Dear Me - Dear Readers,
I have recently read an interesting article in Al Arabi Magazine about the Joint Program Production Institution in Kuwait. I came to know the history of one of its most famous production - Open Sesame or Iftah Ya Simsim. So thought of writing this article, tried to translate parts of the original article and searched for more information from the official site of the Institution and from other different sources. Enjoy :)
We have been told since we were kids the famous story of Ali Baba! The young Ali Baba works collecting and cutting firewood (a valuable commodity) in the forest, and one day he happens to overhear a group of forty thieves visiting their treasure store in the forest. The treasure is in a cave, the mouth of which is sealed by magic. It opens on the words "Open, Simsim" (commonly written as "Open Sesame" in English), and seals itself on the words "Close, Simsim" ("Close Sesame"). When the thieves are gone, Ali Baba enters the cave himself, and takes some of the treasure home.
Open Sesame - أفتح يا سمسم , Children's TV series
Iftah Ya Simsim is the first Arabic-speaking version of the children't TV series Sesame Street. Indoor scenes have been taken in Kuwait, while outdoor scenes were in many Arab Countries and the world. Actors, players and children have been selected to represent more than 12 Arab countries.
In May 1977, for $2.5 million, the Joint Program Production Institution bought the Arab World rights to the Sesame Street concept for a nine-year period, as well as CTW's technical assistance, research and production advice and the services of a resident consulting producer during the production period in Kuwait.
The first part was aired in autumn 1979. The second part was completed and aired in 1982.
The third part was produced in 1989, but it wasn't aired due to the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait in 1990. Right after the liberation of Kuwait, 44 episodes out of 120 went missing during the invasion. The irony is, the two main puppet characters of the show "Noman & Malsoon" were stolen by the invading forces. The remaining episodes has gone through Montage process after the war to remove all the scenes that show the Iraqi actors.
End of article.
PS: Special thanks to Sama for telling me about the article. By the time you update your blog!