A-Lad-In His Lamp
|A-Lad-In His Lamp|
|Looney Tunes (Bugs Bunny) series|
|Directed by||Robert McKimson|
|Produced by||Edward Selzer|
|Story by||Warren Foster|
|Voices by||Mel Blanc
|Music by||Carl W. Stalling|
|Animation by||Charles McKimson
|Layouts by||Cornett Wood|
|Backgrounds by||Richard H. Thomas|
|Distributed by||Warner Bros. Pictures
The Vitaphone Corporation
|Release date(s)||October 23, 1948 (USA)|
|Running time||7 minutes|
A-Lad-In His Lamp is a 1948 Warner Bros. Looney Tunes cartoon starring Bugs Bunny and featuring the Genie and Caliph Hassan Pfeiffer who is after Bugs and the Genie in his lamp. The voices of Bugs Bunny and Caliph Hassan Pheffer are voiced by Mel Blanc and the voice of the Smokey the Genie is played by Jim Backus in one of his first professional roles. The cartoon is a takeoff of the story of Aladdin's Lamp. Elements of this short would later be re-used for the Arabian Era in Bugs Bunny & Taz: Time Busters.
Bugs finds Aladdin's lamp while digging a rabbit hole; believing it junk, he starts to clean it so he could use it for an ashtray, and a genie appears and tells him to make a wish. Calling him "Smokey", Bugs reluctantly starts to make multiple wishes, only to be interrupted by the genie each time; Bugs ultimately requests two carrots, which the genie produces. Smokey remarks that he wants to return to his home in Baghdad and Bugs, imagining how fabulous it must be, wishes he could go to Baghdad. Smokey then puts him in the lamp and fires him it like a cannon, as the two fly off to Baghdad, with Bugs flying like an airplane ("Hey, look fellas, I'm a 'hare-plane'!"). Before they arrive in Baghdad (here spelled as "Bagdad"), the aerial view depicts two bodies of water named Veronica Lake and Turhan Bay; when in the city, the view includes places such as "The Brown Turban", the Temple Bell telephone company with a sign for Persian to Persian calls, and Mad Man Hassan's used magic carpet lot.
Bugs and the Genie in the lamp arrive in Baghdad, but Bugs' flying in the air sputters and conks out and Bugs and the lamp fall into the Royal Palace of Caliph Hassen Pheffer (built on a GI Loan), first angering the Caliph, who then wants the lamp. When Bugs refuses ("Eh, correction, doc. Bugs Bunny's lamp!"), the Caliph threatens Bugs at swordpoint ("Just a minute, doc. Let's not start splitting hares!"); after Bugs escapes the sword, a chase starts. When Bugs hides behind a door and ladies shriek, forcing him out of that room, Bugs points out it is a harem ("Er, uh, a 'hare-um', I think."), which encourages Smokey to pop out and take a peek himself ("Oh, that was a harem, alright! I know a harem when I see one!")
Bugs' attempts to get the lazy genie's help fail: successive attempts find Smokey bathing ("Oh fiddledee-dee-dee! Don't I even get a chance to take a bath? Now, don't bother me!"), eating ("Oh, sweet spirits of camphor! Can't a man get any nourishment around here? Now, go away!"), and beating Bugs with a stick. Bugs quickly tries to escape from the Caliph by taking a magic carpet, rigged with an outboard motor. On the magic carpet, Bugs tries again but interrupts the genie, who is kissing a female genie; her disappearance prompts Smokey to leave, but only after threatening Bugs with a beating for the next disturbance.
At this moment, the magic carpet runs out of gas, making Bugs crash land back into the palace and the Caliph has the lamp now. When the Caliph tries to get the genie out of the lamp, in spite of Bugs warning him not to ("You'll be SORRY!"), Smokey erupts, larger and angrier than before and beats the Caliph to a pulp. Cheering Bugs on his victory, he grants Bugs a wish as a celebration. He whispers to Smokey, who produces a ball that ends up as a puff of smoke when dropped. The scene concludes showing Bugs as a Caliph himself, surrounded by a harem of female rabbits and wondering "what the poor rabbits are doing this season."
Depiction of Middle Easterners
This short was the earliest in the Bugs Bunny sub-series to be set in either the Middle East or North Africa, and to feature Arabs or Islam. In this case the setting is Baghdad, depicted with Las Vegas-style flashy signs and desert-like streets. Also depicted is the used rug lot of Mad Man Hassan, where people can sell their magic carpets. The scene soon shifts to the palace of Caliph Hassen Pfeffer, built on a G.I. loan, a mortgage loan for veterans guaranteed by the Federal government of the United States.
The caliph is depicted as a lazy man, reclining on pillows, and smoking a hookah. When he discovers the magic lamp of Aladdin, his expression turns to "child-like glee" and his motive for the rest of the short is greed. His facial expressions during the pursuit of the lamp tend toward the grotesque, while he is waving a big sword and growling. As do Middle Eastern villains in other Looney Tunes shorts, he has bushy eyebrows, moustache and beard which enhance his physically intimidating presence.
Such shorts reinforce stereotypes concerning Muslims and Middle Easterners, depicting them as lazy, hedonistic, pleasure-seeking, easily angered, and indiscriminately and irrationally violent. Punishments for various offenses are depicted as too severe, Draconian in favoring capital punishment for the most minor of offenses. "Death is the default punishment" is a concept used to reinforce such stereotypes. The G.I. loan that financed the building of the caliph's palace fits another stereotype: that of Muslim men deriving their power from the support of the Western world. These shorts tend to make no distinctions among Arabs, Muslims, and Persians, terms which in popular culture tend to be depicted as "interchangeable".
In these shorts, Muslim men are never depicted as intelligent, kind, rational, or wise. Some may have harems, but they are otherwise familyless and friendless figures. For all the menace of their weapons (often swords), they are inept in using them and easily manipulated by the "Western hero", Bugs. Also lacking are depictions of diligence and productivity in the Middle East, thus portraying the Middle East as being a cultural backwater, unaffected by modernity.
Home video releases
- Sensoy, Özlem (2010), ""Mad Man Hassan Will Buy Your Carpets!": The Bearded Curricula of Evil Muslims", in Kincheloe, Joe L.; Steinberg, Shirley R.; Stonebanks, Christopher D., Teaching Against Islamophobia, Peter Lang Publishing Inc., ISBN 9781433103360
- Sensoy (2010), p. 113-123
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