Night Gallery (1969–1973)
12 user 1 critic

Death in the Family/The Merciful/Class of '99/Witches' Feast 

Fleeing thief Doran hides in the funeral home of odd Mr Soames. / A wife uses bricks and mortar to help her ill husband. / A college professor administers a chilling oral exam with a dystopian twist. / Witches prepare a vile dish.


Rod Serling (teleplay), Miriam Allen DeFord (story) | 4 more credits »


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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
E.G. Marshall ... Jared Soames (segment "Death in the Family")
Desi Arnaz Jr. ... Doran (segment "Death in the Family")
Imogene Coca ... Wife (segment "The Merciful")
King Donovan ... Husband (segment "The Merciful")
Vincent Price ... Professor (segment "Class of '99")
Brandon De Wilde ... Johnson (segment "Class of '99") (as Brandon de Wilde)
Noam Pitlik Noam Pitlik ... Driver (segment "Death in the Family")
James Sikking ... State Trooper (segment "Death in the Family") (as James B. Sikking)
John William Evans John William Evans ... 2nd Trooper (segment "Death in the Family")
William Elliott ... 3rd Trooper (segment "Death in the Family") (as Bill Elliott)
Bud Walls Bud Walls ... Grave Digger (segment "Death in the Family")
Randolph Mantooth ... Elkins (segment "Class of '99")
Frank Hotchkiss Frank Hotchkiss ... Clinton (segment "Class of '99")
Hilly Hicks ... Barnes (segment "Class of '99")
Suzanne Cohane Suzanne Cohane ... Joanne Fields (segment "Class of '99")


An injured criminal takes refuge in a funeral home, where he is greeted by a kind undertaker with a strange secret. An old woman uses bricks and mortar to end her husband's suffering. A graduating class of the future takes their final exam that reveals more than just the knowledge of the students. An employment agency official finds herself having a hard time meeting the needs of an extremely picky customer.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis





Release Date:

22 September 1971 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Universal Television See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:



Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Originally, "Witches' Feast" was the final segment, which aired September 22, 1971. In a repeat broadcast, the segment was replaced by Night Gallery: Satisfaction Guaranteed (1972), which aired March 22, 1972. In addition, the Season 2 DVD release of "Night Gallery" has the repeat broadcast of the episode, not the original. See more »


In the final scene of "Death In the Family" at the dinner table, the supposedly "dead" wife moves one of her fingers. See more »

Alternate Versions

When NBC reran this episode the following spring, the segment "Witches' Feast" was replaced with the previously unaired _"Night Gallery" (1970) {Satisfaction Guaranteed (#2.23)}_. See more »

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User Reviews

Another Uneven Collection
6 June 2014 | by HitchcocSee all my reviews

E. G. Marshall stars in "Death in the Family." No, not the James Agee classic but the story of a funeral director who doesn't want to let his clients go. He invites them to a party. He has an entire family set up at a table, to celebrate a birthday. Apparently, empty caskets are being put in the ground (they are the poor and dissolute) and he keeps the bodies. There is no mention of taxidermy, but they seem quite well preserved. Along comes Desi Arnaz, Jr., a murderer who has been shot and is being pursued by the police. He realizes his wound may be fatal. Marshall invites him in and takes care of him. Anyway, we can see it coming. This is quite a unique episode.

"The Merciful" is a new version of Poe's "A Cask of Amontillado." Enough said about that.

"The Class of '99" features a final oral exam for a group of attractive graduate students. They are asked extremely hard questions and answer them flawlessly. Well, almost. One is only able to give three of four answers and is maligned for it. The teacher is Vincent Price and he holds forth with an ugly disdain and absolute power over them. Part of their exam is to deal with issues of bigotry and hate and act "appropriately" when confronting these things. It gets really ugly at times. The conclusion explains what is at issue here. For me, this was the best of the three.

Finally, "Satisfaction Guaranteed" (which doesn't appear at the top of this page but is definitely in this collection) is about an overweight man, played by Victor Buono, who is at a secretarial agency, trying to choose an employee. The company guarantees satisfaction. so? Anyway, it probably ranks as one of the silliest episodes. But watching Buono was always a great treat.

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