Steven Spielberg On Directing “Night Gallery”
Long before “Jaws”, “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” and “Raiders of the Lost Ark” made him a household name, Steven Spielberg was just another unknown director with hopes for fame and fortune. And the first step toward that goal took him through a shadowy museum known as … Rod Serling’s Night Gallery.
The pilot movie, to be specific. The 21-year-old director would helm the middle segment of three dark-edged tales written by Serling himself. It premiered on November 8, 1969, and was a ratings success, leading to the Night Gallery series a year later.
While Spielberg was a novice, however, his star was anything but. The part of Claudia Menlo, the predatory blind dowager in “Eyes,” was to be played by none other than Joan Crawford.
Crawford, then 65, had already starred in more than 90 feature films, dating back to the silent era. “Directing Joan Crawford was like pitching to Hank Aaron your first time in the game,” Spielberg later remarked.
He got a chance to relate the details of their memorable first meeting (when Crawford had blindfolded herself in an effort to get into character) in an interview when a little film called “E.T.” was about to come out.
It’s only about five minutes or so. Enjoy:
Photos courtesy of Wendy Brydge. For a daily dose of Serling, you can follow me on Twitter, Facebook or Pinterest. 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 members can also hit “follow” at the top of this page.
Hope to see you in some corner of the fifth dimension soon!