Series / Night Gallery

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"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 H.P. 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 (1959), 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 it's 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.
  • Adaptational Attractiveness: Jackie Slater in "Make 'em Laugh" is repeatedly described as fat and ugly in the original short story. He's played in the show by the rather handsome Godfrey Caimbridge (also a Race Lift). Possibly also a Casting Gag as Cambridge had recently lost a lot of weight.
  • And I Must Scream:
    • "Escape Route": A Nazi officer learns the trick of escaping into a painting...but instead of escaping into a peaceful one, he escapes into one of a concentration camp victim.
    • Malloy, the jerk ass protagonist in "A Question of Fear" is told that he was injected with a serum that will slowly turn him into a worm. He shoots himself to avoid it.
  • And Now For Something Completely Different: "They're Tearing Down Tim Riley's Bar" is the least supernatural episode in the entire series, other than the protagonist being haunted by past regrets. It's also one of the most critically acclaimed episodes in the show's history.
  • 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. One episode has his son telling his grandson how he served his country in the war when he and his werewolf servants killed a number of SS officers.
  • 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.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: "Certain Shadows On The Wall." How does Stephen end up getting what he deserves for poisoning Emma? Sweet, ditzy Rebecca secretly gives him a giant overdose of the medication he was slowly killing Emma with, and explains it to their sister Ann that it will "Help him sleep." Whether or not Rebecca truly did it on purpose is left for interpretation, but the minute Ann hears that Stephen is "taking his own medication," she's clearly horrified.
  • Big Blackout: One hits at a most inopportune time for the protagonist in "Eyes". She misses most of the eleven hours of sight given her by her operation because it happens to coincide with a blackout.
  • Body Horror: "The Dead Man", one of the characters has an unusually powerful psychosomatic ability that lets him manifest advanced symptoms of all sorts of diseases under hypnosis, even viral ones even though he has no trace of the virus itself. His body shown both emaciated and discolored, and bloated and blue from edema, only to immediately revert to the peak of health when the suggestion is broken. It works after he has been made to think he died too. LONG after he thought he died.
  • Boy Meets Ghoul: A gender-flipped version occurs in "Cool Air" when Agatha falls in love with Dr. Munoz, who, unbeknownst to her, died ten years ago and has clung to (un)life only through willpower and constant cold.
  • 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.
  • Breaking Bad News Gently: In "The Caterpillar", the doctor tells Macy to sit down before telling him the bad news about the earwig. Macy initially says it's not necessary, but the doctor insists, and given the news, he might have been right.
  • Cannot Cross Running Water: The vampire in "Death on a Barge."
  • 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." It's actually a trick played by the butler on the evil nephew, both to avenge his former employer, and to gain the inheritance himself... After the nephew's death however, the painting suddenly changes on its own...
  • Creepy Doll: The eponymous doll from "The Doll", which is actually a curse sent by an Indian mystic to a British colonel, as revenge for the colonel ordering his brothers death back in India (said brother had been an anti-British rebel who led raids on British outposts). Making matters worse, the doll ended up with the colonels granddaughter who became incredibly attached to it. By the end of the episode, the colonel accepts his death, so the doll can be destroyed and rid his granddaughter from the curse, as well as leave her with his insurance money and in the protection of her kindly governess. That same night, the mystic gets a package of his own, which contains a doll that looks like the colonel, with the same creepy slasher smile the first doll had...
  • Cute and Psycho: Nurse Frances Nevins in "Room with a View." She's bright, adorably shy, with a cute smile... But tends to turn completely homicidal when she gets jealous of her fiancé.
  • Dead All Along: The whole cast in "Lone Survivor". They're really just phantoms in the Ironic Hell of a damned sailor.
  • Death of a Child: In "Little Girl Lost", Professor Putnam lost his young daughter Ginny and the government asks the protagonist to humor his delusion that she's still alive in order to get him to continue his work.
  • 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.
  • Dirty Coward: The main character of "Lone Survivor", who reveals he had been a sailor on the Titanic, and had forced his way onto a lifeboat dressed in women's clothing, then the overcrowded lifeboat had broken its cables, and he was the only person who managed to hold on before it hit the water. He's well aware that his cowardice was unforgivable, and can give no excuse other than that he was out of his mind with fear. He's also been damned for his deed, and is cursed to float forever on the ocean, from doomed ship to doomed ship throughout history.
  • Driven to Suicide: Colonel Malloy shoots himself in "A Question Of Fear" after Mazi tells him that he was injected with a serum that will turn him slowly into a worm. Completely unnecessary at that, as Mazi was lying about the serum.
  • 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 werewolves, and led by none other than Count Dracula. They may feed on humans, but that doesn't mean they condone the evil the Nazis are perpetrating.
  • Evil Hand: In "The Hand of Borgus Weems", the hero finds his right hand taking control and trying to commit murder. The condition begins to spread to other parts of his body before he gets it amputated. It's eventually implied that the hand was possessed by a man called Borgus Weems and the three people it tried to kill were his killers and their lawyer.
  • Evil Is Not a Toy: Prime examples of this trope include "There Aren't Any More McBanes" and "I'll Never Leave You - Ever."
  • Exact Words:
    • The titular "Other Way Out": the bullet the Old Man gives for Bradley Meredith's gun.
    • From the same episode, but earlier, the Old Man tells Bradley Meredith (the guy who killed his granddaughter) that someone named "Sonny" is going to come by soon to see him die. Sonny, the Old Man's grandson, does in fact come by near the end to see him die... as in, being left alone in a pit he can't get out of... with the aforementioned gun.
  • 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.
  • Female Monster Surprise: In "The Caterpillar", man pays to have a romantic rival murdered by having a carnivorous earwig placed in the man's ear. The plan goes wrong, however, and the next morning he awakens to find that the earwig has been placed in his ear instead, and has crawled inside his head. He endures weeks of agony as the earwig eats its way through his brain, but he remarkably survives the ordeal. He is then told by a doctor that the earwig was female... And it laid eggs.
  • Flying Dutchman: The castaway from "Lone Survivor" calls himself this.
  • Foreshadowing: In "The Boy Who Predicted Earthquakes", Herbie's grandfather muses about what a terrible burden it must be for Herbie to be able to foresee catastrophes but not be able to do anything about it, which happens on a planetwide scale at the end of the episode.
  • Frankenstein's Monster: In "Junior", the "baby" calling for water is a Frankenstein's Monster.
  • Giant Spider: In "A Fear Of Spiders", the spider grows almost every time Justus sees it until it's as big as a dog.
  • Gainax Ending: "The House" ends very ambiguously, with Elaine somehow switching roles between her dream self and reality. It's obliquely suggested that the "haunting" has been an astral projection of her recurring dream all along, but the story doesn't give a concrete explanation of what's really going on, nor exactly what sort of ghostly activity the house's previous owners experienced that horrified them enough to sell the house.
  • 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.
  • Grand Theft Me: The witch from "Aunt Ada" had stolen multiple bodies of girls in the past, and at the climax stole the one of the protagonist's love interest.
  • Happily Married: "The Caterpillar." The jealous suitor thinks he's saving the object of his affection from her marriage because her husband is so much older than she is, but the woman is quite happy how things are and thinks the suitor is an asshole for making assumptions about her happiness.
  • Here We Go Again:
    • "The Housekeeper": the husband, having switched his wife's personality with that of the new housekeeper, switches her personality with that of a newly hired one once she plans to leave him without a cent to punish him for his deed.
    • "The Caterpillar": Macy starts screaming after the doctor tells him that the earwig laid eggs, meaning he'll have to endure more of the same agony in which he's spent the past week.
    • "The Hand of Borgus Weems": After the hero has forced the doctor to cut his hand off to prevent him from committing murder, the doctor's hand begins writing in Latin, one of the symptoms the hero's possessed hand exhibited.
  • Human Head on the Wall: "Clean Kills and Other Trophies". When an evil trophy hunter forces his son to kill a deer, he is punished by African tribal gods. He is killed and his head is mounted on the trophy wall in his own house.
  • Idiot Ball: Col. Malloy in "A Question of Fear" commits suicide out of belief in the Doctor's serum, in spite of being quite skeptical up to that point and uncovering plenty of evidence that the doctor had fabricated everything else he tried to scare the Colonel with. The doctor himself seems a bit shocked that Malloy didn't just call his bluff and go look in the cellar.
  • 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. (Keep in mind, the boy and the aliens look like this. A bit strange looking, but not much worse than what you'd see on Star Trek)
  • I Lied: "A Question Of Fear", there never was any mutating serum, the villain just lied about it to break the main character.
  • Ironic Hell: "Hell's Bells", "Certain Shadows on the Wall", "Pamela's Voice", "Lone Survivor".
  • 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.
  • La Résistance: During WW2, the Nazis tried to exterminate the Hungarian resistance. They ran into its true leader Count Dracula.
  • Let Them Die Happy: In "The Boy Who Predicted Earthquakes", Herbie decides to tell his viewers that the next day will be the start of a new and better world, rather than tell them the harsh truth — the next day, the sun will go nova.
  • Literal Genie: "Make Me Laugh." The genie in question might be considered a Jackass Genie, but he tells his "clients" beforehand that he's a klutz and the wishes he grants can backfire. For instance, one wisher wanted to go to Tibet — and wound up on Mt. Everest in the middle of a snowstorm.
  • Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: "A Fear of Spiders" never answers one way or the other whether the spider is a supernormal being intended to take revenge on Justus or a hallucination he's having because of his arachnophobia.
  • 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?
  • No Challenge Equals No Satisfaction: Jackie Slater from "Make Me Laugh" spent sixteen years wanting people to laugh at his jokes, but once a miracle worker grants his wish to make people laugh, he finds that the success without the effort is boring.
  • 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." Werewolves are said to have a longer index finger than middle finger and red nails when they're in human form. When transformed, they look fully like animals, although apparently some of their human mind stays with them.
  • Pay Evil unto Evil: "Logoda's Heads." The titular witch doctor is found gruesomely torn apart, and the person responsible turns out to be another magic practitioner who sought to avenge the anthropologist Logoda unjustly murdered.
  • Pendulum of Death: In "A Question of Fear", Colonel Malloy lies down on a bed in a supposedly haunted house. Steel restraints suddenly emerge and cover his chest, locking him in. Then a swinging razor-sharp swinging pendulum descends, moving closer and closer to his neck. Just short of slicing his throat, the pendulum stops. The next morning the restraints and pendulum are gone.
  • 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.
  • Predator Turned Protector: In "The Phantom Farmhouse", Mildred and her family are werewolves. They have no scruples against killing people; however, Mildred falls in love with Joel and ends up protecting him against her parents.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: The demon in "There Aren't Any More MacBanes" is only fully revealed at the end. Before that, we only get to see its freakishly glowing red eyes in the darkness and its clawed hands.
  • Rich Bitch: Joan Crawford's character in "Eyes", a rich heiress who's been blind since birth and pays a man in debt a pitiful amount of money for his eyes, for an operation that'll only give her sight for a few hours.
  • Ridiculously Human Robots:
    • The robotic servants in "You Can't Get Help Like That Anymore" are capable of adaptive learning, feeling emotions like pain and distress, and as the abusive Mr. and Mrs. Fulton learn the hard way, defending themselves by force.
    • The "Class of '99" is similar, except replace "pain and distress" with "hate."
  • Sadistic Choice: "The Other Way Out" ends on this: either Bradley Meredith dies a slow, possibly painful death in the pit he can't escape from, or he takes the titular "other way out"...and shoots himself.
  • 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.
  • Sanity Slippage: "The Diary." The gossip reporter given the seemingly prophetic diary has herself locked in a mental institution to save herself from the diary's last entry. The episode ends with her proclaiming to have found a way to beat the diary... and then we find out from her doctor that she's been a patient there for three years now.
  • Scream Discretion Shot: The ending shot of "The Caterpillar" cuts to the outside of the Warwicks' house as Macy, having been told that he's going to have a repeat of the last two weeks, screams in pain or fear.
  • Shackle Seat Trap: The booby-trapped bed from "A Question Of Fear" has bars which spring up and trap Malloy when he lies down.
  • 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".
  • Title Drop: In the beginning of "Miss Lovecraft Sent Me", the babysitter says the title words when talking to her client.
  • There Is No Kill Like Overkill: The psychic attacks that kill Walker and the convict in "Lady, Lady, Take My Life" causes the simultaneous rupture of three major arteries, any one of which would've been fatal on its own.
  • This Isn't Heaven: "Pamelas Voice". Correction, it IS Heaven for Pamela, but not for her husband who killed her. Now he's trapped forever, listening to her grating voice.
  • Through the Eyes of Madness: One interpretation of "Silent Snow, Secret Snow."
  • Twin Switch: A subversion. In "Spectre In Tap Shoes," one of the twin sisters has died before the episode began, but the switch occurs when the dead sister possesses the living one.
  • Wham Line:
    • While more of a Wham Noise, "The Merciful" has the doorbell.
    • "The Caterpillar" ends with one that has haunted many years after the fact: "And females lay eggs."
  • You Killed My Father: The "villain" in "A Question Of Fear". His father had been a conscript in the Italian Army during World War 2. He wasn't killed, but the main character burned off his hands, destroying his life as a pianist. The villain swore revenge on his father's behalf.
  • Your Mind Makes It Real: "The Dead Man", which revolves around a hypnotist working with an unusually strong hypochondriac, who can show extensive symptoms of any sickness through hypnotic programming, far beyond what psychosomatic symptoms are capable of. The hypnotist intends to have him simulate death, to see if a man can be brought back from beyond brain death. He can. From death far longer than the hypnotist intended.

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