Friends, if you possibly had the time to listen to the New Scooby-Doo Movies episode last year – you might recall my mentioning the crossover between the animated version of I Dream of Jeannie and the gang of Mystery Inc. To be fair there isn’t a ton of connections between 1973’s Jeannie and the popular sitcom starring Barbara Eden, Larry Hagman, and Bill Daily. It might be better to think of Jeannie as a reimagining of the live action series – although the Saturday Morning cartoon was co-produced by Screen Gems, who also produced I Dream of Jeannie on NBC from 1965 until 1970. Hanna-Barbera studios naturally was responsible for the animated series with both William Hanna and Joseph Barbera acting as Executive Producers – along with Iwao Takamoto (Peter Pan, Lady and the Tramp) as a Producer and Charles August Nichols (The Jetsons, Jonny Quest) acting as Director for the 16 episodes that made up the series. There are two big differences between Jeannie and I Dream of Jeannie – one is the character of Jeannie is now a teenager to fit in with the rest of the teenage cast of characters. The second change is Jeannie is in charge of the education of a character named Babu, who is a genie in training and was voiced by Joe Besser (The Three Stooges).
One of the fun facts about 1973’s Jeannie is it happens to mark the first voice acting gig that none other than Mark Hamill would get, something that he has made a fine career of 47 years later, right? In addition to Hamill providing the voice of Corey Anders, the teenage surfer who finds Jeannie, he also is the one singing in that opening. The animated series also boasted the talents of Bob Hastings – who had a successful career in film and television but also happened to be the voice for Commissioner Jim Gordon in Batman: The Animated Series and other DCU animated fare. It was the legendary Janet Waldo who provided the voice for Jeannie – you probably know her best as as Judy Jetson or perhaps Penelope Pitstop from The Wacky Races or any number of the other 142 acting credits she garnered in her long career.
The truth is that Jeannie didn’t do all that well I am sad to say – although Babu would go on to appear in the Laff-A-Lympics animated series as part of the Scooby Doobies. Naturally. Actually I’ve read online that Jeannie was initially intended to appear in that animated parody of the Battle of the Network Stars – although copyright issues put a stop to that.
Friends, in closing – just as I’m finishing this article… Facebook has been kind enough to share with me a post I made 9 years ago. Would you believe that it’s a panel from the Laff-A-Lympics comic book that was released by Marvel Comics – featuring the Scooby Doobies and Babu? That… is kind of weird, right?