Night Gallery Pilot 1969

This is the pilot that started the television show Night Gallery. Rod Serling started this a few years after Twilight Zone. He didn’t have the control he did with Twilight Zone and it wasn’t as consistent but still had many good episodes. Personally, I think the pilot is the best. It’s three very well acted and written stories.

I was in Tampa Florida visiting some relatives. I was left alone in the living room and watched this. I had one eye covered with my hand…sometimes both. I was 6 at the time so I  do have an excuse.

My favorite story is The Cemetery. Roddy McDowall and Ossie Davis starred in this story that is the opener. Roddy plays a playboy who kills his uncle to inherit his fortune. Ossie plays the loyal butler who is still trying to do his job and stay loyal to his old boss. A painting of the family cemetery keeps changing and shows the uncle moving out of his plot slowly to the door. The story has a cool twist ending.

The second story is called “Eyes” which stars Joan Crawford. It was directed by a young Steven Spielberg. A blind terrible rich woman who would pay for someone’s eyes to see just for eleven minutes. After an illegal operation to transplant someone’s eyes in her the bandage is taken off and then a surprise.

The third story is called “Escape Route” about an ex-Nazi looking for peace in a painting at a museum. Very well acted and justice prevails.


For more details below is the Wiki description of each story

“The Cemetery”

Jeremy Evans is a despicable selfish young man who murders his rich uncle to inherit his estate, both much to the detriment of his uncle’s butler, Osmond Portifoy. Later, Evans notices that a painting of the family graveyard has changed – a fresh, empty grave appears in it and soon after a coffin standing upright appears in the grave. Little by little, the painting depicts the return of his uncle from his burial site, moving closer and closer, or so it seems, to Evans.


Claudia Menlo is a heartless, wealthy blind woman who desperately wants to be able to see. Sidney Resnick, a hapless gambler who owes money to loan sharks, agrees to donate his eyes to her for the grand sum of $9,000. Her doctor, whom she blackmails into performing the illegal surgery, warns her that her vision will only last for about eleven hours. After the surgery, she removes the bandages from her eyes, and by a quirk of fate, there is a blackout seconds later. She awakens the next day to see the sunrise, but she panics when her sight quickly begins to fade.

“The Escape Route”

A Nazi fugitive named Joseph Strobe is constantly on the run from the authorities and his nightmares about the past. One day, while fleeing from imaginary pursuers, he finds himself in a museum where he meets Bleum, a survivor of the same concentration camp where Strobe made the decisions about who would live or die. Bleum does not initially recognize him, but points out a painting that depicts a man being crucified in a concentration camp. Strobe turns away; he is drawn to a painting of a fisherman, and imagines himself in the painting. When Strobe returns to the art gallery the next day, Bleum recognizes him as a Nazi, and later, outside a bar, Strobe kills him to ensure his own anonymity. Once again, Strobe must hide from authorities. In a state of desperation he returns to the museum and prays to become the fisherman in the painting, but dire consequences loom.



Author: Badfinger (Max)

Power Pop fan, Baseball fan, old movie and tv show fan... and a songwriter, bass and guitar player.

10 thoughts on “Night Gallery Pilot 1969”

  1. I haven’t seen The Night Gallery in decades. I need to track down a copy and watch. The Twilight Zone one of my Top 10 programs ever- I know The Night Gallery wasn’t The Twilight Zone but as I recall it had its moments.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. It did have it’s moments but no it wasn’t the Twilight Zone. The pilot to me is the best I’ve seen of them but there are some good episodes. Serling didn’t have the control on the show like he did on the Twilight Zone…he was more of just the host. I don’t think he did a lot of writing for it… I’m going through some right now… The Twilight Zone was just so well written it’s hard to top those. The black and white adds to it…for me also…I’m a fan of black and white. For some shows it just works better.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes a very good point- the black and white of The Twilight Zone was key– and with the Zone- as time went on Serling did less writing and it was evident in the quality of those shows too I thought. The more involved he was the better.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. You are right. I read a book by his daughter and she said Night Gallery was more of a job to him. He did write some of the stories but didn’t have any say on production or casting. He would show up and just introduce. Saying that there are some good episodes.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Rod Serling had very little control over Night Gallery. It’s still worth watching for some of the better episodes. It was mangled horribly in syndication due to its unusual length (90 minutes with a feature episode followed by two shorter ones and a comedic short at the end. Among the better episodes are “They’re Tearing Down Tim Riley’s Bar,” “The Messiah of Mott Street,” “Class of ’99,” ‘The Doll,” and “The Caterpillar.” I remember watching it on KCOP 13.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree. Night Gallery is inferior to the Twilight Zone. They’re are Tearing Down Tim Riley’s Bar is very good. I read Anne Serling’s book and yea he didn’t have much to do with Night Gallery… I do like the episodes you are talking about.
      “Tell David” is really good… they show what would become a GPS and video phone


  3. As a little kid the Twilight Zone was just too scary for me. Remember an episode where someone falls into the wall or gets trapped in a world on the other side of a wall? That terrified me and I was afraid to go to sleep because of what was on the other side of my bedroom wall. The Night Gallery was more my speed, and I was older then so didn’t get as scared.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes I saw that one not long ago. It was a little girl and when the Dad goes in there it is spooky…it really is.
      The Night Gallery’s first 3 episodes which was this one…was really good. Roddy McDowall was great in it..

      Liked by 1 person

      1. He did…Planet of the Apes comes to mind. When I think of Dean Stockwell…I now think of Quantum Leap…but he has been in a lot of things.

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