Jeannie (TV series)
|Based on||I Dream of Jeannie|
created by Sidney Sheldon
|Directed by||Charles August Nichols|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||1|
|No. of episodes||16 (list of episodes)|
|Running time||30 minutes|
|Distributor||Sony Pictures Television|
|Original release||September 8 –|
December 22, 1973
Jeannie is an American animated television series that originally aired for a 16-episode season on CBS from September 8 to December 22, 1973. It was produced by Hanna-Barbera in association with Screen Gems, and its founders William Hanna and Joseph Barbera are the executive producers. Despite being a spin-off of the television sitcom I Dream of Jeannie, Jeannie has little in common with its parent show. In this version, the title character is rescued by a high school student, Corey Anders. Jeannie is accompanied by genie-in-training Babu, and they become companions to Corey. The series was marketed towards a younger demographic than I Dream of Jeannie.
None of the original I Dream of Jeannie actors reprised their roles, reportedly due to a lack of budget. Julie McWhirter replaces Barbara Eden in the lead role. In his first voice-acting job, Mark Hamill plays Corey, and also sings the theme music. Babu is voiced by Joe Besser, who had a successful voice-acting career at the time. Jeannie was shown as part of CBS's Saturday-morning cartoon programming block, and episodes aired between 1973 and 1975. The show was also included on the wheel series Fred Flintstone and Friends, and had crossovers with the Scooby-Doo franchise. Jeannie has been distributed via a CTV Television Network streaming service. An episode can also be viewed at the UCLA Film & Television Archive and its theme song was released on a 2006 compilation album. The critical response to Jeannie was primarily negative.
Premise and characters
In Jeannie, high school student Corey Anders[a] discovers Jeannie's bottle while surfing and draws the title character out of it. Corey becomes the master to Jeannie and her apprentice Babu, who are treated as his slaves. Portrayed as a 16-year-old, Jeannie is shown as training the "junior genie" Babu, who frequently causes trouble due to his inexperience with magic. Playing the role of the comic relief, Babu is characterized as having a habit of "popping in at the most inopportune times". The pair become close "friends and protectors" to Corey, who is Jeannie's love interest.
Episodes typically focus on Corey's attempts to hide Jeannie and Babu's true identities as he attends Center City High School and Jeannie's difficulties with adjusting to her new life in the 1970s. Corey's storylines also include his friend Henry Glopp; other than Corey, Henry is the only other person aware of Jeannie's identity as a genie. Other supporting characters include Corey's mom (Mrs. Anders), a friend and an antagonist (S. Melvin Farthinggale), the Master of all Genies (Hadji), and Debbie. S. Melvin is portrayed as a "snobbish snoop", who frequently sneaks around the Anders' home due to his suspicions about Jeannie and Babu.
Jeannie is an animated spin-off of the live-action television sitcom I Dream of Jeannie, although it has a substantially different plot than its parent show. In this version, Corey replaces astronaut Major Tony Nelson. While I Dream of Jeannie had focused on sex comedy, the humor used for Jeannie was changed to better fit its target demographic of teenagers and children. Also, unlike the original series, Jeannie is depicted as younger and with red hair instead of blonde; she activates her magic by shaking her ponytail rather than blinking her eyes.
Jeannie was a Hanna-Barbera production, with the company's founders William Hanna and Joseph Barbera serving as the show's executive producers. Charles August Nichols was the director, and Iwao Takamoto was the producer. I Dream of Jeannie creator Sidney Sheldon is not included in the credits for Jeannie, which The A.V. Club's Will Harris attributes to the extreme differences between the two shows. Hanna-Barbera had created Jeannie as a way to appeal to a younger demographic. The music was done by Hoyt Curtin with supervision by Paul DeKorte. Despite being produced by Hanna-Barbera, Jeannie was owned by Columbia Pictures, and its sister company Screen Gems created the show's animated opening credits.
According to IMDb, the Hanna-Barbera show The New Scooby-Doo Movies had gone over budget due to its number of guest stars, leaving the studio without enough money to afford the original I Dream of Jeannie cast for the cartoon spin-off. Instead, Barbara Eden was replaced by Julie McWhirter as the voice of Jeannie. Mark Hamill provides the voice for Corey, in his first voice-acting job. Along with voicing the character, he sings the theme music. Hamill would not become well known as a voice actor until his role as the Joker in the television show Batman: The Animated Series.
