How cool would it be to have a magical genie for a friend? It could be pretty cool as long as there wasn’t a catch to it. Of course in the animated series Shazzan two young siblings do indeed befriend a magical genie but there is actually a catch. Chuck and his sister Nancy enter a cave near the coast in Maine where they find a weird chest. Inside the chest are two halves of an even weirder ring. Since it looks like they could be joined together they naturally do so and find themselves magically sent to the land of the Arabian Nights where they meet the genie Shazzan. Shazzan is a very large and powerful genie who explains to the kids that until they get the two rings to their rightful owner he can’t get them back home.
On September 9, 1967 Shazzan premiered on CBS and ran to January 20, 1968 with reruns until September of 1969. The program was produced by Hanna-Barbera and designed by Alex Toth. There were 18 half-hour episodes made each with two 11 minute segments. The show used a lot of sound effects and music from Jonny Quest. It starred the voice talents of Barney Phillips as the genie Shazzan, Jerry Dexter as Chuck, Janet Waldo as Nancy, and Don Messick as Kaboobie, the flying camel created by Shazzan to aid in the teens’ travels.
In their quest to return the rings to their rightful owner the kids end up having all kinds of adventures. At one point they find Princess Jasmine needing to be saved and get chased by giant glass birds. In another adventure they find a prince that has been turned into a pig. They run into a demon out for revenge against Shazzan for a previous defeat. Nancy gets captured by Sky Pirates. They find a city made of porcelain with a river of clay.
Many bad guys show up trying to steal the rings, some of which happen to be evil wizards that rival Shazzan in magical abilities. Throughout all their adventures and meeting up with magical beings and people in need of help they never do end up getting the rings to where they belong. Sadly Chuck and Nancy are forever lost to time and unable to get back to their typical teenage lives in the late 1960s. What a drag!
Shazzan does pop up again in a Space Ghost crossover, one of six episodes called “The Council of Doom”. He also later appears in an episode of Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law. Like with most every Hanna-Barbera network shows of the day there were puzzles and comics along with some other merchandise. Some episodes were included in a cartoon compilation. Hanna-Barbera did release a full series DVD of Shazzan with remastered episodes, but of course you never get to see Chuck and Nancy return home. At least you can watch their adventures over and over again just like a Saturday morning in the late 1960s.