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. A word to the wise to all the children of the twenty-first 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.
About this creation
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 mother 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. 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 sees a large, cloth garbage bag which seems to have the ability of containing 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. Outraged at this interruption, Sister Florence goes outside to fetch Officer Flaherty who proceeds to arrest Corwin for apparently taking goods 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.
Released, Corwin reaches into the bag and gives Dundee the Christmas present that he sarcastically requested, a bottle of cherry brandy, vintage 1903. Leaving the precinct, he continues to hand out gifts for the remainder of the evening, until the bag is empty. Burt, an elderly derelict, points out that Corwin has taken "not a thing" for himself. Corwin replies that his only wish is to do this every year. Returning to the alley where he found the bag, he encounters a young female elf, 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 light-headed 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 and an elf, ascend into the night sky on Christmas Eve.
This is the table where Santa had his alcohol. What a drunk mate!