Actor Allusion: Art Carney's excessive noodling with a device in exactly the same way Ed Norton did in The Honeymooners, complete with an Imperial Guard yelling, "Will you just get on with it?!" in the same way as Ralph Kramden.
Kevin: It's just not the same without a fat man threatening violence.
Executive Meddling: Originally, George Lucas was to be much more involved in the project — he helped to write the first draft of the script (a standard-issue Star Wars adventure revolving around Life Day) and contributed to the animated Boba Fett segment. Sounds great so far, but then the CBS execs decided it had to be a variety show spectacular of the type that was relentlessly inflicted on unsuspecting audiences of the 1970s. Lucas, by this time, had gone off to concentrate on The Empire Strikes Back, and other hands — namely Pat Proft and Bruce freaking Vilanch — rewrote the script to fit the network's wishes.
A more benign example happened (although it's not completely beneficial so much as the lesser of two evils): The entire Mind Evaporator sequence was originally intended to be quite explicitly a porn tape. However, it was toned down in order to meet CBS's censorship standards, although the implications of what the Mind Evaporator actually was are still present.
Franchise Killer: Averted... which is kind of amazing considering the result. Let's just say it's a good thing that Lucas was already making Empire when this came out; otherwise it might have been the end of Star Wars entirely. It's possible that the Force is real and Lucas pulled a Jedi Mind Trick on the entire viewing audience to convince them it never happened.
He Also Did: One of the writers for this special was Pat Proft, who would go on to have a career working with the Zucker-Abrahams-Zucker trio.
Keep Circulating the Tapes: Practically the poster child. The only thing about it that's even seen an official re-release is the Boba Fett cartoon segment, as an Easter Egg on one of the Blu-Ray bonus discs.
There are three notable bootleg tapes: the New York tape (fighting the frizzles, at 11), the Baltimore tape, (used by RiffTrax) and the Chicago tape (highest quality available at FuzzyMemories.TV). There's also a Latin American Spanish dub, which is also the only known foreign language dub in existence.
Inverted in the case of Lev Mailer, the guy who played the Jerkass officer bullying the store owner in the special: He was one of the few people involved in its production who actually enjoyed the experience.
Harrison "Stone-Face" Ford: So embarrassed, he could barely keep from fleeing the room when Conan O'Brien surprised him with a clip.
"It was a wonderful time, but I had no idea it was even a part of the whole Star Wars thing... It's odd. I've gotten so many letters and requests for autographed photos from that thing. I just remember singing to a bunch of people with funny heads."note She was a veteran of some very strange 70's variety shows, so it was probably all a blur to her.
However, it was voted #2 behind A Charlie Brown Christmas for Christmas specials to be exhibited during the holiday season at the Museum of the Moving Image in NYC.
Throw It In: Lev Mailer and Art Carney ad-libbed the scene where his character and Saun Dann were interacting in the trading area. More specifically, they chose to do the scene in a manner similar to the "Bully and Idiot" comedy routine.
Unintentional Period Piece: Let's just say this part of the Star Wars saga hasn't aged nearly as well as the original trilogy. Basically, if you ever doubted that Star Wars began in The '70s... this should prove it. Conclusively.
The versions which retain the television commercials and news segments add to it - and the special aired the same day that William Kampiles was sentenced to 40 years imprisonment for espionage in a high-profile case. The toy commercials have to be the nadir of this... the "Trailtracker" and "Tobor" were probably innovative when they debuted, but to children of today they might as well be old Marx tin toys.
What Could Have Been: The special was supposed to segue into The Empire Strikes Back, but unfortunately the only part of the special that got it right was the animated segment.