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Western Animation / Shazzan

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Shazzan was a cartoon created by Alex Toth and produced by the Hanna-Barbera company for CBS back in 1967. It featured a giant genie named Shazzan who served two American kids, a boy named Chuck and his sister, Nancy, who had found a pair of magical rings in a cave and were transported to a Magic World that resembled the one from the Arabian Nights tales. Each of the kids had one of the rings that, when touched to each other (and the word "Shazzan!" is spoken) summons the genie to grant their wishes — anything except being sent home; they were required to find Shazzan's true owner first (with no clues provided, even by Shazzan himself). The genie also gifted them with an Invisibility Cloak, a bag of dust that can create illusions, and a magic rope. The series followed the two (and their winged camel, Kaboobie) as they traveled this strange world, helping those in need along the way.

The show was, as was typical for cartoons of the time, very formulaic: Every episode, the kids would reach a new land, where some villain was up to no good; after being threatened, they finally put their rings together, after which Shazzan appeared and quickly disposed of the villains (while mocking them). Alex Toth, the series' creator, later said, "It was a conceptual problem. The genie had no weaknesses; once you summoned him, the episode was over."

Also as typical of the time, there was no "final episode", so we never got to see the resolution of the plot.

The character has made appearances in other shows and projects in the decades since, including Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law and Jellystone! (where he serves as a Suspiciously Similar Substitute to Babu thanks to legal issues).

Not to be confused with Shazam! or even less with Kazaam.

Tropes in Shazzan:

  • Alternative Foreign Theme Song: The Japanese version has this.
  • Animal Companion: Kaboobie the winged camel, who was there mostly to transport the kids and look funny. Occasionally, he got to help in combat.
  • Benevolent Genie: Although kinda mischievous. The genie never stopped laughing, no matter how serious the situation.
  • Continuity Nod: The series is obviously based on the Arabian Nights tales, but one episode has Shazzan battle a dumb-witted genie and then grant him to... a boy named Aladdin. (Most of the stories were original however.)
  • Crossover: With Space Ghost in the Space Ghost episode "The Council of Doom".
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Shazzan himself was never hurt by anything, and always easily defeated his foes.
  • Cut Short: The Kids didnt find the owner of the ring in the finale.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Even the kids got snarked on by the genie on occasion.
  • Ethnic Magician: Pretty much everybody in the show was Arabic (or its equivalent in this world) except the all-American kids.
  • Expy: Visually speaking, Shazzan is very clearly based on the genie from The Thief Of Bagdad, right down to the elfin features, the unique hairstyle, the constant laughing and his truly massive size.
  • Gentle Giant:
    • Despite towering above most other characters, Shazzan did not scare the kids.
    • Played even straighter with the good Baharum.
  • The Imp: Mysterio The Mini Magi is served by Imps.
  • Invincible Hero: The genie Shazzan which was a failing in the show. Even when the bad guys tried to fight him it was clear he could not be hurt. The only exception were there were a few magical rules he could not directly break, but in straight combat he was invincible.
  • No Ending: We never see the kids get home.
  • Ring of Power: The kids' rings; each always carried one- which meant that if separated, they were in real trouble.
  • Sequel Episode:
    • "The Master of Thieves", "Baharum the Befuddled" and "Quest For the Magic Lamp" form a trilogy for Chuck and Nancy dealing with the Master of Thieves.
    • "Demon in the Bottle Returns" is a sequel "Demon in the Bottle".
  • Shout-Out: Shazzan's appearance suggests he may have been based on the genie in The Thief of Bagdad (1940).
  • Sibling Team: Chuck and Nancy. They occasionally annoyed each other, but otherwise were good siblings.
  • Subverted Kids' Show: The Saturday Night Live TV Funhouse parody Shazzang takes the concept of an all-powerful genie inflicting his will on "bad guys" up to eleven. After rescuing the kids from an evil wizard's trap, the genie subjects their opponent to a typical pinned to the wall by his own arrow/human juggling ball/used as a pushbroom Humiliation Conga. Then he forces him to swallow ammonia, pulls his tongue out of his mouth, and burns the skin off of his body with eye-beams. Then it gets kinda intense.
  • Trapped in Another World: Chuck and Nancy.
  • Two Halves Make a Plot: Chuck and Nancy each wear half of a magic ring. When the two halves are reunited, it summons the mighty genie Shazzan.
  • The Unreveal:
    • Just who was Shazzan's "True Owner?" He's mentioned (once?) as the "Wizard of the Seventh Mountain", but that's all we know. Presumably, the kids have to find the Seventh Mountain to find him — but why is it the Seventh Mountain?
    • And where was Shazzan when he wasn't summoned?
  • Two Shorts: One episode contained two segments both going to Shazzan.
  • Walking the Earth: While not Earth per se, Chuck and Nancy travel all around "the land of the fabled arabian nights".
  • What the Hell, Hero?: In one episode, Chuck challenges a performing magician to a Wizard Duel (despite Nancy's protests) using Shazzan's magical gifts. When they are not enough, Chuck summons Shazzan. Shazzan defeats the magician, but then scolds Chuck for summoning him and using the gifts for something so trivial, as the magician was not an enemy until Chuck made him one with his need to show off.
  • Wonder Twin Powers: The kids needed each other to summon Shazzan.
  • Words of Power: The rings won't summon Shazzan unless his name is also spoken.