The Twilight Zone – Complete Series Review – Season 2 Episode 2 – The Man in the Bottle

Arthur Castle and his wife Edna own an old family business, an antique shop that is basically insolvent.  Not only can’t he pay his bills but his neighbors borrow money from him too.  An old lady neighbor brings in an old wine bottle she found in a garbage can and tells him it’s a family heirloom.  Arthur tells her it’s an old wine bottle but gives her a dollar anyway.  Edna sees the “no sale” sign on the cash register and bemoans their fate saying “I wish we could find a way out of this.”  Arthur drops the bottle on the floor and a genie dressed in a stylish English suit appears and tells them he will grant them four wishes.  Arthur and Edna disbelieve him so Arthur’s first wish is a test.  He wishes for the shattered glass in one of his floor-displays to be made whole again.  Immediately it is fixed.

Arthur and Edna become excited and Arthur wishes for a million dollars in five and ten-dollar bills.  The genie grants the wish and the money floats down onto the floor of the store.  The generous Castles start gifting money to all their friends and neighbors and announce their intention to take a trip to Europe.  Just as the last friend leaves a man with a brief case appears and announces that he is from the IRS.  After the money they gave out and the taxes they pay they only have five dollars left from the million.  When the genie returns Arthur calls him a con-artist.  The genie explains that consequences should be expected when an uncarefully considered wish is made.  Arthur starts to wish for an after-tax million when Edna tells him that money isn’t a safe wish.  They debate about positions of power; a corporate big shot or a mayor or higher.  Arthur is worried about the people voting him out of power.  So, he settles on a national leader that cannot be voted out of power living within the twentieth century.  So of course, the genie makes Arthur into Hitler in the bunker.  One of his staff gives Arthur a beaker of poison to suicide with.  Considering his options Arthur uses his last wish to be back as Arthur Castle just as he was before all of this started.  And as he drops the flask in the bunker, he becomes Arthur dropping the genie’s bottle on the floor of his store.

Edna and Arthur have a new-found appreciation for their merely unfortunate circumstances and Edna adds that at least the display case glass is still intact.  Immediately Arthur shatters the display glass with the end of the broom he was using to sweep up the shards of the genie’s bottle.  As Arthur empties the fragments into a garbage can on the street in front of his shop, the bottle is surrounded by the smoke from the genie and reassembles.

This is an extremely silly fantasy.  But as you know I like extremely silly stories.  The story is very far from original but the sentimentality is not overbearing so a B seems about right.