The Twilight Zone (1959–1964)
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The Man in the Bottle 

A luckless couple stumbles upon fortune when a genie materializes from a bottle in their antique shop. The genie grants them four wishes but warns them, prophetically, to be careful what you wish for.

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Cast

Episode complete credited cast:
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Arthur Castle
Vivi Janiss ...
Edna Castle
...
...
IRS Man (as Olan Soulé)
Lisa Golm ...
Mrs. Gumley
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Storyline

Arthur and Edna Castle run a small antique shop but business is not good and they're having trouble paying their bills. Despite that, the good-hearted Arthur buys an old wine bottle from the desperate Mrs. Gumley for a dollar. When he knocks the bottle open, a genie appears offering them four wishes. They soon find that their wishes don't lead them to the outcomes they had hoped for and certainly don't lead to happiness. Written by garykmcd

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7 October 1960 (USA)  »

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(Westrex Recording System)

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1.33 : 1
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Trivia

This episode takes place in 1960 and on April 30, 1945. See more »

Quotes

Narrator: [Closing Narration] A word to the wise, now, to the garbage collectors of the world, to the curio seekers, to the antique buffs, to everyone who would try to coax out a miracle from unlikely places. Check that bottle you're taking back for a two-cent deposit. The genie you save might be your own. Case in point, Mr. and Mrs. Arthur Castle, fresh from the briefest of trips into The Twilight Zone.
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Connections

Spoofed in Futurama: I Dated a Robot (2001) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Why can't people wish right?
25 June 2008 | by (Luoyang, China) – See all my reviews

This episode reminded me of that half-assed remake of Bedazzled with Brendan Fraser and Elizabeth Hurley. Remember that? He would make wishes and something would go wrong and he would make another wish, overcorrecting his mistake in the last wish in the most spectacular fashion. I seem to remember Fraser's character wishing, for example, at one point to be the most emotionally sensitive man on earth. What? Why? Can he not see that that wish can't possibly go right? Anyway, it's the same problem in this episode. Arthur and Edna Castle own an antiques shop and are experiencing tremendous financial difficulties, until one day a poor woman comes in to sell them an old bottle which looks like garbage but which she claims to be a family heirloom. Out of the goodness of his heart, Arthur gives the woman a dollar, but later breaks the bottle in frustration, releasing a genie.

I've always dreamed of this happening to me and I've thought countless times about what kinds of wishes I would make, which is why it's so hard to watch someone make such dumb wishes as Arthur does in the movie.

First of all, in order to find out of the genie is for real or not, he wishes for a pane of glass in his counter to be fixed, and poof, it happens. He's incredulous that it worked, and I was incredulous that he would throw away one of his wishes like that. Real or not, you might as well find out by wishing for something good, right? Anyway, the genie warns him to be careful what he wishes for, because there are always consequences. Arthur is unconcerned, and places a seemingly safe wish - for one million dollars. Sadly, it turns out that in the early 1960s, the government took what I believe was just over 94% of prize money, so after giving away tens of thousands of dollars, Arhtur and Edna find themselves with $5 left and still the mountain of debt piled on them.

Having spent two of his four wishes now and instead of wishing for something safe, like $10 million tax free or his debt to be wiped away, he makes the astonishingly foolish wish to be the leader of a country who can't be voted out of office. What are you thinking Arthur!??! The wish is so foolish that he deserves for his wishes ultimately to be wasted, although this feeling that he deserves what he gets cancels out the show's message, which is to be careful what you wish for, and also to take note of how lucky you are. Things could always be worse. In Arthur's case, he's struggling but ultimately learns that things aren't so bad. Before he met the genie, for example, he didn't have to live with the knowledge that he had been handed an opportunity to turn his and his wife's lives around but blew it completely.

Note - if you ever find yourself in a situation where a genie comes out of a bottle and offers you three wishes but warns you of the consequences, just so you know, here are exactly the words you should say: "I wish for a clearly typed note on standard notebook paper, listing the three best and safest wishes that I, (insert your name here), can make." And for those of you in the screen writing business, if you're interested in an actual challenge, feel free to make another genie show using that one!


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