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    The Brass Bottle is the story of an architect who bought an antique brass bottle to give to a professor dealing in Mideast antiquities. After the purchase, the architect’s curiosity was aroused, and he removed the stopper in the bottle. And when he did, a big cloud of smoke was released, producing a major surprise when a genie emerged. His name was Fakrash el-Aamash, and he turned out to be a fairy-tale-type character who wound up trying to repay the architect, Horace Ventimore, for giving him release from what amounted to a brass prison. A series of hijinks of one kind or another were the result.

    Nearly two decades before, the author had written a somewhat jumbled and disorganized novel titled Vice Versa, about a father somehow making a switch with his schoolboy son. There was considerable popular success, but that created a problem for author Thomas Anstey Guthrie: He actually wanted to write a serious novel and penned The Giant’s Robe. It was not a success - one critic called it “very poor stuff” - and it was obvious the public insisted on regarding Guthrie (penname F. Anstey) as a humorist. That worked out better as he became an impressive staff member of Punch magazine.

    Almost seven decades later, an American movie adaptation of The Brass Bottle was made. Ironically, one of the stars was Barbara Eden just before she starred as “Jeannie” in the TV series I Dream of Jeannie. How’s that for type-casting? It makes it even more interesting to hear the story that perhaps brought about that success.

    Public Domain (P)2021 John D. Rayburn

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