For the Night Gallery Season Three DVD release, Universal Home Entertainment hired TV Time Machine Productions and Jim Benson and Scott Skelton (who both served as historical consultants on the Night Gallery Season Two DVD) to restore four rarely-seen segments (“Die Now, Pay Later,” “Room For One Less,” “Witches’ Feast,” “Little Girl Lost”) of Rod Serling’s classic horror series.
Jim Benson, the owner of TV Time Machine Productions, had previously worked with Universal Studios Digital Services and colorist Skip Martin on the restoration of selected episodes of I’m Dickens…He’s Fenster for that series’ DVD release.
Scott Skelton and Jim Benson are also co-authors of Rod Serling’s Night Gallery: An After Hours Tour.
TV Time Machine Productions also produced audio commentaries for Night Gallery Season Three, featuring commentary by the authors for the “lost episodes” and the premiere episode of Night Gallery’s third season, “The Return of the Sorcerer.”
Night Gallery aired on NBC from 1970 to 1973. When Night Gallery was syndicated in 1973, several of the individual segments comprising the show’s original hour-long versions were either shortened or lengthened to create new half-hour episodes.
Most of Rod Serling’s Night Gallery has been restored and is available on Universal’s volume one and two DVD releases. However, these four segments are the few that required restoration to bring them back to their original state.
Once Universal’s Julie Harter green-lighted this unique project, the job of finding missing and original elements began. Because of the fragmented nature of the series, the process was similar to putting hundreds of jumbled puzzle pieces back together to create a coherent and complete picture. After two months of mining the vast archives of Universal Studios, most of the missing elements were found.
“Die Now, Pay Later,” an episode never aired on NBC, was lengthened for syndication in 1973 and has never been seen in its original form. This segment was painstakingly reconstructed from original 35 mm elements, and the majority of the episode was brought back to its original state.
“Room for One Less,” a one-minute vignette that never aired on NBC, was restored using original elements, including original optical titles. Rare, behind-the-scenes footage of Rod Serling shooting his introduction for this segment is included as an “easter egg” on the DVD set.
“Witches’ Feast” was beautifully remastered from original 35mm elements. This segment ran only once on NBC in a repeat airing, and has been rarely seen since.
“Little Girl Lost” originally had six minutes of footage excised before the segment aired on NBC in 1972. Working with colorist Skip Martin, existing 35 and 16mm elements were meticulously matched, reinstating the missing six minutes.
Since “Die Now, Pay Later” was never fully completed in 1971, a new slate of music cues (taken from existing episodes) were included in the soundtrack. “Room for One Less” also received a revised music track.
After the restoration process, the four segments were edited together and using the familiar main title, a “new” hour-long Night Gallery episode was created. New end title credits were also designed, and the classic NBC network bumper not seen in decades (featuring a series of horrific faces), was reinstated.
Night Gallery had a very unique history and this unique DVD project reflects that fact. Over the years, fans have been vocal about having the entire collection of Night Gallery tales be made available on DVD. Through the good offices of Universal Studios, this wish has been fulfilled.