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Night Gallery

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Night Gallery
DVD cover
Also known asRod Serling's Night Gallery
Created byRod Serling
Presented byRod Serling
Theme music composerBilly Goldenberg (pilot)
Gil Mellé (seasons 1 & 2)
Eddie Sauter (season 3)
ComposersRobert Bain
Paul Glass
John Lewis
Gil Mellé
Oliver Nelson
Robert Prince
Eddie Sauter
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
No. of seasons3
No. of episodes43 (93 segments) (+ pilot) (list of episodes)
ProducersJack Laird
William Sackheim
Camera setupSingle-camera
Running time50 minutes (seasons 1 & 2)
25 minutes (season 3)
Production companyUniversal Television
Original release
ReleaseNovember 8, 1969 (1969-11-08)
ReleaseDecember 16, 1970 (1970-12-16) –
May 27, 1973 (1973-05-27)

Night Gallery is an American anthology television series that aired on NBC from December 16, 1970, to May 27, 1973, featuring stories of horror and the macabre. Rod Serling, who had gained fame from an earlier series, The Twilight Zone, served both as the on-air host of Night Gallery and as a major contributor of scripts, although he did not have the same control of content and tone as he had on The Twilight Zone.[3][2] Serling viewed Night Gallery as a logical extension of The Twilight Zone, but while both series shared an interest in thought-provoking dark fantasy, more of Zone's offerings were science fiction while Night Gallery focused on horrors of the supernatural.[1]

Format and style

Joan Crawford in the telefilm that began the series, 1969.
Joan Crawford in the telefilm that began the series, 1969.

Serling appeared in an art gallery setting as the curator and introduced the macabre tales that made up each episode by unveiling paintings (by artists Thomas J. Wright and Jaroslav "Jerry" Gebr) that depicted the stories. His intro usually was, “Good evening, and welcome to a private showing of three paintings, displayed here for the first time. Each is a collector’s item in its own way—not because of any special artistic quality, but because each captures on a canvas, suspended in time and space, a frozen moment of a nightmare.” Night Gallery regularly presented adaptations of classic fantasy tales by authors such as H. P. Lovecraft, as well as original works, many of which were by Serling himself. Night Gallery's multi-segment presentation mirrored the EC horror comics of the 1950s, and hadn't been seen on television before, except for on the one-off "Trio of Terror" episode of Thriller in 1961.[4]

The series was introduced with a pilot television film consisting of three segments or movies, that aired on November 8, 1969. The second segment of the film, "Eyes," was the directorial debut of Steven Spielberg, as well as one of the last acting performances by Joan Crawford.

In its second season, the series began using original comic blackout sketches between the longer story segments in some episodes.[2] Most of the blackout sketches were written by producer Jack Laird.[5] Rod Serling opposed their presence on the show, due to their contrasting comedic tone, and several of them have no introduction from Serling. He stated "I thought they [the blackout sketches] distorted the thread of what we were trying to do on Night Gallery. I don't think one can show Edgar Allan Poe and then come back with Flip Wilson for 34 seconds. I just don't think they fit."[5] These types of segments were much less frequent in the third and final season. For the third season, the show had a lower budget, and shifted towards a shorter half-hour format, featuring either a single segment, or a single segment and one short blackout sketch. During this season, NBC didn't want anymore philosophical Twilight Zone-esque stories.[4] They also demanded less adaptations of classic European-inspired fiction, in favor of more American-centric stories.[4] NBC moved the show from Wednesday to Sunday, but it was still placed in the same 10 p.m. timeslot.[4] Regarding the changes in the third season, Serling said at the time, "I'm fucking furious. These people are taking what could have been a good series and they're so commercializing it it's not going to be commercial."[4] Serling added that they wanted "considerable action as opposed to anything insightful, cerebral or sensitive."[4] It has been claimed that NBC pushed for Night Gallery to become more of an action show for the third season, although it would end up still remaining a supernatural-driven show.

Night Gallery was initially part of a rotating anthology or wheel series called Four in One. This 1970–1971 television series rotated four separate shows, including McCloud, SFX (San Francisco International Airport) and The Psychiatrist. Two of these, Night Gallery and McCloud, were renewed for the 1971–1972 season, with McCloud becoming the most popular and longest running of the four.



