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  • Night of the Meek
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  • It is Christmas Eve. Henry Corwin, a down-and-out ne'er-do-well, dressed in a baggy, worn-out Santa Claus suit, has just spent his last few dollars on a sandwich and six drinks at Jack's Place, the neighborhood bar. Bruce, the brusque bartender, throws him out after spotting Corwin, now low on funds, reaching for the bottle. Arriving an hour late for his seasonal job as a department store Santa, the visibly drunk Corwin is soon fired by Mr. Dundee, the mean-spirited manager, acting on a complaint from the overbearing customer who had, moments earlier, pushed her reluctant son, "Percival", to sit on Santa's lap. As Dundee orders him to leave the premises, Corwin pours out his heartache over living in a "dirty rooming house on a street filled with hungry kids and shabby people" for whom he i
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Episode Title
  • Night of the Meek
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Series
First Aired
  • 1960-12-23
Episode
  • Season 2, Episode 47
Image File
  • Night_of_the_Meek.jpg
abstract
  • It is Christmas Eve. Henry Corwin, a down-and-out ne'er-do-well, dressed in a baggy, worn-out Santa Claus suit, has just spent his last few dollars on a sandwich and six drinks at Jack's Place, the neighborhood bar. Bruce, the brusque bartender, throws him out after spotting Corwin, now low on funds, reaching for the bottle. Arriving an hour late for his seasonal job as a department store Santa, the visibly drunk Corwin is soon fired by Mr. Dundee, the mean-spirited manager, acting on a complaint from the overbearing customer who had, moments earlier, pushed her reluctant son, "Percival", to sit on Santa's lap. As Dundee orders him to leave the premises, Corwin pours out his heartache over living in a "dirty rooming house on a street filled with hungry kids and shabby people" for whom he is incapable of fulfilling his desired role as Santa. He declares that if he had just "one wish" granted him on Christmas Eve, he'd "like to see the meek inherit the earth". Still in his outfit, he returns to Jack's Place but is refused re-entry by Bruce, who explains to the inebriated patrons that "Santa's a lush". Stumbling aimlessly into an alley, he hears sleigh bells and trips over a large burlap bag, overfilled with packages, which seems to have the ability to produce any item that's asked of it. Overjoyed at his sudden, inexplicable ability to fulfill a lifelong dream, Corwin proceeds to hand out gift-wrapped presents to passersby and then, upon entering Sister Florence's "Delancey Street Mission House", to derelict men attending Christmas Eve service. Irritated by the disruption, Sister Florence goes outside to fetch Officer Flaherty, who proceeds to arrest Corwin for apparently stealing merchandise from his former place of employment. Flaherty then contacts Mr. Dundee, who arrives at the police station exclaiming, "Ah-ha, here he is, and here we are, and there that is!". Calling Corwin a "moth-eaten Robin Hood", Dundee reaches into the garbage bag to display some of the purported "wholesale theft of thousands of dollars worth of goods" but, as he pulls out a couple of empty cans, and a cat emitting a meow emerges from the bag onto the precinct counter, Corwin interjects, "this bag doesn't know whether to give out gifts or garbage". Seeing what just happened, Flaherty tells Corwin to "clean up this mess and get out of here", as Dundee, angry at having his time wasted, throws accusations of incompetence at Flaherty, who responds that "like Corwin says, we're dealing with the supernatural here". With sarcastic disbelief, Dundee then challenges Corwin to produce a bottle of cherry brandy, vintage 1903 and, as he turns to Flaherty and continues to berate him ("...how dare you drag me here at the busiest time of the year..."), Corwin comments "oh, that's a good year" and reaches into the bag to hand Dundee his exact request. Leaving the precinct, he continues to distribute gifts for the remainder of the evening until the bag is empty. Burt, an elderly local resident who had already received a couple of Corwin's presents, points out that Corwin has taken "nothing for yourself, not a thing" and Corwin replies that his only wish is to do this every year. Returning to the alley where he found the bag, he encounters an elf (in the persona of an adolescent girl), with a sleigh and four reindeer waiting to take him to his destiny as the eternal Santa Claus. Emerging from the precinct, Flaherty and Dundee, now slightly tipsy from sampling the brandy, hear the tinkle of bells and confirm to each other that they have, indeed, just seen Henry Corwin, in a sleigh with reindeer, "sitting next to an elf", ascending into the night sky on Christmas Eve. Dundee invites Flaherty to accompany him home and share some hot coffee and more brandy, adding, "...and we'll thank God for miracles, Flaherty..."
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