An image shows a VHS copy of the movie "Shazaam," starring the comedian Sinbad as a genie. See Example(s)
Collected via e-mail, December 2016
The movie Shazaam, from the 1990s, staring Sinbad was never a real movie. Myself and thousands of others remember watching this movie, but apparently it was never made.
I’ve tried looking it up myself and haven’t found anything about it. There is an article about the oddity that was on Facebook. Someone commented a screenshot of the vhs in the comments, but again, I could not find this picture on the internet myself.
A popular internet theory holds that actor David Adkins, better known as the comedian Sinbad, played a genie in a popular children’s movie released sometime in the 1990s called “Shazaam.”
While this movie does not actually exist, social media users circulated an image in an attempt to fool people into believing that this movie was real. The “genie” in the above-displayed image actually features the chest and arms of WWE wrestler Chavo Guerrero, but with Sinbad’s face digitally added to the scene:
Despite there being absolutely no evidence that this film was ever made — there is no footage of it, there are no still shots documenting its creation, no news articles or movie reviews about it, the film does not have an entry on IMDB and Sinbad himself has stated that he never played a genie in a movie called “Shazaam” — many people insist that they remember the movie.
While we cannot pinpoint an exact origin of this collective false memory, there are several circumstantial reasons as to why people may have mistakenly recalled Sinbad starring in a genie movie.
The name: Depending on when you grew up, the name “Sinbad” likely recalls memories of one of two things: either a popular 1990s comedian, or a fictional sailor who had adventures (sometimes involving genies) in the Middle East. It is possible that some conflated the two characters when recalling a 1990s-era film about a genie.
Sinbad did once host a showing of the movie “Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger” on TNT in 1994:
— Sinbad (@sinbadbad) October 3, 2016
Kazaam: A simpler explanation is that some are misremembering the details of another movie from the 1990s which featured a popular actor playing a genie. In 1996, Shaquille O’Neal played a genie in the movie Kazaam:
Sinbad appeared in several popular childrens’ movies in the 1990s, so it would not be particularly surprising if some mistakenly remembered him in this particular genie film (which, naturally, would not go unnoticed by Internet pranksters). In fact, a preview for “Kazaam” was reportedly featured during the previews on some VHS copies of the Sinbad movie “The First Kid”:
It appears that this is another instance of the “Mandela Effect,” an informal term for a collective false memory. The term was coined by a woman who discovered that she and hundreds of other people believed, and remembered, that Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela had died in prison in the 1980s. Mandela actually died in 2013, after serving as South Africa’s first black president and winning the Nobel Peace Prize (along with another former president, Frederik Willem de Klerk, who ended the system of segregation known in South Africa as apartheid during his time in power) in 1993 — all of which, of course, would have been impossible if he had already been dead a decade.