Spoiler Alert: The Shazaam movie never existed.
In a May 2020 interview, actor and sports star Shaquille O’Neal stated that if kids wanted to see him and Sinbad team up as Kazaam and Shazaam in an Avengers-styled genie movie, he’d put on that hilarious '90s costume and do it.
“Of course I would,” he said. “Always for the kids.”
There’s one problem though—the so-called Sinbad genie movie doesn’t exist.
For years now, fans have sworn up and down that they grew up on a cheesy '90s movie called Shazaam. In this "movie," Sinbad plays a bumbling genie who grants wishes to two children and takes them on a journey. According to some people, the two children accidentally summon Shazaam and wish for their dad to fall in love again. Others even remember scene-by-scene details such as a broken doll and the finale scene which apparently occurred at a pool party.
People all across the nation have even expressed having detailed memories of when and where they watched this film as a kid. One man named Don worked at his uncle's movie rental store and specifically remembers buying the Shazaam movie for the store.
“I had to handle the two copies we owned dozens of times over the years,” said Don. “And I had to watch it multiple times to look for reported damages to the tape, rewind it and check it in, rent it out, and put the boxes out on display for rental.”
“I remember thinking Shaq’s Kazaam was a rip-off or a revamp of a failed first run, like how the 1991 film Buffy the Vampire Slayer bombed but the late ’90s TV reboot was a sensation,” says Meredith, a woman who remembers seeing both films. Another man named Carl backed her up and said, “I am one of several people who specifically never saw Kazaam because it looked ridiculous to rip off Shazaam just a few years after it had been released.”
“It feels like a part of my childhood has now been stolen from me. How does a movie simply vanish from our history?” said Carl. "I’ve taken to Craigslist and have posted a bounty of $1,000 for anyone that can turn up a copy of this movie, whether it was ‘accidentally’ kept from Blockbuster or if someone made their own bootleg VHS copy. I want to be able to make it known that the movie is indeed real."
Despite what people believe, there is no evidence that the movie ever existed. Sinbad himself has taken to social media, trying to convince fans that he never made a film called Shazaam.
Have you noticed no one my age has seen this so called Sinbad Genie movie, only you people who were kids in the 90's. The young mind !— Sinbad (@sinbadbad) September 7, 2016
He has even trolled people that remember the movie, by "confessing" there was actually a Shazaam film, but he was too embarrassed of his genie skills to admit it. In his hilarious "confession" he says it took a lot of government intervention to get those videos out of people's homes and video stores, but he was lucky because they were able to do some "mind control stuff" to get the public to forget.
Sinbad said, "There's three tapes left—there are three Shazaam videos still out there, we did not find. And if we find you, we're going to kill you." Those who had the tape were now on a hit list and he was sending assassins to their home.
On April Fools' Day in 2017, College Humor even posted "lost footage" of Shazaam to poke fun at the whole ordeal, but it was all a joke. Hilariously enough, the little girl in the clip says, "We have our memories. They're real. No one can take that from us."
However, in his attempt to troll the media and regain the public's real memories, Sinbad may have found the answer to why we remember seeing his fake movie.
While hosting the Sinbad the Sailor marathon, Sinbad was dressed very much like a genie, which could explain why people associated him with a genie character. Another explanation could be that a preview of Kazaam was reportedly played during some VHS-recorded copies of Sinbad's movie, The First Kid. Therefore, people may have associated Sinbad with Shaq's Kazaam character.
Why Do We All Swear We Remember Seeing Shazaam?
The entire phenomenon feels like someone went back in time and messed with the timeline. Maybe we're all in an alternative universe and only a select number of us are able to remember the correct timeline—the timeline where Sinbad plays a horrible genie.
However, the phenomenon actually has a name. It's called the Mandela Effect and was coined by author and paranormal researcher, Fiona Broome, after she became one of the many people that remembered Nelson Mandela dying in the '80s in prison, when he actually died on December 5, 2013, after leaving prison and becoming South Africa’s first post-apartheid president.
The phenomenon was even featured in an episode of The X-Files. In this episode, Mulder describes the Mandela Effect as:
"When someone has a memory of something that’s not shared by the majority or the factual record. For instance, there are some people that have a memory of seeing a movie called ‘Shazam,’ starring Sinbad as an irrepressible genie, even after it’s pointed out to them that they’re probably thinking of a movie called ‘Kazaam,’ starring Shaquille O’Neal as an irrepressible genie, especially ’cause a movie called ‘Shazam’ was never made."
It's highly unlikely we were sent into an alternate universe, and the real story is that human memory is really suggestive. Sinbad played in a lot of kids' movies in the '80s, and our brains simply associated him with one more—one that doesn't exist.
So, are you one of the many that remembers Shazaam? Let us know in the comments! And if you happen to have a VHS copy of Shazaam, send it to us and we'll set this whole record straight! Contact us at [email protected]