|The primetime sitcom I Dream of Jeannie ran for 5 years on NBC, featuring Larry Hagman as Tony Nelson, an astronaut who stumbled upon a bottle on the shores of the Atlantic. Inside was a shapely genie, played by Barbara Eden, who returned home to serve Tony as her "master." The show was a major hit, and its reruns have shown great staying power over the years.
The animated version hit the airwaves in 1973, three years after the primetime version’s exit. In this new incarnation, Jeannie was freed from her bottle by a new “master,” surfer Corry Anders (voiced by then-unknown Mark Hamill, the future Luke Skywalker). As payment for being freed, Jeannie had to grant Corry's every wish.
For some reason, Jeannie had a genie sidekick, an inept, corpulent fellow named Babu. Babu was a hybrid of several cartoon character types: the adult with the mind of a child, and the lovable guy who means well, but fouls everything up. His inability to control his magic led to a lot of work for Jeannie, who didn’t seem to mind. She would just sigh, exclaim “Oh Babu!," and right every wrong he had caused.
In the sitcom, Jeannie’s magic came from folding her arms and blinking; in the cartoon, she whipped her ponytail around. Babu’s “magic” came from gesturing with his hands, and saying “Yapple Dapple.” Corry’s high school buddy Henry knew about Jeannie and Babu, but told nary a soul. Corry's mother, Mrs. Anders, didn’t have a clue about much of anything.
The show ran two seasons, the second consisting entirely of repeats. Jeannie and Babu later returned to Saturday morning as contestants on Scooby's All-Star Laff-A-Lympics.