The Night of the Meek

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Art Carney: Henry Corwin
John Fiedler: Mr. Dundee
Robert P. Lieb: Officer Flaherty
Val Avery: Bruce the Bartender
Meg Wyllie: Sister Florence
Kay Cousins: Irate Mother
Burt Mustin: Old Man
Andrea Margolis: Little girl
Jimmy Garrett: Little boy
Nan Peterson: Blonde in the bar
Matthew McCue: Derelict man
Larrain Gillespie: Young female elf

"The Night of the Meek" is the December 23, 1960 episode of the American television anthology series The Twilight Zone.



It's Christmas Eve. Henry Corwin, a down-and-out ne'er-do-well, wearing a worn-out Santa Claus suit, has just spent his last few dollars on 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 rude customer who pushed her ill-behaved son 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 unable to fulfill his desired role as Santa. He declares that if he had just one wish granted him on Christmas Eve- "I'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, which at first appears to be full of empty tin cans, but looking back, Corwin sees the bag overfull with packages, and the bag now has the ability to produce any item that's asked of it. Suffused with the spirit of Christmas, Corwin proceeds to hand out gift-wrapped presents to passersby and then, entering Sister Florence's "Delancey Street Mission House", to derelict men attending the Christmas Eve service. Irritated at this interruption, 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 all he manages to pull out are a couple of empty cans and a meowing stray cat, as Corwin tries to explain that the bag "doesn't know whether to give out gifts or garbage". Realizing he can't hold Corwin for possession of "garbage", Flaherty tells him, over Dundee's objections, that he can leave.

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