By Raymond C. McArdle -The television series was preceded by two very successful made-for-television movies, and the first season of the TV series reflected the fine writing, creative plots, and outstanding acting (and character acting), which is unmistakable in these movies. However, and regrettably, even Darren McGavin and Simon Oakland couldn't salvage many of the episodes from the last season. Still, most of the first season episodes ( and the mentioned pilot movies) have held most of their fright quotient through the years.
There's a Vampire loose in Vegas. No one believes or wants to believe it's true. Investigative reporter and local smart alic Carl Kolchak knows it's true. The Police can't stop him, people are dying, no one's safe. How do you kill what's already dead?
An absolute TV Cult Gem! This movie literally scared the dickens out of me as a child, as well as literally millions of others who first viewed it back in the early 70's. Besides from setting Nielsen records for the most watched television show in history at that time, it created a new look to tv horror entertainment. This was no lame TV show, with minimal frights. This movie down right gave you the chills. It kind of placed the question in your head, did this really happen? Could it happen where I live? Am I truly safe with all the windows and doors locked? Darren McGavins voice over narration was another innovative touch and it gave the story line an even creepier feel to it. He was giving us a play by play to the terrible events that were ocurring. Ergo: There's a Vampire on the loose! The police can't even stop him! Would someone please listen to Kolchak! I was creeped out to say the least, hugging onto the covers and my dog. My only relief was when a commercial came on to breakup the downright fear I felt in my gut. As well as that touch of comedy with exchanges between McGavin and his loud mouth editor and chief Antonio Vinchenzo played by Simon Oakland. Their exchanges were both hilarious and exhilerating. Because of its well thought storyline this is a must watch, top notch thriller that still holds up solidly even by todays standards. And any child boomer of the 70's has to place this on their top notch movies to watch if they haven't already. And remember to ask yourself, did this happen, can this happen, and what if it does happen.
Kolchak:The Night Stalker was chessy ontake on the paranormal back in the 70's.I remember it on CBS and not having a long shelf life.
Kolchak:The Night Stalker gave Chris Carter producer of The X-Files the inspiration for the show.Thank you Kolchak
Cheesy but fun for that time in the 70's,Chris Carter even gave homage to the actor that played Kolchak in season seven of The X-Files.Look for a revamp Kolchak:The Night Stalker to reappear on ABC from Frank Spotnitz who spent several season's writing on The X-Files with Chris Carter.Stay Tuned!
Kolchak: The Night Stalker gets a bad rap sometimes for its camp elements. This tends to make people overlook the show's strengths. Darren McGavin (Kolchak) and Simon Oakland (his boss, Vincenzo), the two leads, played well against each other. Vincenzo's strident skepticism served as an excellent sounding board against which Kolchak was forced to expound his various theories about the supernatural. The writing was good; drawing on legends to build decent stories, and incorporating interesting side characters and frequently witty dialog. Special effects, well, this was the seventies, and the show was made on a low budget. Let's just say that many other shows did a better job and leave it there. The show isn't Emmy quality, but it IS a good, enjoyable watch for horror fans.
Kolchak,(Darrin McGavin) is a reporter for a Chicago newspaper who always finds himself investigating supernatural occurences. His problem is that nobody including his editor will believe him about what he encounters. The police always try to cover up what he has discovered and he always loses any evidence that he has obtained. In the end Kolchak usually solves the problem by putting the monster of the week to its demise. Kolchaks stories and plots were much better the first season than the second and some of the monsters were downright silly looking but if you take the series for what it is I think it is a great show that led the way for other similiar shows such as X-Files.
Kolchak: The Night Stalker only lasted one season on ABC but it's still remembered by many today especially fans of the X-Files. That show's creator, Chris Carter, has stated that Kolchak was the inspiration for his show. I didn't know whether to laugh or to cry upon hearing that bit of news. Despite its campiness an average episode of Kolchak was usually as good or better than a classic episode of Carter's show. Darren McGavin as Kolchak and Simon Oakland as his harried editor, Tony Vincenzo, were both hoots. I'll take them any day over the likes of Scully and Mulder. Sadly, the show's monster of the week format didn't go over well with the viewers of the early 70's. At least not well enough to bring it back for a second season. But the show is well-remembered by many and it's done surprisingly well on the rerun circuit. Episodes aired on CBS late night in the late 70's and it still turns up frequently on the Sci-Fi Channel.
Kolchak: The Night Stalker is some of the best paranormal-based television. Everytime Sci-Fi runs a marathon for a few hours, I am glued to the set. The dated feel of the clothing and film only adds to it. I love it all. From an Indian that changes into a bird, to a werewolf-like creature that can change into those you trust -- it's all great.
