Carl Kolchak was a reporter for Chicago's Independent News Service, and a trouble magnet for situations involving the supernatural. Kolchak turned his investigative skills to vampires, werewolves, zombies and all manner of legendary creatures, but in the end he always failed to convince his skeptical editor, Tony Vincenzo, that the stories weren't products of Kolchak's own overworked imagination.Written by
Marg Baskin <email@example.com>
Not to be confused with Kojak (1973). It's a miracle the production didn't get sued, considering that every time they say the lead's name, it sounds like "Kojak". And considering the "sue" culture inherent to USA. See more »
Many of the stories take place in the winter months, but there is never any snow, and even if there was no snow, it is highly unlikely one would be driving a convertible with the top down during the winter months in Chicago. See more »
[Asked why he's going to visit a ritzy interior decorator]
We're thinking of brightening up the office.
[Pointing at Updyke, then at Vincenzo]
You are going to be replaced by Boston fern and you a snapdragon!
See more »
A brilliantly entertaining series that ran for a single shining season in the 1970'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 amusing), and the other half was a straight-faced thriller that featured some genuinely frightening scenes of horror.
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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