In the early 1700s, the first English version of "One Thousand and One Nights" was published. This collection of Arabic tales dates back to what many describe as the Golden Age of Islamic culture - which roughly took place between the 8th and 14th centuries. These classic Middle Eastern folk tales include familiar favorites like "The Seven Voyages of Sinbad the Sailor" and "Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves," as well as an ancient yarn known as "Aladdin and the Magic Lamp."
In 1992, these tales from the Golden Age collided with the Disney Renaissance - a period when Disney made some of its most iconic films, including "The Little Mermaid," "Beauty and the Beast" and "The Lion King." Out of this collision came the animated film "Aladdin," which told the story of a young man who released a powerful genie from a lamp, only to end up getting close to a lonely young princess.
While the genie was never supposed to be the star of this flick, the character took on a central role when comedic legend Robin Williams was chosen to play the part. Williams' over-the-top portrayal made extensive use of the actor's impersonation skills, and various impressions of celebrities and historical figures became a key part of the film.
Think you can name these impersonations and imitations from a single image? Prove it with this quiz!
After "The Terminator," Arnold Schwarzenegger became one of the biggest action stars in the world. In "Aladdin," we see the Genie showing off his sculpted physique in a nod to Arnold's bodybuilder days.
In this screenshot from "Aladdin," Genie is playing the role of iconic TV host Ed Sullivan. Sullivan hosted his own variety show from 1948 to 1971, and a 1964 appearance by a little band called the Beatles became one of the most-watched programs in U.S. history.
That cigar and low stance? Who else could that be but early 20th-century actor Groucho Marx - a man as famous for his mustache and eyebrows as for his comedy. Genie also imitates Groucho and the other Marx brothers in the sequel, "Aladdin and the King of Thieves."
William F. Buckley was a major figure in the conservative movement during the 20th century, founding the "National Review" and hosting hundreds of episodes of "Firing Line." Genie uses an affected British accent and over-the-top vocabulary to imitate Buckley in "Aladdin."
This image shows Genie playing the role of iconic ventriloquist Senor Wences. Wences made more than 50 appearances on "The Ed Sullivan Show," which helped him become a familiar figure to millions. He might be best remembered for his character Pedro and the catchphrase "S'Alright."
In one brief scene in "Aladdin," the title character starts questioning the Genie, prompting Genie to lean back and ask, "Are you looking at me? Did you rub my lamp?" This scene is a clear impression of Robert De Niro's character Travis Bickle in "Taxi Driver."
When Genie takes Aladdin on a flying carpet ride, he dons a blond wig and a cheerful flight attendant persona. That scene was inspired by entertainer Carol Channing, a star of film and Broadway who was well loved for her role in "Hello Dolly!"
Arsenio Hall hosted his own talk show between 1989 and 1994, and he became popular with the younger audiences that weren't as interested in Johnny Carson as their parents were. Genie's twirling fist pump and barking chant come straight from Hall's show.
Walter Brennan starred in many movies and TV shows, but is perhaps best remembered for his role in the '50s and '60s series "The Real McCoys." When Genie dresses up as an elderly, toothless man in the "Prince Ali" scene, he is imitating the beloved actor.
Mary Hart hosted "Entertainment Tonight" for more than three decades, and also served as host for the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade over the years. In this peacock-filled scene during the song "Prince Ali," Genie is posing as the beloved host.
Ethel Merman became famous as a star of stage and screen from the '30s through the '70s, and was well-known for her bold persona and belting voice. Genie imitates Merman in a brief scene where he is seen wearing a veil and a harem-style outfit.
Rodney Dangerfield became famous after appearing on "The Ed Sullivan Show" to show off his comedic chops. He went on to star in countless comedies throughout the second half of the 20th century. His catchphrase was, "I don't get no respect." Genie imitates the iconic comedian by pulling at his necktie and bugging out his eyes.
That big white smile; the slicked-back hair; the dark sunglasses.... who else could that be but actor Jack Nicholson? Famous for films like "The Shining" and "Easy Rider," he also starred in "A Few Good Men" the same year that "Aladdin" was released.
Peter Lorre is a legendary actor who starred in films like "20,000 Leagues Under The Sea," "The Maltese Falcon," and "Casablanca." Genie portrays the actor with a bug-eyed monstrous appearance and a creepy voice in "Aladdin."
Genie portrayed Julius Caesar in a blink-and-you'll-miss-it moment in "Aladdin." When trying to figure out how to make Aladdin into a prince, Genie opens a book. When a hand wielding a knife pops out, Genie dons a laurel wreath and toga as he says, "Et tu, Brute?"
Genie is totally stunned when Aladdin announces that he will use his third wish to free Genie from the lamp. To express his disbelief, he transforms into a long-nosed Pinocchio - a classic Disney character whose nose would grow every time he told a lie.
Genie sings the song "Friend Like Me" as he explains to Aladdin just how great it is to have a genie at his service. When he dons those long white coattails, he's imitating '30s and '40s bandleader Cab Calloway.