The show featured various composers. The original pilot theme and background music was composed by Billy Goldenberg. The theme for the first two seasons, composed by Gil Mellé, is noted for being one of the first television openings to use electronic instruments. For the third season, Mellé's theme was replaced with a more frantic orchestral piece by Eddie Sauter.[6] Currently, no music from the show has been released commercially.



Serling wrote many of the teleplays, including "Camera Obscura" (based on a short story by Basil Copper), "The Caterpillar" (based on a short story by Oscar Cook), "Class of '99", "Cool Air" (based on a short story by H.P. Lovecraft), "The Doll", "Green Fingers", "Lindemann's Catch", and "The Messiah on Mott Street" (heavily influenced by Bernard Malamud's "Angel Levine"). Non-Serling efforts include "The Dead Man", "I'll Never Leave You—Ever", "Pickman's Model" (based on a short story by H.P. Lovecraft), "A Question of Fear", "Silent Snow, Secret Snow", and "The Sins of the Fathers".

Robert Bloch wrote two teleplays for the show. "Logoda's Heads" was based on the story by August Derleth. "Last Rites for a Dead Druid" originally was an adaptation by Bloch of the H.P. Lovecraft/Hazel Heald collaboration "Out of the Aeons"; however, Bloch's script was not used, and the episode was rewritten and retitled. As a result, "Last Rites for a Dead Druid" bears no resemblance to "Out of the Aeons".[7]



Award nominations


Night Gallery was nominated for an Emmy Award for its first-season episode "They're Tearing Down Tim Riley's Bar" as the Outstanding Single Program on U.S. television in 1971. In 1972, the series received another nomination (Outstanding Achievement in Makeup) for the second-season episode "Pickman's Model". Serling himself received an Edgar Allan Poe Award for writing the pilot.



Shortly after Night Gallery was cancelled, the 60-minute episodes from the first two seasons were re-edited for a 30-minute time slot. This was in order to increase the number of episodes that were available for syndication. Many segments were severely cut, and others extended by inserting "new" scenes of recycled, previously discarded, or stock footage to fill up the time. For example, the segment "The Different Ones" was extended from 15 minutes to 24 minutes, which made it long enough to air as its own stand-alone episode. This was achieved using stock footage from Fahrenheit 451, Silent Running and the Apollo space missions.[2] One of the most heavily cut segments was "They're Tearing Down Tim Riley's Bar", which was edited down from 41 minutes to 24 minutes.[2] For time reasons, some of the segments were paired with segments that they didn't originally air alongside. The three segments from the 1969 TV movie pilot were not included as part of the syndication package, because they had already entered syndication as a stand-alone movie.[4]

The syndication edits for Night Gallery were overseen by Harry Tatelman of Universal. In their book Rod Serling's Night Gallery: An After-Hours Tour, authors Scott Skelton and Jim Benson identify 39 of the 98 individual segments that were produced for Night Gallery as being "severely altered" in syndication. Segments such as "Green Fingers" and "Lindemann's Catch" had new music inserted, which leaned towards more of a typical horror sound.[2] The music was changed in an attempt to heighten the tension, and it was also a by-product of having to either cut down segments or pad them out. Richard Bracken, one of Harry Tatelman's editors on Night Gallery, later said "Harry was given the assignment by the studio and it was a job he knew that he could do one way or the other, and he did. I don't know if there was any particular glee in changing the style and content of the show, as much as getting the job done."[2]

25 episodes of an unrelated, short-lived supernatural series from 1972, The Sixth Sense, were also incorporated into the syndicated version of the series. Serling was paid 100,000 dollars to film introductions for the episodes from The Sixth Sense, with new paintings also being commissioned for them.[4] Serling's introductions for The Sixth Sense were written by an unknown member of Harry Tatelman's staff. As The Sixth Sense was originally a one-hour show, these episodes were all severely edited to fit into the half-hour timeslot. In order to have more commercials, some television stations required a few extra minutes be cut from episodes, in addition to the edits that had already been made by Tatelman. These edits were done by people working at their respective stations, and are described as having less care put into them when compared to Tatelman's edits.[2] In later years, stations would simply speed up the episodes instead of creating their own edits, which would lead to a higher pitch in the voice of the actors.[2]

Rod Serling and Jack Laird were both said to be "livid" with the syndication edits.[2] Some directors were allowed input before their segments were edited for syndication, including Jeannot Szwarc. When asked what he thought about the show's syndicated version, Szwarc said in 1998, "what they've done to it is absolutely criminal. But they don't give a shit. That has always been the disease of Hollywood. They don't care about the past, all they care about is making a lot of money now."[2] Szwarc additionally said that he had stopped watching the show, since the syndicated version was still being heavily used on television at that point.[2]

The original, uncut and un-edited hour-long version of the series (and without the additional Sixth Sense episodes) has been shown on STARZ!’s Encore Mystery premium movie cable network.[citation needed] The show has aired in the 30-minute syndicated format in several markets through the Retro Television Network in the past.

