Night Gallery (1969–1973)
7.3/10
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33 user 7 critic

Night Gallery (The Cemetery/Eyes/The Escape Route) 

A seemingly haunted painting drives a greedy man insane. A rich blind woman gets a new pair of eyes that allow her to see for only one brief ironic moment. An idyllic painting gives a Nazi war criminal in hiding some fleeting comfort.

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Cast

Episode cast overview, first billed only:
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Miss Claudia Menlo
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Osmund Portifoy
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Jeremy Evans
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Dr. Frank Heatherton
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Sidney Resnick
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William Hendricks
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Bleum
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Gretchen
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Carson
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1st Agent
Tom Basham ...
Gibbons
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George J. Packer
Garry Goodrow ...
Louis
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1st Nurse
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Storyline

In the pilot of the television series Night Gallery (1969), Rod Serling introduces three separate paintings, each with its own story of uncanny vengeance against evil to tell. The first, "The Cemetery", involves a black sheep nephew (Roddy McDowall) who murders his rich uncle to inherit his fortune - both much to the detriment of the uncle's butler (Ossie Davis) - only to find that vengeance extends beyond the grave. In the second story, "Eyes", a rich, heartless woman (Joan Crawford) who has been blind from birth blackmails an aspiring surgeon and a man who desperately needs money to give her a pair of eyes which will allow her to see for the first time - even though for only half a day's time - only to have the plan backfire on her in ways she never imagined. In the third story, "The Escape Route", a Nazi war criminal (Richard Kiley) is hiding from the authorities in South America, where he is confronted with his past demons and a curious Holocaust survivor (Sam Jaffe) and finds ... Written by Curly Q. Link

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Unrated | See all certifications »

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8 November 1969 (USA)  »

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4:3
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Upon first meeting Steven Spielberg, Joan Crawford was less than impressed. She called Sid Sheinberg, then head of Universal Television, and told him to replace Spielberg with a better director or she would quit the series. Sheinberg told her in no uncertain terms that the studio would back Spielberg over her, as she had not acted on television in years and was at the time the Chairman of Pepsi-Cola, and Universal was confident in Spielberg's abilities. She subsequently treated him with the utmost respect, and the two continued to correspond until her death. See more »

Goofs

At the beginning of the Joan Crawford segment, we're told that Miss Menlo lives on Fifth Avenue. But the opening shot is on Park Avenue, not Fifth. See more »

Quotes

Rod Serling - Host: [First segment narration] 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, suspends in time and space, a frozen moment of a nightmare. Our initial offering: a small gothic item of blacks and grays. A piece of the past known as the family crypt. This one we call simply "The Cemetery." Offered to you now, six feet of ...
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Connections

Referenced in Joan Crawford: The Ultimate Movie Star (2002) See more »

Soundtracks

Deutschlandlied
Music by Joseph Haydn
Lyrics by August Heinrich Hoffman von Fallersleben
Performed by Richard Kiley
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User Reviews

 
Take a stroll through the NIGHT GALLERY
20 June 2002 | by (San Gabriel, Ca., USA) – See all my reviews

First shown on NBC-TV in November 1969, NIGHT GALLERY, the pilot to the 1970-73 TV anthology show of the same name, was the last major work of Rod Serling, creator of what may still rank as the best TV series ever, "The Twilight Zone." Although, when the series started, Serling wasn't given the kind of creative control he felt he needed to make the series work (and not surprisingly, it was mercilessly compared to "The Twilight Zone"), on this pilot film, he was firmly in control. Adapting three stories from his 1967 collection "The Season To Be Wary", Serling came up with a thoroughly engaging anthology film that combined morality, melodrama, suspense, and the supernatural into a stunning brew not seen on television before.

Segment 1, "The Cemetery", directed by Boris Sagal, features Roddy McDowall as an unscrupulous nephew who causes the death of his uncle by exposing him to a cold wind in order to grab his hands on the old man's fortune. But as he soon learns, one of the paintings his uncle created in his last days--that of the family cemetery--keeps changing on him every time he looks at it. And soon, it seems to show his uncle coming back from the grave.

Segment 2, "Eyes", stars Joan Crawford as a ruthless, imperious blind woman who blackmails a prominent surgeon (Barry Sullivan) into giving her an ocular transplant so that she may enjoy roughly twelve hours of sight before going blind again. The operation, done with the help of an eye donation from a petty gambler, turns out to be a success--until a blackout causes Crawford to think otherwise. This episode is noted as the professional maiden directing effort for Steven Spielberg.

Segment 3, "Escape", directed by Barry Shear, stars Richard Kiley as a Nazi fugitive hiding out in Buenos Aires who becomes captivated by a painting of a fisherman in the local art museum. He dreams of becoming that fisherman and escaping from hiding, but a chance encounter with a Holocaust survivor (Sam Jaffe) will deny him that in a chilling conclusion.

Although Serling's moralizing sometimes gets a bit on the heavy-handed side, NIGHT GALLERY is still superbly conceived, with the case giving excellent and often chilling performances. The first segment is appropriately spooky; the second ingenious and unconventional (for TV); and the third, even though it is the weakest, a worthy capper on this film. Spielberg, of course, got the glory for his segment, but Sagal's and Shear's segments are nothing to sneeze at either. All in all, NIGHT GALLERY comes highly recommended.


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