When the horror anthology television series Night Gallery began its four-season run in 1969, few could have anticipated that the show would have the staying power of its creator’s earlier smash TV show, The Twilight Zone. However, Rod Serling—writer, creator and on-air host of both aforementioned shows—started a revolution with Night Gallery that, in horror circles, resonates just as strongly as its familiar predecessor.
At the Creature Features store in Burbank, Calif. on March 16, stalwarts of horror movie make-up came to pay homage to Serling, the series and artist Tom Wright, whose paintings were on display in the location’s intimate gallery.
Veteran make-up artist Steve Buscaino had long been a fan of the show and started collecting movie memorabilia from sci-fi and horror shows in the mid-1980s. “I knew collectors who had this stuff,” he said of the artistic pieces created by Wright and others for the exhibit. “No one really cared—studios threw them away or gave it away. I was preserving stuff that I wanted to see in a museum.”
Longtime effects master Norman Cabrera contributed a six-inch-tall piece to the gallery entitled “The Devil is Not Mocked.”
“It was hugely inspirational, the show itself,” Cabrera noted of Night Gallery. “The art at the beginning was just mind-blowing. I did a tribute of the show as a sculpture.”
Artists Casey Wong and Kevin Haney also created a piece for the Creature Features show, running through March 31. “About a month ago,” said Haney, “Taylor [White, founder and owner of Creature Features] said he was going to do a Night Gallery show and asked if I wanted to do a figure for it, and I said there’s only one person I’d do a figure with, and that’s Casey Wong because of his reputation for doing really great figures.”
Wong and Haney finally decided upon creating a life-size figure of Serling himself. “We’ve been working on it a month-and-a-half,” said Wong. “Collectively the sculpture was three weeks, which is fast considering each person has their own opinion of how they see that person.”
Other notable artists made the pilgrimage to Creature Features for the grand opening. “I was a huge fan of Rod Serling from Twilight Zone,” said creature expert Steve Wang, “so I came here because it’s something I’m really passionate about.”
Lennie MacDonald, who has worked for decades in make-up on films of all shapes and sizes, was drawn in by Serling. “I’m a big Rod Serling fan, and I wouldn’t miss it,” he said. “How can you miss a thing like this? It’s magical.”
Wright, the artist responsible for most of the Night Gallery artwork on display, joined the show after the fact. “It was a fluke they found me,” he noted, explaining that he has created over 100 paintings, only a fraction of which were on display. “Each has its own story. I started them before [Night Gallery] was on the air, and as they were airing, I did them.”
Lastly, proprietor White revealed that presenting a Night Gallery show in his domain was a dream come true, the culmination of 15 years of work. “To get these paintings under one roof was the greatest treasure hunt of my life,” he said. “We’re going to turn it into a book for Halloween: The Night Gallery Paintings with Tom Wright. The whole show is one of the happiest accidents of my life.”