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Shazzan is an animated television series, created by Alex Toth and produced by Hanna-Barbera Productions in 1967 for CBS. The series follows the adventures of two teenage siblings, Chuck and Nancy, traveling around a mystical Arabian world, mounted on Kaboobie the flying camel. During their journey they face several dangers, but they are always helped by Shazzan, a genie with magical powers out of this world.

Shazzan is not to be confused with Shazam!, the 1970s comic book/television revival of Golden Age super hero Captain Marvel, created by C. C. Beck and Bill Parker.

Synopsis

The introduction to the cartoons and the first episode give this plot description:

"Inside a cave off the coast of Mainemarker, Chuck (voiced by Jerry Dexter) and Nancy (voiced by Janet Waldo) find a mysterious chest containing the halves of a strange ring. When joined, the ring forms the word "Shazzan!" and with this magical command, they are transported back to the fabled land of the Arabian Nights. Here they meet their genie, Shazzan (voiced by Barney Phillips). Shazzan presents them with Kaboobie (voiced by Don Messick), a magical flying camel. Shazzan will serve them whenever they call, but he cannot return them home until they deliver the ring to its rightful owner. And thus begins their incredible journey."

Shazzan is very large, being able to hold Chuck, Nancy and Kaboobie in the open palm of his hand. He is wise and jolly in nature, usually appearing with a cheerful "Ho-ho ho-HO!" and referring to the two children as his "little masters". Chuck and Nancy each wear one half of the broken ring, which has to be joined to bring forth their magical servant. A frequent plot device is that the two teenagers became separated, most often by the act of a villain. They can not summon the omnipotent genie until they manage to find each other. Once Shazzan materializes, it is extremely bad news for the villain.

The series is similar in its style and production details to the other Alex Toth-created CBS Saturday morning cartoons of 1966-1968, relying heavily on music and sound effects earlier created for Johny Quest. As is typical for both animated and live-action TV series of the era that revolve around an ongoing dilemma (Dino Boy in the Lost Valley, Moby Dick and Mighty Mightor, Lost In Space, Gilligan's Island, Lidsville, etc.), the heroes never resolve their long-term situation. Chuck and Nancy never find the ring's owner and thus never return to their American teenage lives.

Shazzan's powers and abilities

Shazzan is referred to in a commercial as Shazzan, greatest of all genies. As such, he naturally shows off with all kinds of magical powers and appears able to do just about anything, from growing in size, to transforming or empowering others, or changing his own form to escaping situations commonly referred to as inescapable, to altering reality itself. This all may have made it seem like he can do anything and survive anything. However, that is not exactly the case. First of all, Shazzan is a genie, and has to be summoned with magical items. According to the common myth about genies, destroying such a magical item destroys the genie itself. Which means, if anyone destroyed the rings, Shazzan would also die. In spite of this, his many enemies never try to destroy the rings, rather they launch their attacks directly on this god-like, gigantic, immortal genie. Shazzan easily defeats them each time by transforming himself, them, or something else in the area into something else, though in some cases, the enemy seals their own fate somehow. There are also some things that make Shazzan disappear from sight, even if it is only briefly. For example, in the episode "1001 Tricks", Shazzan grows the Jester to his size, and the Jester casts a spell that sends a meteor to crash down on Shazzan. He disappears from sight, and Chuck, Nancy, and Kaboobie are concerned. It is indicated that these things destroy Shazzan, but only briefly, as there are not many surefire ways to destroy a genie permanently. There are also some things that even Shazzan can not accomplish. First of all, in an episode involving a pirate captain on a flying ship, the pirate captain sends Nancy to the underworld, where not even Shazzan can travel. As a result, Shazzan strikes a deal with the captain, offering him three wishes in exchange for Nancy's return. Secondly, in one episode, Chuck and Nancy become trapped in the mythical land of Neverwas, and even Shazzan can not break through the land's magic barrier without knowing its secret. In addition to all the magic Shazzan can drum up, Chuck and Nancy have magical items which include "Illusion Dust", which naturally causes a momentary illusion; magic rope, which will obey the command of the owner; and a cloak of invisibility.
Shazzan with Chuck and Nancy


Other appearances

Robert Smigel's TV Funhouse created a parody of Shazzan, appearing on the May 14, 2005 broadcast of Saturday Night Live. The parody, entitled "Shazzang!", depicted the genie Shazzan(g) quickly defeating the villain, but then maiming and executing the villain in an increasingly sadistic fashion, to the growing horror and consternation of Chuck, Nancy, and Kaboobie. The parody was generally well-received, but some viewers found the segment to be excessively violent and disturbing. It is shown on the DVD version of the SNL special "The Best of TV Funhouse."

Shazzan has appeared on an episode of Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law voiced by Maurice LaMarche. In the episode "Mufti Trouble," he had a long-standing rivalry with Mentok the Mindtaker.

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