Night Gallery episode 1: The Dead Man/The Housekeeper

Originally airing on December 16, 1970, Night Gallery returned from its pilot a year later with two new stories, starting with Serling walking out of a floating gallery and saying, “Good evening, and welcome to a private showing of three paintings, displayed here for the first time. Each is a collector’s item in its own way—not because of any special artistic quality, but because each captures on a canvas, suspended in time and space, a frozen moment of a nightmare.”

The first story, “The Dead Man,” was written and directed by Douglas Heyes (Kitten With a Whip). Based on the short story by Fritz Leiber, it’s a very Amicus-style story of Dr. Max Redford (Carl Betz) and Dr. Miles Talmadge (Jeff Corey) discussing a medical technique in which different taps can make a person sick or well. One of those patients, John Fearing (Michael Blodgett), has come back numerous times sick from a variety of afflictions despite looking like the picture of health. Meanwhile, Reford’s young wife Velia (Louise Sorel) is falling for this paranormal patient. Of course, the doctor ends up causing the death of his patient and the mental collapse of his wife.

“The Housekeeper” was directed by John Meredyth Lucas and written by Heyes. Cedric Acton (Larry Hagman) is married to Carlotta (Suzy Parker), a rich woman who is cruel to him. He hopes to move the brain of his new housekeeper Miss Wattle (Jeanette Nolan) into the body of his gorgeous young wife. It’s a comedic instead of a frightening story — Night Gallery would suffer from more of this in the second season — but Hagman is good, just coming off his run on I Dream of Jeannie.

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