The pilot movie is hosted by Serling an consists of three tales. The first is entitled "The Cemetery" an stars Roddy McDowell as a greedy man who sees his recently deceased relative coming out of the grave in a painting. Ossie Davis is chilling as the Butler.
The second story is entitled "Eyes" in which a rich but heartless woman swindles a man out of his eyes so she can have 12 hours of sight. Joan Crawford is excellent as Claudia Menlo. After she gets her surgery and can see there is a blackout in New York and she gets her comeuppance. Barry Sullivan and Tom Bosley also star.
The third and final painting is entitled "Escape Route" and stars Richard Kiley as a German war criminal living in South America and hiding from authorities. He enters an art gallery and sees himself in a beautiful painting of a man fishing and enjoying the peace. At the end of his rope he frantically wishes he could be in that painting...but little does he know that the painting has been removed an replaced with one of a man crucified during the Holocaust.
These are all great stories and introduced the TV world once again to the talents of Serling. it launched a very short season one which consisted of 6 episodes which will be discussed below.
THE DEAD MAN/THE HOUSEKEEPER 12/16/70...THE DEAD MAN was written by Fritz Leiber and stars Carl Betz as a doctor who has a subject that can actually mimic any medical condition, even death. Michael Blogett is the man who can make his body do anything and Louise Sorel is the woman that loves him. During a scientific experiment Blogett's character does not come back from death. It is soon discovered why, and the terrifying results of finally getting it right drives Sorel insane. A great episode. THE HOUSEKEEPER stars Larry Hagman as a man who wants, thru black magic, to rid himself of his sexy, but unloving wife. The ending is a great payoff. Suzy Parker co-stars.
ROOM WITH A VIEW/LITTLE BLACK BAG/NATURE OF THE ENEMY 12/23/1970....ROOM WITH A VIEW stars Joseph Wiseman as an invalid who uses his young nurse in an evil plan to kill his wife and her lover. A young Diane Keaton is the nurse and the very, very sexy Angel Tompkin is the unfaithful wife. LITTLE BLACK BAG stars Burgess Meredith as a washed up doctor who discovers a futuristic medical bag in a trash can in an ally. He finds he can cure any disease or illness but his "friend" played by Chill Wills has other ideas. NATURE OF THE ENEMY is a short about astronauts landing on the moon to rescue the first crew that was sent there. they find they are the hunted in a story wth a most bizarre ending.
THE HOUSE/CERTAIN SHADOWS ON THE WALL 12/30/1970.....the incredibly sexy Joanna Pettet makes her first Night Gallery appearance in this story about a woman who dreams of a certain house that she finally sees in real life. She buys the house and finds it to be haunted...and the ghost is none other than....well watch and see. CERTAIN SHADOWS ON THE WALL stars Agnes Moorehead as an elderly woman who dies from being slowly poisoned by her greedy brother (Louis Haywood). When she dies her shadow stays on the wall pointing an accusing finger.
MAKE ME LAUGH/CLEAN KILLS AND OTHER TROPHIES 1/6/71.....MAKE ME LAUGH stars Godfrey Cambridge as a comic who asks a miracle worker for help in making people laugh with very unexpected results. CLEAN KILLS AND OTHER TROPHIES stars Raymond Massey as a big game hunter who tries to get his passive son to kill. The ending to this is something straight out of EC comics!!
PAMELA'S VOICE/LONE SURVIVOR/THE DOLL 1/13/71....PAMELA'S VOICE stars John Astin as a man who kills his harpie of a wife an then finds himself arguing with her at her funeral...but then he learns it's his funeral and he must listen to her bitching all thru eternity. LONE SURVIVOR is a tale of a man who is actually a flying dutchman and living disasters at sea for eternity. This area was also explored on Serling's "Twilight Zone" show entitled "Judgement Day". Torin Thatcher and John Colicos star. THE DOLL stars John Williams as a returning Colonel in the British Army in Victorian Era England who finds his niece in possession of a very evil doll. This episode stands out in a lot of fans minds as one of the best ever presented on the show. Once seen, not easily forgotten.
THEY'RE TEARING DOWN TIM RILEY'S BAR/THE LAST LAUREL 1/20/71......THEY'RE TEARING DOWN TIM RILEY'S BAR stars William Windom as a very lonely executive who desperately clings to a happier past. This story was nominated for an Emmy award. This is one of several episodes I can easily relate to. It's a sign of great story telling when you can reach people like this one does. THE LAST LAUREL stars Jack Cassidy as a man who uses astral projection to try and kill his wife's lover. The ending is a kicker. Martine Beswick stars as Cassidy's wife.
The first season, although short, was a great way to begin a three season run.