Night Gallery Paintings Will Soon Be Showcased in a Special “Art Gallery” Book

Even if you’re not a big fan of “Rod Serling’s Night Gallery”, you have to admit: The gallery concept was pretty cool.

Watching our host walk among these bizarre canvases and shadowed sculptures as he introduces each story is a great framing device. It’s enough to make you wish there really was such a place.

There isn’t, of course, but I’m happy to tell you that we’ll soon be able to enjoy the next best thing: a glossy, hard-cover volume with high-quality reproductions of every painting that appeared on the show (and even a few that didn’t).

Titled “Rod Serling’s Night Gallery — The Art of Darkness”, it’s coming to us from Scott Skelton and Jim Benson, the same duo who over 20 years ago brought us the definitive behind-the-scenes book on the series, “Rod Serling’s Night Gallery: An After-Hours Tour“. Every work that artists Tom Wright and Jeroslav Gebr created is included.

Maybe you’re thinking, “That’s nice, but you can look up any of the paintings online in a few seconds. Why get this book?” Fair enough. For me, the idea of seeing top-notch versions of these paintings is enough. But it’s more than that. Here’s what Scott posted on the book’s official Facebook page on May 20:

Assembling this epic tome took us on a long and daunting expedition around the globe to locate and professionally photograph as many of the existing paintings as could be unearthed. At present, only two original paintings remain in NBC/Universal Studios’ first-rate archives while the remaining 100 were borrowed, rented, stolen, or otherwise relocated. Thus began our epic archeological dig to unearth the rest, a tall order, even in the age of the internet.

The nearly 300-page book is brimming with hundreds of rare, behind-the-scenes photos and artwork. It documents each of the paintings, and traces the complicated (and often twisted) tale of how these iconic masterpieces slowly disappeared from view — only to find their way back, lovingly displayed in two gallery exhibits for appreciative connoisseurs 50 years later.

That’s pure catnip to me. If I’m a fan of something, I often want to know all about it. I’m a complete sucker for pics and stories detailing how my favorite shows and movies came to life, so reading this description put a huge grin on my face.

Mind you, I’ve known about the book for a while now. In fact, if you read the post I put up after last October’s “Serling Fest”, you have too. I had the opportunity to appear with Scott Skelton there and introduce a 50th anniversary showing of the Night Gallery pilot movie. At that time, the “Art of Darkness” book was set to be released only a month later.

At the last minute, though, Scott and Jim uncovered additional material that promised to make the book even better, so publication was delayed. It was disappointing, of course, but it looks as if our patience is going to be rewarded.

Ah, but when? According to the May 20 announcement:

Your number-one question is, undoubtedly, “When will the book be released?” At the moment, the book is one week away from the licensing department at NBC/Universal for final review. Following that, it travels to our printer in Asia for three months of proofing, printing, and binding, followed by a month’s sea voyage back to the docks of Long Beach, and finally to our warehouse in Sierra Madre. With luck and good fortune, the long wait will be over as quick as you can say “trick ‘r treat.”

So it sounds as if we’re headed for a Halloween release. How perfect would that be?

Until then, if this book sounds as appealing to you as it does to me, check out its official Facebook page. Scott and Jim will be sharing updates as their special project moves closer to completion. I’ll be passing along any important details too, of course, as well as continuing to blog about the series.

In one of his introductions, Serling welcomed viewers to “a collection of art not found in your average museum”. It stands to reason that it deserves an above-average gallery. “Rod Serling’s Night Gallery — The Art of Darkness” sounds like it’s just the ticket.

***

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!

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 05/22/2020, in Night Gallery and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 17 Comments.

  1. Outstanding! As a kid I watched this show, right through to the present, and I’d always told myself I’d wanted some of that art to hang in my home/writing office, so short of that ever happening, what a cool “coffee table book of creepy art” to have instead! Thanks for passing this on, Paul!

    • You bet, Frank! I agree — some of those paintings are so cool. I’d really like to have prints of them on display.

      Some people I know do have, well, bootleg posters and whatnot, I guess you could say. Having this book will be a real treat. Glad you enjoyed the post!

  2. I am looking forward to that release, Paul. Thanks for the head’s up and the backstory. I hope you enjoy the long weekend.

  3. Al Whitlock mentioned he did some of the paintings in his Matte Department at Universal. There’re a lot of conflicting information on the internet. Do you have more information on this in the book?

    • Hi, Craig. I wouldn’t put any stock in this claim. I asked co-author Scott Skelton, and he replied: “Albert Whitlock was a special effect matte painter of high repute who worked at Universal around the same period. I’ve never heard he was involved in any way with the series.” Someone probably made a mistake in attributing any of the paintings to him, given the overlap of his tenure with Tom Wright’s.

