THE ADVENTURES OF SINBAD THE SAILOR/SYN/UPN/1996-98
*(Zen Gasner) Sinbad, a Persian sailor who cruised the seven seas of the ancient
world in search of adventure in a ship called the Nomad. His colleagues included
Jacqueline Collen as Maeve, the apprentice sorceress; Oris Orhuero as Rongar, a
black, knife-throwing mute sailor; Tim Progosh as Firouz; George Buza as Doubar;
and Mariah Shirley as Bryn, the sorceress (introduced in second season).
*(Amir Talai) Abdul, an Iranian attending the fictional University of the
Midwest. Abdul's room is down the hall from the series central characters, two
40 year old females who decide to go to college together. When he first met the
ladies, Abdul apologized for not helping them with their luggage, saying
"Back home in my country you would carry my bags." Abdul can get you anything at
a discount. At parties, Abdul has a hard time getting women to notice him. He is
learning the ropes in the romance department. and now knows that just because he
compliments a girl's jewelry doesn't give him the right to grope her breasts.
*(Cartoon Character) Aladdin (voice of Scott Weinger) a young Arab boy living in
the days of ancient Persia who discovers a magic lamp, the Genie that lives
within (voice of Dan Castellaneta) and falls in love with Princess Jasmine
(voice of Linda Larkin). The cartoon was based on the 1992 Disney animated
feature movie Aladdin. At the conclusion of the Disney movie Aladdin and the
King of Thieves (1996), Aladdin is reunited with father Caisim, the King of
Thieves. Note: The Aladdin character first appeared in Thousand and One Nights,
a series of anonymous stories in Arabic told by Scheherezade to her husband,
Schariar, King of Samarkand to delay her execution. Legend says she entertained
him with stories for 1,001 nights and thus saved her life. She also created such
Arabian characters as Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves, and Sinbad the Sailor.
DOWN & OUT IN BEVERLY HILLS/FOX/1987
**The 1986 movie that spawned this TV spin-off featured Reza Bashar as a
backward Iranian neighbor of Dave Whitman, a successful businessman who shares
his home with a homeless vagrant. Joseph Makkar played the role of an Iranian
I DREAM OF JEANNIE/NBC/1965-70
*(Barbara Eden/costar) Jeannie, a beautiful blonde Genie imprisoned in a bottle
2000 years ago who was released from captivity by an astronaut who found her
bottle on the beach of a tropic island. Falling instantly in love with her new
master, Jeannie followed him back to Cocoa Beach, Florida. The two happily
married on the December 2, 1969 episode. Jeannie was born in Mesopotamia in the
year 64 B.C.
MARCO POLO/NBC/1982 (Miniseries)
**(Leonard Nimoy) Achmet, Persian man who interacted with thirteenth-century
Venetian traveler Marco Polo in this ten-hour miniseries.
**Mahmoud, a shyster Iranian immigrant who sold jewelry and clothing along the
beach in Southern California. His mother was deported for selling the Shah’s
crown jewels from the back of her Mercedes.
**(Omid Djalili) Nasim, Persian handyman at the Lamont Hotel in New York City
who takes offense whenever anyone mistakes him for an Arab. As Nasim protests
"I'm not Arab. I'm Persian! It's so obvious. You can't tell the difference?" His
boss at the Hotel Mavis responds "Hell, no, I can't tell the difference. You
people all look alike to me." Later, Mavis confides to Nasim that "your people
do scare me .... I mean I see three of four of you guys on an airplane, and I'm
off." Nasim replies he feels "exactly the same way about the Portuguese." Whoopi
Goldberg who plays Mavis Rae, Nasim's opinionated boss on the program encourages
such ethnic jokes and dialog because it's real life stuff and "such exchanges,
aside from hopefully winning laughs, are intended to deconstruct some of the
fears that pervade post-9/11 America." Born in Britain in 1965, Omid Djalili is
"The funniest Iranian comedian in the world, accroding to the BBC. Further
testimony from the The Guardian states "If we dropped Djalili's all over the
West instead of bombs across the Middle-East, the World would be a far happier
place." In Britain, Djalil describes himself as the world's only Iranian
comedian. And after a pause, he adds" "That's three more than Germany."
*(John Ales) Genie, a 2000-year-old hyper genie who becomes the master of a 20th
century divorced mother of two children when she frees him from a purple Persian
throw rug. Other cast include Jerry Van Dyke as Grandpa Genie; and John
Rhys-Davies as Mustapha.