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
Because of cost overruns, there were six consecutive episodes, including this one, that were videotaped and then transferred to 16mm film for TV broadcast and future syndicated rebroadcasts. It saved only about $30,000 for all six not enough to justify the loss of depth of visual perspective, which gave those shows an appearance like a live broadcast or like soap operas in that day. This was an experiment for a normally filmed TV show and was basically called a failure. They never did that kind of recording again of any more The Twilight Zone (1959) episodes. See more »
Bruce the bartender misspells Merry as 'Mery' on the mirror behind his bar. See more »
This is Mr. Henry Corwin, normally unemployed, who once a year takes the lead role in the uniquely popular American institution, that of a department store Santa Claus in a road company version of 'The Night Before Christmas.' But in just a moment, Mr. Henry Corwin, ersatz Santa Claus, will enter a strange kind of North Pole, which is one part the wondrous spirit of Christmas and one part the magic that can only be found in - The Twilight Zone.
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Not only was this one of Art Carney's BEST performances, it was one of Rod Serling's best ever scripts! Art (may he rest in peace) was wholely comfortable in the role, and the script was VERY Rod Serling-ish (may he also rest comfortably), and it was a great, wholesome and very in-the-spirit-of-Christmas story. It also had everything that a solid Twilight Zone script should have - unexpected moments (the great character actor John Fiedler drawing rusting cans out of the bag, followed by Art Carney following that with drawing a wrapped present from the same bag) and an incredibly uplifting ending (with, ironically, a non-standard ending . . . one which didn't end with a reference to the Twilight Zone title).
Anyone who says otherwise is either a Grinch or a Scrooge, and clearly has NO IDEA what goes on as an actor or a producer!!!! (In the words of Gary Trudeau, "A Critic knows the price of everything, and the value of nothing.")
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