Werewolves and Watercolors: Another Night Gallery Tour

Welcome, ladies and gentlemen. Please step inside. A dark and stormy night may seem ill-suited to an art tour … at least until you see the unsettling works we have in store for you.

As our founder, Rod Serling, once said, “You won’t find the works of the masters here, because in this particular salon we choose our paintings with an eye more towards terror than technique.” Our paintings and sculptures have an unmistakably sinister edge.

I know our museum is more shadow-laden than most, but don’t worry. You should be quite safe. We haven’t lost anyone yet. Well, almost no one.

Those who survived … er, enjoyed our first tour, our second tour, and even our third tour, simply raved. And the doctors at the sanitarium assure us that they’re progressing quite nicely.

So ignore the sound of that icy wind outside, as we take a closer look at 10 more Night Gallery classics (click on any title — except the first one, which isn’t available streaming — to watch it on Hulu):

ESCAPE ROUTE (November 8, 1969)

This gem from the Night Gallery pilot features a powerhouse performance from Richard Kiley (star of Serling’s breakout hit, “Patterns“). As former Nazi commandant Joseph Strobe, Kiley quietly radiates the desperate air of a weary fugitive. Like other former Nazis, he’s been hiding in South America. One day, he eludes his pursuers by ducking into an art museum and is drawn to a pastoral scene of a fisherman on a lake. He later discovers that he can somehow will himself into the painting for short periods of time. Can he do so permanently? Serling has an answer he’ll never forget.

***

THE HOUSE (December 30, 1970)

A ghost story set in bright sunlight? Hardly a conventional choice, but time and again, Night Gallery proved you didn’t need a fog-shrouded castle to send a shiver down your spine. John Astin (TV’s Gomez Addams) stepped behind the camera for the first of three times on NG to direct this tale of a woman with a recurring dream: She drives through the countryside, finds an idyllic house, knocks on the door, only to leave before it opens to reveal … what? Joanna Pettet stars in the first of four NG appearances.

***

THE DEVIL IS NOT MOCKED (October 27, 1971)

Whoa, Nazis again? Yes, but this segment features a twist you’d never see on The Twilight Zone. The Nazis in question have raided a familiar castle in Transylvania, convinced it’s the secret headquarters of the local resistance movement. They’re sure they have nothing to fear from their host, a count who welcomes them with the most gracious hospitality. But then the clock strikes midnight — and they learn why those wolves outside keep howling so insistently.

***

MIDNIGHT NEVER ENDS (November 3, 1971)

Ever felt a sense of déjà vu — a feeling that you’ve lived through some experience before? A woman we meet driving along a dark road one night certainly does. So does the hitch-hiking soldier she picks up. They seem to know exactly what they’ll see and say, moments before it happens. Will their stop at a mysterious diner up the road bring them some answers? If the existential nature of Twilight Zone‘s “Five Characters in Search of an Exit” tickles your brain, chances are you’ll enjoy this twisty tale.

***

THE FUNERAL (January 5, 1972)

We’re used to seeing Dracula in his coffin, but did it ever occur to you that the world’s most infamous vampire might actually long for a proper burial? Mourners, a eulogy, the whole nine yards? Leave it to Richard Matheson to pen this tongue-in-cheek segment, in which we see a vampire visit a funeral home one day to make his own not-so-final arrangements. The skeptical mortician scoffs — until he realizes how handsomely he’ll be paid. But can even a hefty fee make up for the destructive behavior of the vampire’s ghoulish entourage?

***

THE LATE MR. PEDDINGTON (January 12, 1972)

We meet another mortician in this segment (played by a pre-MASH, post-Dragnet Harry Morgan). No, he doesn’t have to endure supernatural visitors or wholesale property damage, but he does meet a prospective customer who peppers him with odd, probing questions about his services. What he eventually learns about the poor man he’ll be embalming probably causes him to regret the fact that his low rates make him a popular choice for cash-strapped customers.

***

A FEAST OF BLOOD (January 12, 1972)

Sheila may be dating Henry — a somewhat creepy suitor who, oddly enough, meets with her mother’s approval — but she can barely disguise her contempt for the man. She finally summons up the courage to break it off with him, but not before he presents her with a parting gift: a brooch of a small bat that seems almost alive. Yes, almost. I mean, it’s just a brooch. Right? So why does it seem to be growing as Sheila makes her way home? Norman Lloyd and Sandra Locke star in this unique story of homicidal jewelry.

