IMDb > "Night Gallery" Night Gallery (1969)

"Night Gallery" Night Gallery (1969)

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Rod Serling (written by)
View company contact information for Night Gallery on IMDbPro.
Original Air Date:
8 November 1969 (Season 1, Episode 0)
In the pilot of the television series "Night Gallery" (1969), Rod Serling introduces three separate paintings... See more » | Add synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
User Reviews:
I agree with those who said that this pilot is much better than most of the subsequent series--it's better written and more interesting. See more (32 total) »


 (Episode Cast) (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Joan Crawford ... Miss Claudia Menlo

Ossie Davis ... Osmund Portifoy

Richard Kiley ... SS-Gruppenführer Helmut Arndt / Josef Strobe

Roddy McDowall ... Jeremy Evans

Barry Sullivan ... Dr. Frank Heatherton

Tom Bosley ... Sidney Resnick

George Macready ... William Hendricks

Sam Jaffe ... Bleum

Norma Crane ... Gretchen
Barry Atwater ... Carson

George Murdock ... 1st Agent
Tom Basham ... Gibbons

Byron Morrow ... George J. Packer
Garry Goodrow ... Louis

Shannon Farnon ... 1st Nurse

Richard Hale ... Doctor
rest of cast listed alphabetically:

Rod Serling ... Himself - Host

Bruce Kirby ... Artist (uncredited)
Robie Lester ... Singer in Fishing Painting (voice) (uncredited)

Episode Crew
Directed by
Boris Sagal (segment "The Cemetery")
Barry Shear (segment "Escape Route")
Steven Spielberg (segment "Eyes")
Writing credits
Rod Serling (written by)

Produced by
John Badham .... associate producer
William Sackheim .... producer
Original Music by
Billy Goldenberg  (as William Goldenberg)
Cinematography by
Richard Batcheller (director of photography)
William Margulies (director of photography)
Film Editing by
Edward M. Abroms 
Art Direction by
Howard E. Johnson 
Set Decoration by
John McCarthy Jr.  (as John McCarthy)
Perry Murdock 
Joseph J. Stone  (as Joseph Stone)
Costume Design by
Burton Miller 
Makeup Department
Larry Germain .... hair stylist
Bud Westmore .... makeup artist
Production Management
Ben Bishop .... unit manager
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Ralph Ferrin .... assistant director
Marty Hornstein .... assistant director
Art Department
Jaroslav Gebr .... painter: paintings
Sound Department
Elbert W. Franklin .... sound
James T. Porter .... sound
Julie Ann Johnson .... stunts (uncredited)
Editorial Department
Richard Belding .... editorial supervisor
Robert Brower .... color coordinator
Music Department
Stanley Wilson .... music supervisor
Crew believed to be complete

Production CompaniesDistributorsOther Companies

Additional Details

98 min
Sound Mix:

Did You Know?

Bette Davis was the original choice to play Claudia Menlo (the role played by Joan Crawford), but she declined.See more »
Continuity: In the opening segment, the proximity and arrangement of the trees and headstones of the family graveyard varies wildly between shots and points of view; particularly the direction in which the prominent "Hendricks" monument faces and where the small tree outside the window is.See more »
Movie Connections:
Referenced in Rate It X (1986)See more »


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5 out of 5 people found the following review useful.
I agree with those who said that this pilot is much better than most of the subsequent series--it's better written and more interesting., 19 March 2011
Author: planktonrules from Bradenton, Florida

It's curious, but when you look at the page for this pilot for "Night Gallery", it reads as follows:

"Directors: Boris Sagal, Barry Shear, and 1 more credit » "

You have to click on the '1 more credit' tag to learn that Steven Spieberg himself was this other director--and this was his first professional job as a director! This is more than enough reason to watch the show's first episode and interesting that unless you click this link you might never know about his involvement.

In some ways, this pilot is quite typical of a regular episode of "The Night Gallery". It consists of three separate stories (this often varied) and each is a story about horror and irony. The main difference, however, is that most of episodes of the series were NOT written by Rod Serling--despite him being the host of the shows. Here, he writes all three segments and so it's not surprising that they are very high quality--he was a heck of a writer and the execs at the network were idiots to hire him essentially as a host and begrudgingly let him contribute a few scripts. Duh.

The first segment, "The Cemetery", stars Roddy McDowell as a scum-bag nephew waiting for his disabled disabled Uncle (George Macready) to die. You can't help but hate McDowell's character--he is 100% awful and delights in anticipating the old man's death. In fact, he tries his best to 'simplify things'--by putting Macready by an open window on a cold day when his butler (Ossie Davis) has his day off from work. Not surprisingly, when the old man soon dies, McDowell is ecstatic--unseemly so. However, his joy at is cut short when strange things start to happen to a creepy painting in his house...what, exactly, it is and why is something you'll have to find out for yourself. While I would not consider this a great segment, it is very good and a welcome introduction to the series. Plus it's humorously black ending is worth waiting for--although not entirely unexpected. I'd rate this one an 8..nearly a 9.

The second segment, "Eyes", has the distinction of starring Joan Crawford. Oddly, despite her fame, the directing job was given to young Spielberg--an untried professional to say the least. Crawford plays a horrid lady who can get whatever she likes simply because she's rich and wicked. She shows this by her trying to get her doctor (Barry Sullivan) to arrange for an evil surgery--to transplant a poor living donor's eyes into Crawford!! Sick, yes, but even sicker because she knows that IF the surgery works, she'll only be able to see for a few hours at most!! As she says, "My single abiding interest is MYSELF"! Naturally the doctor refuses, so she blackmails him to get his cooperation. Nice lady, huh?! And, based on Christina Crawford's book "Mommy, Dearest", perhaps not unlike Crawford in real life!! Regardless of whether or not this is true, Crawford was wonderfully wicked in this show--it's one of her best performances late in her career. And who is this pathetic donor? None other than Tom Bosley (who, incidentally, was also surprisingly good)! Naturally there is an ironic twist--and it's one of the best episodes of the series. I'd give this one a 9--though I will admit there were a few plot holes with this one that other reviewers have also noticed. Still, it's a winner.

The third, "Escape Route", stars Richard Kiley--a very good actor who most would not recognize despite his many appearances on TV, movies and on stage. Kiley plays a man who is a Nazi war criminal living in South America. He becomes fixated on a painting in a museum--a painting with WEIRD qualities. And, a man at the museum (Sam Jaffe) recognizes him as an evil officer from Auschwitz. What happens next has a lot to do with a creepy painting of the man being crucified that's in the same art gallery in "Escape Route"--wow, is that spooky! However, despite this, the final segment is not especially scary, though it is a nice story about Karma. I'd give this one 7.

Overall, this pilot is quite a bit better than the subsequent series. Much of this, I am sure, has to do with Serling's continually diminishing involvement with the scripts. However, on occasion, the show did manage some incredibly effective episodes. I'd give this pilot an overall score of 7.

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Discuss this movie with other users on IMDb message board for "Night Gallery" (1969)
Recent Posts (updated daily)User
Help Save Night Gallery!!! dante101
The Cemetery crogers-19
The Cemetary / Stephen King short story similarity lefty1970
another version of the pilot? dev_nada
Why was it taken off.. penny_lane086
Night Gallery or Twilight Zone mikec73380
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