Tuesday, December 23, 2014


"You're traveling through another dimension, a dimension not only of sight and sound but of mind. A journey into a wondrous land whose boundaries are that of imagination. That's the signpost up ahead - your next stop"...

After the amount of views that I received from my review of the pilot "Twilight Zone" episode, "The Time Element"; I was originally going to do a review on Season 1 for New Years Eve as a follow up, however, I've been so busy with so many other things, that I wasn't able to finish my review of the first Season. To make up for this, I thought I'd review a Christmas "Twilight Zone" episode from the 2nd Season.

"This is Mr. Henry Corwin, normally unemployed, who once a year takes the lead role in the uniquely popular American institution, that of the 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."


Art Carney plays a drunken mall Santa, who's upset and depressed that this special Holiday has lost its soul and meaning, and is about the money and the commercialism. However, he stumbles upon a magical giant sack that can give people whatever they want, and decides to play the role of Santa by sharing the spirit of giving to everyone in town. As corny and extremely light hearted as the episode sounds for a "Twilight Zone" episode, its actually really, really great! In fact, the episode feels like watching "It's A Wonderful Life", which I wouldn't be surprised if the show got some inspiration from the movie. The look of it, looks very dark, but at many times Christmasy at the same time just like the film. The depressing scenes are really depressing, and light hearted Christmas scenes, do bring the spirit and feeling of Christmas, again much like the film.

Aside from its great writing by Rod Serling, Art Carney is what makes the episode so wonderful. When we first see him as this sad and drunk Mall Santa, who feels like that Christmas has lost it soul, you do feel bad for him, and even get as depressed as he is. That speech he makes in the mall is really powerful and depressing, and to think that it’s the same guy who played the goofy Neighbor Norton on "The Honeymooners" really shows how great of an actor he is. When he finds the bag and starts giving gifts to the homeless and children, it’s not over the top, it’s not corny, he actually shows how much he loves giving gifts to people and making them happy, which is really joyful and heartwarming. In fact, he actually makes a really great Santa. I mean seeing him happy, and making people happy is really hard not to enjoy or get that wonderful feeling of Christmas. The rest of the supporting cast are really great too, especially John Fiedler as his boss, but Art Carney is who really steals the show. As for the ending, some may find it stupid and corny, but I think the episode did a great and wonderful job executing that ending. It felt magical, it was cute, it was heartwarming, and seeing Art Carney get his wish really made me smile!

The episode is sadly one of the few videotaped episodes of the show that makes it look like a modern Soap Opera, however, the story, performances, and Christmas atmosphere is done so beautifully, that you hardly notice it. It's indeed a great Christmas Special, from a great show!


No comments:

Post a Comment