Rewatching DuckTales! Disney does Aladdin years before Aladdin in episode 12, “Master of the Djinn.”
Here’s what happens: We begin right in the middle of the story with Scrooge out in the desert in search of Aladdin’s lost lamp, and Glomgold hot (heh) on his trail. Scrooge and Glomgold find the hidden chamber and grab the lamp at the same time. This releases a djinn (genie) but there’s no way to know which of the two of them are the djinn’s true master. The nephews give the djinn the idea of Scrooge and Glomgold competing for a race around the world, ending at the Duckburg Ice Cream Parlor.
Most of the rest of the episode is Scrooge and Glomgold racing not so much around the world, but through the desert. Huey, Dewey and Louie play host to the djinn at Scrooge’s mansion during the race. Mansion life agrees with the djinn, and he decides no one should win the race, so he sends Scrooge and Glomgold back in time the old Arabian Nights days. They’re immediately captured by locals and taken before the Sultan. The Sultan believes the two ducks are spies sent from his enemy the Emir to steal the star of his court, the lovely Shawebizad. Scrooge and Glomgold are sent to be fed to crocodiles. They’re rescued by Shawebizad, who puts the guards to sleep with her storytelling prowess. The three of them escape into the desert, where Shawebizad is reunited with her love, the Emir.
The nephews and Webby trick the djinn into bringing Scrooge and Glomgold back to the present. Scrooge makes it to Duckburg, only to find that Glomgold has won the face. Glomgold doesn’t choose his words wisely, however, and ends up wishing they’d never found the map. Then we time travel again, back to the start of the episode, and see things play out when Scrooge and Glomgold find the chamber of the lamp, only with no lamp inside.
Humbug: The episode begins with the news reporting on Scrooge’s newest expedition. We haven’t seen this with his previous treasure hunts, where he’s just on his own.
Junior Woodchucks: Notice that the nephews don’t wear their baseball caps to dinner, which is polite of them.
Maid and maiden: The fact that Webby is the one recruited to trick the djinn, by making him prove he can shrink small enough to fit inside the lamp, shows she’s not as sweet and innocent as she appears. She can be just as much of a troublemaker as the boys.
Fowl fouls: Glomgold’s henchmen are quick to betray him right at the start, and the point is made that Glomgold is so untrustworthy that even thugs don’t put up with him.
Down in Duckburg: At the mansion, the djinn watches TV in a big empty room with only a piano. This is what, the music hall? This also confirms that multiple rooms in the mansion have televisions. The Duckburg Ice Cream Parlor, when we finally see it, is wholly unimpressive.
Reference row: Shawebizad is a reference to the mythological storyteller Scheherazade. She, Aladdin, and the djinn all come from folklore, but their stories were popularized in the classic work 1,001 Arabian Nights, also known 1,001 Nights or just The Arabian Nights.
Thoughts upon this viewing: These Indiana Jones-style treasure hunt episodes always bring out the best in the animators, and this one looks great. The corny jokes are just a little too corny this time, though, so it feels like there aren’t many stakes to this otherwise huge story.
Next: The old haunt.
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