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Night Gallery

Season 2 Episode 59

The Sins of the Fathers

Aired Unknown Feb 23, 1972 on NBC
out of 10
User Rating
37 votes

By TV.com Users

Episode Summary

The Sins of the Fathers
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.

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  • sins of the father

    Good episode kind of creeped me out especially watching it at 2 glad I never lived through those times.
  • too much wailing

    well, i thought that richard thomas would never stop crying & screaming, so THAT got under my skin from the get-go.

    then, i was so annoyed by his mother's eagerness to sacrifice her sweet, innocent son's eternal life for his father's (who CHOSE to do it), that i went out to the kitchen for a snack & missed the ending.

  • No Gary Collins!!!

    This was one of 2 really scary episodes from NG i is now showing these early mornings, and i have been waiting for this episode to all we get are the horrible ones with Gary Collins which is disappointing.
  • Another great example of the masterpiece that is the Night Gallery.

    The Sins of the Fathers is, without a doubt, one of the most truly terrifying episodes of Night Gallery that there is. Richard Thomas was marvelous in this episode. When I first saw this, I found it hard to understand what was going on at the time. But when I did realize what was going on it scared the heck out of me.

    The Sins of the Fathers is a great example of why Night Gallery is such a fantastic show. Richard Thomas was great in this episode. This is such a fantastic episode that I could just watch over and over again to frighten myself.moreless
  • The only episode (of the many I saw) that I still remember vividly. It was truly horrifying.

    My remembrance of this episode is a little sketchy, given that it aired in 1972, but I remember being freaked out by it. The gist of the story: In Wales, there was a man designated as the village "sin eater". He would feast on food laid out on a corpse, and "absorb" all of the sins committed by the deceased during their lifetime. Richard Thomas' character is the son of a "sin eater" who has just died. His mother (the wonderfully borderline-nuts Geraldine Page) doesn't want her dead husband roasting in hell, with all the sins he's "eaten" over the years, so she cajoles the son into "eating" all the sins from the dead father.


    He does it. And it's horrifying.moreless

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (0)

  • 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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