Ah, the overlooked Rod Serling’s Night Gallery. Compared to The Twilight Zone, it was destined to languish in that series’ tall shadows. But taken on its own, it’s much like any other anthology: a mixed bag. Some good, some bad. In the Gallery, the hour-long format (which didn’t suit TZ a bit) is broken into smaller segments, generally with one or two “lead” stories and one or two vignettes (which were usually slight jokes). While many have disparaged those vignettes, I’ve never minded them. They’re like those interludes in EC Comics, the single-page text-only stories that don’t do much more than fill the space, but can be entertaining enough.
But the paintings were great, and when the segments worked, they worked. Here are a few of my favorites…
This first set of works on offer is “Pickman’s Model / The Dear Departed / An Act of Chivalry.” The first segment is one of the best adaptations of Lovecraft ever committed to the filmed form.
The next exhibit on display is “The Boy Who Predicted Earthquakes / Miss Lovecraft Sent Me / The Hand of Borgus Weems / Phantom of What Opera?” Clint Howard, creepy at any age, stars.
Moving to the next aisle, we have arachnida, the spiders, our finest collection. In particular, “A Fear of Spiders,” along with the segments “Junior / Marmalade Wine / The Academy.” Fortunately, you can pretty much stop this one after the first story.
Going from the realm of the spider to the realm of refrigeration, you’ll find in this alcove these three paintings: “Cool Air / Camera Obscura / Quoth the Raven.” Again, a fine adaptation of a classic Lovecraft short story, backed this time with a fine secondary story and a fairly lousy joke at Poe’s expense.
Well, I think four hours of entertainment is enough for any post, so I’m going to leave this here for now (and I’m not suggesting you watch all of this at once, mind you. The gallery will be here when you need it. Return at will.