Season 1 Episode 1


Aired Sunday 10:00 PM Sep 14, 2003 on HBO



  • Trivia

    • Although Ben's mother's farm is supposed to be in Oklahoma, in some of the long shots mountains can be seen in the distance.

    • Brother Justin is shown listening to Orson Welles as The Shadow on the radio. Although The Shadow premiered in 1930, Orson Welles didn't play the part until 1937 - three years after the 1934 setting of the show. James La Curto and Frank Readick Jr. alternated performing the role in '34.

  • Quotes

    • Jonesy: Talk to Management about the hick?
      Samson: Yeah, I talked to him. $34.87 in the kitty; we're already choking on the nut. The last thing we need is another belly to wash. You know what he says?
      Jonesy: What?
      Samson: "He was expected."
      Jonesy: Expected? What the hell's that supposed to mean?
      Samson: I stopped asking that question a long time ago.

    • Brother Justin: Latter-day versions of the vile plagues that rained on Egypt, The fires that consumed Sodom and Gomorrah. Scourges of the Old Testament, yes, but even now, brothers and sisters, even now, drought and pestilence fester in the very heart of this great land. Titanic sandstorms, the likes of which man has not seen since the days of the prophets. And I ask myself, what are these things? What are they, if not evidence of God's fury? What are they, if not harbingers of the Apocalypse? And yet...and yet, as I walked to church today, these troubled thoughts were soothed by a balmy wind. And as I looked out upon the endless acres of rich, untilled earth, I realized, brothers and sisters, that this is truly the promised land and that we are indeed blessed.

    • (Sofie is reading Ben's cards)
      Sofie: The magician, reversed. You have a great talent or ability.
      Ben: Uh, reversed?
      Sofie: Upside down. It means it's been wasted, unfulfilled. A gift you've hidden from others.

    • Sofie: You know, the people in these towns, they're asleep. All day, at work, at home. They're sleepwalkers. We wake them up.

    • Samson: The point is, Kid, I'm about to make you the offer of a lifetime.
      Ben: Hey, stop calling me Kid. Okay? My name is Ben Hawkins.
      Samson: Well, Ben Hawkins, how would you like a career in show business?

    • Samson: Let's shake some dust!

    • Brother Justin: Eleanor, I see you at my sermons and you pray so hard it breaks my heart. But my words.. they wash over you like water over a stone.
      Eleanor: No. No.
      Brother Justin: We all each of us carry within us the seeds of our own salvation and our own damnation. You do believe that, don't you?
      (Eleanor nods then puts a hand to her mouth and coughs up coins similar to the confessional bowl out on to the carpet)
      Brother Justin: Kneel. Now. Pray with me, sister. Pray. Kneel and pray!
      (After a pause, Eleanor joins him on bended knee)
      Brother Justin: Please, dear Lord. I have sinned.
      (Eleanor tries to repeat, but coughs up more coins)
      Brother Justin: I have sinned!
      Eleanor: (falteringly) I have sinned.
      Brother Justin: Merciful Father, forgive me. (after more coins come, he rushes over and holds a quivering Eleanor) Enough! Enough!

    • Samson: Before the beginning, after the great war between heaven and hell, God created the Earth and gave dominion over it to the crafty ape he called Man. And to each generation was born a creature of light and a creature of darkness, and great armies would clash by night in the ancient war between good and evil. There was magic then. Nobility. And unimaginable cruelty. And so it was, until the day that a false sun exploded over Trinity, and man forever traded away wonder for reason.

  • Notes

    • The episode won 2 Emmy Awards for Outstanding Art Direction for a Single-Camera Series and Outstanding Costumes for a Series.

    • Music in this episode includes:
      The Hall Brothers: The Wrong Road
      Cab Calloway: Six or Seven Times
      Annett Hanshaw: You Wouldn't Fool Me, Would You?
      Duke Ellington and His Orchestra ft. Adelaide Hall: Creole Love Call

  • Allusions

    • When Jonesy and Samson are seen in the truck and listening to the radio, "More Important Than Gold," President Franklin Delano Roosevelt's first Fireside Chat, is being transmitted. It was transmitted on March 12, 1933.

    • Samson: I met Caruso and Dempsey. I made eyes with Theda Bara.

      Samson mentions three celebrities who were all extremely popular in the 1920s. Enrico Caruso, 1873-1921, was an Italian opera singer, who performed at the Metropolitan Opera in New York for 16 years. Jack Dempsey, 1895-1983, was a heavyweight boxing champion. Theda Bara, 1885-1955, was a silent film actress and a sex symbol in her time.

    • This episode features an excerpt of "The Shadow," a radio show about a crimefighting hero. The program in question is The Silent Avenger, which originally aired on 3/13/1938.

    • Roustie: Slang for roustabout. This is a term given to workers on the Carnivale, handymen who maintain it.

    • Rube: e.g. "He's a rube". A rube is someone who is considered to be easily fooled, or susceptible. Someone like this is easy prey in the Carnivale.