Night Gallery – S2 E3 – My Favorite Horror TV Episodes – Halloween Edition

night gallery pics 015Night Gallery 2-3 Aunt Ada pic 4

Night Gallery – S2 E3

Night Gallery is a series produced by Rod Serling and Jack Laird, that ran from 1970- 73. The Twilight Zone styled, one-hour show hadnight gallery pics 017 a wonderful introductory premise. Each week the host, Rod Serling, would swagger through an art gallery of nightmarish creations and pick one to tell us viewers about. The camera would zoom in on the painting, thus leading into the story. Each 1 hr. episode would have three stories; one main story, one minor story and one very brief tale with a comedic twist. The stories were not as timeless as the stories in The Twilight Zone, but some of the tales stood out as exceptionally creepy.

This episode has one of my favorite stories in the series, Since Aunt Ada Came to Stay, along with two shorter pieces.

Since Aunt Ada Came to Stay
Craig Lowell is a college professor whose wife has welcomed her Aunt Ada into their home. Ada is a gray-haired old woman with a cane who seems docile and innocent around her niece Joanna, wanting to share an afternoon ritual of having tea and talking. However, when Joanna is not around, she likes to challenge Craig’s authority in the home and doesn’t seem feeble at all. When the husband becomes suspicious of the woman he contacts a professor at the University that deals in night gallery pics 005the occult, Professor Porteus, played by Jonathan Harris (better known to most of us as Dr. Smith, from the TV show Lost in Space). The professor provides some valuable information about how a witch can jump from an old used up body into the body of a younger woman, and how to stop her. Craig suspects the ritual is taking place and he battles Aunt Ada in his home to defeat her. In the end he has successfully beaten her. Or has he? Stars James Farentino at Craig Lowell and Michele Lee as his wife Joanna.

With Apologies to Mr. Hyde
Adam West stars in this short vignette playing Dr. Jekyll in a moment of transformation.

The Flip Side of Satan
Arty Johnson plays an angry, washed-up, radio disc jockey starting a new job at a derelict station. Unhappy with the music he has to play he decides to quit but discovers he is locked in the studio and can’t leave.

The Aunt Ada story is the reason to view this episode. It’s a creepy witch story and the actress that plays Ada, Jeanette Nolan, is fantastic as the centuries old, body-jumping witch. The effects consist of camera and film tricks only slightly more creative than what you would see on Bewitched, or I Dream of Jeanie at the time. However, I think the acting and directing in this episode achieve a level of eerie foreboding that raises it above its limited budget.

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The stories in the series range from well-written, 70s style, TV horror, to just downright bland. They don’t have the message and introspect that Twilight Zone episodes had. The best Night Gallery to watch is the TV movie/pilot that started it all, but I’ll review that at a later date. If you are inclined to check out the series, this is one of the best of the bunch. A nasty witch tale always makes for good viewing on Halloween nights!

8 thoughts on “Night Gallery – S2 E3 – My Favorite Horror TV Episodes – Halloween Edition

  1. I have to admit, that while I consider Rod Serling to be one of my idols, I have never watched one episode of “Night Gallery.” I have intended, a few times, to buy the entire series from Amazon.com, but have yet to get around to it. I guess, the reason for that is, because I heard Serling really serves as nothing more than a figure head. I have heard from other sources, and you make mention of it in your blog, that while he co-produced the series, he, unfortunately, had nothing to do with the writing of the episodes. Of course, in regard to his involvement with the writing, I heard that mentioned while watching a piece on Serling, so I don’t know the validity of the information.

    The concept of the show, from what you describe, has me even more intrigued to purchase the series now, and begin watching it. I like the idea of the art gallery serving as the catalyst to introduce the different episodes.

    • Actually Robin, Rod Serling did write about half of the screenplays, though they were based on already established short stories. And the stories were from excellent writers like Algernon Blackwood, H P Lovecraft, Seabury Quinn, Richard Matheson, August Derleth, and Clark Ashton Smith. The problem was the other half were stories that Jack Laird wanted included, which often had a comedic twist. Luckily, most of those contributions were short and not the Main story of the episode.There are many excellent episodes and I think you would like the series.

      • I stand corrected. I am glad the information I received from the other source was inaccurate. I will definitely have to get my hands on the Night Gallery series now that you’ve informed me that Serling had a hand in writing a number of the screenplays. It makes little difference to me, if he was working from other people’s material, or creating his own, and from the authors you mentioned, some of whom rank among my favorites, for example Richard Matheson, that makes things even better. The stories that Laird wanted included that contained the comedic twists, I will just have to grin and bear those.

        I have so much to read, watch and listen to, as well as my blog writing, and my fiction writing, not to mention my day job, and other life responsibilities, that there are simply never enough hours in the day. I will, however, thanks to your input, and your mentioning that there are many excellent episodes, be moving the Night Gallery series to a much higher spot on my list of things to view.

  2. I loved Night Gallery. My favorite story, though I can’t remember the name, involved a painting on a wall at the stairwell, in which the image kept changing. I believe it depicted a dead guy coming out of a grave.

  3. Night Gallery is occasionally on the slow side, but some of the creepy moments just make the hairs on my neck stand straight up. The super short ones are usually fun, too.

  4. Oh man! I LOVE that Aunt Ada ep. I have been re-watching these lately just for fun, This show is brilliant and Serling is my hero. A friend of mine bought me the entire series as a gift. Great post, Michael! Have a good weekend brother! 🙂

  5. Pingback: Fall Harvest 2016 – another Halloween season at Parlor of Horror | parlor of horror

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