The 1940 Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade float, 'The Genii From the "Thief of Bagdad,"' was perfectly timed for the 5 December 1940 US release of the British technicolor film The Thief of Bagdad, starring Rex Ingram as the genii (also referred to as genie, djinn, and jinn).
[Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade float: Genii from The Thief of Bagdad], 21 November 1940. (Photo: Bettmann/CORBIS.) From Corbis.
Cartoon from Chicago World's Fair, 1893: 'Life in the Harem' proving more popular than 'Life in the Holy Lands'
[Cartoon 'Human Nature' from World's Fair Puck, Chicago], 4 September 1893. From Zeynep Celik, Displaying the Orient: Architecture of Islam at Nineteenth-Century World's Fairs (University of California Press: Berkeley, 1992), p. 28-9.
As Celik describes: 'at left, a Turkish entrepreneur on the Midway who hopes to attract large crowds to biblical scenes from the Holy Land; after failing, he gets advice from a local businessman. With the sign changed from "Life in Holy Lands, Scenes from Biblical Days" to "Life in the Harem, Dreamy Scenes in the Orient, Eastern Dances, the Sultan's Diversions," crowds flock to the booth.'
Nikoo Paydar has a PhD in art history from the Courtauld Institute, London.