Night Gallery (1969–1973)
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Death in the Family/The Merciful/Class of '99/Witches' Feast 

Fleeing thief Doran hides in the funeral home of odd Mr Soames. / A wife uses bricks and mortar to help her ill husband. / A college professor administers a chilling oral exam with a dystopian twist. / Witches prepare a vile dish.


(teleplay), (story) | 4 more credits »

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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Jared Soames (segment "Death in the Family")
Doran (segment "Death in the Family")
Wife (segment "The Merciful")
Husband (segment "The Merciful")
Professor (segment "Class of '99")
Johnson (segment "Class of '99") (as Brandon de Wilde)
Noam Pitlik ...
Driver (segment "Death in the Family")
State Trooper (segment "Death in the Family") (as James B. Sikking)
2nd Trooper (segment "Death in the Family") (as John Williams Evans)
3rd Trooper (segment "Death in the Family") (as Bill Elliott)
Bud Walls ...
Grave Digger (segment "Death in the Family")
Randolph Mantooth ...
Elkins (segment "Class of '99")
Frank Hotchkiss ...
Clinton (segment "Class of '99")
Hilly Hicks ...
Barnes (segment "Class of '99")
Suzanne Cohane ...
Joanne Fields (segment "Class of '99")


An injured criminal takes refuge in a funeral home, where he is greeted by a kind undertaker with a strange secret. An old woman uses bricks and mortar to end her husband's suffering. A graduating class of the future takes their final exam that reveals more than just the knowledge of the students. An employment agency official finds herself having a hard time meeting the needs of an extremely picky customer.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis




Release Date:

22 September 1971 (USA)  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


The title on-screen is "Death in the Family" but host Rod Serling, who introduces it, calls it "A Death in the Family." See more »


In the final scene of "Death In the Family" at the dinner table, the supposedly "dead" wife moves one of her fingers. See more »

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User Reviews

All in the Family
5 July 2011 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Let me say right from the jump that E.G. Marshall is terrific as Mr. Soames, a funeral director who takes his job rather seriously, even to the extent of helping an escaped prisoner, played decently enough by a young Desi Arnaz Jr, who's on the run from the authorities. The funeral parlor and house are very creepy looking on both inside and out and makes for a fine setting; this show is known for the old mansions which appear in many episodes. Marshall is very convincing as the lonely director, whose work appears to be his life, although he could use some singing lessons. After being stopped by the police near his home and questioned about seeing the loose convict, they let him go back home; soon after, the escaped, injured, and very wet convict(Arnaz Jr.)breaks through a window carrying a gun and requests to be able to lay down on the sofa to rest. Soames is more than happy to have the young man stay, and you sense that he is fattening him up for the kill. It turns out that the director has a newly dead family propped up on a dinner table, and I wish they would've used dummies or something other than real people just staring into the camera. Soames and the convict neither had a family of their own, so the director wants to add to his make believe family, although against the young man's wishes. Other than this downer, this is still a solid episode of the best season of Night Gallery and has a fine atmosphere.

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