...before VHS tapes happened, and nobody could record it from their TV screens. The regular movies get released to VHS and DVD later on for sure, but the holiday special gets shown once, and never seen again, just like how George Lucas would want it.
Can you even
imagine how much of legend and mystique the special would garner if all we had to go on was stuff like testimonials, some still photos, maybe a script, maybe some blurry Super 8 footage, forever hoping in vain that the original negatives get released/plundered from George Lucas's vault?
"Wax on, wax off..."
"But Mr. Miyagi, I don't see how this is helping me do Karate..."
"Pubic hair is weakness, Daniel-san!"