7

There was a television production of a musical version of Aladdin shown in approximately the early seventies. I can't confirm the channel, but I have a strong suspicion it was WNEW in New York, which was at the time a MetroMedia affiliate. It featured a song by Aladdin's mother, sung to Aladdin, featuring the line "you're an idle ragamuffin".

It's not the Cole Porter version from 1958 -- that one was allegedly never rebroadcast, and does not appear to contain such a song. Also, the one I saw was in color.

Is the production I saw ringing a bell with anyone?

  • 1
    Was it only Aladdin, or is there any chance there was a mashup of other 1001 nights characters as well? – Jenayah Dec 20 '18 at 17:34
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We have a winner - it is indeed the 1967 broadcast, based on the Prince Street Players version of the show. This would have meant either that I was only a year old when I saw it (and have a FAR better memory than I ever imagined) or that it was rebroadcast later.

This site offers the rights to the play, and the summary directly quotes the phrase "idle ragamuffin". There's even a clip of the song in question.

Using the art of Ancient Chinese Staging, an all-knowing and all-seeing Stage Manager and his two Assistants tell the story of Aladdin – an "idle rag-a-muffin," kite-flying enthusiast. After happening upon, and falling hopelessly in love with, the emperor's daughter, Princess Mei Ling, Aladdin is determined to become the richest man in China and marry her, but Fate is a fickle mistress, and Aladdin's is about to take a few treacherous and hilarious turns before he can have his Happily Ever After.

The Prince Street Players' own site uses the same phrase, and offers more info about their productions.

Now I just have to see if I can track down a copy.

  • Interested to see whether this was the right answer or this one, apparently also based on the same script – Valorum Feb 27 at 22:46
  • @Valorum Oh no, this was certainly it. The producers still have copies available on video, I still have to pick one up – VBartilucci Feb 28 at 1:59
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There was a TV movie musical of Aladdin that was first broadcast on Christmas Day, 1971 on the BBC. It might have been rebroadcast in the USA at some later point. Were the characters speaking with British accents? I do not remember seeing this; I found it by searching IMDB, which has no photos nor lyrics. The next closest match was from 1967 but it was staged in "Chinese theatre" style which you would have remembered.

The archival BBC television listings added that it was broadcast at 5 PM their time, and says: "Cilla Black as Aladdin. A traditional pantomime recorded at Wimbledon Theatre with ERIC COVERDALE, BILL HERBERT and THE IRVING DAVIES DANCERS, RONNIE HAZLEHURST AND HIS ORCHESTRA, Vocal backings THE BREAKAWAYS and THE FRED TOMLINSON SINGERS Choreography IRVING DAVIES, Written by RONNIE TAYLOR from the book by PHIL PARK and ALBERT J. KNIGHT Producer MICHAEL HURLL."

Here is a black and white picture from a rehearsal of this production.

  • Hm, this may be worth investigating. It's certainly the right timeframe. I don't recall it being in Panto style, however, and I don't remember seeing anyone's Twankey <g>. The "Chinese theatre" style of the 1967 version also matches the aforementioned 1958 Cole Porter production, a complete copy of which I actually found online. youtube.com/watch?v=LxVF572N4yI – VBartilucci Dec 20 '18 at 20:45
  • Now that I recall, the 1967 version may be the winner, and either I saw it far earlier than I thought (I'd have only been one, for pete's sake), or it was re-run some years later. I recall a scene involving cups of tea and the old "distract and swap" gag - the pair kept pointing and saying "look, please" in a style that very well could be described as cartoonishly Asian. I found the older version, perhaps it's worth digging about for that one. – VBartilucci Dec 20 '18 at 20:48
  • @VBartilucci if you are to dig about the 1967 one, check out the only (but quite complete) review it has on IMDb – Jenayah Dec 20 '18 at 20:53
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I believe this is the movie you're looking for; Aladdin (1990) with Barry Bostwick as the Genie

Produced by the Disney Channel, this musical version of ALADDIN is based on a popular stage production by the Prince Street Players, with music by Jim Eiler and Jeanne Bargy and book and lyrics by Eiler.

Great memories!

  • 1
    I've taken the liberty of pounding this into a decent-looking answer. – Valorum Feb 27 at 22:33
  • The first sentence in the question contains the phrase "shown in approximately the early seventies"... – Organic Marble Feb 27 at 23:47

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