THE ART OF DARKNESS
by Scott Skelton with Jim Benson
Fifty years ago, NBC-TV premiered the bone-chilling, three-episode pilot that gave birth to the supernatural series Rod Serling’s Night Gallery. Millions of viewers were riveted to the subsequent series (often watching through their fingers) — as the uncanny events unfolded. After three seasons, the show ended — but the memories lingered. These potent impressions led to the publication of Rod Serling’s Night Gallery - The Art of Darkness.
While the virtues of each segment were hotly debated among fans and critics, everyone who tuned in agreed that one of the series’ most memorable elements were the paintings showcased at the start of each episode. Chillingly introduced by writer-host Serling in his inimitable voice, these macabre masterpieces were almost entirely the work of artist Thomas J. Wright, and have remained the stuff of dreams and nightmares for generations. All of the paintings and many of the sculptures — nearly 200 in all — are collected in The Art of Darkness.
Assembling this tome was a twenty-year process, led by an intrepid duo of dedicated Night Gallery historians who dug deep into the history of the series. Co-authors Scott Skelton and Jim Benson wrote Rod Serling’s Night Gallery: An After Hours Tour, which provided the definitive history of the show — but sadly went to print without a single painting. Taylor White, publisher of Creature Features, joined the search to bring the original paintings and sculptures to light.
This trio followed a trail around the world to discover the whereabouts of the paintings, including those by Jaroslav Gebr (who illustrated the pilot and syndication episodes) and the gallery sculptures by Phil Vanderlei. Their fascinating search, chronicled in the book, tells the tale of aficionados, collectors, and historians, who painstakingly tracked down, traded and restored each artful artifact, most presumed lost to the ages. In fact, one of the most famous, "Eyes" (featuring Joan Crawford in Steven Spielberg's first professional assignment) surfaced mere weeks before the book went to print.
Now that the search is complete, Creature Features is proud to present the results: Rod Serling’s Night Gallery - The Art of Darkness, fully licensed by Universal Studios, with an Introduction by Guillermo Del Toro and a Foreword by Anne Serling. The deluxe 11x11” art book, featuring 316 pages and nearly 300 illustrations, includes every painting ever shown in Night Gallery, with in-depth commentary and background from the artists themselves, plus previously unseen concept art, memorabilia, and tribute art by contemporary artists. White remarks, “We intended this as both a tribute to the art, the artists, and the vision of Rod Serling, who continues to inspire us all.”
Rod Serling’s Night Gallery: The Art Of Darkness is available from the Night Gallery Gift Shop for in softcover for $75 and hardcover for $95 plus postage.
“It's absolutely beautiful! Thank you so much.”
— Anne Serling
"It is a magnificent piece of work. Beautifully designed, thoughtfully written - an art book I will revisit again and again and am thrilled to place on my Serling shelf. If you haven't ordered it yet, do so immediately."
— Jon Burlingame, author,Television's Greatest Hits
"You hit it out of the park, Taylor!"
— Guillermo del Toro, producer-director
"...a book I’ve been waiting for, in some fashion or other, for a good 50 years. A slow, savoring page-through confirms it’s everything anyone could wish for."
—Tim Lucas, film critic,Video Watchdog
"Brilliant. Man, it's beautiful."
— Greg Nictotero producer, The Walking Dead
"One of the most impressive efforts of scholarship ever published. Monumental in scope, spectacularly packaged. Flipping through gave me goosebumps. A must-own.
— Lucy Chase Williams, Chase Consulting
“It's a hefty tome and rightly so, packed with history, personal stories and hundreds of pages of sublime, disturbing and well-remembered art works from the series. A wonderful tribute to Tom Wright, Jaroslav Gebr, and Phil Vanderlei's work, with a delightful introduction by Guillermo del Toro. Truly must-reading for horror fiction and art fans, whether you know Serling’s show or not.
— Scott Weitz
"OMG. Fantastic, fabulous, wonderful. I can’t wait to read it.
