Ali Baba (film #1 on Disc #4 of 100 Cartoon Classics DVD Megapack (Treeline Films, 2004)). Also, film #9 on Disc #2 of 150 Cartoon Classics DVD Megapack (Mill Creek Entertainment, 2006)). [Category: Outtakes & Obscurities]

This made-for-tv cartoon features a cheesy live-action host named Mr. Piper who tells us fairy tales with the help of very limited animation. For all that, the story of Ali Baba and the 40 Thieves is told in a surprisingly authentic way, including the murder of Ali Baba’s brother, Ali Baba’s wife belly dancing, and the thieves being foiled by having boiling oil poured on them. Of course, this is all done with extremely primitive animation, so it’s nothing the kids shouldn’t see, but considering the cheapness of the proceedings, I’m surprised they were so careful with the story. And this very cheapness increases the camp value and weirdness of the proceedings, making this more interesting than you might expect a cheesy made-for-tv cartoon to be.

Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: ****. Weirdness: ****. Historical Interest: ****. Overall Rating: ****.

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