I believe this show is a very interesting and gripping show. I feel a connection to the characters.It is very well written and acted out very well. I also feel it leads others to examine other theories about life we take for granted.
I believe this show is a very interesting and gripping show. I feel a connection to the characters.It is very well written and acted out very well. I also feel it leads others to examine other theories about life we take for granted. I feel this show deserves an A+.
This classic thriller follows the adventures of Carl Kolchak, a dedicated reporter for the Independent News Service in Chicago. In every episode, a story of the supernatural falls into his lap. He then uses his wits and sources to seek out the people or t
"Kolchak" was ahead of its time when it premiered in 1974. Kolchak always wore the same shabby suit of clothes and the same hat, but his reporting skills suited him to his job. In his office, Kolchak dealt with the INS staff. His editor, Tony Vincenzo, was always butting heads with Carl because of his odd stories. Ron Updyke, another reporter, always stuck to normal stories and was slightly out of place with his coworkers. Then there was Emily Cowles, the sweet elderly lady who handled the word puzzles and the "Miss Emily" advice column. Miss Emily is Carl's favorite coworker who was always ready to help Carl out with his story endeavors. Carl Kolchak was never discouraged by anyone who didn't believe him. No matter who tried to stop him, the police or the government, Kolchak stayed his course to seek out the phenomenon, prove its existence, and stop it from hurting others.
Kolchak was not given its due and far too short in its duration. With Simon Oakland and Darren McGavin in the leads we were given two solid professionals, when so often lesser talents seemed to populate such shows. McGavin's earnest reporter butting up against an uncaring and unbelieveing world was one of the great characters of the past 30 years. And with his passing I miss not only the show but also the man. Lets just hope the Sci-Fi Channel will keep finding room in its schedule and hopefully show the program again in prime time.
For anyone who may care I have written a tribute of sorts to the recently deceased Don Knotts and Darren McGavin om my blog.
The Night Stalker; In the same league as the Outer Limits and the Twilight Zone took suspence to a level only enjoyed by our grandparents generation when they listened to the likes of the "Whistler" on the old time radio.
The Night Stalker was the show which would bring our family to-gether in front of the TV with the lights out,nervously chewing on shoestring licorish, and eating many bowls of icecream.
It was cliffhanger heaven during the mad line ups for the bathroom when the commercials came on.
Until the "X Files" there wasn't a show on television which could match it.
Darrin McGavin was the only Night Stalker,there will never be another like him.
He was a great actor and he will be sorely missed.
The original Night Stalker (not the one in the 2000s) was ahead of its time in the fact that the genre of \"horror\" was just starting to get its hold on the American public and the show delved into the horror and occult genres before the FRIDAY the 13th and HALLOWEEN movies came out! The combination of scare and comedy worked! They don\'t make them like this anymore!!
That screaming you hear is actually Simon Oakland as news editor Tony Vinchenzo in one of the top ten horror shows ever born out of television. As a sort of friendly and more likeable Lou Grant, Oakland and Darren McGavin were one part comedy team and one part friendly rivals in a series that joins the Twilight Zone, both the Dark Shadows, Friday The 13th, Scariest Places on Earth, Freaky Links and maybe the X Files as the best and most watched horror shows out there. The show was really at its best with vampires, witches (Lara Parker of Dark Shadows no less), rippers, headless motorcyclists, werewolves, succubi and to a lesser extent Olympians (horribly played by the painful to watch Cathy Lee Crosby, I still find it hard to believe she was cast as Helen of Troy), but still found time to hunt down UFOs. If only Kolchak had stuck to stories of the paranormal; actor Darren McGavin wanted a series that explored cover-ups rather than a horror series. The real drawback of the show was how it quickly narrowed the scope of the series, but unlike the horror series of today, Kolchak only made you lose a little sleep while today's typical horror makes you lose your lunch.
My first exposure to "Kolchak: The Night Stalker" came when I heard Chris Carter (creator of "The X-Files") describe the show as one of his biggest influences. I was able to catch a few episodes on the Sci-Fi Channel when it was being re-run, and picked up the release of the two TV movies. I enjoyed those enough to spring for the complete series that came out on DVD, and I continued to be enjoyed.
Though it had a short run, the series boasted a variety of stories and threats for Kolchak to encounter. I admired the writers for not doing several vampire episodes, or werewolf episodes, and actually digging into urban legends and lore from other cultures to come up with menaces. Some worked better than others, to be sure, and some of these creatures of the night are the epitome of cheese today, but the show had some aces up its sleeve that more than compensate for the less-than-stellar special effects.
