Paging Dr. Rhodes …
Posted by Paul
Every now and then someone who’s watching reruns of Night Gallery will ask me, “How many episodes did Gary Collins star in?”
Technically, none. When you see a Gallery episode that stars Collins as Dr. Michael Rhodes, you’re watching what was originally a separate show. Known as “The Sixth Sense,” it was later included in the Gallery syndication package. Why? Simple. There weren’t enough Gallery episodes.
When Night Gallery ended its run 15 episodes into its third season, only 43 episodes (not story segments) had been produced. TV stations want more than that, generally, so as not to show the same rerun too frequently. So Universal, the studio behind the show, resorted to two tricks to inflate the number of episodes:
- Cutting the 28 hour-long episodes from seasons 1 and 2 into half-hour shows. This necessitated some horrendous editing, by the way, which I’ll cover in a separate post.
- Turning the 25 episodes of “The Sixth Sense,” which was cancelled shortly into its second season, into Gallery episodes. To do this, they paid Serling to film new, Gallery-style introductions.
Night Gallery, despite the fact that it showcased some excellent work from Serling and other writers, already suffered from an unevenness of tone. The same episode might contain one or two very entertaining stories, which were then diluted with a substandard segment. In adding “The Sixth Sense,” a B-grade paranormal thriller series, Universal only added to the substandard side of the equation.
The studio, to its credit, corrected this when it issued Night Gallery Season 1 and Season 2 on DVD. No episodes of “The Sixth Sense” were included. But the Season 1 episodes on iTunes include the show, and so does the syndication package that remains available for airing today.
From an accounting perspective, it might have been the right decision. But from an artistic one, it was about as horrific as anything painted by Richard Pickman.
Photos courtesy of my “Gal Friday,” artist Wendy Brydge. For a daily dose of Serling, you can follow me on Twitter, Facebook orPinterest. You can also get email notifications of future posts by entering your address under “Follow S&S Via Email” on the upper left-hand side of this post. WordPress followers, just hit “follow” at the top of the page.
Hope to see you in some corner of the fifth dimension soon!