Although not mentioned in the original story, other Lovecraft sources give the date of Pickman's disappearance as 1926. The settings in the episode, however, indicate this television version takes place at a date much earlier than this (however, the aluminum paint tubes shown in the scene in Pickman's studio were invented in the early 1890s).
Host: H.P. Lovecraft, known to the aficionados of the occult, demonology, and witchcraft as a master storyteller, is responsible for our first selection in this museum of the frequently morbid. To you connoisseurs of the black arts, you will probably recognize it. It's a painting that tells the story of a young artist who recruits his models from odd places. And the models are very odd indeed. The painter's name, incidentally, is Pickman, and the title is Pickman's Model. And where else would you see a story like this except in the Night Gallery?
Pickman: There is a legend that tells of an eldritch race, more foul and loathsome than the putrid slime that clings to the walls of hell - twisted creatures, half man, half beast, who move with the rustling sound of predatory rats, carrying with them the stench of the charnel house. Wretched mutations who live deep beneath the earth in dark tunnels, surfacing in the dead of night and returning before dawn to practice their unspeakable acts, and breed their filthy spawn, until the day arrives when their swollen numbers will finally emerge and ravish the earth like a noxious plague.
Mavis: Haven't you guessed? Don't you know how I feel about you?
Pickman: Mavis, no. I forbid it.
Mavis: You can't. When my heart is concerned, I am God.
Pickman: Then I grieve for you, Miss Goldsmith, for investing that heart in such a bankrupt enterprise.
This episode was nominated for an Emmy Award: Outstanding Achievement in Makeup (1971-72).
This episode is based on the short story "Pickman's Model" by H. P. Lovecraft. This story was first published in Weird Tales (October 1927).
Pickman: In my mind's eye, Horatio.
Referencing Shakespeare's play, Hamlet, Act 1, Scene 1, specifically, "As the mote is to trouble the mind's eye." The line is spoken by Horatio, to Marcellus and Bernardo, after the Ghost departs.