After a derelict Santa Claus is fired on Christmas Eve, he finds a mysterious bag that gives out presents. With this bag he sets out to fulfill his one wish - to see the less fortunate inherit the bounties of Christmas.
Henry Corwin is a down and outer who is normally unemployed and who definitely drinks too much. Every year however, he works as a department store Santa Claus. This year however, he's spent just a little too much time in the bar and is quite drunk by the time he shows up for work. He's fired of course and deeply regrets what he's done. In fact, Henry has a big heart and worries not only about the children he's disappointed at the store but about all of those children who will not get what they've asked for Christmas. When he comes across a large bag of gifts, everything changes for the kids and for himself as well. Written by
The Night of the Meek was an excellent Christmas episode of "The Twilight Zone"
This is my fourth consecutive comment on a Rod Serling-related project and my first this month of December on a Christmas-related one. Having never seen this particular episode when "The Twilight Zone" was airing on Superstation WGN-TV in Chicago on cable during the '80s, I was ecstatic when I found this on joust.com as linked by Google Video. One of six episodes shot on videotape, Art Carney is Henry Corwin, a drunkard who arrives late and inebriated at his job of a department store Santa. When one parent in particular complains, the manager (John Fielder) fires him on the spot but not until Henry expresses his wish to help less fortunate folks, as opposed to the arrogant and spoiled ones in the store, does he leave. Outside as he stumbles into his alley, a cat drops a big bag down in front of him. When he comes to the church of salvation, all the poor souls there miraculously get whatever presents they wanted from that bag (one of those souls is played by Burt Mustin, who I remembered from a couple episodes of "All in the Family"). The organ playing woman there does not approve and gets a cop who takes him in. At the station, Henry's former manager tries to take back what he thinks are his store's stolen goods but sees nothing but tin cans and thinks the cop wasted his time bringing him there. But when Corwin reaches back in the bag, he presents his ex-boss with a bottle of a certain vintage wine that he wished for. I'll stop there and mention how wonderful to discover another great Art Carney performance after years of seeing him as Norton in "The Honeymooners" as well as his Oscar-winning turn in Harry and Tonto. He brings such belief and optimism to his role that when the whimsical turn of events come at the end, you can't help but be happy for him. Not a typical "Twilight Zone" episode, that's for sure, but one worth seeing for anyone who loves the Christmas spirit.
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