Holiday Special > Feedback > Memories > Australia


August 24, 1979
July 13, 1980
(possibly 1981, 1982, 1983)
August 25, 1984

on Seven and The WIN Network (various channels)

From Charles C. (Australia):

My memories of the special are very vivid but it was not in 78 and not a bootleg. I've been living in New York for the past 20 years but I was born and raised for some time in Australia. As a kid I had watched quite a bit of TV from when I was 5 or 6 years old and had no idea that this special would air but by chance, I did catch it. I lived in Sydney and I was familiar with all the TV networks at that time and one day in about 82 or maybe 83 when I was 7 or 8 years old, I was invited by my best friend to go with his family to visit some relatives of his to the city of Woolongong (about a 2 hour drive south of Sydney), this was my first time in this city and I was amazed to learn that they only had 1 TV network at that time (there was no cable TV in Australia at that time) by the name of The WIN Network. So when we arrived, us kids got together in the rumpus room where the TV was on and The Star Wars Holiday Special was on and I remember actually thinking that it was the original movie but there were scenes that I knew were not in the movie. My most clear memory is of the scenes with Chewie and the other Wookiees when they gather with Han in the tree-like house and a scene with Han and Chewie in the cockpit of the Falcon as well as some presentational stuff with C3PO and R2D2, and I vividly remember seeing Vader and Stormtroopers but not much else. I don't remember any of the other stuff that your website details. But I do remember my thinking of what this actually was and why I didn't know about it because I definitely don't remember any commercials about it in Sydney and at that time WIN was completely different from any channel in Sydney. I was very confused as to why this was airing in Woolongong and not Sydney and even more confusing was that none of my friends ever knew about it and for years to come, it would never air again and it seemed that it almost never existed like it was only my imagination until it began to surface in comic book stores and shows. Anyway, if there's any Australians out there who have any memory of when exactly this show originally aired in Australia, I'd like to hear from you so I can clear my memory a little bit. I'm sure it was just that one time because back then whatever aired in the US didn't air in Australia until a couple of years later.

From Steve "Jynks" (Australia):

I was but a very young lad when the Holiday Special came on and remembered it in only a vague way. In fact I spent a lot of my adult life under the delusion that I had somehow imagined the entire thing. I didn't know its name, I didn't know anything about it... but I swore that I had seen it. The fact that I couldn't describe it at all made it very frustrating!!! Now of course I have seen it many times and even in the face of all the flak this show gets I still enjoy it. Almost like a part of my past is suddenly there... like a fond memory coming back to you. It was a real release when I found it was real!!


From Andy Smith (UK/Australia):

Like Charles C. I also saw this legendary show in Australia. Back in 1980 we went on a family holiday to visit relatives in Adelaide (this would have been July/August). We were there for a month, and among the most exciting aspects was Oz telly. Most of it was rubbish as I recall but the best part was that they showed old Dr Who - every day (which being 10 was like being stuck in a sweetshop).

And then one day we're sat in front of the box and who should appear but Han Solo and Chewie. Immediately I'm about 6 inches away from the screen. What's this!? A caption appeared with a message saying something like "This Programme is not suitable for young children" (TV over there was rated like movies). A quick discussion ensued - phew, Mum and Dad said it was alright for us to watch it and we all settled down. Well, I was amazed, delighted and enthralled. For about a minute. As the final credits rolled on this disaster my Dad uttered, "Not suitable for children? Not suitable for anyone..."

However, it did give me a massive amount of kudos back in the UK. Everyone was SW mad and craving anything to do with it. Sure, you can have your Star Wars Weekly and your bugglegum cards. You can keep your cardboard Death Star that probably wasn't as good as the American plastic one. I'd seen Chewbacca's family. I was a hero. For about a week.

Andy Smith

From Skip (Australia):

I've just read the piece written by Charles C. and can absolutely confirm that the Star Wars Holiday Special was screened in 82 or 83. I was born in 75 and my brother in 78 and it seems to trigger some memories with him too, so I can assure you that it wasn't screened in 78. I don't remember too much: the loooong sessions in the Kashyyyk hut with lots of growling, Bea Arthur, too much makeup on Mark Hamill and the fact that it was fairly tedious. In fact, I don't think I even lasted until the cartoon sequence, which given that I collect mainly Boba Fett memorabilia is quite ironic. I think WIN in regional areas is currently the equivalent of Channel 9 in capital cities (I live in Adelaide), so that gives a bit of a clue - now we just need to try and pin down when.

From Mike C. (Australia):

I honestly can't say for certain when I saw the Holiday Special - I'd be interested to know the exact dates it was screened in Australia. I'd say, with 99% certainty, that it was before The Empire Strikes Back was released in Australia, but I can't be completely sure. No idea what channel - except that it would have been a Sydney commercial channel.

Here's what I can remember from seeing the SW Holiday Special (and this was long before I finally saw a bootleg):

- there was a toy X-wing;
- there was a toy bantha;

I guess the fact that I remembered these things was due to my childhood obsession with SW figures & toys.

- it looked cheap. It had that dodgy, soft look of cheap TV variety shows or commercials, that didn't look as good as movies, cartoons or good TV shows. Something was clearly wrong. This was Star Wars, not one of those dumb late night things my parents watched now & then. I didn't think of it as being something wrong, but it was clearly something different to that mindblowing experience I'd had in the cinema.

For all I know, I might have fallen asleep & been put to bed - as opposed to the times I was SENT to bed while only about half an hour into watching one of the films on TV. Make of that what you will. Even as a kid, musical numbers made me cringe.

And yet, despite the fact that the Holiday Special made little impact on a very young mind completely obsessed with all things Star Wars, despite the fact that it's something that makes even the most bitter & twisted lovers of all things camp & awful recoil in horror, there's something about seeing it again that takes me back to those very early days of Star Wars, when it was all something new, something wonderful, not something to get frustrated about or to argue over, back when it was all just about abandoning the real world & taking a journey to that galaxy far, far away...

From Timothy Scott (Australia):

I'm Tim from Brisbane, Australia. My country got the original Star Wars movie in 1978. No such thing as a world-wide simultaneous release then! I remember how there was a shortage of the action figures when they were released later that year. For months all we could get were R2-D2, C-3PO, Jawas and Chewbacca. Christmas & birthdays in 1978, 1979 & 1980 were bumper Star Wars years for me!

The Holiday Special aired during one of our school holidays when I was 10 & in 5th grade in 1979 on the Seven network. I remember that amongst the boys in my class, we were excited to be seeing something on TV about Star Wars. At lunchtimes would alternate playing pretend games that involved Star Wars or "Chips" (the L.A. motorcycle cop show that was big then) The Empire Strikes Back & Battlestar Galactica on TV were still a year away. My two older brothers were not interested in Star Wars & were thankfully out of the house at the time. I sat down, excited. My biggest recollection is how the picture looked compared to the movie. To my 10-year-old mind for some reason the colours seemed flat & dull. In hindsight, I think it was because back then, most programs were still shot on film & anything shot on videotape definately looked different. At the beginning, I recall applause & the names of the characters & their faces flashing across the screen. I thought, something just isn't right about this. I was disappointed that we didn't see more space battles. I thought to myself, "Hey, they just cut pieces out of the movie & stuck them on to this show!" I remember wishing that the dull music bits would hurry up. But, this was Star Wars & in those pre-VCR days, anything Star Wars on TV was great. I watched it until the end when Princess Leia sang some song & all these Wookiees in robes were carrying candles or lanterns. My 10 year old self was disappointed. I thought then that it was dumb in a "mushy & soft" way. Now, I suppose I would use the word sentimental. I haven't seen it since then. I would love to watch it again & compare.

BTW, I still have my 37 action figures that I collected from birthdays & Christmas in '78, '79 & '80. Everytime I visit my parent's house, I check that they are still safe & in their carry case I got for Xmas '79. They're the only toys that I still have left from my childhood.

From Heather Semmens (South Australia)

Original 1979 & 1980 diary entries written at age 12:

August 24
1979 - Today something fab came on the T.V. The "Star Wars Holiday Special". Guests included: Mark Hamill (Luke) Harrison Ford (Han) Anthony Daniels (C3PO) Carrie Fisher (Leia) + Peter Mayhew (Chewy). I love "Star Wars". Mark Hamill had got a haircut. Carrie Fisher sang a drab song! But, it was a great show anyway. You are introduced to Chewy's family: his son (Lumpy), his wife, (Marla), a great story. See ya!

[See the scanned version of this diary entry]

July 13
'80 - Today the "Star Wars Holiday Special" was on TV again. (See 24/8/79) I still reckon it's good. Carrie Fisher sang that boring song again! And I still reckon Mark Hamill looks stupid with that hairdo but I saw them all again & that's made my day!

[See the scanned version of this diary entry]

From Mike Sarantos (Australia):

One of my earliest Star Wars memories, was in fact waiting for the Holiday Special to appear on TV. I can't quite remember the exact year I saw it, but looking at the other entries on your site, 1979 seems about right.

Like every other kid in the late 1970's, I loved Star Wars. I'd seen the movie and had started getting Star Wars-related gifts from my Mum for birthdays and Christmas.

I grew up in Australia, Canberra, the nations capital to be exact. Canberra in those days, was like a small country town. We only had two channels on TV; Capital 7 and ABC 2, tragic and pathetic!

When some kid in my class started mouthing off, saying that Star Wars was going to be on TV, I figured he was lying as nothing that cool could possibly play on TV in Canberra. Sure enough, that kid (whoever he was) was right. As I sat down to watch, my whole world stopped! This was certainly Star Wars, but not the way i'd remembered it from the cinema. There was no action, and who were these strange old people singing with the Cantina Aliens? Who was that Band? Where were the Space Battles? Why was Princess Leia singing a song?

I remember it confusing me to some degree and leaving me somewhat deflated towards the end. Thank the stars for the films that followed!

Mike S
Sydney, Australia

Now let's hear YOUR memories of seeing the Holiday Special when it aired!