Night Gallery

Night Gallery

The Complete First Season

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Twenty terrifying stories plus the original Pilot movie.
Publisher: Universal City, Calif. : Universal Studios, 2004.
ISBN: 9781417018499
Characteristics: 3 videodiscs (8 hr., 43 min.) :,sound, color ;,12 cm


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Dec 17, 2016

This series doesn't hold a candle to Rod Serling's masterful "Twilight Zone." I think "uneven" is the word most often used to describe its overall quality, in part because of its strange, rather splintered format; but even Serling's episode introductions aren't as memorable somehow.
That out of the way, there are some excellent entries among the mostly standard fare of "Night Gallery's" 1969-73 run.
These include "Eyes," the 1969 feature length pilot and an early directorial effort from Steven Spielberg, starring Joan Crawford as a wealthy blind woman with an appalling sense of entitlement; "The Cemetery," featuring Roddy MacDowell and Ossie Davis in a cat and mouse game of greed; "Make Me Laugh," a twisted cautionary tale starring the peerless Godfrey Cambridge ("Cotton Comes to Harlem," "Come Back Charleston Blue," "The President's Analyst") as a bitter stand-up comic; and my personal favorite, the touching "They're Tearing Down Tim Riley's Bar," written, not coincidentally, by Rod Serling.

"Tim Riley's Bar" boasts powerful, personal best performances from the great character actor William Windom ("My World and Welcome To It" among many fine performances in TV and film) and actress Diane Baker, memorable as Lil, Sean Connery's bratty sister-in-law in the Hitchcock classic "Marnie."

Windom is Randy, a proud but defeated middle-aged widower who responds to being pushed out of a ruthlessly competitive sales office by drowning himself in booze. His loneliness keeps drawing him back to Riley's Bar, a favorite neighborhood pub of his and his late wife's, now closed and scheduled for demolition. Baker gives heart, complexity and moral force to the role of Lynn Alcott, Randy's secretary. Lynn is outraged at Randy's shabby treatment from a company built on years of his integrity, professionalism, and excellence. Her fierce loyalty compels her to try to rescue Randy from his back-stabbing colleagues and his own self-destructive behavior. You sense Lynn might be more than a friend to Randy if only he could pull himself together and see beyond his despair.

Given the talent involved, all of the "Night Gallery" episodes should have been as good as this and perhaps might have been had Serling had more direct control, as he had enjoyed with "The Twilight Zone." Certainly his name and reputation attracted a fine collection of performers, including Edward G. Robinson, Diane Keaton, Tom Bosley, Vincent Price, Sally Field, Carl Reiner and many others.

Flawed, but worth your patience for the gems.

May 07, 2015

From the creator of " The Twilight Zone " these stories are a mixed bag- some are good, some are bad- it''s worth going through to find the good' uns. There are some H. P. Lovecraft adaptations as well ( again good and bad ).

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