Kolchak was inconveniently thrown out of
Kolchak: the Night Stalker was my "absolutefavoritegottasee" show during its run from 1974-75. Kolchak, with his often-damaged tape recorder, never-ready camera, and dumb-looking straw hat was the perfect hero for a girl who wanted to go to Duke for a degree in parapsychology. Carl (given name Karel as per the Jeff Rice book) wanted to explore the paranormal - and offer proof to everyone else. Alas, the latter was always denied. I loved Darren McGavin's voiceovers, giving us the story of each monster - and each victim. They were always so much more convincing than the schemes he used to wangle his way into crime scenes and out of trouble with Vincenzo.
I dearly loved the show, but my major beef with it was Kolchak's tendency to go after the monsters he chased during their time of greatest power. Usually, this meant after dark, during the full moon, etc. Didn't he realize that this was a great way to get killed? After spending some years writing, though, I've realized that stopping the monster was not his first objective - getting the story was. Stopping the creature was a bonus, but often connected to self-preservation. Just like a reporter...
The series lived for only one season, but the legend of Kolchak continues. Copies of Jeff Rice's book and the videos of the two TV movies can be had, but at an exorbitant price. An anthology was released a few years back with various authors' versions of Kolchak stories. The Night Stalker is cited as one of the inspirations for the X-Files television series, and this was acknowledged in 1998 when Darren McGavin came on the show as FBI Special Agent Arthur Dales, the first agent to investigate what became the "X-Files". In 2005, ABC tried airing a new Night Stalker series, but it was an enormous flop. It just wasn't the same without McGavin. I hear that a film version with Johnny Depp may be in the works, but people think Johnny Depp is going to play everything.
Author of "All This and Family, Too" http://www.sarahglenn.com/
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