition. But I’ve seen better than this. In fact, I’d consider Angrysun about the third best I’ve seen in terms of quality. What else have you guys seen out there?

[EDIT: This was Angrysun Edition v1.  Angrysun Edition v2 (the KCCI broadcast) is much better quality - see below.]

Ideally, we would want a master from or as close to someone’s original broadcast recording as possible. A transfer from a Betamax recording would give better quality than a VHS recording, in theory.

Now even better than that would be a digital recording off of a professional studio master copy (i.e., an original that was used to broadcast the show). As unlikely as this sounds, it’s possible; I have seen a copy made from an original master. It had a title card from the tape duplicator, no commercials (just 5 second blank gaps between the announcement bumpers), and no station IDs or announcer voiceovers. The only problem was that either the original master was deteriorated horribly, or that it was an nth generation copy–the picture was washed-out and “ghosted” causing very poor quality. But I have yet to unearth an actual studio master so far.

I’d like to use this topic to discuss the better copies of the Holiday Special out there, and determine which ones are the best and how to differentiate between them.




Here is a link to screen shots of some of the different known recordings of the Holiday Special out there:

Best overall copy:

EditDroid’s The Star Wars Holiday Special DVD
This release surfaced in December 2015 and blew away anything previously seen in terms of quality. It appears to be sourced from a master copy, and features crisp video quality, blank spaces where commercials would be, and no announcer voice-over on the credits.
Extras include:

  • optional Spanish audio
  • optional English subtitles
  • CBS TV promos
  • standalone cartoon
  • TV Land segment
  • FOX News G Block
  • Interview clips with Harrison Ford, Anthony Daniels, Peter Mayhew, and Stan Winston

Best broadcast copy:
Tasjo’s WHIO-TV 7 V2 DVD
For pure broadcast video quality, this is probably the best one out there. Unfortunately, the original recording did not include commercials. However, the V2 release of the DVD has a menu with extras including all the commercials as taken from the WMAR-TV 2 broadcast. Overall a great choice for the broadcast version.
Extras include:

  • optional commercials
  • optional Spanish audio

Best hybrid copy:
Gormaanda Hybrid V2 DVD
This hybrid combining the best elements from two different broadcast copies of the Holiday Special yielded a very pleasing result, and is the preferred broadcast version to watch for many.
Extras include:

  • optional commercials
  • optional Spanish audio
  • standalone cartoon
  • standalone Kenner toy commercial
  • optional RiffTrax audio

Discussion continues on new preservation possibilities and other versions that surface.