The Man in the Bottle - Recap

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Arthur and Edna Castle own a rundown pawnshop and are ceaselessly in debt. The good-hearted Arthur can’t resist when neighbor woman Mrs. Gumley comes in and tries to sell an old bottle claiming it’s a family heirloom. He finally gives her a dollar for it but as she leaves she starts crying and explains that she found it in a garbage can. After she goes, Edna complains about how Arthur is driving them further into debt. Arthur in turn notes how the shop destroyed his grandfather and father, and will destroy him too. He picks up a handful of bills and knocks the bottle to the ground where it breaks… and a mist pour out. A well-dressed gentleman appears from the mist and introduces himself as a genie.

The genie explains that they are entitled to four wishes and that no wish can be reversed or undone except by another wishes. Skeptical, Arthur has the genie repair a display case and the genie fixes it with a wave of his hand. Convinced, Arthur thinks that they have the answer to all their problems. Although Edna is worried, Arthur wishes for a million dollars. The genie gestures and money rains down from the ceiling as the couple celebrate their newfound prosperity.

The Castles celebrate their wealthy by giving away a lot of the money. However, their next visitor is an IRS agent who informs them they owe $942,640 in taxes. After he leaves, Arthur figure that with all the money they’ve given away and the taxes, they’re left with $5. The genie, chuckling, notes that Arthur should have wished for a million dollars after taxes. An increasingly angry Arthur thinks about wishing for more money but Edna warns against it. The genie explains that all wishes have consequences, and that his wishes rarely bring happiness. Arthur tries to come up with a perfect wish and finally settles on something: he wishes to be the leader of a 20th century foreign country who can’t be voted out of office. The genie grants the wish… and Arthur finds himself as Adolph Hitler in the last days of the war. An officer brings him a bottle of poison and informs him that Eva and a can of gasoline are ready. Realizing he’s outsmarted himself once more, Arthur wishes that everything was back the way it was before he found the bottle…

And Arthur is back in the shop, cleaning up the broken bottle with no sign of the genie. He and Edna realize they’ve learned a lesson but at least they have a repaired display case. However, Arthur accidentally breaks the case with his broom as he takes out the broken bottle. He dumps it in the trash can outside and goes back into the shop… as the reassembles itself and waits for its next owner…