The sitcom hijinks in the newsroom, where Kolchak has the foils of Vincenzo, Uptight, Miss Emily and Monique are a great balance to the horror elements of the show, and, most important of all, they are actually funny! Darren McGavin is amazing as Kolchak, but if he did not have a strong supporting cast to fall back on, the show would not be so great. Even an episode where the monster is lacking ("Mr. RING," "Legacy of Terror"), the verbal bouts between McGavin and Simon Oakland are always terrific.
It's too bad the show lasted only one season...maybe some "fake" monsters or more earthbound foes could have been introduced to mix up the stories, but then I guess it would not be the same show. It did stretch credibility for Kolchak to keep running into monsters in Chicago (at least Mulder and Scully had the FBI as an avenue to investigations), but McGavin's charm and irascibility kept the show aloft. It has always been prime remake material, and it's also too bad that Frank Spotnitz so spectacularly dropped the ball on his 2005 revamp of the show. We have the DVDs of the real Kolchak and company, and it's a show I look forward to revisiting each year right around Halloween time.
Ah, memories! Darrin McGavin in his wrinkled seersucker suit, driving his Mustang convertible and dragging around his cassette recorder and little camera. Classic plots revolving around supernatural events that only one guy notices, and no one ever believes him. This guy was Mulder before aliens were cool, and could teach the Winchester brothers a thing or two.
McGavin played this role to the hilt, even though television legend tells us he wanted the show to go a much more serious route than the one the producers took. And, during this era of television, the main character was an 'everyman' - he didn't have to be a twenty-year-old, 6'2" stud to be a leading man. He could be a little, red-headed geeky guy with no karate skills whatsoever. Okay, so, eventually the plots took a nose dive into robots and killer crocodiles, the original two pilots were actually very scary, creepy and cleverly plotted. The recent remake was unimaginatively stupid - and deserved to be cancelled after only a few episodes.
A great cult classic one season show. Darrin McGavin now works in Chicago, Illinois for the Independent New Service. He Drives a yellow colored Ford Mustang Convertible, wears a straw hat, seersucker suit and carries a tape recorder and camera. He also has the same cantankerous boss Anthony(Tony,Antonio)Vincenzo. He still does investigative reporting dealing with the supernatural, the occult, the bizarre and the paranormal. Also he deals with vampires, Wolfmen, zombies, ghosts and goblins. As usual he always bickers and argues with his boss Tony Vincenzo.
A great cast of guest stars include Larry Linville(Major Burns of M.A.S.H.), Tom Skerrit, Lara Parker(Dark Shadows), Carolyn Jones(The Addams Family) and many others.
Kolchak: The Night Stalker was truly ahead of it's time. Without this show there would be no X-Files, no Buffy, no Supernaturals, Medium, Lost, Twin Peaks or even V. It was scary and funny all at the same time. The episode with the zombies is forever etched in my mind. Darin McGavin was perfectly cast as Kochek, the gruff hard nosed reporter that not only investigated these mythical monsters, he fought them.
Another reason this show is so near and dear to me is that it's one of the few times my father and I enjoyed a show together and bonded over an art form.
Imagine a cross between Columbo and the horror genre. What you get is Kolchak, the Night Stalker. Kolchak was a Columbo like news reporter who is always tracking down vampires, werewolves, and other spooks that go bump in the night. No one ever believes poor Kolchak although he is always right. His persona is reminiscent of Columbo except a bit more irritating and emotional. Kolchak is more in-your-face at times, but still a likable character which helps make the show work. The interaction between Kolchak and his editor is classic.
Kolchak is tongue in cheek humor that mixes very well with horror and suspense. The only negative is some weak scripts. It is perhaps best that the show only lasted a year as they may well have run out of ideas and starting rehashing the same old stuff. As is, it never gets stale, despite the occasional tepid script, and remains a true classic of TV.
Kolchak: The Night Stalker is my All-Time Fave TV Show from the 1970's and to this Modern Day! Starring The Late Darren McGavin ( May 7, 1922 - February 25, 2006 ) ~ R.I.P. as Maverick Newspaper Reporter of the Unbelievable, Carl Kolchak and The Late Simon Oakland ( August 28, 1915 - August 29, 1983 ) ~ R.I.P. as Kolchak's Gruff Editor, Tony Vincenzo. I absolutely loved their Chemistry from my Top Two Fave ABC Movie of the Week: The Night Stalker & The Night Strangler. KUDOS to my #3 Fave: Trilogy of Terror, Starring Karen Black. Love Her!
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