      • I see no reason why Whitlock would clam anything if it wasn’t true. It seems very credible that when you are in production and if the producer needed an extra painting or ran out of time etc he being on the lot would be contacted.

      • On the contrary: I can easily see why someone would want to claim, truthfully or not, that they were responsible for something so popular. Serling himself was the subject of many specious charges of idea-stealing and plagiarism, and given his fame, can we be surprised?

        Now, I don’t know Whitlock from the man in the moon, so maybe he’s an honest man, and this is a misunderstanding. Perhaps his memory is foggy. I’ve seen that happen quite innocently with other people trying to remember things that happened many years earlier.

        Burgess Meredith, for example, once said that Serling had a part for him in every season of TZ. He didn’t. He had one in season 1, two in season 2, one in season 4, and none in seasons 3 and 5. Maybe it’s the same with Whitlock. He surely did a LOT of work in his years at Universal, and it’s been a long time, so maybe he’s misremembering.

        Or maybe it’s something worse. Maybe he knows better, and he’s trying to grab a little unearned glory for himself. Perhaps not, but I don’t think we can act like it’s inconceivable that he could be wrong, or even dishonest.

        And here we get to the real meat of the matter, beyond speculation and conjecture and believability. Why do you believe Whitlock’s right? You appear quite convinced, so you must have a reason. What’s your source? Do you have an article or something you can share? Perhaps you’ve spoken to Whitlock personally? Because if he’s right, that means that Tom Wright, the artist for nearly all of these canvases, is wrong, or a liar. Whitlock and Wright can’t both be correct.

        I’m going with Wright being correct because I have it on the good authority of Scott Skelton, who literally wrote the book on NG and did an incredibly deep and detailed dive on the series. He not only combed through every record that could be found, but he and his co-author also interviewed just about every person still alive in the 1990s when they were writing their book (and aside from Serling and Laird, just about everyone who worked on the series was still around, with pretty fresh memories, at that time. That’s why their book is so comprehensive and covers every aspect of the series. And regarding Whitlock, Scott has told us, “I’ve never heard he was involved in any way with the series.”

        So what have you, in your Internet searches, learned — in any sort of authoritative way — that Scott wasn’t able to?

      • Matte painter Albert Whitlock (1915-1999) was one of the most import visual effects artists of his time. A recipient of 2 Oscars for visual effects and having worked closely with Alfred Hitchcock on all his later films. He would have no reason to claim anything when I interviewed him. Tom Wright is of course credited for the paintings in the series. I remember Whitlock having a few slides of Night Gallery paintings in his collection of work. It was not the focus of my book on matte painting, so I didn’t go into it fully. I’m not calling Tom Wright a liar. I am conveying my memory to you.

      • Gotcha. Well, he was obviously a very talented artist with an impressive body of work, so I can certainly forgive his faulty memory when it comes to Night Gallery.

    • Taylor White

      Hi Craig – Taylor White, publisher of the Night Gallery book here. We’d love to include any and all info that you might have on Whitlock’s involvement. The book is currently in the approval stages at Universal Legal, so it’s not too late to insert any info or visuals before we go to the printer. Is Whitlock’s archives being stored in one place and has it been catalogued in a way that we could locate those NG pics without too much trouble? Wrght and Whitlock’s careers crisscrossed constantly as they both worked on many of the same films at Uni. If you want to contact me directly, e-mail cfeatures@me.com. Hope to hear from you soon as we’re racing toward a Halloween release.

  4. Because of its mixed legacy, the very good things about Rod Serling’s Night Gallery are too often unacknowledged. Night Gallery is worth following if only for the fact that the great Rod Serling was involved, doing what he had always done, fighting for quality against uneven odds. Beyond that is the art. The show’s art eloquently and memorably fulfilled its mission: the symbolic forecast of the story to come. I am looking forward to the release of this book; the authors have already proven their dedication to high production standards. Their work has and will continue to inform audiences that Night Gallery is deserving of far more respect than its downside (the unfortunate production decisions of Jack Laird) has allowed it to receive.

    • Well put, SMB. It’s frustrating to hear NG get trashed — an all-too-common reaction in today’s all-or-nothing world. To be sure, the series had a troubled history, and yes, it paled in comparison to TZ (most shows do!), but it doesn’t deserve to be ignored or dismissed.

  5. An art book of the Gallery paintings is LONG overdue. This is great to hear.

  6. I am a big fan of “The Night Gallery”. I already have all the episodes on DVD. I can’t wait for the book to come out! It would be great to buy some of the original paintings from the series, but I’m sure that would cost a fortune. Tom Wright is a gifted painter!!!

  7. Will do! Along with this. :)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: