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Rod Serling's Night Gallery

Entry updated 19 November 2023. Tagged: TV.

US tv series (1970-1972; vt Night Gallery). 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.

This anthology series was created by Rod Serling, who in the early 1960s had made the series The Twilight Zone, whose successor Night Gallery was primarily made up of supernatural stories but did contain a small number of sf episodes. Many of the segments were scripted by Serling and others from original stories whose authors included Joan Aiken, Algernon Blackwood, R Chetwynd-Hayes, August Derleth, Miriam Allen deFord, Edward D Hoch, C M Kornbluth, George Langelaan, Fritz Leiber, H P Lovecraft, André Maurois, Seabury Quinn, Clark Ashton Smith, Margaret St Clair, A E van Vogt, Donald Wandrei and Manly Wade Wellman; Richard Matheson scripted two segments based on his own stories.

One of the three plays in the pilot, starring Joan Crawford, was Steven Spielberg's directorial 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/DRL]


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