Friday, December 31, 2010

Night Gallery : The Boy Who Predicted Earthquakes (1971)

Night Gallery was an American anthology series that aired on NBC from 1970 to 1973, featuring stories of horror and the macabre. Rod Serling, who had gained fame from an earlier series, The Twilight Zone, served both as the on-air host of Night Gallery and as a major contributor of scripts, although he did not have the same control of content and tone as he had had on The Twilight Zone.

Serling appeared in an art gallery setting and introduced the macabre tales that made up each episode by unveiling paintings (by artist Tom Wright) that depicted the stories. Night Gallery regularly presented adaptations of classic fantasy tales by authors such as H. P. Lovecraft, as well as original works, many of which were by Serling himself. The series was introduced with a pilot TV movie that aired on November 8, 1969, and featured the directorial debut of Steven Spielberg, as well as one of the last acting performances by Joan Crawford. Unlike the series, in which the paintings merely accompanied an introduction to the upcoming story, the paintings themselves actually appeared in the three segments, serving major or minor plot functions. Night Gallery was part of a rotating anthology series called Four-In-One. This 1970–1971 television series rotated four separate shows, also including McCloud, SFX and The Psychiatrist. Two of these, Night Gallery and McCloud were renewed for the 1971–1972 season with McCloud becoming the most popular and longest running of the four.

The series attracted criticism for its use of comedic blackout sketches between the longer story segments in some episodes, and for its splintered, multiple-story format, which contributed to its uneven tone. Serling wrote many of the teleplays, including “Camera Obscura,” “The Caterpillar” (based on a short story by Oscar Cook), “Class of ’99,” “Cool Air” (based on a short story by H.P. Lovecraft), “The Doll,” “Green Fingers,” “Lindemann’s Catch,” and “The Messiah on Mott Street” (heavily influenced by Bernard Malamud's "Angel Levine"). Non-Serling efforts include “The Dead Man,” “I’ll Never Leave You—Ever,” “Pickman’s Model,” “A Question of Fear,” “Silent Snow, Secret Snow,” and “The Sins of the Fathers.”

By the final season, Serling, stung by criticism and ignored by the show’s executives, all but disowned the series.

In this episode
A boy's gift for prophesy pressures him when he forecasts disaster. / A babysitter is alarmed at her clients' behavior. / Peter Lacland asks his doctor to amputate a problematic hand. / A comic twist on "Phantom of the Opera."

I loved this episode a Clint Howard classic

55 MIN

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