Host: We generally cry at funerals out of a sense of loss. A poor, unfortunate loved one who will no longer walk the earth. He or she will simply occupy six feet of it, never to be seen or heard from again. Or at least we make an assumption, that's natural law, and we subscribe to it. But this painting here, and we admit this upfront, breaks that law. it's called A Death in the Family. It offers up a new view of death, and it introduces you to quite a family, who live here in the Night Gallery.
Soames: This is my family. My wife, my two children, my mother, brother, and this is my father. Just arrived tonight. We were having a welcome-home party for him. Don't be frightened. No one will hurt you. Down here is only love and peace.
Doran: But they're dead.
Soames: Dead? Why? Because they don't struggle like the living? Because they don't compete, they don't hate, because they know nothing of greed, intolerance, prejudice? Out there is the graveyard, up there the slaughterhouse where they kill and bury dreams. A whole world full of lonely pallbearers. Down here in this room, my son, is a family.
The as-aired on-screen title is "Death in the Family," but Serling describes the related painting as "A Death in the Family," and most sources go by the latter.
This episode is based on the short story "A Death in the Family" by Miriam Allen DeFord. This story was first published in Dude (November 1961).