NG on Me-TV: A Caveat
Being an unabashed fan of “Rod Serling’s Night Gallery,” I should be thrilled that it’s joining Me-TV’s regular fall schedule. And I am — with one reservation.
Simply put: The Night Gallery that the network will be showing is not the version that originally aired. It’s been edited, in some cases quite severely.
Here’s why. Night Gallery ran for three seasons. During the first two, each episode was an hour long. Only in its third season (when it was cancelled after 15 episodes) did it go to 30 minutes. By the end of its run, there were fewer than 50 episodes.
So when NBC went to put together a syndication package, it decided to expand the show’s run significantly by editing the hour-long shows into half-hour ones. The only problem: The hour-long shows contained stories that might run as short as two minutes or as long as 40. What happens when the segments don’t fit nicely together into new half-hour shows?
You guessed it. If it’s too long, cut it. Even if it means chopping almost half of the segment’s length (as in the case of Serling’s beautiful, Emmy-nominated “They’re Tearing Down Tim Riley’s Bar“). Some segments were judiciously trimmed, but others, alas, were hacked to bits. And if a segment ran short? No problem: just raid the video vaults and add footage from some other movie or TV show.
Seriously? You don’t have to be a die-hard fan to view this as a kind of sacrilege.
That said, the syndicated Night Gallery is still well-worth watching. If you’re a first-time viewer, here’s my take on the show. I would also immodestly suggest “Things That Go Bump” and a look at how frightened director Guillermo del Toro was when he watched Night Gallery’s “The Doll” as a boy.
The show will be airing each weeknight on Me-TV at 1:30 a.m. Unless you’re a night watchman or a college student, sounds like you might want to program your DVR. Otherwise, follow the links at the end of this blog post. You’ll find other ways to view what may be considered the forerunner of many of today’s TV horror hits.
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Hope to see you in some corner of the fifth dimension soon!