Night Gallery episode 5: Pamela’s Voice/Lone Survivor/The Doll

Originally appearing on January 13, 1971, the fifth episode of Night Gallery has at least two solid tales to deliver.

“Pamela’s Voice” pits Jonathan (John Astin) against his wife Pamela (Phyllis Diller), ending with him killing her because he’s sick of hearing her voice. Yet even death can’t stop her from haranguing him in this story directed by Richard Benedict, who started as an actor and became a director, and written by Rod Serling. While most comedy episodes of this show don’t work for me, there’s a lot of talent here.

“Lone Survivor” is directed by Gene Levitt, the creator of Fantasy Island, and written by Serling. Th crew of the Lusitania find a man in a dress, lost at sea, claiming that he dressed as a woman to escape the sinking of the Titanic years ago. This would be impossible except, well, this show allows the fantastic to become true. That ghost of a man is played by John Colicos in a fine role.

“The Doll” starts with Serling intoning, “This little collector’s item here dates back a few hundred years to the British-Indian Colonial period, proving only that sometimes the least likely objects can be filled with the most likely horror. Our painting is called “The Doll,” and this one you’d best not play with.”

This episode was directed by Rudi Dorn and written by Serling. Based on “The Doll and One Other” by Algernon Blackwood, this is all about a doll given to Col. Hymber Masters’ (John Williams) niece (Jewel Branch) as he returns from India. I have no idea who would be good with such a frightening doll in their home, but yet she loves it, even when it causes chaos. Blame Pandit Chola (Henry Silva), who has sent it to get revenge for the death of his brother.

With this episode, Night Gallery affirms the promise that it had with the pilot. Guillermo del Toro has claimed that so many of his shots come directly from “The Doll” and that it remains an influence on him even today.

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