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Night Gallery

Season 1 Episode 17

They're Tearing Down Tim Riley's Bar

Aired Unknown Jan 20, 1971 on NBC
out of 10
User Rating
66 votes

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Episode Summary

A has-been salesman is haunted by phantoms from a happier past.

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  • A disappointment

    Unfortunately a rather disappointing rewatch. Overwritten (especially in the part of the secretary) and with a hopelessly corny and implausible ending tacked on. It plays like a cross between that Twilight Zone with Brian Aherne and Death of a Salesman, but by this point Serling was often repeating himself and veering dangerously close to self-parody. Windom is very good throughout at least.
  • Night Gallery Season 1, Episode 17: "They're Tearing Down Tim Riley's Bar"

    Not bad, but certainly not Emmy quality. I would hope wonderful character actor William Windom was nominated for his performance, which far outshines Serling's desperate attempt to equal landmark TZ episodes such as "A Stop at The cast is great (as per usual for this series; they milk the generally mediocre scripts for all they're worth) - Diane Baker plays her typical overly compassionate self as Randy's loyal secretary. But I found the last 5 minutes silly and decidedly cloying. "Antoine's" has heretofore not been established as the "Pritkin Plastics" hangout, yet there it is across the street, just waiting for Randy and the last-minute gesture to make him feel better--am I mistaken, or is Convy's bratty upwardly-mobile competitor conspicuously missing from the "celebration"??? Better than many of the other episodes I've seen, but a cheap stab at sentimentality; Serling and others did this much more smoothly and cleverly in the late 50s and early-to-mid-60s.moreless
  • Wonderful Writing and Acting

    By Raymond C. McArdle- The sum of one man's life, it seems, lies restless and unfulfilled, and can be found beneath the floorboards, behind the walls, and just beyond the whitewashed window panes of Tim Riley's Bar. "They're Tearing Down Tim Riley's Bar," is a departure from most "Night Gallery" episodes, as Serling doesn't bring us to our knees with the fear of specters, supernatural happenings, or shadows in the night; he uses something far more sinister and ominous: the prospect of our own mortality and the unsettling possibility of facing it alone. Through Lane, Serling illuminates the stark sadness in a man's life when he discovers that his ship has left port without him, taking on board his loves, desires, second chances, and with them, the possibility of reconciliation. In this particular illustration, Randy Lane's ship appears in the form of a shuttered tavern, whose brick, wood, and mortar will soon part company under the force of a quite impersonal wrecking ball, bidding a solemn farewell to both sentimentality and Tim Riley's Bar.moreless
  • Randy Lanes world is falling down around him. In peril of losing a job to an up and coming snake, he is low. He learns that they are tearing down Tom Rileys bar which pushes him over the edge. He gets lost in the past and would rather not come back.moreless

    Great episode. I still get tears in my eyes and a lump in my throat when I watch this one even after all these years. William Windom does an excellent acting job as Randy Lane. The character is so natural and honest that he pulls you in. You can't help but feel what Randy Lane is feeling. I must say this is one of my top favorites in Night Gallery even though it doesn't lean heavily on the spooky stuff which is what drew me to Night Gallery in the first place as a kid. The one thing that did bug me slightly about this episode is that in the end everything worked out a little too wonderfully. Everyone saw the error of their ways and all was well again. I think it may have been a little better if he had just been willing to see the possibility of a new beginning with the secretary who obviously loved him so. Either way though, I still dig this one.moreless
  • Not easy leaving the past behind...

    They're Tearing Down Tim Riley's Bar is a standout episode on Night Gallery in which most of the stories are of a supernatural nature.

    A burnt-out businessman (William Windom), already upset over his position being usurped by a young overachiever, revisits his favorite hangout, a local bar in which he is reminiscing the happier times in his life, while oblivious to the fact that the old bar is being demolished.

    This is the most poignant episode of the entire series that reminds us that in life there is only 1 direction, forward & as Emerson once said,"Friendship should be surrounded by ceremonies and respects and not crushed into corners".moreless
Henry Beckman

Henry Beckman

Officer McDermont

Guest Star

William Windom

William Windom

Randy Lane

Guest Star

Diane Baker

Diane Baker

Lynn Alcott

Guest Star

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (0)

  • QUOTES (2)

    • Host: Welcome ladies and gentleman to an exhibit of the eerie and the oddball. Our first offering this evening, faces, paint, pigment and desperation. The quiet desperation of men over forty who keep hearing footsteps behind them and are torn between fear and the compulsion to look over their shoulders. The painting is called They're Tearing Down Tim Riley's Bar.

    • Randy Lane: I rate something more than I've got! Where does it say that every morning of a man's life he's got to Indian wrestle with every hot young contender off the sidewalk who has an itch to go up one rung? McDermont, I've put in my time, do you understand that? I've paid my dues! I shouldn't be hustled to death in the daytime and then die of loneliness every night. That's not the dream! That's not what it's about!

  • NOTES (2)