The wish motif in a few Twilight Zone episodes II

Continuing my series on how wishes granted by supernatural forces may not turn out to be what we wanted…. with examples from “The Twilight Zone”.

I was telling you about the case of the Castles, a pawnbroker and his wife, who are granted four wishes. They first test it (wasting one) by having a broken cupboard repaired, then ask for a million dollars – most of which they distribute and the tax man comes and takes most of the rest, leaving then $5. Castle then wishes he is the leader of a country, where he never has to fight an election and finds himself to be Hitler in Berlin during late April 1945…..  

Castle uses the fourth and final wish to wish that “none of this ever happened”, cancelling the third wish and returning him safely home…discovering the wine bottle the genie emerged from has shattered to pieces.

The couple ends up with nothing to show for the experience, except for a changed perspective on life and the repaired cabinet which, as fate would have it, the pawnbroker accidentally breaks. However, given their just concluded bizarre experience, they accept the accident with good humor.

The closing narration begins after the pawnbroker disposes of the bottle’s remains into a trash can outside his shop. Slowly, the genie’s smoke “reforms” the bottle into a whole one again—awaiting its next opportunity to grant a new “master” four wishes.…

The 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:(bottle reassembles) 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.”

The second on such a topic was episode 114 – “I Dream of Genie”-in Season 4 (1963) but it had a nice twist.

As the narration goes….

“Meet Mr. George P. Hanley, a man life treats without deference, honor or success. Waiters serve his soup cold. Elevator operators close doors in his face. Mothers never bother to wait up for the daughters he dates. George is a creature of humble habits and tame dreams. He’s an ordinary man, Mr. Hanley, but at this moment the accidental possessor of a very special gift, the kind of gift that measures men against their dreams, the kind of gift most of us might ask for first and possibly regret to the last, if we, like Mr. George P. Hanley, were about to plunge head-first and unaware into our own personal Twilight Zone.”

Hanley is offered one wish by a genie summoned from a lamp (dressed in modern clothing, except for his curl-toed slippers). Rather than make a rash wish, he carefully considers the three most popular options.

#1 He wonders what it would be like to wish for love. While having a beautiful actress for a wife sounds like a dream come true, he begins to imagine his wife so obsessed with her acting career, and wearing makeup at all times, and living a starlet’s life that it drives him crazy.

#2 Hanley next decides whether or not great wealth is a proper wish. The ennui that comes with excessive amounts of money is soon recalled, and Hanley chooses not to make this wish.

#3 His final thoughts are on wishing for great power, but he then imagines becoming the President of the United States, and being paralyzed by indecision when faced with a global crisis.

Realizing that he’s not really cut out for any of the things that most people would wish for, Hanley comes to a sudden conclusion and decides that he’s going to make an “original” wish.

The audience is not made aware of what he wished for until later….

To be continued…..


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