The Twilight Zone – Complete Series Review – Season 2 Episode 11 – The Night of the Meek

If you were a kid back in the day this was your favorite Twilight Zone episode.  Santa Claus.

Henry Corwin is a skid row bum who every year dresses up as Santa Claus at the local department store.  But Henry is overcome with sadness for the fate of the poor inhabitants of his slum neighborhood.  He goes to the local bar and drinks until he’s drunk and cries until he’s thrown out of the bar.  On the way to the store he meets poor children begging him for things that might make their Christmas less sad.  And he cries.

At his job as Santa his inebriated state draws the ire of a little boy and his mother who report him to the store manager Mr. Dundee.  Dundee berates Henry and fires him for his drinking.  Henry apologizes for his condition but explains that he drinks because his sadness for the suffering of the poor hurts him too much.  And he says if he could have one wish it would be that just one Christmas, he’d “like to see the meek inherit the earth.”

Later on, he is walking down an alley when he hears sleigh bells and finds a big sack full of gifts.  Amazed and ecstatic with joy he heads to the local Salvation Army mission and starts handing out gifts to his fellow down and outs.  And every package turns out to be the exact gift wanted by the recipient.  This goes happily along until the lady running the place complains to the police that Henry is handing out stolen property.

Officer Flaherty arrests Henry and calls Mr. Dundee to tell him that Henry must have stolen merchandise from his store and is handing it out to his poor neighbors.  But when they inspect his sack all they find is trash.  Flaherty tells Henry he is free to go.  Now Dundee berates Flaherty for his stupidity.  Flaherty declares that something supernatural had occurred but Dundee says if that is true, he’d like to see the bag produce a rare bottle of cherry brandy.  And of course, Henry produces the brandy as he leaves and wishes them a Merry Christmas.

Back at the Salvation Army spot he finishes handing over gifts to all of his neighbors.  One of his friends asks Henry what gift he wants.  And he says he can’t think of one but if he had his wish it would be to give gifts like this every year.  Wandering back to the alley where he found the sack, he sees a sleigh drawn by reindeers and an elf that calls him Santa and invites him onto the sleigh.

Later on, Flaherty and Dundee are walking down the street and see Henry and the elf flying through the sky in the reindeer drawn sleigh.  Overcome by the wonder Dundee offers Flaherty the hospitality of his home, a drink of the brandy, and says, “we’ll thank God for miracles, Flaherty.”

What can I say?  This episode is outrageously melodramatic and sentimental.  But if I can’t give Art Carney as Santa Claus an A then I might as well join the SJWs and join the war on Christmas.  The only suggestion I’d make is that this episode should be watched on December 24th with the small children of the family in attendance.  And to all a good night.

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War Pig
War Pig
1 year ago

Absolutely. Art Carney, another irreplaceable character actor and a very good leading actor. Ever see “Harry and Tonto”? This episode was a favorite of mine as a lad even though I was old enough to know about Santa Claus when it aired. He sort of recreated this character in a lighter form when he played Santa in “The Night They Saved Christmas”.