Shazaam, Staring Sinbad

Main Piece: There’s a big community of people on the internet that are convinced that as children they used to watch a movie about a genie called ‘Shazaam’, where Sinbad played him. The thing is there is apparently no such movie, but for some reason people collectively remember it. Some have even posted pictures of the VHS cover of ‘Shazaam’ with pictures of Sinbad as the genie, but Sinbad assures he was never in that movie. There isn’t even an IMDb page for this thing. Most people think that these guys are just confusing it with the movie ‘Kazaam’, where Shaq O’Neal played a genie, but they swear that it was a different movie. This has lead to all sorts of theories and speculations. Some say that it is a conspiracy by the studio because the movie was a flop and they tried to erase it from existence. Some credit the Mandela effect, which is an alternate timeline theory that says that we have memories from ourselves in alternative timelines.

Background information about the piece by the informant: Jacob has a keen interest in knowledge in internet folklore. This story surfaced in recent years, and has been increasingly growing with more and more people claiming that they have seen this fake movie. He says that there’s many cases of collective memory in the internet, such as people being convinced that the children’s books “The Berenstain Bears” were actually called “The Berenstein Bears”.

Context on the piece: This phenomenon of collective memory is usually talked about in discussion boards such as Reddit or 4chan. The idea has been communicated and made popular by people commenting on it on bigger sites, like Youtube or Snope, which is how Jake knows about this.

Thoughts on the piece: I think this folk belief goes to show how much an idea can propagate among people to make them think it’s true. This shows that this can even create fake memories for people, as it seems that they are simply misremembering the title and star of the real movie ‘Kazaam’, yet refuse to believe it, going as far as to considering conspiracy theories on the matter. This makes the belief take an almost devoutly religious aspect to it, where the people are convinced that the movie had to be real and cannot cope with the fact that their memories could be fabricated.

For  more information and discussion on the phenomenon, see: