"Welcome, ladies and gentlemen, to the Night Gallery."
An (initially) hour-long horror
and Speculative Fiction anthology
series, hosted by Rod Serling
, which ran on NBC
for three seasons (1970-1973). Each episode includes multiple segments tied together by the Framing Device
of a gallery of paintings inspired by the featured stories. The stories include both originals (many written by Serling) and adaptations of works by the likes of Richard Matheson
, Basil Copper, and HP Lovecraft
. (The segments "Cool Air" and "Pickman's Model" are the first and still most famous Lovecraft adaptations
made for television.)
Unusually for the formatnote
, the individual segments are not of a set length. They range from one-minute vignettes to long stories that take up most of the episode's run time (and everything in between); the number of segments per episode varies accordingly.
Although the show was subject to Executive Meddling
from the beginning (much to Rod Serling's displeasure - unlike The Twilight Zone
, he didn't have creative control) the third season saw the most of this (and possibly a bit of Screwed by the Network
), with the episode length reduced to a half hour and the timeslot moved from Wednesday to Sunday. It was cancelled midway through the season.
In syndication, the run was stretched by adding repackaged stories from the short-lived Paranormal Investigation
show The Sixth Sense
and by splitting the first two seasons' episodes into half hours. The latter change led to heavy re-editing
, with longer stories cut down and shorter ones padded
to fit the new length.
This series provides examples of:
Episodes of this series provide examples of:
- Academy of Evil: "Class of 99" and "The Academy," where it's implied the students never graduate, in the case of The Academy, because Its actually a prison for juvenile criminals, where they are simply left to rot rather than reformed. In the case of the Class Of 99, the students are robots that are being trained to replace humans
- Adam Westing:
- Phyllis Diller, known for her piercing voice and laugh, plays the titular Pamela in "Pamela's Voice." That is, she's a dead woman who is haunting the husband (John Astin) that killed her because, among all the things he hated about her, her voice was the number one thing he couldn't stand. It turns out he's dead too, and his punishment in Hell is her heaven, where she can just keep talking, and talking, and talking, and he can't do a thing about it.
- Affably Evil: "The Housekeeper."
- And I Must Scream: "Escape Route" in the pilot, "The Dead Man", "Last Rites of a Dead Druid", and the implied fate the jerk ass protagonist in "A Question of Fear" tries to avoid.
- Argentina Is Naziland: The pilot featured a fugitive officer trying to forever escape from pursuit into a painting in Latin America somewhere. He does, but not in the one he wanted.
- Asshole Victim: Comes up a lot. For example: The Fultons of "You Can't Get Help Like That Anymore", and the long-lost nephew heir in "The Cemetery."
- Badass Grandpa: Count Dracula, of all people.
- The Bad Guy Wins: Several episodes, such as "Since Aunt Ada Came To Stay." The ending implies the witch was indeed successful in her Body Swap.
- Be Careful What You Wish For: "Make 'Em Laugh" and "Escape Route."
- Body Swap: "The Housekeeper" and "Since Aunt Ada Came To Stay."
- Boy Meets Ghoul: Several.
- Bratty Half-Pint: "Brenda." The only true friend she makes is a shambling monster that gets trapped in a pit.
- Breaking and Bloodsucking: Subverted and parodied in "A Midnight Visit to the Neighborhood Blood Bank." A vampire breaks into a woman's room and goes down to suck her blood. At the last second, she wakes up and says "I gave at the office." He apologizes, makes a note in his book, and flies off.
- Cannot Cross Running Water: The vampire in "Death on a Barge."
- Cant Get Away With Nothing: "The Cemetery."
- Caustic Critic: "A Fear of Spiders," although the critic in question is a subversion. He's not shown writing pointlessly cruel gourmet reviews, but he's pointedly cruel to a female suitor and the building supervisor.
- Cool and Unusual Punishment: "Clean Kills And Other Trophies." It ends with hunter learning what it's like to be the victim.
- Creepy Changing Painting: "The Cemetery"
- Creepy Doll: "The Doll."
- Dead All Along: "Pamela's Voice", the professor from "Cool Air".
- Dead Person Impersonation: "Since Aunt Ada Came To Stay."
- Downer Ending: Several, such as "The Boy Who Predicted Earthquakes", which ends with the young seer predicting that the sun will soon go nova and explode, engulfing the earth.
- Earth-Shattering Kaboom: "Little Girl Lost."
- Eldritch Abomination: In "The Funeral" and "Professor Peabody's Last Lecture."
- Even Evil Has Standards: "The Devil Is Not Mocked". It turns out that the resistance force that the Nazis have been looking for is made up of vampires, and led by none other than Count Dracula. They may feed on human blood, but that doesn't mean they condone Adolf Hitler attempting to wipe out an entire race in mass genocides.
- Everybody Lives: "The Messiah On Mott Street."
- Fate Worse Than Death:
- Possible fate looming in "A Question of Fear." Leads to Better to Die Than Be Killed.
- Also the case for "The Caterpillar," as it's revealed that the earwig in question was female, and probably laid eggs.
- Flying Dutchman: The castaway from "Lone Survivor" calls himself this.
- Fright Deathtrap: In both "A Question Of Fear" and "The Other Way Out."
- The Fun in Funeral: In "The Funeral," a vampire pays to host his own funeral.
- Gaslighting: "The Cemetery."
- Giant Spider: "A Fear Of Spiders."
- Gone Horribly Right: "You Can Come Up Now, Mrs. Millikan", "Little Girl Lost".
- Gone Horribly Wrong: "I'll Never Leave You - Ever".
- Green Thumb: Or rather, "Green Fingers". The old lady who is being pushed to move out of her home by a realtor claims she can make anything she plants grow. Even, it turns out, bits of herself.
- Henpecked Husband: "House - With Ghost" and "Stop Killing Me."
- He Who Fights Monsters: "The Ghost of Sorworth Place."
- Here We Go Again: The end of "The Housekeeper", "Lone Survivor", "The Hand of Borgus Weems", "Midnight Never Ends", "The Ghost of Sorworth Place" and "The Caterpillar."
- Hollywood Voodoo: "Doll of Death."
- Hypno Fool: Finnegan's Flight
- I'm a Humanitarian: "Satisfaction Guaranteed".
- Infant Immortality: Averted in "The Dark Boy" and "Little Girl Lost".
- Informed Attractiveness: "The Different Ones". A hideously deformed young man is part of an exchange program with a student from another planet who is part of the program for the same reason. Only the student from the other planet looks like a normal human, and the natives of his planet all look like the student from Earth- and the alien girls all think the new arrival is pretty cute, leading to a surprise Happy Ending.
- Ironic Hell: "Hell's Bells", Certain Shadows on the Wall", "Pamela's Voice", "Lone Survivor".
- Karmic Death
- Kid from the Future: "Tell David," but this is a subversion. The woman's son David has already been born, but she somehow finds herself travelling into the future where he is an adult.
- Laser-Guided Karma: "The Miracle at Camafeo" and "The Caterpillar" among some.
- Last of His Kind: "There Aren't Any More MacBanes"
- La Résistance: During WW2, the Nazis tried to exterminate the Hungarian resistance. They ran into its true leader Count Dracula
- Living Doll Collector: "A Death In The Family."
- Love Hurts
- Love Makes You Evil
- Magic Mirror: "The Painted Mirror"
- Meta Fiction: "Midnight Never Ends."
- Mercy Kill: "The Merciful." But not how you think.
- Mermaid Problem: "Lindemann's Catch."
- Mugging the Monster: SS troopers hunting Transylvanian partisans come to a castle that turns out to be owned by Count Dracula. Turns out vampires are patriotic; who knew?
- Non-human Lover Reveal: The series was in love with The Reveal in general.
- Nothing Is Scarier: "The Cemetery." We never actually see the old man rise from his grave, but just seeing it happening on the painting and imagining it happening for real makes it all the more frightening. The same occurs for his nephew at the end. And unlike the previous case, this time it's happening for real.
- Obfuscating Disability: One episode had a con man faking being crippled to collect a fat settlement visiting a shrine in Mexico with reputed miraculous healing powers visited by sick and infirm pilgrims - he intends to get "cured" and walk out scot-free in front of an insurance investigator. As he saunters out, a miracle does occur - just as a blind child gains sight again, the con man's miraculously stricken blind.
- Our Werewolves Are Different: "The Phantom Farmhouse."
- The Power of Hate: In "The Cemetery", the butler deliberately plants the idea that his current master's grandfather may have a hatred strong enough to outlast the grave. The idea turns out to be true, but it's not the grandfather's.
- Rich Bitch: "Eyes."
- Rodents of Unusual Size: "Nature of the Enemy"
- Sadist Teacher: "Class of '99". The teacher, played by Vincent Price, is instilling in his graduating class lessons in bigotry and hatred. It helps that they're robots.
- Shout-Out: Lovecraft is repeatedly mentioned if his works aren't the basis of one of the stories. "Miss Lovecraft Sent Me," is one of the shorter stories, and in "Professor Peabody's Last Lecture," the eponymous Professor is reading off the names of numerous Lovecraftian deities, and one his students has the last name "Lovecraft".
- Snake Oil Salesman: "Dr. Stringfellow's Rejuvenator."
- Stable Time Loop: "Tell David"
- Tempting Fate: "Professor Peabody's Last Lecture."
- Twenty Minutes into the Future: "Tell David."
- Twist Ending: Frequently.
- The Vamp: "The Girl With The Hungry Eyes".
- Wham Line: While more of a Wham Noise, "The Merciful" has the doorbell.
- What Measure Is a Non-Human?: "You Can't Get Help Like That Anymore."
- Woman Scorned: "There's Something In The Woodwork."
- Your Mind Makes It Real: "Finnegan's Flight."