The Night Gallery first season box set contains 3 DVDs. Each DVD has its own slim-line case and all three are then slipped inside a cardboard sleeve cover. For some strange reason, if you buy the box set in the UK, discs one and three are deemed to be certificate 12 and disc two is a PG. Why? The mind boggles. That’s just the way it is.
Disc one contains the pilot for the Night Gallery series, along with episodes one and two. Episodes three through to six are on disc two. There were only six episodes in the first season and disc three is all bonus material (episodes from series two and three of Night Gallery).
If you have never seen Night Gallery, let me begin by explaining some things about the series.
Night Gallery was the brainchild of Rod Serling (creator of The Twilight Zone). Each episode of Night Gallery contains two or three stories, depending on length. Some of the stories were written by Rod Serling, but other were written well known writers such as Richard Matheson and Algernon Blackwood.
Each episode is introduced by Rod Serling, who acts as the curator of the Night Gallery and presents the viewer with a painting and gives a brief introductory speech about it. The painting is, of course, representative of the upcoming story. In the case of The Doll, for instance, Serling shows the viewer a painting of rather unpleasant-looking doll and explains that the doll in the upcoming story is not one that you would want to play with. Hopefully that gives you an idea of how things go in the Night Gallery.
This page is possibly more of a Night Gallery episode guide than it is a DVD review but I hope you find the information interesting.
Night Gallery Pilot Episode (3 Stories)
Roddy McDowell stars as the nephew of a wealthy old man who, shares a large old house with his nephew and a faithful butler, Portafoy. The nephew is a little impatient to get at his uncles money, so he kills him. Then strange things begin happening with one of the paintings in the house.
Joan Crawford stars alongside Tom Bosly (of Happy Days fame), under the direction of Steven Spielberg. Eyes is the story of a rich woman who has been blind since birth. She hears of an operation that can provide sight to the blind. It has only been tried on animals, and it was successful, but only offered 11 to 15 hours of sight. Now all she needs is a surgeon willing to perform the operation and a donor willing to part with his eyes.
Fortunately she has found a donor (Tom Bosly) who is so desperate for money he is willing to part with his eyes to pay off his debts. The surgeon has no intention of performing such an operation, so his wealthy patient blackmails him.
3. The Escape Route
A Nazi war criminal tries to escape his pursuers by attempting to enter a painting in an art gallery. It’s a nice scene. A tranquil scene. A man fishing in a boat and oh how he wants to be that man in the boat.
Night Gallery Episode 1 (2 Stories)
1. The Dead Man
This is a story about a hypnosis experiment. The doctor has found the perfect subject for his work. And so what if his subject is a little younger and better looking than he is, and if he seems a little to friendly with the doctor’s wife. But then the experiment goes wrong and the doctor cannot wake the young man, who appears to be very much dead to the world.
2. The Housekeeper
Larry Hagman stars as a man with a problem—his wife. She is too cold to him and too warm with other men. If he leaves his wife though, he also leaves her money and that would never do. He turns to the black arts in desperation and uses witchcraft to evict his wife from her body and replace her with his newly hired housekeeper.
Night Gallery Episode 2 (3 Stories)
1. Room With A View
An invalid, who is confined to his bed, manipulates his unwitting nurse into being the instrument of his revenge against his cheating wife.
2. The Little Black Bag
Burgess Meredith (of Rocky fame) stars as a former doctor who is living on the streets and seeking solace in a bottle. When a bag from the future appears, containing revolutionary medical equipment, he uses it to cure a young child and finds a new feeling of self-worth.
3. The Nature of the Enemy
Possibly one of the most stupid stories ever to be featured on Night Gallery. Mission Control watch, helpless, as the members of a lunar expedition are picked off by an unseen enemy. I found myself nearly helpless with laughter when the enemy was no longer unseen and someone announced: “That’s the enemy.” To tell you why it was so funny would be a spoiler though, so enough said.
Night Gallery Episode 3 (2 Stories)
1. The House
The House is a rather unusual story about a woman who is released from a sanatorium and finds herself at the house of her (recurring) dreams. This story has quite a spooky feel to it and its is one of my favourites Night Gallery episodes.
2. Certain Shadows on the Wall
The story of a doctor who murders his ailing sister so he can inherit her money, but his sister returns as a shadow on the wall.
Night Gallery Episode 4 (2 Stories)
1. Make Me Laugh
This story was directed by Steven Spielberg. It is the story of a failing comedian. He is so bad, in fact, that I found it uncomfortable to watch his act dying on stage. Tom Bosly makes a return appearance to the Night Gallery as the comedian’s manager, who runs out on him. In desperation the comedian turns to a miracle-working-guru. The guru is not perhaps the best at his craft and things don’t exactly turn out how the funny man expected.
