Twilight Zone – The Man in the Bottle

★★★★  October 07, 1960 Season 2 Episode 02

If you want to see where we are…HERE is a list of the episodes.

This is a dark take on the Genie in the Bottle/Monkey’s Paw…but what else would you expect in the Twilight Zone? It’s another be careful for what you wish for episode and it’s a good one.

Luther Adler and Vivi Janiss play Arthur and Edna Castle, a poor couple running a pawn shop. They are near bankruptcy but with kind hearts…helping those around them. There is always a price to be paid for anything you get…something Arthur and Edna learn really quick.

Again casting got this one perfect. Joseph Ruskin plays the Genie and creepy is a nice word for him. This is not your Genie in a turban or Barbara Eden in a skimpy outfit. This Genie doesn’t play…he is honest to a fault and you are not going to slip something by him. As the wishes count up…. Arthur loses his cool and himself.

The third wish I won’t talk about here…but it’s got plenty of consequences for Arthur. Appreciate what you have is the message that I get.

This show was written by Rod Serling

Rod Serling’s Opening Narration: 

“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 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.

Rod Serling’s 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.


Rod Serling … Narrator / Self – Host (uncredited)
Luther Adler … Arthur Castle
Vivi Janiss … Edna Castle
Joseph Ruskin … Genie
Olan Soule … IRS Man (as Olan Soulé)
Lisa Golm … Mrs. Gumley
Peter Coe … German (uncredited)
Albert Szabo … German Officer #2 (uncredited)


Author: Badfinger (Max)

Power Pop fan, Baseball fan, old movie and tv show fan... and a songwriter, bass and guitar player.

22 thoughts on “Twilight Zone – The Man in the Bottle”

  1. A good one, I think Ruskin’s performance as the Genie and the overall message raise this to a 4 star episode. The Genie is really creepy, and Rushkin is great with those scarred cheeks. I have to say when Castle wished to be the leader of a foreign country that can’t be voted out, I had an idea what that would mean. Its funny how back then the marginal tax rate was so high – if the story was taking place today, I guess the Castle’s would still have at least half their fortune!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Castle needed to learn two words… tax free!
      The Genie is creepy… his eyes finish the look out. He is honest though and warned them.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. That’s true, although his eyes seemed to have a certain sense of satisfaction when they made their wishes like he knows how this is going to turn out – he’s seen it many times before. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Sounds good… the theme is one Serling seemed to keep returning to, but it works most of time. Happily I find they are now available on Hulu ! Yesterday I watched a couple of episodes you reviewed… the one with the pedlar who knows what people need (quite good but not great) and the Willoughby train one (very good, that was one suprise ending I didn’t forsee)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for telling me this Dave…I’ll add that info to tomorrows post.
      The Wiloguhby is one of my favorites. As far as pressure to perform…it’s more now with cell phones that keep us connected to work.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I’ve always enjoyed this one. I’d even go 4 1/2 stars! Vivi Janiss- was also in the subpar- The Fever episode from Season 1.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I didn’t know that…what channel is it on? When I watch episodes I have them…it was the first tv series I ever bought…I would like to check that out though.


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