Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Discuss: Night Gallery


Karen: This was a show that really creeped me out as a kid. In fact, even today I get a little freaked out by it. The scary paintings, weird music, and genuinely frightening stories were almost too much to take. What do you think?


10 comments:

humanbelly said...

Wow, I wish I had time to wax all lengthical on it-! Night Gallery scared me TO DEATH when it was originally on. The pictures in particular creeped me out beyond reason-- I would sometimes hold my hand up to block them from my direct view. . . (embarrassing, yes).
In later years, as I became I huge Twilight Zone/Rod Serling fan, though, I find its existence to be more heartbreaking because of the fact that it traded on Rod's "macabre" associations and reputation to carry the show's weight as its narrator-- but there was an adamant refusal to let him make significant contributions on the creative end, which is what he most wanted. And while I enjoyed many of the "gag" shorts and other stories, even as a kid I recognized that it was a bit of a dumbed-down horror anthology show.

Which, heh, made it just about perfect for an 11 to 13 year old who was also a big Night Stalker fan.

For some reason, I particularly recall a short segment where John Astin plays a fully-adorned hippy stuck in a room full of hopeless "squares". Turns out one man's heaven is another man's hell. What was great, of course, is that ol' John was (and is) absolutely happy to step into just about any guest-star role that his agent would throw at him. I mean, Gomez Addams. . . a hippy? Waxing on about the Beatles?? He's never been NOT recognizable. . . he's always John Astin. . . but you always buy him in whatever role, regardless.

Aaaaand gotta go. . .

HB

Anonymous said...

I remember that episode with John Astin, too. Somehow the subject came up at the LCS once, and the manager mentioned a Twilight Zone episode with a similar moral. In that one, Larry Blyden played an armed robber who got killed in a shoot-out with a cop. He arrives in what seems to be paradise, but it turns out to be too much of a good thing. As for Astin always being Astin, I guess it's like that quote from Gary Cooper. When asked if he had done research to prepare to play Billy Mitchell, Coop replied, "Son, they pay me to play myself."

david_b said...

I remember that Twilight Zone 'Hell' episode, which was very funny, much more subtle. This one's interesting for seeing Alan Hale Jr as the husband.

Even more interesting in that particular segment with Astin was the notion explained by the Devil that Heaven perceived to some was also Hell to others.

Dougie said...

Not one hundred per cent certain but I think Night Gallery was screened a couple of times in West Central Scotland.

Most recently, a friend from the US directed me to the episode entitled "The Caterpillar": one of the creepiest, squirm-iest things I've ever seen.

Steve Does Comics said...

I seem to remember it was shown on Friday nights for a while in my area. Even though I recall enjoying it more than The Twilight Zone, the only episode I remember was an adaptation of HP Lovecraft's Pickman's Model.

Anonymous said...

Never seen an episode. When did it air?

Xrayman

Anonymous said...

Night Gallery probably seems tame by today's standards, but it was about as creepy as TV would allow back then. Reportedly, Rod Serling disowned the last season after the network demanded more emphasis on horror (to attract a younger audience) and less on the morality plays. He also disliked those short segments (like the one with John Astin as the hippie) that were included to fill spare time. For some reason, though, those are the ones I remember. Adam West as Dr. Jekyll, Cesar Romero as Dracula (visiting a blood bank), and, my favorite, Kim Hunter going to a mortician and arranging a cut-rate funeral for her husband. Then she goes home and pushes him off a balcony. Serling said that "They're Tearing Down Tim Riley's Bar" was the best script he wrote for Night Gallery, and one of his best ever. Oddly enough, I disliked that episode. It seemed kind of pretentious, as if it were consciously written and produced with an eye on the Emmy award nominations. But maybe I just have lowbrow taste, and can't appreciate the Finer Things.

Karen said...

Xrayman, the show was on from late 1970 to 1973. I saw it mostly in reruns, which usually came on late at night. Being up late, alone, and watching Night Gallery was not smart if one wanted a good night's sleep.

Anthony said...

The only Night Gallery episodes I can remember with any clarity are the Night Gallery movie which was the pilot and one 2nd season episode.The pilot had 3 episodes. In the first Roddy McDowall tries to kill his rich uncle. In the second Joan Crawford gets a pair of eyes but they will only give her sight for a few hours. In the last a Nazi war criminal seeks to escape into an idyllic painting hanging in a gallery.

The second season episode was Lindemann's Catch about a fisherman who falls in love with a mermaid. The show in general did have a very creepy feel to it. I can remember a time when my mother used to watch the show. I was too young to stay up. I think the show ran at 10 PM. I think it was a lot creepier listening to it from my bedroom door. It was like listening to horror radio.

David said...

The episodes with psychological terror hold up much better than the ones with "horror" effects. The caterpillar episode still creeps me out to this day. And the adaptation of "Silent Snow, Secret Snow" with narration by Orson Welles was pretty amazing, too.

The entire series is on Hulu.

Related Posts with Thumbnails