Bob Hastings and Joe Besser portray Henry Glopp and Babu, respectively. Besser was a successful voice actor during the 1970s and 1980s; along with Jeannie, he also voiced regular characters in the television programs The Houndcats and Yogi's Space Race. He had previously appeared in an I Dream of Jeannie episode, alongside the members of The Three Stooges. Debbie, Mark, and Mrs. Anders are played by Arlene Golonka, Michael Bell, and Janet Waldo, respectively. John Stephenson and Tommy Cook voice Hadji and S. Melvin Farthinggale. Sherry Alberoni, Julie Bennett, Don Messick, and Ginny Tyler provide additional voice-acting for the series.
|No.||Title||Original air date|
|1||"Surf's Up"||September 8, 1973|
|Jeannie becomes increasingly jealous when Corey partners with Angie for a surfing contest. She attempts to stop the partnership by stealing his math exam paper. However, Angie dumps Corey and works with S. Melvin instead. Jeannie tries to find the exam paper, but Babu had made it vanish. Babu impersonates Corey so he can attend the surfing contest with Jeannie. They win without using any magic.|
|2||"The Decathlon"||September 15, 1973|
|Corey and Henry work on their athletics for a competition versus a military academy. While they are convinced their diet is helping them, their success is really caused by Jeannie's magic. Babu accidentally tells them, which causes an argument between Corey and Jeannie. Jeannie tries to motivate Corey and Henry by introducing them to Greek champions. She thwarts S. Melvin's cheating and helps Corey win.|
|3||"The Great Ski Robbery"||September 22, 1973|
|Henry and Corey go to work at a ski resort diner, and they make sure Jeannie does not join them. They find the job to be much harder than expected. While helping them, Jeannie finds out Corey tricked her so he would have time to date a girl. Corey and Henry get fired, but Jeannie assists them in catching a couple of crown-stealing crooks to get back their jobs.|
|4||"Survival Course"||September 29, 1973|
|Corey and Henry sign up for the Flora and Fauna field trip, but an envious Jeannie forces Corey to go on the Survival Course field trip with Fred Franklin instead. Corey does best to use primitive methods of finding food while Jeannie gives him a little help. He grows increasingly frustrated when Jeannie uses her magic to help him, including providing him with a luxurious tent. When Corey gets lost from camp, Jeannie and Babu help him.|
|5||"The Power Failure"||October 6, 1973|
|While driving a new motorcycle, Corey and Henry meet Darlene Connway. In a jealous rage, Jeannie steals the motorcycle to go to a beauty salon, but she loses her ponytail. Without her ponytail, she cannot perform magic. Babu fails to grow it back or conjure a motorcycle. While Babu turns to Hadji for help, Jeannie attends school. Hadji decides to help Jeannie and returns her ponytail.|
|6||"The Dognappers"||October 13, 1973|
|Corey and Henry start a dog-sitting service, leaving Jeannie to take care of the show dog Fifi. When Fifi's owner comes to reclaim her, Jeannie and Babu believe Fifi was dognapped. Meanwhile, the town dognappers get hold of Fifi, and Henry and Corey get in trouble with the police. With Jeannie and Babu's help, Henry and Corey find and trap the dognappers.|
|7||"The Pigeon"||October 20, 1973|
|Corey and Henry get a racing pigeon, but she lays an egg and is unable to race. They are stuck with a frightened pigeon, Mervin, who seemingly cannot beat the champion racing pigeon. Jeannie, Corey and Henry train Mervin for the Saturday racing. With Jeannie's assistance Mervin manages to get past S. Melvin's wily tricks and win the race.|
|8||"Helen of Troy"||October 27, 1973|
|Since the town library is closed, Corey cannot complete his research for a term project on Helen of Troy. Jeannie brings back Helen with her magic to help Corey, but she becomes jealous when the two become romantically involved. Jeannie reveals Helen's true character and the reality of Troy to Corey, which prompts him to return to his project.|
|9||"The Sailors"||November 3, 1973|
|Corey and Henry enter a sailboat race with Barbie rather than Jeannie. Jeannie uses magic to take Barbie's place, but accidentally gets Corey's boat disqualified from the race. Corey and Jeannie stage a sea rescue to make the commodore reinstate his race position. Corey wins the race after eluding S. Melvin's cheating.|
|10||"The Kid Brother"||November 10, 1973|
|Corey agrees to babysit Linda's younger brother Billy. Meanwhile, Billy sees Jeannie floating and realizes she is a genie. He tries to prove her existence, but Linda does not believe him. Finally, Jeannie exposes herself fully to Billy to encourage imagination and remind him the importance of her secrecy. Linda separates with Corey after seeing Babu.|