— Jodi Serling
AN AFTER-HOURS TOUR
by Scott Skelton & Jim Benson
Night Gallery captured the imagination of a generation of viewers with its brilliant mix of classic horror-fantasy tales and stories reflective of the mod, revolutionary mood of the late 1960s.
For the first time, An After-Hours Tour reveals the inside story of the young artists who got their start on the show, many of whom would later achieve fame in the industry. Night Gallery helped launch the careers of Steven Spielberg, Diane Keaton, Mark Hamill, John Badham, Lindsay Wagner, Jeannot Szwarc, Deidre Hall, and many others. It also marked the directorial debuts of Steven Spielberg, John Astin, and Leonard Nimoy.
Four years in the making, Rod Serling’s Night Gallery: An After-Hours Tour features more than 160 interviews with virtually every actor, writer, director, producer, and technician involved in the show. With evocative and often humorous anecdotes, this book details the day-to-day creative struggles among the talented filmmakers who fought for innovation in an industry that understood only conformity. Also explored: intimate firsthand reports of Rod Serling’s battles with NBC, Universal Studios, and producer Jack Laird, and archival proof that Serling was not rewritten as aggressively as past biographies have reported.
Illustrated with rare, never-before-published photographs, Rod Serling’s Night Gallery: An After-Hours Tour examines a studio system that refused to acknowledge the commercial potential of a horror-fantasy TV show. The series was so popular among young people that students at Harvard and Yale created Night Gallery viewing clubs, and fans bootlegged 16-millimeter dupe copies of the show in a pre-videotape era. Night Gallery’s sponsors actually begged NBC not to cancel it—to no avail.
Rod Serling’s Night Gallery: An After-Hours Tour features a lineup of interviews that reads like a mid-’70s Who’s Who of Hollywood: Leonard Nimoy, Lindsay Wagner, John Astin, Leslie Nielsen, Desi Arnaz Jr., Richard Thomas, Sydney Pollack, Roddy McDowall, Zsa Zsa Gabor, William Windom, Pat Boone, Sondra Locke, Stuart Whitman, Phyllis Diller, John Saxon, René Auberjonois, Joanna Pettet, Joseph Campanella, Richard Kiley, James Farentino, Michele Lee, Bradford Dillman, Henry Darrow, and many more.
Literate and engrossing, humorous and ironic, Rod Serling’s Night Gallery: An After-Hours Tour is a must-read for any fan of Rod Serling, of television, or of the industry itself. Not a fluff-filled, “just add water” TV companion, this book deserves space on the bookshelf of anyone who remembers their weekly visits into the eerie darkness of Rod Serling’s Night Gallery. . . .
Rod Serling’s Night Gallery: An After-Hours Tour is available from the Night Gallery Gift Shop for $34.95 plus postage.
“It’s inexhaustable. It’s huge. It’s an extraordinary documentation of a landmark series. The authors have given us history, with mountains of detail, written with style. You have a great read ahead of you!”
—John Astin, from the foreword
“A must-read! Rod Serling was a very close friend, and one of the greatest writers I ever knew. Anyone who is interested in the last chapter of his career must take this after-hours tour.”
—Aaron Spelling, producer
“It is simply grand to have such a comprehensive examination of the remarkable Rod Serling’s Night Gallery. And the recollections of so many artists involved provide an added feast. In short, it’s delightful!”
“This Night Gallery guide presents a fine running commentary on the stories, the writers, the actors, and all that were a part of the Gallery. A most comprehensive and critical study of the program.”
—Carol Serling, Rod's widow
“A new standard for this type of book. Make no mistake: what you hold in your hands is nothing less than the most thorough, most exhaustive, most painstakingly researched book ever written on a television series.”
—Mark Dawidziak, author of The Columbo Phile and The Night Stalker Companion
“Should be required reading for anyone contemplating writing a book on the history of a TV series: They need to know just how high the bar has been raised.”
“Skelton and Benson ‘paint the true picture’ of the Gallery’s history. This volume contains the answers to virtually every question one could conceive regarding Night Gallery. A new standard for television research has been set here. This is essential reading for aficionados of Rod Serling and fantastic television.”