Night Gallery season 2 episode 3: Since Aunt Ada Came to Stay/With Apologies to Mr. Hyde/The Flip-Side of Satan

As I started discussing last week, the second season of Night Gallery is all about the split between Rod Serling and Jack Laird and their two visions for the show. This episode speaks to that and is the first to not have a story written by Serling.

“Since Aunt Ada Came to Stay” is a very 1970s occult story, as Professor Craig Lowell (James Farentino, Dead and Buried) comes to believe that his wife Joanna’s (Michele Lee, Karen from Knots Landing) elderly Aunt Ada (Jeanette Nolan) is not related at all but instead an incredibly powerful and quite evil magical being.

Directed by William Hale, written by Alvin Sapinsley and taken from “The Witch” by A.E. van Vogt, this story is also blessed by a small role for Jonathan Harris as a true occult believer of a teacher.

This totally could be an entire episode — and I wish it was — but it moves quickly and is a blast.

“With Apologies to Mr. Hyde” is another Jeannot Szwarc and Jack Laird quick story, this time with Adam West as the literary villain. Laird is in this as a hunchback as well, just to confirm that when people want to be known for being creators in the wrong way, they show up in their own material.

“The Flip-Side of Satan” has J.J. Wilson (Arte Johnson) as a DJ who soon learns that he is in Hell and on the air for the last time. This story worked so well that Tales from the Darkside also did a version with Jerry Stiller transforming into a monster as he takes calls for all of his eternal punishment in a story written by George A. Romero and directed by Michael Gornick.

This story is written by Jerrold Freedman, whose last directing job was as the Alan Smithee who made The O.J. Simpson Story, as well as much better TV movie work like A Cold Night’s DeathThe Boy Who Drank Too MuchVictims and the theatrical Racquel Welch roller derby movie Kansas City Bomber, and written by Malcolm Marmorstein (who somehow both wrote Mary Mary Bloody Mary and Pete’s Dragon) and Gerald Sanford from a story by Hal Dresner (SssssssZorro the Gay Blade), this is a welcome return to form after that quick Laird story.

If you can skip that moment of Adam West overacting, well, you just may like this episode.

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