» » The DuPont Show of the Month Cole Porter's 'Aladdin' (1957–1961)

The DuPont Show of the Month Cole Porter's 'Aladdin' (1957–1961) Online

The DuPont Show of the Month Cole Porter's 'Aladdin' (1957–1961) Online
Original Title :
Cole Porteru0027s u0027Aladdinu0027
Genre :
TV Episode / Comedy / Drama / History / Romance
Year :
Directror :
Ralph Nelson
Cast :
Sal Mineo,Anna Maria Alberghetti,Dennis King
Writer :
S.J. Perelman
Type :
TV Episode
Time :
1h 30min
Rating :
The DuPont Show of the Month Cole Porter's 'Aladdin' (1957–1961) Online

This is the story from the fairy tales of 1001 nights. Aladdin finds an old lamp and discovers when he cleans it that a ghost was imprisoned inside. Gladly to be free the ghost accepts Aladdin as his master and fulfills all his wishes. Thus Aladdin's lamp attracts not only friends of his. {locallinks-homepage}
Episode cast overview:
Sal Mineo Sal Mineo - Aladdin
Anna Maria Alberghetti Anna Maria Alberghetti - Princess Ming Chou
Dennis King Dennis King - Astrologer
Basil Rathbone Basil Rathbone - Emperor
Howard Morris Howard Morris - Wu Fang
Una Merkel Una Merkel - Aladdin's Mother
Cyril Ritchard Cyril Ritchard - Sui-Janel (Sorcerer)
George Hall George Hall - Chamberlain
Geoffrey Holder Geoffrey Holder - Genie
Alec Clarke Alec Clarke - Prime Minister (as Alexander Clarke)

This was the last musical show written by Cole Porter before his death and the song "Wouldn't It Be Fun" (not performed in the show, but included in the soundtrack recording) contains the last lyrics that Porter wrote.

User reviews



Cole Porter used to make fun of teams such as Rodgers and Hammerstein because he felt if he could write both the book and music, then others could, too. Some of the numbers he wrote for this show have the distinctive Porter touch, but Perelman's script is a perfect match. Both gentlemen were sophisticated, and their wordplay is wonderful. The cast is very energetic, except for Rathbone, who almost seems to be sleepwalking through the show. Cyril Ritchard is always delightful, and the play on words of his name, Sui Generous is a classic touch. Dennis King is also very animated as the astrologer, reminiscent of Professor Marvel from "The Wizard Of Oz". Howard Morris is great as usual, as Wu Fang, a lousy pickpocket, but dedicated friend. Geoffrey Holder as the Genie is a natural, and Anna Maria Alberghetti is once again a princess (see Cinderfella). Una Merkel rounds up a fine cast as Alladin's mother. Sal Mineo us energetic as ever, and gives a top-notch performance. I give this production an 8 because only one of Porter's songs stands out--"That's Why Taxes Are High".


This was a real find. I remember watching this on TV in my salad years at the ripe age of 10. I was developing an interest in musical theater and knew in fact who Cole Porter was. At that age I still liked children's fables as well and could appreciate Aladdin on that level. Watching it again 60 years later I can now appreciate the wit that went into some of Porter's lyrics.

Though Sal Mineo plays the young protagonist Aladdin and Anna Maria Alberghetti is the royal princess of China a woman way beyond his station, the real star of Aladdin is Cyril Ritchard who is the sorcerer who pulls a palace coup and becomes the Emperor through his control of the magic lamp temporarily taken from Aladdin's control is the real star of this show. Ritchard had gotten some great reviews with his Captain Hook in Mary Martin's Peter Pan on Broadway and television. There's quite a bit of Hook in what Ritchard does here as the sorcerer named by book author S.J. Perelman, Sui Generis. Ritchard is having one great old time hamming it up in a role that calls for it.

The Porter wit is still sharp with such songs like No Wonder Taxes Are High and Opportunity Knocks. Ritchard really delivers them with gusto. He also opens the show with Come To The Supermarket In Old Peking that Barbra Streisand sang when she made her first album. Veteran musical performer Dennis King sings Trust Your Destiny To Your Star which I knew over the years because Bing Crosby had recorded it and knew it being the Crosbyphile I am. It was nice to see the context that they were written in.

Sadly the ballads that young lovers Mineo and Alberghetti were given were second rate. No Night And Day or I Concentrate On You are in Aladdin's score.

Today of course Aladdin would be done with Asian performers. In that sense Porter's rival songwriter giants Rodgers&Hammerstein were ahead of Porter when they did Flower Drum Song on Broadway. It was a nearly all Asian cast on Broadway and 100% Asian on the big screen.

Live television did have its pitfalls. I recall seeing Ritchard being hoisted on some strong shoulders during one of the numbers and it looked for a second as if he was going to be dropped. Still seeing it was like going to the opening night of a Broadway musical without leaving your home.

Geoffrey Holder plays the genie of the lamp with appropriate fierceness. He borrowed a bit from that other genie Rex Ingram from The Thief Of Bagdad. The tall Mr. Holder had some obvious lifts so he could really towe over the slender juvenile Mineo. Basil Rathbone plays the Emperor of China and he borrows a bit from his Louis XI in If I Were King. Howard Morris plays Aladdin's best friend who is a pickpocket and whose talents come in handy in the climax. And Una Merkel is a fine Una Merkel as Aladdin's mother.

The creaks and flaws of 50s television are showing here. Still while hardly Cole Porter's best Aladdin can still be appreciated by today's audience.


Cole Porter's final musical (and his only one written for television) was not well received at the time, and it's easy to see why. Though S.J. Perelman's script is a clever, witty retelling of the classic tale, it feels like it had to be padded out to fill the DuPont Show's 90-minute time slot.

Additionally, the hugely talented, charming cast doesn't really make up for the inherent racism of the piece: dozens of white actors in yellowface with taped eyelids, jokes about Chinese people eating dogs, etc. So it's a mixed bag.

Broadway songwriting legend Cole Porter was gravely ill when he wrote the songs, so they're not his best work. (The title song is singularly bland.) Worse, his lyrics are more racially problematic than Perelman's already stereotype-ridden script. The highlight of the score is the bouncy, fun "Opportunity Knocks but Once."

Worth singling out for praise in the cast are Sal Mineo as Aladdin, Una Merkel as his mother, and Howard Morris at his comedic best in a supporting role. Cyril Ritchard chews scenery as the over-the-top villain. Anna Maria Alberghetti (as the princess), Geoffrey Holder (as the genie) and Basil Rathbone (as the emperor) were all wonderful actors, though they're not given anything terribly interesting to do here.

For me, the video's main appeal is seeing Sal Mineo play a romantic lead, and seeing 1950s-era Howard Morris do something other than sketch comedy.

Produced on color videotape, the show is only known to survive as a black-and-white kinescope. This is a shame, because it probably looked spectacular in color.