I Dream of Jeannie

How could I forget what was probably my first exposure to “Middle Eastern” culture, I Dream of Jeannie?

This clip threw me for a loop, as I remember that Jeannie was supposed to be from Baghdad. That’s not Arabic she’s speaking. According to Wikipedia, it’s Persian.

A couple interesting points from Wikipedia:

In the pilot, when rescued Jeannie speaks Persian (not Arabic as is often stated), and can only speak English when Tony wishes her to. (And even then, she inexplicably speaks archaic English until she learns the modern form.) Yet, whenever anyone from Jeannie’s family show up, or she visits them, etc., they speak perfect contemporary English.
Jeannie claims to come from Baghdad, and to be around 2000 years old. Yet Baghdad was not founded until 762AD. In an earlier episode she claimed to be from Babylon.

A real Arab was actually involved in this 60’s sitcom, Michael Ansara, born in Syria, who was married to Barbara Eden and played the rarely-seen blue djinn, an angry entity who originally turned Jeannie into a genie because she spurned his love.

m ansst d d

4 Comments

Filed under arabic, arabist, language, movies and shows

4 responses to “I Dream of Jeannie

  1. Hi,
    This is a test comment from WP staff.
    Hailin

  2. I was watching it from when I was child but this is the first time I know how they met.
    I am 41 now, and “I dreame of jeanie” created many thing in my childhood, do you also?.

  3. Me too. I watched this show a lot when I was very young but I don’t remember it very well. I never noticed that Major Nelson and Major Healy were in different services, for one thing. I’ll have to watch it again as an adult and pay more attention this time.
    Thanks for posting!

  4. Stardust1

    “This clip threw me for a loop, as I remember that Jeannie was supposed to be from Baghdad. That’s not Arabic she’s speaking. According to Wikipedia, it’s Persian.”

    The show is actually correct. The Persian Empire conquered the area that would latter be called Iraq.

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