Kolchak: The Night Stalker (1974–1975)

TV Series  |   |  Comedy, Horror, Mystery
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A newspaper reporter investigates strange supernatural occurrences in Chicago.

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1975   1974  
1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Series cast summary:
...
 Carl Kolchak (20 episodes, 1974-1975)
...
 Tony Vincenzo (20 episodes, 1974-1975)
Jack Grinnage ...
 Ron Updyke (18 episodes, 1974-1975)
...
 Emily Cowles / ... (12 episodes, 1974-1975)
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Storyline

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 <marg@asd.raytheon.ca>

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One man's quest to uncover the truth,


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13 September 1974 (USA)  »

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The Night Stalker  »

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(20 episodes)

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(Technicolor)

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4:3
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Trivia

Producer Dan Curtis and screenwriter Richard Matheson were both approached by Universal to work on the series. Although they had worked on the original made-for-TV movies, they both turned down the offer. See more »

Goofs

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 »

Quotes

[Told that a dead panda at the zoo died from a heart attack]
Carl Kolchak: A raccoon, with a heart attack... maybe you fed it too much cholesterol.
See more »

Connections

Featured in The Sopranos: Meadowlands (1999) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Hero In An Old Straw Hat.
18 August 2006 | by (Canada) – See all my reviews

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.


38 of 39 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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