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But great discoveries can come from laziness, and so after seeing an old vagrant ride a city bus to the end of the line and get strangled by a weightlifter under Santa Monica Pier, the story moved to an L. The first show did not reek of tough-guy promise. First of all, he turned down the job he was hired for not once but twice, and except for his California P. His concerns seemed unheroic and, perhaps worst of all, he did not even carry a gun, keeping one only for emergencies in a cookie jar in the kitchen of his house trailer. It did for me. By cheating a little, it seemed a clever man could take down a bully.
In. Kolchak: The Night Stalker — Hide Spoilers. A brilliantly entertaining series that ran for a single shining season in the 's, "Kolchak: The Night Stalker" concerned a Chicago reporter whose investigations invariably lead him into dangerous encounters with the paranormal. Starring the incomparable and irreplaceable Darren McGavin, this smartly written show has been described by some as being "campy", and while a couple of episodes "The Youth Killer" and the much more amusing "The Trevi Collection" may have strayed far enough into that territory to qualify as camp, this was actually a series with two distinct parts.
Half of the show was a situation comedy the scenes taking place in the INS office between Kolchak and Vincenzo were particularly amusingand the other half was a straight-faced thriller that featured some genuinely frightening scenes of horror.
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Quite a maverick among television shows of the day, "Kolchak: The Night Stalker" noticeably parted company with established convention regarding what qualifies a character to fill the role of a hero. Common practice dictates that your basic TV good guy will be conventionally handsome, good with his fists and fearless in the sight of danger. Some are rich and reside in fabulously appointed surroundings and often find themselves the focus of unflagging admiration from a cheering section of supporting characters.
Then there's Carl Kolchak.
A far sight from the usual male model-type lead, this average-looking guy doesn't work for a big league paper, but instead pounds away at his typewriter in a somewhat rundown news bureau office. He has no family and the only people who seem even remotely close to him are a gray-haired advice columnist and a short-tempered managing editor who's usually bellowing at him to drop his latest crazy story. Also rare for a TV hero: he doesn't even carry a gun.
In fact, when faced with danger, Carl sometimes runs away in stark raving terror. Furthermore, he's generally reviled by public officials, and after vanquishing something evil from our midst, he never even gets any credit for having risked his neck. Armed only with a camera, a tape recorder and his wits, Carl Kolchak certainly doesn't sound very formidable. And yet, somehow, this cynical, middle-aged news hound in a seersucker suit and beat-up straw hat is the greatest foe any vampire or blood-thirsty creature of the night ever came up against.
Sure, he may not get that Pulitzer prize, but for his uncanny abilities at ridding the world of one monster after another, this unlikely hero surely ranks as one of the most unique and marvelously ironic characters in the history of television. If you're interested, have reviewed of all 20 episodes, too.
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Was this review helpful? After the immense success of the made for t. Unfortunately, it only lasted one season. Too bad though. This had to be one of the smartest series ever written for television. It was definitely a perfect mix of both horror and comedy as it placed the a regular guy like Kolchak in several unbelievable situations.
Kolchak would begin by writing on stories on what he would think would be an ordinary murder and wind up finding the killer is either a werewolf or a vampire. Too bad that this show was up against the juggernaut that was the Friday night line up that was over on N. In fact the night that it premiered, Friday September 13,was also the same night that another smartly written show premiered, "The Rockford Files". New TV series doesn't match the old Good god.
I was just Rockford at stalking adult lonely girl friday night what a new series would be like, and then I find it The old series of Night Stalker was a zeitgeist, about being a regular guy, trying to find the truth, which was always hidden by authorities. But, instead of writing to connect the public to their inner feelings about society wrapped in entertainment, the new series is about black and white working together, hot and fancy, to find less then archetypal mysteries.
Kolchak brought a pulpy sense of reality to light, and portrayed the seedy side of life without being moralistic. It was Columbo of the supernatural.
