There are three stories in this episode, which often feels like too much, but I promise to be open minded as we get close to the end of the second season of Night Gallery.
“Green Fingers” was directed by John Badham from a Rod Serling script, which was based on an R.C. Cook short story. Elsa Lanchester (once the Bride of Frankenstein) is Mrs. Bowen, who is great with a garden but in the way of Michael Saunders (Cameron Mitchell), a real estate mogul just going near manic to get his hands on her home and develop the area around it. Yet when he sends a henchman named Crowley (George Keymas) to rough her up, Saunders learns that even in death, Mrs. Bowen can make anything grow. I really disliked how the ending breaks the fourth wall, as this feels more Laird than Serling.
“The Funeral” is about funeral director Morton Silkline (Joe Flynn) planning the final resting moments of Ludwig Asper (Werner Klemperer, Col. Klink). The budget is sky high, the guests include vampires and Jack Laird as Ygor and it’s basically one long blackout gag. Directed by John Meredyth Lucas and written by Richard Matheson, this left a bad taste in my mouth.
The final segment is “The Tune In Dan’s Cafe” and it has some of my favorite art of the entire series. It’s the only directing work of editor David Rawlins and has a script by Gerald Sanford and Garrie Bateson from a story by Shamus Frazer.
Joe and Kelly Bellman (Pernell Roberts and Susan Oliver) have a marriage that, well, is no longer a marriage. The vacation that was to save it failed and they’re left in this blank bar, the only people there, trapped in the void that is their lack of connection. The jukebox comes to like and only plays one song, the sad favorite tune of long gone couple Roy Gleeson (James Davidson) and his girl Red (Brooke Mills). She ratted him out to the police and took the money and ran. Now, that jukebox — every jukebox they put into Dan’s — keeps playing that same song.
Man, I loved this story and how great it looks, with repetitive images of the jukebox being destroyed. It elevated this entire episode.
It’s nice to be surprised by Night Gallery. Stick around when you watch this episode, as the final story really makes it.