I Dream of Genie
|"I Dream of Genie"|
|The Twilight Zone episode|
|Episode no.||Season 4
|Directed by||Robert Gist|
|Written by||John Furia, Jr.|
|Featured music||Fred Steiner|
|Original air date||March 21, 1963|
Howard Morris: George P. Hanley
|“||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.||”|
George P. Hanley, a shy office worker, shops for a birthday gift for the beautiful secretary Miss Ann Lawson. The gift store has just received a heavily soiled oil lamp as part of a random assortment from a distributor; believing it to be worthless, the owner smooth-talks George into buying it for $20. He brings it to work but is beaten to the punch when his brash co-worker Roger gifts Ann a skimpy nightgown. Ann thanks Roger with an open-mouthed kiss. George despondently heads home where he is greeted by his pet dog Attila. When George rubs the lamp while cleaning it, a genie emerges. The genie is something of a disappointment; not only is he dressed in modern garb except for his shoes, but he offers George only one wish rather than the traditional three. George opts to reflect for a day on what he should wish for.
The next day George loses out to Roger again, this time for a promotion to head bookkeeper. Throughout the day he daydreams of what would happen if he made various wishes. Attila accompanies him through all of these dream sequences, but with his breed modified to match George's own changed profession.
In the first dream, he wishes for love, specifically being married to Ann, who is a successful movie star. However, George concludes he would lose a wife like her, and in his fantasy she is obsessed with her acting career and has an affair with Roger, who is also a movie star.
George next contemplates money. In the second dream, he is a wealthy tycoon with Roger as his chauffeur and Ann as his financial adviser. He comes to realize being able to immediately buy anything he wanted, without having to wait or struggle for it, would take the flavor out of life.
George's third prospective wish is for power. He imagines being President of the United States. Though initially successful, he is paralyzed by indecision when faced with a global UFO crisis. George realizes the problem with all three wishes is that while his circumstances change, he himself remains a loser, and that he can only improve his life by changing himself. This inspires him to finally decide on a wish.
In the final scene, a homeless man finds the lamp in a garbage can and polishes it. The genie who emerges is George, still accompanied by Attila. Unlike the genie who served him, George and Attila both wear the stereotypical turbaned genie garb, and grant three wishes to the finder on the condition that the lamp be returned to the alley afterwards for another needy person to find.
|“||Mr. George P. Hanley. Former vocation: jerk. Present vocation: genie. George P. Hanley, a most ordinary man, whom life treated without deference, honor, or success, but a man wise enough to decide on a most extraordinary wish that makes him the contented, permanent master of his own altruistic Twilight Zone.||”|
- Aladdin - Another piece of speculative fiction centering on the idea of genies and the granting of wishes.
- Self-knowledge - The abiding ethos of the episode, in which Hanley is unable to imagine himself happy in traditional wish-fulfillment scenarios (love, money, power), finally realizing that for him happiness lies in the service of others.
- DeVoe, Bill. (2008). Trivia from The Twilight Zone. Albany, GA: Bear Manor Media. ISBN 978-1-59393-136-0
- Grams, Martin. (2008). The Twilight Zone: Unlocking the Door to a Television Classic. Churchville, MD: OTR Publishing. ISBN 978-0-9703310-9-0