Sunday, June 21, 2015

Nostalgia Theater: What the Heck Was Shazzan?

After my piece from a few weeks ago about the bizarre 'toon Young Samson, I got an e-mail asking when I'd cover Shazzan. Well, never let it be said we don't give service with a smile here at Nostalgia Theater, so let's take a look back at another one of Hanna-Barbera's bizarre creations from the '60s.

Proving my earlier point about how HB had such dominance of the dial during that era, Shazzan premiered on CBS the same day Young Samson debuted on NBC. And like Samson, this one too boasted character designs by legendary comic artist Alex Toth (who also created it). The show, about an ancient Middle Eastern genie who assists a couple of hapless teens, was pretty standard issue stuff from the studio, as you can see from the intro:

In addition, here's an info dump that sets up the show's premise, along with some clips of what it was all about:

Ugh. So, so many stereotypes squeezed in there it's hard to even process. I saw this show at a time when I'd consume just about any old animated thing, and even then I gave it a wide berth. Granted, part of that may be because I was living in the Middle East at the time, and I wanted my cartoons to take me away, not remind me where I was.

Anyway, there were thirty-six installments produced, all told, and (again, just like with Young Samson) they're now available to own via Warners' manufacture-on-demand DVD service. Probably the best thing about Shazzan, however, is that it led to this hilarious parody via Robert Smigel's "TV Funhouse" segments on Saturday Night Live in the mid-aughts:

One Year Ago in Nostalgia Theater: 25 Years of Batman!

Two Years Ago in Nostalgia Theater: The Many Crappy Lives of Knight Rider, Part II -- Team Knight Rider

Three Years Ago in Nostalgia Theater: My Secret Identity

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