MeTV had broadcast rights for Night Gallery and aired the show in its syndicated, 30-minute format, including the edited The Sixth Sense episodes.

From May 21 to May 23, 2016, Decades aired a marathon of the series.[8]

On December 6, 2018, Syfy announced that it had plans to revive the Night Gallery series.

On April 6, 2020, Comet TV began airing the syndicated version of the show.

Home media


Universal Studios has released all 3 seasons on DVD in Region 1 as well as the first season on DVD in the UK.

On September 12, 2017, Universal released Night Gallery: The Complete Series on DVD in Region 1.[9]

DVD name Episodes Release date Additional information
The Complete First Season 17 August 24, 2004 Includes pilot film
Season 2 61 November 11, 2008
  • Podcast commentaries, featuring Jim Benson and Scott Skelton
  • Audio commentaries, with Guillermo del Toro
  • Revisiting the Gallery: A Look Back
  • Art Gallery: The Paintings in "Rod Serling's Night Gallery"
  • NBC TV Promos
Season 3 20 April 10, 2012
The Complete Series 98 September 12, 2017
Night Gallery: Season One Blu-ray 6 episodes plus TV movie November 23, 2021
  • 8 commentary tracks by Scott Skelton, Jim Benson, Gary Gerani, Tim Lucas, Amanda Reyes, Constantine Nasr, Taylor L. White, Kim Newman, Stephen Jones and Craig Beam
  • New Featurette “The Syndication Conundrum: Night Gallery's Horrific Second Life in Reruns" by Craig Beam
  • 4 page booklet with details on each episode
Night Gallery: Season Two Blu-ray 22 July 26, 2022
  • 32 commentary tracks by Scott Skelton, Jim Benson, Guillermo del Toro, John Badham, Laurie Prange, Tim Lucas, David J. Schow, Amanda Reyes, Gary Gerani, Craig Beam,

Reba Wissner, Kim Newman, Stephen Jones, and Mark Dawidziak

  • Lost Tales from Season 2 ("Die Now, Pay Later/Room for One Less/Witches' Feast/Little Girl Lost)
  • 3 New Featurettes "Revisiting the Gallery: A Look Back", "The Syndication Conundrum Part 2: a Look at the Show's Troubled Second Life in Reruns" by Craig Beam,

and "Art Gallery: The Paintings"

Night Gallery: Season Three Blu-ray[10] 15 November 22, 2022
  • 25 audio commentary tracks featuring Scott Skelton and Jim Benson, Guillermo Del Toro and others.
  • ”The Syndication Conundrum Part III
  • Introductions for “The Sixth Sense” episodes

See also


Similar series


  1. ^ a b "Episode Guide". nightgallery.net. Archived from the original on 10 September 2017. Retrieved 9 May 2018.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Skelton, Scott; Benson, Jim (1999). Rod Serling's Night Gallery: An After-Hours Tour. Syracuse University Press. ISBN 978-0-8156-2782-1.
  3. ^ "Night Gallery". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 2013-03-03.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h "The Syndication Conundrum: Night Gallery's Horrific Second Life in Reruns", Night Gallery Blu-Ray.
  5. ^ a b Parisi, Nicholas (2018). Rod Serling: His Life, Work, and Imagination. Univ. Press of Mississippi. ISBN 9781496819451. Retrieved 26 December 2019.
  6. ^ "Music in the Gallery". nightgallery.net. Archived from the original on 10 February 2018. Retrieved 9 May 2018.
  7. ^ Randall Larson. The Complete Robert Bloch: An Illustrated, Comprehensive Bibliography. Fandom Unlimited, 19856, p. 76
  8. ^ "Decades TV Network". Archived from the original on 21 May 2016. Retrieved 21 May 2016.
  9. ^ "Night Gallery DVD news: Announcement for The Complete Series - TVShowsOnDVD.com". www.tvshowsondvd.com. Archived from the original on 2 November 2017. Retrieved 9 May 2018.
  10. ^ Season3 Blu-ray