Night Gallery

The Sins of the Fathers

Season 2, Ep 59, Aired 2/23/72
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  • Episode Description
  • In a tale of an old Welsh funerary custom, a devastating famine forces a young boy to play the part of a sin-eater at a dead man's wake. His duties: to cleanse the departed of sin by feasting in the presence of his corpse.

  • Cast & Crew
  • Richard Thomas

    Ian Evans

  • Jack Laird

  • Michael Dunn

    The Servant

  • Lester Wm. Berke

  • Ralph Sariego

  • Fan Reviews (2)
  • Another great example of the masterpiece that is the Night Gallery.

    By tzfanatic93, Mar 25, 2010

  • The only episode (of the many I saw) that I still remember vividly. It was truly horrifying.

    By sfseeker, May 08, 2006

  • Trivia & Quotes
  • Quotes (3)

    • Host: Good evening. I'm your tour guide through this unusual salon of unusual statuary and paintings. These are the sort of things that may not please you but very likely may chill you. Because this is the Night Gallery. Now, this one here, unabashed and unashamed, I submit to you, was a dandy. It delves into an ancient funeral rite having to do with a personage called a sin-eater. One who attends a wake and partakes of the funeral food. And in the process, digests all the transgressions of the deceased, so that he departs the earth a much cleaner and sweeter little item. Proving that we've become a bit more sophisticated in our tribal rites, but we are much the poorer for our 20th Century chromium intellect. You might agree with me after you've seen Sins of the Fathers.

    • Mrs. Evans: My man is supposed to eat your master's sins and your master goes innocent to glory. What happens to my man? Eternal damnation for all the sins he has eaten, for all the others down through the years.

    • Ian Evans: No, no, to eat the sins of the sin-eater... Mrs. Evans: Yes, you have to. Think of all the sins of the sin-eater. Sin upon sin, year after year, hundreds of sins from hundreds of men. Ian. Ian, someone has to take on the sins of the sin-eater. He's your father. Are you going to let your father die with all those sins unrepented, unshriven, unforgiven? Ian. Ian, smell the bacon.

    Notes (2)

    • When this story segment was remastered by Universal Studios in 1990, one of the music cues was truncated and three were omitted completely. Until it is remastered again and this oversight corrected, "Sins" will continue to run on television in this incomplete form.

    • This episode is based on the short story "The Sins of the Fathers..." by Christianna Brand.

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