US tv series (1983-1984). Lorimar/ABC. Pr Bob Comfort, Charles Gordon, Les Gordon, Rick Kellard, Linda Morris, Victor Raueso. Exec pr Ronald E Frazer. Dir John Astin, Alan Bergmann, Bruce Bilson, Bob Sweeney. Writers James Berg and many others. Created by Charles Gordon, Lawrence Gordon. Starring T K Carter (Shabu), Richard Gilliland (Keith Barrow). 11 30min episodes. Colour.
This sitcom version of the legend of Aladdin (> Arabian Fantasy) and the magic lamp took an unusual twist by pairing a black Genie with a white master. To start, tv weatherman Barrow breaks a souvenir bottle and is forced to buy it. Inside is Shabu, a genie who has been trapped there for 196 years. The genie is unhappy with his master, for he feels that Keith is too afraid to have fun. In one episode, for example, Keith refuses to let Shabu use Magic to pay for a vacation to Las Vegas, so Shabu splits himself into a quartet to win money on a tv quiz game.
The NAACP felt it was objectionable to show a black man serving a white master, and the stories were changed as a result. [BC]