Thursday, September 21, 2006


When TEXAS premiered on NBC on August 4, 1980, they did so with an unprecedented detail that, to my knowledge, doesn't get nearly the credit it deserves.

In 1980, as Saudi Arabia nationalized their foreign oil companies to manipulate international markets, Iraq invaded Iran, U.S. hostages remained trapped in Teheran and Palestinian terrorists waged their war against Israel by bombing a synagogue in France, TEXAS' first episode featured an, of all things, Arab-Muslim family, headed by Sheik Zehedi (Mitch Gred) and his daughter, Princess Jasmine (Donna Cyrus). (Those now struggling with the urge to hum A Whole New World due to her name, please continue struggling).

The family hailed from Tanquir (which, if it has caves, may well be the same Tanquir where Guiding Light's Quint and Nola kept going; However, for those keeping score, the San Cristobel where Another World's Paulina Cory grew up is not the San Cristobal Richard and Edmund Winslow ruled over on GL).

We knew the Zehedis were Arabs because they were coming to Texas to speak about (what else?) oil, and we knew they were Muslims because, in the first scene, the Sheik is shown on a plane, clutching a Koran.

Granted, after being introduced on Another World in July of 1980, the Sheik promptly died a few weeks later. But he died with a huge secret unrevealed, which is the least an aspiring soap patriarch can do, leaving his daughter, the aforementioned Jasmine, to seek truth, justice, and an American male once she became a full-fledged cast-member of TEXAS.

Meanwhile, colonel Ahmed Al Hassine (Maher Boutros) lurks threateningly about, clearly plotting something nefarious, as colonels are wont to do.

So what was the Sheik so eager to hide from his daughter that he made Ryan Connor (Phillip Clark) swear never to reveal it?

Tune in to TEXAS and find out!