Similar in format to Serling's much more famous "Twilight Zone" series. Each week we get a new tale, represented by a painting in an old museum. Whereas the tales in "Twilight Zone" were more science fiction, these tales have a darker, more horrific edge. Written by
Good evening, and welcome to a private showing of three paintings, displayed here for the first time. Each is a collectors' item in its own way - not because of any special artistic quality, but because each captures on a canvas, and suspends in time and space, a frozen moment of a nightmare.
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I vaguely remember watching this show when I was a small child when it was a regular series. I watched it in syndication when I was an adolescent and have watched it as an adult on the Sci-Fi channel, so I guess that you could say I have had a chance to view Night Gallery from three very different perspectives. Rod Serling was a true genius who was often called television's "first angry man". What I mean is that he wrote scripts for tv that dealt with real social issues and were not meant as fluff entertainment. He wanted to send out a message with the stories that he wrote. Serling wrote such classic screenplays as Requium For A Heavywieght and Patterns. He probably would not have liked it that he was best remembered for The Twilight Zone! Night Gallery was the last series he hosted before his untimely death in 1975. Each episode had about three or four stories. Of course they didn't hit the target with all of them, but they still had a good batting average! Some of the episodes were disturbing and terrifying and some were just meant to be merely humerous. I remember one with Leslie Nielsen as the Phantom of the Opera (keep in mind this was before the Naked Gun and Police Squad when he was a dramatic actor). The girl unmasked him and he unmasked her and found she was as deformed as he was! They had another episode that I clearly remember about a time traveler who was a survivor of the Titanic who was picked up by the Lusitania who was then rescued by the Andrea Doria! The one that I remember the most, the one that chilled me was the one about a boy who could see the future and then described a horrifying vision where the sun would explode (a nova) and would incinerate the earth! The fun part of this show was the high quality of the guest stars that they had everyone from Burgess Meredith to Ozzie and Harriet Nelson to Leonard Nimoy. Gary Collins was Night Gallery's most frequent guest star, he played a parapsychologist named Doctor Rhode's who investigated all kinds of odd cases and his character was so popular that he even got his own series. I always enjoyed every episode that Mister Collins was in. People don't realize this, but the original Night Gallery movie in 1969, the series pilot was one of the first television movies ever made! In fact, one of the directors who did one of the stories was a young man named Steven Spielburg! The story I most remember from the pilot was one with Richard Kiley as a Nazi War Criminal who meets a truly just and horrifying end. A man who put too many Christs on crosses for any God to give him forgiveness! Rod Serling fought in World War II as a paratrooper and was severely wounded. His wife said in an interview that he never stopped having nightmares about the war and many of the stories he wrote for the Twilight Zone and Night Gallery deal with the horrors of war. Rod Serling was a true genius who wrote stories that entertained us and made us think at the same time.
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