The Twilight Zone

Season 2 Episode 11

The Night of the Meek

Aired Unknown Dec 23, 1960 on CBS
out of 10
User Rating
140 votes

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Episode Summary

A down-on-his-luck department store Santa Claus discovers the Christmas spirit.

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Who was the Episode MVP ?

  • Spirit of Christmas

    Sometimes episode based on a holiday don't always work, but this is one of those rare ones that actually work, and the fact that this is a Twilight Zone story makes it all the better.

    I'll admit this episode gave me a good feeling it's sort of formated like a Capra picture. It at first starts out rather dark when we see Harry (played brilantly by the late great Art Carney) as a department store Santa who has had more than his share of rotten luck which has made him suffer a deep depression, and his cranky, greedy, and bitter boss adds even more weight on to it. Harry is trying to find the good in things again and of course he does when he finds a magical bag that gives out an endless amount of toys to whatever the child asks for. And of course Harry plays his role and does it very well, by giving the children what they desire and seeing the brightness in their faces makes him feel great. And of course we soon see that he actaually becomes Santa Claws in the end.

    This is an episode about what Christmas should really be about as well as the power of believing in everything that is good. If you believe hard enough then good things will always happen and that's part of what Christmas is all about.moreless
  • A down-on-his luck department store Santa turns out to be the real Santa Claus.

    I first saw this episode when I was a child, back in the days before VCRs or TiVo. I was thrilled when I was able to get my own copy on DVD, for this is a favorite episode of mine. Quite simply, Art Carney's character, an unfortunate guy hired to play Santa Claus for a department store, ends up at the end being the real Santa Claus, and departs on his sleigh with elves and reindeer. He has to face adversity in the face of his bosses, of course, who are cranky, but good triumphs over cranky in the end. It is a magical episode, simply done, with actors making mistakes, but who cares? The Good Guy wins in the end. The department store Santa with a penchant for drink to drown his sorries is transformed into the real Santa, and he now has a mission. He's happy, and he'll make others happy, too. Rod Serling knew what he was doing back then. Twilight Zone was often disturbing or thought-provoking; this episode was uplifting and full of hope.moreless
Robert P. Lieb

Robert P. Lieb

Officer Flaherty

Guest Star

Val Avery

Val Avery

The Bartender

Guest Star

Meg Wyllie

Meg Wyllie

Sister Florence

Guest Star

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (0)

  • QUOTES (4)

    • (Opening Narration)
      Narrator: This is Mr. Henry Corwin, normally unemployed, who once a year takes the lead role in the uniquely popular American institute, that of 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.

    • Corwin: As to my drinking, this is indefensible. And you have my abject apologies. I find of late that I have very little choice in the matter of expressing emotions. I can either drink, or I can weep. And drinking is so much more subtle.
      Mr. Dundee: Will you please leave?
      Corwin: But as to my insubordination, I was not rude to that woman. Someone should remind her that Christmas is more than barging up and down department store aisles and pushing people out of the way.
      Mr. Dundee: Now, Corwin...
      Corwin: Someone has to tell her that Christmas is another thing finer than that. Richer, finer, truer, and should come with patience and love. Charity, compassion. That's what I would have told her if you'd given me a chance.

    • Corwin: You know another reason why I drink, Mr. Dundee? So that when I walk down the tenements, I can really think it's the North Pole and the children are elves and that I'm really Santa Claus bringing them a bag of wondrous gifts for all of them. I just wish, Mr. Dundee, on one Christmas, only one, that I could see some of the hopeless ones and the dreamless ones, just on one Christmas, I'd like to see the meek inherit the Earth. That's why I drink, Mr. Dundee, and that's why I weep.

    • (Closing Narration)
      Narrator: A word to the wise to all the children of the twentieth century, whether their concern be pediatrics or geriatrics, whether they crawl on hands and knees and wear diapers or walk with a cane and comb their beards. There's a wondrous magic to Christmas, and there's a special power reserved for little people. In short, there's nothing mightier than the meek.

  • NOTES (3)