- Arabian Knights
"Arabian Knights" is an animated segment of "The Banana Splits Adventure Hour", created by Hanna-Barbera Productions. The series is based on "Arabian Nights", a classic work of Middle-Eastern literature.
Set among the fantasy-set lands that surround the high city of Baghdad, the show followed the adventures of a group of extraordinary people, who have banded together to fight against a corrupt ruler of Baghdad.
The rightful ruler of Baghdad is young Prince Turhan, until the evil Sultan Bakaar and his minions usurp the throne. Turhan becomes a wanted man and must flee the city. He encounters a magician, Fariek, who transforms Turhan and himself into blue wisps of smoke to hide them from Bakaar's minions. Fariek then enchants a table so that it can fly.
After leaving the city, the companions hide in a cavern, where they meet strongman Raseem the Great, who befriends them once he realises that they are enemies of Bakaar. The three new allies then set off on the back of a small donkey called Zazoom to enlist the aid of Turhan's uncle, the Caliph. They reach the Caliph's city to find he has been deposed by Bakaar and is now imprisoned. His daughter Nida, Turhan's cousin, is about to be sold into slavery. The allies manage to free Nida, but are cornered by Bakaar's men until assistance arrives in the form of Bez, a man who is able to transform into any animal at will. Turning into an elephant, he charges through the guards and carries everyone to safety.
Once away from Baakar's minions, the group decides to form a heroic band, to hopefully one day usurp Baakar and restore Turhan as Sultan once more. Thus the start of their adventures was born.
The "Arabian Knights" series was one of several animated mini-series, used as filler-segments for Hanna-Barbera's "Banana Splits Club" show. For the most part, it competed with the other series, "
The Adventures of the Musketeers", " Micro Ventures" and the live-action "Danger Island" segments.
Often, the general thrust of the "Arabian Knights" adventures deal with the Knights trying to effect some action against Bakaar’s soldiers, or finding a means to further complete their goal of turning the tables on the evil dictator, or dealing with another villain set within the AK's universe.
For the most part, these adventures were done with a semi-serious slant, with a good part of action and comedy mixed in. Hardly anyone was injured or harmed -- save for Baakar's minions (in a usually comic effect), and the episodes usually ended in an up-beat 'happy' ending for the Knights.
* Turhan: A young teen aged boy, a Prince and rightful heir to the throne of the Sultan; he is the de facto leader of the Knights. Brave and handsome, he is the driving force behind fighting Bakaar and ending the usurper’s reign. He has acrobatic like agility and quickness, he is also skilled with a scimitar, enough to best Vangor in a contest.
* Nida: A lovely teen aged girl, cousin to Turhan and daughter of the Caliph; she is far from your typical ‘damsel-in-distress’ (though she can be and is captured often during the series). She can fight, but her real talent comes from her ability to disguise herself and alter her voice to mimic that of others. She uses this talent often to confuse Bakaar’s men and throw them off their guard. It’s hinted that Nida and Turhan might have a romantic interest in each other, but nothing is clearly shown in the series run, because they are cousins.
* Raseem: A tall, muscular man -- shown wearing a brief costume and fez -- who is the token ‘strongman’ of the Knights; also called ‘Raseem the Great’, he first meets Turhan when he and Fariek hide in a cavern he occupies. He mistakes them as Bakaar's men and attakcs them. When asked to be friends states "I have no friends". However upon learning they are against Bakaar he befriends them, and together he goes with them to find the Caliph (to get his aid against Bakaar). He often boasts of his strength saying he's as strong as 30 men. At one time he said he was as strong as seven elephants. Strong enough to shatter stone walls, lift and catch boulders, catch and throw back cannonballs and fight off scores of Bakaar’s soldiers at a time. Raseem’s power makes for a good equalizer in the Knight’s battles. He also has a companion in Zazoom; a small donkey (see entry below).
* Fariek: A short, tubby little man who is a somewhat-skilled practitioner of the mystical arts; he is the first to offer aid to Turhan after the Prince is deposed by Bakaar. A jolly soul, Fariek is somewhat portrayed as a bit of a bungler when it comes to casting spells or using magic against the Knight’s foes, but he always comes through in the clutch. His magic can cast illusions, make objects fly and change one thing into another, etc., but it can be disrupted by either counter-spells or when he himself is interrupted (having his eyes covered, etc.). He often provided the transportation (a flying carpet, flying pillows or flying chairs) for the nights
* Bez: A dark-skinned man who is often portrayed as wearing a turban and green clothing; he is also known as ‘Bez the Beast’, for his ability to transform his body into the form of any animal known to man. Often, he triggers this ability by speaking the phrase “Size of a-!” and speaking the name of the animal he wished to turn into. If the creature is small enough he can turn into multiple versions of them. Such as turning into a million bees. He can also transform into creatures like Winged Horses and Rocs. His shape shifting makes him a handy spy for the knights.
* Zazoom: A small donkey with long ears, who was Raseem’s companion before the muscle-man joined Turhan’s crusade against Bakaar. Often just a cute sidekick, Zazoom proved to be a bit of a secret weapon, because if one pulled his tail, it would make the little donkey go berserk; spinning and kicking out like a miniature tornado. This mistake was often made by Bakaar's men who triggered Zazoom's secret ability. Zazoom often was shown as having some intelligence, as he would at times give aid to his fellow Knights (often by distracting guards, getting keys to unlock prison doors, etc.).
* Bakaar: The series evil ruler, who usurps Turhan’s father and takes control of Baghdad. Clearly wishing to command all of the kingdom that bows to Baghdad, he sets all of his forces to the goal of capturing Turhan (and later all of the Knights) to secure his place on the throne. While cruel, Bakaar does not usually involve himself directly in the fight against the Knights; preferring to let his soldiers and minions to do the job (often with much failure). When he does try to do it himself, he's met with the same failure.
* Vangore: Bakaar's main henchman and captain of his guards. Often hatches plots to capture the Knights with no real success. He's often blamed and punished for his failures by Bakaar.
* Sundar: Bakaar's court magician.
*Joining of the Knights
*A Trap for Turhan
*The Great Gold Robbery
*The Wizard Ramnizar
*Sky Raiders of the Desert
*Isle of Treachery
*The Sultan's Plot
*The Reluctant Empress
*The Coronation of Bakaar
*The Great Brass Beast
*The Fabulous Fair
*The Desert Pirates
*The Jewels of Joowar
*The Royal Visitor
Jay North- Prince Turhan
Shari Lewis- Princess Nida
John Stephenson- Bakaar, Fariek
Henry Corden- Bez
Frank Gerstle- Raseem
Paul Frees- Vangore
* [http://www.internationalhero.co.uk/a/arabnite.htm International Heroes info on "Arabian Knights"]
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