2. Clean Kills And Other Trophies
This Night Gallery story is about a wealthy man who has an obsession with big-game hunting. Unfortunately, his son doesn’t share his love of bloodshed and is a constant disappointment to him. In an effort to try and ‘make a man’ of his son, he adds a clause to his will: either his son kills a deer, or he looses his inheritance. It’s a nasty trick, thought up by a nasty man, but his own fate is equally unpleasant.
Night Gallery Episode 5 (3 Stories)
1. Pamela’s Voice
Astin is possibly best remembered for playing Gomez Adams in the original Adam’s Family television series). In Pamela’s voice he plays a man named Jonathan, who has murdered his wife. Unfortunately, she is gone but not forgotten. Even her death fails to provide Jonathan with a reprieve from Pamela and her horrible, nagging voice that goes on and on and on and . . . .
Pamela’s Voice is one of Rod Serling’s own stories. It’s only short, but it is one of my favourites and when the twist came at the end it took me completely by surprise.
2. Lone Survivor
When a ship encounters a small lifeboat with an unconscious man in it they stop and pick it up. They think it strange when they read the name on the boat. It says Titanic. Even stranger is the fact that three years had passed since the Titanic went to its watery grave, and yet the man in the lifeboat seems in surprisingly good health, and that is as impossible as the boat’s name.
3. The Doll
The Doll is possibly one of the most chilling stories in the Night Gallery TV series. If Barbie looked anything like this doll Ken would have changed his name and gone into hiding a long time ago.
The Doll is a story about an army officer who returns home from India to discover his niece has a new doll. It arrived in a parcel from India and the nanny believed that the Colonel had sent it. This is not the case and the army man appears quite distressed to see it.
Night Gallery Episode 6 (2 Stories)
1. They’re Tearing Down Tim Riley’s Bar
This episode of Night Gallery was nominated for an Emmy Award in 1971. It is the rather sad story of a sales executive whose career—like his life—has seen better days. After 25 years with the same company his secretary appears to be the only person who is aware of his anniversary—or to appreciate him.
Tim Riley’s Bar holds a lot of memories for him and he has just found out that it’s going to be pulled down. As he talks of the bar it is hard not to think that he is comparing the bar with his life and how the old will be replaced with the new, much as his younger assistant is snapping at his heels and trying to replace him.
2. The Last Laurel
The Last Laurel is about a crippled athlete who is confined to his bed. With his body no longer of use to him, he decides to exercise his powers of astral projection and use them to take revenge on his wife.
Bonus Episdodes From Night Gallery Season 2
An actress gives her enemy a diary as a gift, but it seems to record events that will happen rather than things that have already happened and nothing good seems to be on the horizon.
Matter of Sematics
The short and silly tale of Count Dracula’s visit to the blood bank. It is more of a joke than a story, it is not particularly funny, and the punch-line is obvious long before it arrives. Fangs for the memory but I’d rather forget about this one.
I didn’t really understand the ending of this Night Gallery story, but I enjoyed it anyway. It’s based on a story by Richard Matheson. Three young boys are on their way home from school when a strange old man calls one of them over. He gives the boy some directions and tells him to dig in a certain place. If he does, he will get a big surprise.
Bonus Episdodes From Night Gallery Season 3
Return Of The Sorcerer
Vincent Price stars alongside Bill Bixby (of Incredible Hulk fame). Price plays a sorcerer who hires Bixby to translate an ancient text for him. He is willing to pay top money for Bixby’s services and seems rather anxious for the translation. There are strange noises in the sorcerer’s house and it seems to worry him deeply.
A young Sally Field stars as a woman who allows spirits to share her body. An equally youthful Dean Stockwell plays her husband, who is worried that this time the spirits want to keep her.
I enjoyed watching the Night Gallery first season package, but some stories were better than others. The Doll was truly chilling and The House was also very good, but was more haunting than chilling.
The Cemetery and The Escape Route were both very good too and I would have to say that I liked the biggest part of the Night Gallery Season 1 collection. However, every rose has its thorn and I found one or two of the stories very disappointing. The two main ones to come to mind are The Nature of the Enemy and Matter of Sematics. I found both to be very stupid. Overall though, I would say that I found the Night Gallery first season DVD package very entertaining and definitely worth the money. If you enjoy watching things like The Twilight Zone, you will probably enjoy most of the stories as well.
Soundtrack: 2.0 stereo
Runtime: 6 hours 24 min + 1 hour 38 mins (extras)