The Night Gallery is open…in it lies pictures of darkness and truth. Rod Serling is your host thought a museum of the macabre where the paintings tell the tale.
Night Gallery (also known as Rod Serling’s Night Gallery) aired for three seasons. The pilot episode (with a segment “Eyes” by young director Steven Spielberg) aired on November 11, 1969 and the season picking up the next year on December 12, 1970 and running six episodes to January 20, 1971 on NBC. “They’re Tearing Down Tim Riley’s Bar” was nominated for an Emmy for TV Drama or Comedy. The first season DVD also contains bonus episodes from season 2 and season 3.
Rod Serling allegedly began dreaming up the Night Gallery quickly after the end of The Twilight Zone. Despite a similar anthology set-up, the stories of Night Gallery however were often darker and more horrific than the stories of The Twilight Zone which was more science-fiction based. There has been some debate on what control Serling had over the stories (many of which were pulled from older sources like Lovecraft and other writers).
Season 1 of the Night Gallery is a short run. The original “movie” pilot has three half-hour episodes which range from great (The Cemetery) to good (Eyes) to ho-hum (The Escape Route). This is kind of how the whole series runs, but it is still a fun series. If one story isn’t great the next one might be.
Part of the fun of the Night Gallery is all the guest stars. It is a who’s who of the time with many character actors from Serling’s Twilight Zone days including players like Burgess Meredith and Agnes Morehead. It also contains an early appearance by Diane Keaton and tons of actors who could make up the ship passenger list from the Love Boat.
Night Gallery ran heavy in syndication when I was young, but it was also heavily edited. The series was cut down to thirty minutes when the original run time was an hour, and for a few episodes (to round out a purchase package), Gary Collins’ TV series The Sixth Sense was reedited with new intros. If you’ve only seen the syndicated Night Gallery, the original episodes are definitely worth checking out for fans of Serling and the series. The show for me is a lot of nostalgia…I remember being terrified watching this series and episodes here like “The Doll” still give me the creeps…so I always welcome a trip to the Night Gallery!
Night Gallery—Season 1 Complete Episode Guide:
1.0 Night Gallery Airdate: 11/08/69
The Cemetery—A dying artist (George Macready) finds he has a new nephew named Jeremy (Roddy McDowall) moving in to take his fortune despite his loyal servant Portifoy (Ossie Davis) protection. When Jeremy kills his uncle, Jeremy begins to notice changes in the painting of the nearby cemetery…is something getting closer? Eyes—A rich blind woman named Miss Menlo (Joan Crawford) blackmails her doctor Heatherton (Barry Sullivan) to give her eyesight for half a day. When a down an out gambler (Tom Bosley) agrees to give up his eyes, will the experiment work? The Escape Route—Joseph Strobe (Richard Kiley) is a Nazi hiding in South America finds himself obsessed with a painting in a museum. When cornered by Nazi hunters, an escape into the peaceful world of the painting is his only hope.
1.1 The Dead Man/The Housekeeper Airdate: 12/16/70
The Dead Man—A scientist named Dr. Max Redford (Carl Betz) finds the perfect patient in John Fearing (Michael Blodgett) in his research and finds that through hypnotic suggestion that he can exhibit the diseases suggested. When his co-researcher Dr. Miles Talmadge (Jeff Corey) learns that the man is in love with his wife (Louise Sorel), Max’s experiment might go too far. The Housekeeper—A dark magician named Cedric Acton (Larry Hagman) hires a kind housekeeper named Miss Wattle (Jeanette Nolan) in the hopes of using magic to replace his cruel wife Carlotta (Suzy Parker).
1.2 Room with a View/The Little Black Bag/The Nature of the Enemy Airdate: 12/23/70
Room with a View—An elderly man named Jacob Bauman (Joseph Wiseman) with a young wife named Lila (Angel Tompkins) learns that his wife is cheating with his chauffer. To get revenge, Jacob puts his nurse Frances Nevins (Diane Keaton) on a path to end to his wife and Frances’ cheating fiancé. The Little Black Bag—A medical bag from the future is accidentally sent to 1971 where it is found by an old drunk and former doctor named William Fall (Burgess Meredith). Fall realizes the bag could be his salvation if the jealously of his friend (Chill Wills) doesn’t get in the way. The Nature of the Enemy—A trip to the moon leads to a ship’s crash and the disappearance of a second ship…the quest for answers unveils the enemy.
1.3 The House/Certain Shadows on the Wall Airdate: 12/30/70
The House—A woman named Elaine Latimer (Joanne Pettet) has a recurring dream about a specific house while in a sanitarium but leaves to find the house of her dreams. Elaine learns the house is for sale, but that the owners believe it suffers from a haunting. Certain Shadows on the Wall—A dying sister named Emma Brigham (Agnes Moorehead) is tended to by her brother Stephen (Louis Hayward). When she dies, her sisters Ann and Rebecca (Grayson Hall and Rachel Roberts) question her brother’s methods when a mysterious shadow appears on the wall.
1.4 Make Me Laugh/Clean Kills and Other Trophies Airdate: 01/06/71
Make Me Laugh—A stand-up comedian named Jackie Slater (Godfrey Cambridge) finds he’s a failed comic with only his manager (Tom Bosley) supporting him. When Jackie offers his soul for a laugh, Jackie might get his wish when he meets a man named Chatterje (Jackie Vernon) who must work a miracle. Clean Kills and Other Trophies—A hunter named Archie Dittman (Raymond Massey) and his son Archie, Jr. (Barry Brown) disagree about hunting, but Archie, Jr. learns that his father will cut him from his will unless he kills.
1.5 Pamela’s Voice/Lone Survivor/The Doll Airdate: 01/13/71
Pamela’s Voice—A murderous husband named Jonathan (John Astin) is haunted by the his wife Pamela (Phyllis Diller) who hounded him through his life. Lone Survivor—A ship encounters a man (John Colicos) in a lifeboat claiming to be a survivor of Titanic three years after the sinking. When the man realizes he’s on Lusitania, he questions if he’s damned to sail the seas forever among the damned. The Doll—Colonel Hymber Masters (John Williams) finds his past in India has come home. When he learns his niece Monica (Jewel Blanch) has been given a horrible doll from an enemy named Pandit Chola (Henry Silva), Masters learns that the doll carries a curse.
1.6 They’re Tearing Down Tim Riley’s Bar/The Last Laurel Airdate: 01/20/71
They’re Tearing Down Tim Riley’s Bar—Randy Lane (William Windom) finds himself being chased by the ambitions of his young assistant Harvey Doane (Bert Convy) as his secretary Lynn (Diane Baker) tries to protect him. When Randy learns that Tim Riley’s Bar is coming down, he wonders if his time has passed. The Last Laurel—Marius Davis (Jack Cassidy) is a paralyzed man living with the fear that his wife (Martine Beswick) is cheating on him with his doctor (Martin E. Brooks). When Marius learns how to leave his body, he plots a way to get revenge through murder.
[easyazon-block align=”center” asin=”B0002CX1M0″ locale=”us”]