"The Man in the Bottle" is an episode of the The Twilight Zone.
"Mr. and Mrs. Arthur Castle, gentle and infinitely patient people, whose lives have been a hope chest with a rusty lock and a lost set of keys. But in just a moment that hope chest will be opened, and an improbable phantom will try to bedeck the drabness of these two people's failure-laden lives with the gold and precious stones of fulfillment. Mr. and Mrs. Arthur Castle, standing on the outskirts and about to enter the Twilight Zone."
Arthur and Edna Castle, the owners of failing curio shop, receive a bottle from an elderly woman who found it in a trash can. A genie comes out of the bottle and offers to grant the Castles four wishes. Arthur's first wish, for the sake of arguement, is for the broken glass in the display case to be repaired, which the genie does to prove himself. They next wish for a million dollars in cash, some of which they give to their friends. An employee of the IRS gives the Castles a tax that will only leave them $5 once it's paid.
The genie warns the Castles that their wishes have consequences and advises to pick their next one wisely. After consideration, Arthur wishes to be the leader of a modern country where he can't be voted out of office and he becomes Adolf Hitler at the end of World War II when he's given cyanide to kill himself in his bunker. Picking up the vial, Castle uses his last wish to return to his old life and throws it on the floor, then is instantly back at the curio shop, shattering the bottle. While sweeping, Arthur accidentally breaks the glass in the display case, officially returning the Castles to their normal lives before the genie appeared. All they have to show for their wishes is a new perspective on life. Arthur dumps the pieces in the trash can where they magically form back into the bottle, waiting for someone else to take it.
"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."
Preview for Next Week's Story
Next week, we take you into this eight-by-eight hotel room and we watch a penny-ante crook make a decision. You better ask the room clerk the number of this room and then come on up. Mr. Joe Mantell is the "Nervous Man in a Four Dollar Room". That's The Twilight Zone next week and we'll be waiting for you. Thank you and good night.
- Rod Serling as Narrator (voice only); uncredited
- Luther Adler as Arthur Castle
- Vivi Janiss as Edna Castle
- Joseph Ruskin as Genie
- Olan Soule as IRS Man (as Olan Soulé)
- Lisa Golm as Mrs. Gumley
- Peter Coe as German; uncredited
- Albert Szabo as German Officer #2; uncredited
- Rod Serling (executive producer: Cayuga Productions)
- Buck Houghton (producer)
- Del Reisman (associate producer)
- George T. Clemens (director of photography)
- Leon Barsha (film editor)
- Ethel Winant (casting)
- Philip Barber (art director; credited: Phil Barber)
- George W. Davis (art director)
- H. Web Arrowsmith (set decorator)
- Henry Grace (set decorator)
- Ralph W. Nelson (production manager)
- E. Darrell Hallenbeck (assistant director; credited: Darrell Hallenbeck)
- Franklin Milton (sound; credited: Frank Milton)
- Charles Scheid (sound)
- Scott Lawson (colorist; uncredited)
- Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS) (1960) (USA) (TV) (original airing)
- Image Entertainment (2010) (USA) (Blu-ray) (DVD)
- Kuppenheimer (Mr. Serling's wardrobe)
- Pacific Title (titles and opticals)