US tv series (1970-1972). A Jack Laird Production for Universal TV/NBC. Created Rod Serling. 93 plays: the 1969 two-hour pilot had three plays; season 1, part of a mixture of dramas called Four-in-One, consisted of six 50-minute episodes containing two to three playlets; season 2, under the Rod Serling's Night Gallery title, had 23 of the same sort of 50-minute episodes; season three had 16 25-minute episodes, each with one playlet. Colour.
Created by Rod Serling – who in the early 1960s had made the series The Twilight Zone – Night Gallery was primarily made up of supernatural stories but did contain a small number of sf episodes; many of the plays were scripted by Serling from original stories by such writers as C M Kornbluth, Fritz Leiber, H P Lovecraft and A E van Vogt, and Richard Matheson scripted several other segments. One of the three plays in the pilot, starring Joan Crawford, was Steven Spielberg's debut; other directors included John Badham, Leonard Nimoy and Jeannot Szwarc. After a time Serling lost creative control and grew to dislike the series, the studio requiring more monsters and fewer subtleties; however, he continued to introduce it, strolling through a sinister art gallery and pointing to a relevant painting before each play began. Night Gallery was on the whole a disappointment after The Twilight Zone. Two collections of stories by Serling were series spin-offs: Night Gallery (coll 1971) and Night Gallery 2 (coll 1972). Also relevant is Rod Serling's Night Gallery Reader (anth 1987) edited by Carol Serling (Serling's widow) with Martin H Greenberg and Charles G Waugh. [JB/PN]
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