Friday, March 12, 2021

NIGHT GALLERY: The Art of Darkness

When the name Rod Serling is referenced, most people think of The Twilight Zone. But for fans of his work, Serling's name also brings up such classics as Playhouse 90, The Loner and Night Gallery -- the latter of which is now the subject of a lavish full-color, glossy coffee table book. Authors Scott Skelton and Jim Benson have put together a fascinating treasure of high-resolution images of all the paintings on the program that ran three seasons. Benson wrote a great book on the history of Night Gallery, which also comes recommended, so the information contained in this book is accurate and highly-detailed. 

Besides a fascinating and well-written history of the TV series, with never-before-seen behind-the-scenes photographs, there are concept photos for the paintings, a history behind each of the paintings, information about the sculptures that also appeared on the program, and a fascinating chapter about the fate of many of those paintings. 

All of the paintings were created by the same one artist (which is remarkable as he attempted different styles for each of the paintings) and after Night Gallery  When Universal Studios decided to take a warehouse and create the E.T. ride, the props were auctioned off, sold, and some were even victims of theft. Owners of the paintings were tracked down to acquire high resolution photographs for this book -- the studio even allowed a 35mm screen grab for some of the paintings which were considered a Holy Grail for the authors.

Scott told me personally that he was close to finishing the project when a few things came to surface that forced him to delay the book a few additional months to ensure additional material that was worthy of inclusion. His slide show seminar at Serlingfest a few years ago was mouth-watering and fascinating. Hollywood director Guillermo del Toro even provided an introduction to the book.

If you are a fan of Rod Serling's Night Gallery, I recommend both books.