Host: Good evening. We're delighted that all of you could make it this evening because we have something special on tap. In the area of the occult, it's customary to preoccupy ourselves with witches, and too infrequently we dabble on the male side of that time-honored profession, the sorcerer. On display here is a painting showing the natural habitat of this species of black art practitioner. Dark alley, murky light, a few sundry skulls, and the gentleman himself on the right of the picture with the upraised hand and the funny little goat horns. Yes indeed, this is a sorcerer, and for those of you who disbelieve his existence, we invite you to check this out for a little while. Our painting is called The Return of the Sorcerer, and where better place for him to return than right here... in the Night Gallery
Noel: Uh, no, I--I can't kiss you with that frog.
Fern: But it's beauty. I like beauty. Kiss the toad.
Noel: Some other time, maybe.
The third season main title design changes, now featuring revised credits of gallery paintings of previous and future episodes moving toward the camera. Gil Mille's theme music is replaced with a more strident musical number, and the "Tonight's Guest Stars" appear within the frame of a painting on a wall.
This episode is based on the short story "The Return of the Sorcerer" by Clark Ashton Smith. This story was first published in Strange Tales of Mystery and Terror (September, 1931).
Necronomicon: This is the title of the book Noel Evans (Bill Bixby) was hired to translate. It was the creation of H.P. Lovecraft and formed one of the centerpieces of his Cthulhu Mythos stories. "Written" by the "mad Arab" Abdul Alhazred, it is described as a "terrible and forbidden" volume.
A number of Lovecraft's colleagues, proteges and successors, with his approval, borrowed from and expanded upon elements of his works, including the Necronomicon. Among these are August Derleth (manager of Lovecraft's literary estate), Robert Bloch (author of Psycho and Clark Ashton Smith, the author of the story from which this episode was adapted.
The book also featured prominently in director Sam Raimi's Evil Dead series of films.