***

THE GHOST OF SORWORTH PLACE (January 19, 1972)

You’re an American man, hiking through the English countryside. You get lost. You stop at an old English manor, only to meet a beautiful woman, who invites you in for tea and tells you that she’s scared … of her dead husband. Did I mention that she’s beautiful? No wonder you ignore the warnings of the housekeeper and the nearby townsfolk. You’re going to be this woman’s protector, ensuring that no harm befalls her on the night of their anniversary. What could go wrong?

***

LITTLE GIRL LOST (March 1, 1972)

William Windom returns to Night Gallery to play a scientist who’s been helping the U.S. government develop a new type of hydrogen bomb. His highly classified work almost came to a complete halt, though, when he lost his little girl in a car accident. Only by pretending that the girl is still alive can he continue his work — a delusion his government handlers are only too glad to encourage. But will their ethically questionable behavior prove to be his undoing — or theirs?

***

THE GIRL WITH THE HUNGRY EYES (October 1, 1972)

Proving once again, as Serling noted in a Night Gallery intro, that horror can be found in unlikely places, we visit the world of fashion photography. An attractive model (Joanna Pettet, in her final NG role) quickly becomes a grateful photographer’s most alluring, successful subject. So what if she shows up for work only when she feels like it? And if her eyes have a strange flair to them? And if … *gulp* … some of the people who get too close wind up dead?

***

And there you have it, fellow art lovers. I hope you’ve enjoyed our all-too-brief tour of what Serling once called “rather special paintings, the kind of hangings generally put up with a noose.”

I can see from your nervous expressions that you’ve had an edifying experience. The next time you hear a creak in the attic, be sure and think of us. Until your next visit …

Night Gallery Tour #1: Cobwebs and Canvases

Night Gallery Tour #2: Brushstrokes and Broomsticks

Night Gallery Tour #3: Séances and Surrealism

***

For more on Night Gallery, try this amazing book. For a daily dose of Serling, you can follow me on TwitterFacebook 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.

Hope to see you in some corner of the fifth dimension soon!

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About Paul

Fanning about the work of Rod Serling all over social media. If you enjoy pics, quotes, facts and blog posts about The Twilight Zone, Night Gallery and Serling's other projects, you've come to the right place.

Posted on 10/31/2017, in Night Gallery and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. You give wonderful tours! I’d been reading them all week. I thought A number of these are not ringing any bells, time for a re-watch! I finally watched the Pilot trio, honestly the only one that creeped me out was “The Cemetery,” but I felt the ending was too rushed. There’s a hilarious video on youtube that edits how many time Roddy says the Butler’s name. lol. It’s called “Portifoy, Portifoy, Portifoy…”

    “Eyes” with Joan Crawford was okay for a drama, but it didn’t have that eeriness. Just that twist that made me go hum…because for what it is, I think she could’ve figured what was truly happening and still used her vision. But she was a selfish woman she had to get what was coming to her. “Escape route” was very tense, much more in the TZ scope too, most of Serling’s works that dealt with the Holocaust was truly chilling. Like “Deaths-Head Revisited.” One of the best episodes. Great ending to Escape Route too!

    • Thanks! Glad you’ve been enjoying them. Our rankings of the pilot stories match up very well: I would definitely put “The Cemetery” at the top (maybe with a few utterings of “Portifoy” edited out!), then “Escape Route” (with its, dare I say, killer ending), then “Eyes”.

      I don’t mind the fact that Crawford’s story lacked eeriness, though — as the series would later illustrate, NG embraced different kinds of stories. Like The Twilight Zone, you weren’t going to get the same thing each time — which, frankly, is a big part of its appeal.

      Somehow, I let two years go by between this one and the one before it (“Séances and Surrealism”). I don’t plan to let as much time go by before the next one, I’m happy to say! Stay tuned …

  2. I absolutely loved your featuring these unique art pieces, Paul. The Funeral, Escape Route and the one with Rod Serling, Midnight Never Ends are my favorites. I need to have more time for watching these but when you post about them, I do remember parts! Smiles, Robin 🌻 🕊

    • Thanks, Robin! I’m no art expert, but it IS fun to do these pieces from time to time. I was surprised that I’d let two years go by since my last NG “tour”. But then again, it’s a bit more time-consuming to review (even in capsule form) 10 episodes than it is to write a post that focuses on one. Hope you get a chance to watch NG again soon!

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