“Don’t ever dooo that!”
Supervision by Cal Howard and Cal Dalton; Story by Dave Monahan; Animation by Volney White; Musical Direction by Carl W. Stalling. A Merrie Melody released on August 27, 1938.
In today’s short, Egghead is playing the role of Aladdin. Like most Aladdins, he’s one of those living on the street types. If he could just catch a break, he could be set for life. And just in front of him is a claw machine with some nice looking prizes on display. Al plays, and manages to get lucky on his first try. (Which is how you know this is fiction.) He thinks he’s just acquired a sugar bowl. Good thing the instructions are printed on the bottom.
After the rubs, he’s greeted by the genie of the lamp who lays down the rules: Aladdin gets anything he wants when he rubs the lamp. No limits. This delights the lad in Bagdad, but angers the guy who was playing the machine before him. An angry Arab that we will call Gephar. He’s always wanted that lamp so he could reclaim all the nickels he’s given the machine, and he’s going to follow Aladdin until he can nab it for himself.
Aladdin follows a crowd of people to a notice stating that the best entertainer will be allowed to wed the princess. (Because the best son-in-law is the kind that keeps you smiling.) Aladdin takes his magic carpet he just asked for to the palace and waits in line with the other schlubs who have no chance without genie wing men. They’re not entertaining enough, and the king lets them know with his trapdoor.
While Aladdin waits, Gephar secretly switches his regular lamp with a Foulger brand coffee pot™. Let’s see if that will make a difference. When it’s Alladin’s turn, I’d like to say he’s got a good chance, seeing as the princess is clearly smitten with him. Too bad her father is the one making all decisions. (And I may not know much about any culture, but I swear she looks like she’s from another country entirely. Like Italy or Romania.) Aladdin does a catchy little musical number, (“Bei Mir Bist Du Schein”) but her father isn’t enjoying himself. Just let him reach for that trapdoor release…
WAIT! Aladdin has yet to play his trump card! Just let him give his lamp a quick rub. Oh. Guess he’s noticed the difference. (Does he look like he’s got two tongues to anybody else?) He’s ejected. When he peeks inside the palace window, he sees Gephar using HIS hard earned lamp to summon jewels so he can bribe his way into the father’s good graces. And it works, because personality means nothing; you gotta be able to provide. The sultan announces the wedding plans. (Losing his gloves and hair for brief seconds. A trait his daughter is able to replicate with her mouth.)
But Aladdin is willing to stand up for the truth. He runs in, punches the thief, gets his lamp back, and runs off with the girl. An angry mob follows, but the two interlopers are already flying off. Later, at wherever they decided to settle, the princess is feeling like she got ripped off. (It’s called ‘love at first sight’, rather than ‘perpetual sight’ for a reason.) She gives the lamp a rub and the genie shows up looking like Robert Taylor now. She happily joins him in his lamp.
Favorite Part: Two of the performers the sultan sent down the hole continue to sing. He tries to shut them off with a gun. He gets one, but hilariously enough, the other guy keeps going. (They were never that close.)
Personal Rating: 3