|11||"The Blind Date"||November 17, 1973|
|Following a trip to the amusement park, Henry tells Corey that his cousin Bunny is visiting him. Corey initially does not want to have a blind date with her, until he sees her and find her to be attractive. Jeannie becomes jealous about the date and attempts to break the couple up. As a result, Corey orders her back into her bottle, but breaks-up with Bunny after realizing how fickle she is. Unfortunately, Corey's mother comes across the bottle and recycles it. Corey reaches the recycling plant and manages to rescue Jeannie.|
|12||"The Commercial"||November 24, 1973|
|Jeannie helps Corey enter a contest which, to his surprise, he becomes the winner of. However, in order to earn a place in a four year college course, he has got to go for a commercial, which Jeannie objects to. Jeannie finds an opportunity to get rid of the snooty Miss Twisty Taffy and keep Corey's job intact.|
|13||"Don Juan"||December 1, 1973|
|Corey and Henry plan to ask girls to dance with them at a costume party. Because of Henry's shyness Jeannie casts a charm on Henry getting him a great deal of attention from a group of girls. As Henry becomes accustomed to his popularity, Corey becomes increasingly unhappy. Jeannie tries to sort things out with help from Rocky, but at the party, Corey's date leaves him. Jeannie removes the charm she placed on Henry, and he dances with Lisa.|
|14||"The Dog"||December 8, 1973|
|Hadji assigns Jeannie to take care of his genie dog Salome. The dog interferes with Corey's date, and Jeannie tries to send him away. Salome steals Hadji's golden cup, and Hadji turns Corey into a dog. Corey and Salome get taken to the pound, but Salome releases Corey and every other dog. As a result, Corey is to be transferred to the military. Jeannie tricks Hadji into turning Corey back to his normal form.|
|15||"The Jinx"||December 15, 1973|
|After many accidents, Babu thinks he is a genie jinx and decides to leave with Jeannie's bottle. Jeannie enlists Hadji's help to track Babu, and she is also assisted by Henry and Corey. They find him in the forest, and he only agrees to return if nothing bad happens again. Jeannie follows him everywhere and corrects anything going wrong, convincing him he's not a jinx.|
|16||"The Wish"||December 22, 1973|
|After Corey's victorious football tournament, Henry feels inferior and lacking potential success. Jeannie grants Henry a birthday wish that causes him to swap bodies with Corey. This leads to confusion for them and their friends and family. When the wish expires, Corey's date Linda ends their relationship.|
Broadcast history and release
Jeannie aired for one season on CBS with its 16 30-minute episodes initially broadcast in 1973. CBS was the distributor for the show. Regarding ratings, media outlets were divided over whether the series was successful or not. CBS continued to run episodes until August 1975 as part of its Saturday-morning cartoon programming block. The episode "The Decathlon" is available for viewing at the UCLA Film & Television Archive. The title music was released on the compilation album Hanna-Barbera Main Titles in 2006. Jeannie was made available digitally by CTV Television Network through their streaming service CTV Throwback.
Jeannie was shown as part of the wheel series Fred Flintstone and Friends, which had Fred Flintstone host excerpts taken from Hanna-Barbera programs. It also had several crossovers with the Scooby-Doo franchise. Babu appears in the television show Scooby's All-Star Laff-A-Lympics, in which he participates on the "Scooby Doobies" team. Babu and Jeannie return for The New Scooby-Doo Movies episode "Mystery in Persia", also known "Scooby-Doo Meets Jeannie". Jeannie helps to trap the genie Jadal the Evil inside a bottle and uncover that Adbullah is his master.
Jeannie received a negative response from critics. Freelance writer David Perlmutter criticized the series for relying on "weak reimaginings of the original concept". Permutter, however, praised Joe Besser's performance as a highlight. In his list of the strangest animated spin-offs, Closer Weekly's Ed Gross said he was disappointed Jeannie was not a faithful adaptation of I Dream of Jeannie. As part of his commentary on cartoons aired during the Vietnam War, ethnic studies professor Christopher P. Lehman dismissed Jeannie as "promot[ing] the concept of man as woman's master". He found the premise to be harmful to women in comparison to the female empowerment message in the television show Wonder Woman. Media historian Hal Erickson panned the decision to use younger characters, which he felt was a "complete disregard or contempt for the intelligence of the viewing children and adolescents".
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