Sunday, October 21, 2012

Classic TV: Night Gallery (1970)

After his seminal horror anthology series, The Twilight Zone, had ended its run, creator-host Rod Serling had moved on to other projects, trying to find another hit series. He first attempted a change of genres to Westerns, creating The Loner for CBS, the same network that was home to Twilight Zone. Loner lasted just one season, but might be better known as having been produced by William Dozier and hitting the air 4 months before Batman made Dozier a household name.

In 1969, after Serling's adaptation of "Planet of the Apes" had been a success at the box office, he returned to television and changed networks. This time, the experimental 45-minute science-fiction drama, The New People, produced by Aaron Spelling & Danny Thomas, aired on ABC. It, too, was a 1-year wonder. Because of its unique format, it's not been rerun in the 43 years since its premiere. Meanwhile, Serling was already plotting his next project, and a return to horror.

In November '69, NBC presented Night Gallery as a made-for-TV movie which starred, among others, movie legend Joan Crawford in one of her final roles. The very next year, Gallery was on the fall schedule as part of a "wheel" anthology series, Four-in-One, airing once a month in a hour-long format, much like Twilight Zone in its early years. Four-in-One was another 1 year casualty, but Gallery & McCloud were spun off, with McCloud moving into another "wheel" as part of the NBC Sunday Mystery Movie.

Here's the intro:

Currently, Me-TV holds the cable rights to the series, presumably shared with NBC-Universal's Chiller and/or SyFy networks. However, it remains in half-hour increments, as it has for years.

Rating: B.


magicdog said...

I've been catching a few eps of NG on ME-TV and I feel like it's just a retread of Twilight Zone - just in color. The big names attached to it are about all this show really had going for it IMO.

This past week, they'd been using the episodes from "Sixth Sense" (in honor of Gary Collins)and those eps weren't bad as far as premises go. The SFX however and dialogue are rather painful.

hobbyfan said...

Sixth Sense was included with Night Gallery for syndication purps to bolster the episode count, as I noted in my obit on Collins. That Me-TV opted not to do a marathon is a little puzzling, but then, they don't want to alienate the mommies who have their kids tuning in for Brady Bunch and I Love Lucy blocks.....!