Blog Archives

Serling’s Re-Framing Efforts: Night Gallery’s “A Death in the Family”

I hope you haven’t found the previous stops in my Night GalleryRe-Framing Efforts” too unnerving … because our next sojourn in this shadowy world takes place at a funeral home. Get ready to meet Jared Soames, played by legendary actor E.G. Marshall. He’s probably the most compassionate undertaker you’ll ever meet.

He’s also the weirdest. Because if a particular corpse strikes his fancy, he won’t give it a dignified burial. He’ll bury a weighted coffin and adopt the dearly departed into the “family” of corpses that he keeps in the basement, all carefully arranged in a birthday-party tableau. (Spoilers ahead, naturally, so if you’d rather see the Gallery version first, check it out on DVD before reading further.)

We see Soames in the beginning as he takes possession of a charity burial. He’s disturbed by the cavalier attitude of the ambulance drivers, who turn over the body of one Simon Cottner with all the decorum of an Amazon package. Where, he asks earnestly, are the flowers, the music, and the mourners? They look at him like he’s crazy. Simon had no friends, one of them tells him. There’s no one to miss “the stiff,” as they call him more than once.

And they don’t seem all that broken up about it. To them, it’s just a job. But to Soames, this is a mission.

As he tells his latest charge after they’ve left: “Simon, old man. You lived 81 years. You deserve more than a $100 funeral. But don’t you worry. You shall have more. Much more.”

Read the rest of this entry

Night Gallery Season 2 is Headed to Blu-ray — Here’s What to Expect

For a long time, I had nothing hopeful to say when Night Gallery fans would ask me if we’d ever see a Blu-ray release of the series.

Rod Serling introducing “Make Me Laugh”

I’d tell them how long it took for it to come out on DVD, and say we were lucky to have it on disc at all. MAYBE we’ll see a Blu-ray someday, I’d add, but don’t hold your breath.

Then Season 1 came out on Blu-ray last November.

And Season 2, I’m happy to say, is about to follow — either on July 19 or July 26, depending on who you ask.

This is terrific news for a couple reasons. One is that Season 2 marks when the series went to a weekly format, so you get a lot more material. Many of the show’s finest segments aired in Season 2, like “Class of ’99” with Vincent Price, “Cool Air,” “A Death in the Family” and “Green Fingers.”

“Class of ’99”

The other reason is that Kino Lorber has really packed this one with extras. Besides the cleaned-up video and audio, we get audio commentaries on every episode, not the half dozen or so we got on the Season 2 DVDs. I’m especially glad to see so many by Scott Skelton and Jim Benson, co-authors of “Rod Serling’s Night Gallery: An After-Hours Tour” (which will soon be released in an expanded and revised edition).

Read the rest of this entry