Set in a shadowy museum of the outré, Night Gallery (NBC, 1970-1973) was a highly diverse anthology television series featuring tales in the fantasy, horror, and science fiction vein—all of which were introduced by a dark and disturbing collection of canvases unveiled by the museum’s “curator,” series host and creator Rod Serling (The Twilight Zone). The show blended thoughtful original dramas written by Serling himself with adaptations of classic genre material, including short stories by the likes of H.P. Lovecraft, Fritz Leiber, Conrad Aiken and Richard Matheson. The variety of material in Night Gallery brought with it a variety of tone, from the deadly serious to the tongue-in-cheek, stretching the television anthology concept to its very limits. Like The Twilight Zone, each segment of Night Gallery featured a dazzling array of guest stars from the worlds of film and television, as well as contributions from such promising young directors as John Badham and Steven Spielberg. Unlike Twilight Zone, the series was fraught with tension behind the scenes, including an ongoing conflict between creator Serling and producer Jack Laird over the direction of Night Gallery that would ultimately find Serling on the outside looking in.
Frankie and I paid tribute to Night Gallery along with Jim Benson, co-author of Rod Serling’s Night Gallery: An After-Hours Tour, a comprehensive look at this classic series that also serves as an abject reminder of how network television sometimes works. Jim was also a consultant on the upcoming Night Gallery: Season Two DVD package, which features commentary by Oscar nominated director Guillermo del Toro (Pan’s Labrynth). If you’re a fan of Rod Serling, but missed our conversation, we invite you to listen to our archive, which is now available on our archives page at www.tvconfidential.net.