From Rod Serling's Night Gallery, An After Hours Tour
by Scott Skelton and Jim Benson


phantom farmhouse..."'Phantom Farmhouse' was a very difficult show," recalls [director] Szwarc. "We moved around a lot and the mood was difficult to create. When you went outside with Night Gallery, then those schedules really got difficult because you had no control over the weather or the light, and you can't create atmosphere with horrible light. You've got to have good photography, interesting angles; you can't just do flat stuff, it doesn't work."

Despite the beauty of this segment's lensing, the reliance on atmosphere-destroying day-for-night shooting is difficult to support. An angry Serling later commented about this technique: "It's infrequent that you can shoot night-for-night. If you have a two-minute sequence in an entire script that has to be done at night, it's rare that they'll take a company out for five hours just to shoot a two-minute sequence. On Twilight Zone, we did, and had to cheat it a lot to do it. But if you'll notice on Night Gallery, very frequently it's supposed to be night, and goddamnit, there's sun rays coming out on one side of the screen. And it never looks proper when they shoot day-for-night."

Along with the lighting difficulties, Szwarc was disappointed in the lack of energy displayed by his canine supporting players. "We had problems with the dogs. I had those three huge dogs, but they were like sheep! They wanted to lick everybody, so they wouldn't scare anyone." Luckily, the two-legged actors outperform their four-legged colleagues. David McCallum, best remembered for his three-and-a-half year stint as Ilya Kuryakin in The Man From UNCLE, scores as the rational, emotionally controlled psychiatrist shaken by his sudden fixation. Linda Marsh, who was Ophelia to Richard Burton's Hamlet on the New York stage, gives Mildred an appropriate Old-World quality, as if transported from the past, and her calm nobility manages to overcome the effects of the blond Charo mane she's forced to wear.....