Disney animated films have become so iconic that it just makes sense when a character from one makes an appearance in a totally unrelated Disney flick. In the "Aladdin" sequel, "The Return of Jafar," Genie briefly impersonates Jiminy Cricket from "Pinocchio," floating to the ground using his umbrella.
"The Little Mermaid" was a huge hit when it was released in 1989. Genie wasn't quite able to pull off the look of Ariel during this "Return of Jafar" impression.
Mickey Mouse started off in simple black-and-white cartoons, most famously one called "Steamboat Willie." This Genie impersonation in "Aladdin and the King of Thieves" features Genie-as-Mickey whistling as he steers a ship in a now-iconic image.
Pluto has been around for a number of years, and this cheerful pooch is close friends with Mickey himself. Genie impersonates Mickey's canine companion in "Aladdin and the King of Thieves," and again half a dozen times more in the "Aladdin" cartoon series.
Given White Rabbit's most famous phrase, it makes sense that when Genie is worried about lateness in "Aladdin and the King of Thieves," he transforms himself into that famous character. In the classic Disney film, it's the White Rabbit who leads Alice down a hole and into Wonderland.
In "Peter Pan," a sweet fairy named Tinker Bell uses her pixie dust to help Peter and his friends fly. In "Aladdin and the King of Thieves," Tink takes an ugly twist when the Genie appears with his head on Tink's tiny fairy body and flies in front of the palace.
The tale of Native American maiden Pocahontas was captured - in glossed-over, Disney form - in the 1995 film "Pocahontas." The Genie's version of this lovely character is a little less attractive, with Genie wearing the character's native dress and a flowing black wig.
The prophet Moses penned the Torah and led his people across the Red Sea. Genie makes an appearance as this famous figure in the 1996 film "Aladdin and the King of Thieves."
British icon Robin Leach took viewers inside the homes of the world's wealthiest people on "Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous" in the '80s and '90s. Genie parodies Leach in "Aladdin and the King of Thieves," when he hosts "Lifestyles of the Rich and Magical."
"Forrest Gump" was a huge hit in 1994, so it's no surprise that Genie impersonated the title character - played by Tom Hanks - in the 1996 flick "Aladdin and the King of Thieves." In the film, Genie dons Gump's suit and settles onto a bus bench with a box of chocolates.
Dustin Hoffman starred as an autistic man named Raymond in the 1988 film "Rain Man." Genie takes on the role of the title character in the 1996 sequel "Aladdin and the King of Thieves."
The image of Elvis swinging his hips in a white jumpsuit with an upturned collar is so iconic that it's how many remember the King, even to this day. Genie dons this style to play Presley in "Aladdin and the King of Thieves," then again in the "Aladdin" cartoon series on TV.
Genie gives viewers a two-for-one impersonation with this portrayal of Bob Hope and Bing Crosby from "Aladdin and the King of Thieves." Even better, he pulls it off without changing his clothing - making the impersonation thanks to a golf club, a smoking pipe and a few memorable hairstyles.
German scientist Albert Einstein's Theory of Relativity served as the basis for modern physics. Genie takes on the role with a shaggy white wig, mustache and a symbol-filled chalkboard.
Yup, that's Sly Stallone as Rocky Balboa from the classic boxing films. Genie pulls off the look of Rocky with a thick lock of black hair, a strong jawline and a pair of boxing gloves.
"The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet" was a '50s and '60s series that portrayed the perfect American family. Genie takes a turn as patriarch Ozzie Nelson in a fine sweater vest in "Aladdin and the King of Thieves."
Walter Cronkite ranks among the most famous TV news anchors of all time. Genie took on the role with Cronkite's trademark mustache and a blue suit.
Genie imitated actor and director Woody Allen in the 1996 film "Aladdin and the King of Thieves." To play the role, he took on Allen's nervous demeanor, wild hair and thick black-framed glasses.
When Genie played a basketball player in "Aladdin and the King of Thieves," he wore a jersey marked #32. That, plus his extreme size, was meant to imitate Shaquille O'Neal, who wore #32 in high school and college before switching to #34 when he played with the Lakers.
In classic mythology, Thor is a god associated with strength and storms. Genie took on the role thanks to a Viking helmet, wild hairstyle and, of course, a mighty hammer.
Genie often impersonated the famous psychologist Dr. Sigmund Freud in the "Aladdin" TV series. We're not sure what Aladdin had to discuss while laying on that couch, but it's likely Freud blamed Aladdin's woes on his mother.
Genie imitated the Bard himself, William Shakespeare, several times in the "Aladdin" cartoon series on TV. If the neck ruff didn't give it away, Genie added a feather quill and a handheld skull to make sure he resembled the famous writer.
Elementary, my dear Watson! This Genie impression is none other than literary detective Sherlock Holmes, who famously carries a pipe or magnifying glass when portrayed in the "Aladdin" cartoon series.