It didn't create fanciful immorality, like the goth culture today, and it didn't put searing political statements all over. It tried to entertain. And it did. Hence the popularity through the years. Anyone, like myself, who saw this in their childhood remembers it today. The new series is destined to be another watered down bastardization of brilliant TV. BruceCorneil 24 August One of my favorite shows back in the '70s.
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Darren McGavin and Simon Oakland were great together. Each episode usually reached a climax with Kolchack having to engage in hand to hand combat with some sort of supernatural opponent. To their credit, the writers made a concerted effort to get away from the usual round of vampires and ghosts as much as possible. The final showdown saw Kolchack trying to short circuit the 'power beast' amidst an explosion of sparks and billowing flames.
Oh well McGavin always packed a lot of energy and enthusiasm into his roles and this was one of his best. Definitely deserves a place in TV's "Hall of Fame". To quote Tony Vincenzo Or, in the case of the Hall of Fame,'IN it'!
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Gotta Love that Carl Kolchack tamstrat 14 April I was in junior high when this show premiered and I remember how funny and creepy it was. Darren McGavin, no matter what role he was in, was and still is, an excellent actor. He absolutely made the world weary Carl Kolchak believable. I loved the scenes with him and Simon Oakland as boss Tony Vincenzo. Kolchak always had a great comeback line when Vincenzo was outraged and appalled by Kolchak's supernatural interests. This show was cancelled way too soon, it was just hitting it's stride. Granted, some of the episodes were silly and the costumes especially the Werewolf costume were goofy, but some of the episodes were really scary and extremely well written.
I wish they had made more of the episodes. My personal favorite is "Horror in the Heights", this one combined horror with social commentary about antisemitism and the plight of poor senior citizens. Ahead of it's time. If you are young and have never seen any of these wonderful shows, go to Ebay or Amazon and you can buy them.
Well worth the money.
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Fantastic show, and still one of my childhood favorites! I grew up being mesmerized by Kolchak and his witty, interesting, sometimes bumbling reporting style that dug up the goods on the city's night time other-world bad guys and gals. I haven't seen but one or two episodes since I watched the originals in the 70s and would love to see them again.
I might have to break down and actually buy the videos of the shows.
Also, I hear ABC is going to remake the series and show it in the fall Not sure how it's going to go over and if they're going to capture that 70s atmosphere. That, and they'll be competing with all the latest gizmo-loaded, hi-tech, sci-fi shows and movies that have sprung up over the past few years.
I won't go into detail about any of the episodes since other commenters have done so very eloquently. Just suffice it to say that you'll either love this series or not, but I'm betting that you'll love it.
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Gislef 1 October In a decade which gave us Battlestar Galactica, Buck Rogers, and Darren McGavin is at the top of his form in a series that splits its time about evenly between humor and horror. The only real problem with the series is the scripting, which varies from week to week in no perceivable pattern.
An incredibly wretched episode like "The Energy Eater" will be followed by the series' best, "Horror in the Heights," the following week. Still, McGavin and the supporting cast are fun to watch, and you get the chance to laugh along with the writers as they both pay homage to and parody all those old horror movies.
Almost 30 years after its debut, "The Night Stalker" is warmly remembered by folks who likely saw the show as youngsters, during its original run on CBS, and who are willing to overlook its faults to simply swim in the experience.
The majority of the series' 20 episodes owe more to comedy and camp than the matter-of-fact style of its two highly regarded made-for-TV movie predecessors. Warren and Beatrice Colen as reporter Jane Plumm. The conclusion is one of the few in the series that takes the necessary time to play out and creates remarkable tension as it draws to a spectacular finish.
Although it's never actually stated, the antagonist from this installment seems to have been a victim of Janos Skorzeny, the vampire from the "Night Stalker" TV movie. As with "The Ripper," the closing sequence is spectacular and visually satisfying. It's interesting to note that "Sopranos" executive producer David Chase wrote this and seven other "Stalker" episodes. In some of their earliest work in Hollywood, Robert Zemeckis Oscar-winning director of "Forrest Gump" and Bob Gale who penned the "Back to the Future" trilogy combined to write "Chopper," and it flourishes despite some painfully weak visual effects.