February 6, 1994 – The Animated Television Series Aladdin Premieres on Disney Channel
“Arabian nights, like Arabian days, they tease and excite, take off and take flight, they shock and amaze…”
On February 6, 1994, the animated television series Aladdin premiered on Disney Channel. The series was based on the highly popular 1992 animated feature film of the same name, and takes place after the events of the direct-to-video sequel The Return of Jafar. The series ran for 86 episodes in 3 seasons. It starred Scott Weinger as Aladdin, Linda Larkin as Jasmine, Dan Castellaneta as Genie, Gilbert Gottfried as Iago, Frank Welker as Abu, Jason Alexander as Abis Mal, and James Avery as Haroud Hazi Bin.
The first episode, “Air Feather Friends,” begins in the Agrabah Marketplace, where Aby is up to his old tricks stealing fruit from the peddler. As Abu runs away, he runs into Aladdin, who manages to smooth things over as usual. A sudden gust of wind blows through, and three cyclones are seen entering the marketplace, destroying everything in sight. Iago gets caught in one of the cyclones and is tossed out of the marketplace, and Aladdin notices that the cyclones seem to be taking money and valuables with them. The guards are too afraid to go after the “wind demons,” but make a bet with Aladdin to capture the cyclones: if he fails to catch the thieves, the guards get Abu. Aladdin, Abu, Iago, and Genie head out to the desert, with Aladdin convinced that the cyclones are nothing more than thieves. Genie helps track the cyclones to the desert, but are unable to stop them. When Aladdin taunts them, the cyclones race back to attack. With a little help from Genie, the cyclones are subdued, revealing three thieves that are part of Abis Mal’s gang. The thieves race away, but Iago manages to find a strange golden feather in the ground. Abu takes it from him, and reveals that it’s a magical feather, giving them the ability to fly like a cyclone. Genie recognizes it as a feather belonging to the mythical bird Roc. Abu is determined to take the feather back as proof, but Aladdin wants to retrieve the loot as well.
Abis Mal is furious that his thieves were foiled by Aladdin, and decides to chop off their heads the next day, a decision that is met with criticism by Haroud Hazi Bin. However, Abis Mal is undeterred from his plan, while a bird cry is heard in the background. Aladdin and his friends track down Abis Mal’s hideout to take a feather back to Agrabah, and while inside, they discover a baby Roc trapped inside a cage, crying. Abu decides they should free the bird. When they do, Abis Mal and Haroud Hazi Bin catch them, but Genie helps the baby bird escape the hideout while Aladdin fights the guards. Aladdin thinks they’ve managed to escape, but are caught by Haroud Hazi Bin. Abis Mal then captures Aladdin and friends inside a giant cyclone, which takes them across the desert, although Abis Mal doesn’t realize that he’s blown Aladdin back to Agrabah. As they head back, Aladdin is upset to realize that he has lost the bet, and when the guards arrive, Abu is taken away. Suddenly, Abis Mal and his men arrive using the Roc feathers, and the guards realize that Aladdin was right. Aladdin takes Abu back from the guards, and grabs a few things from the marketplace to stop the thieves. However, Abis Mal soon has Aladdin trapped, but Genie appears with the baby Roc and its mother, who sends the thieves flying out of town in a cloud of dust. The Roc leaves, and Agrabah is saved. In the end, the guard that made the bet with Aladdin now has to pick dates for Abu.