Kolchak: The Night Stalker: Season 1, Episode 12

Mr. R.I.N.G. (10 Jan. 1975)

TV Episode  -   -  Comedy | Horror | Mystery
7.3
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Ratings: 7.3/10 from 98 users  
Reviews: 5 user | 5 critic

Kolchak investigates a US military backed project called R.I.N.G. (Robomatic Internalized Nerve Ganglia), which is a robot that uses deadly force to defend itself against those who would harm it.

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Title: Mr. R.I.N.G. (10 Jan 1975)

Mr. R.I.N.G. (10 Jan 1975) on IMDb 7.3/10

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Cast

Episode cast overview, first billed only:
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Mrs. Walker
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Dr. Leslie Dwyer (as Corinne Michaels)
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Capt. Akins
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Tyrell Security Guard (as Donald Barry)
Jack Grinnage ...
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Henry Beckman ...
Senator Stephens
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Bernard Carmichael
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Librarian
Bruce Powers ...
Peters
Vince Howard ...
Policeman
Read Morgan ...
Man
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Mr. R.I.N.G. (as Craig Baxley)
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Storyline

Carl Kolchak can't determine the exact cause of death for a man he's writing the obituary on. Kolchak's investigation into the man's mysterious demise uncovers a scientific experiment called Project R.I.N.G., which is developing an artificially intelligent robot that might also be dangerously homicidal. Written by Woodyanders

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10 January 1975 (USA)  »

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1.33 : 1
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Trivia

The Tyrell Institute was where Mr. R.I.N.G., the android was created. Tyrell Corporation was the company that created the android replicants in Blade Runner (1982). Same spelling of Tyrell. See more »

Quotes

Carl Kolchak: [Voiceover Intro, a groggy Kolchak has been doped by the Feds] I don't know when I was in this office last. In some ways it feels like I never left.
[pause]
Carl Kolchak: No, that's not right. For a while I was away, far away, in the hands of men with no faces. They broke me down, broke my story down, and convinced me it hadn't happened the way I remembered.
[Gropes for his tape recorder]
Carl Kolchak: Memories fade fast enough without chemical help. But if I don't tell this story now, I'm afraid I never will. Now... what ...
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User Reviews

Stalking A Robot
4 June 2006 | by (Canada) – See all my reviews

Both Kolchak and government agents pursue a sophisticated robot gone rogue.

In "Mr. R.I.N.G.", a top secret robotic prototype kills one of it's creators and then wanders off causing all sorts of havoc. What defeats this episode from the very first scene is the poorly designed appearance of the robot. It's just a buff guy in a laughable red body stocking. R.I.N.G.'s head is also burdened with an over-sized faceplate sporting an unlikely array of circuitry and tiny blinking lights that's supposed to make him look all sophisticated and stuff. The effect however is neither impressive, nor does he seem particularly intimidating.

At one point, the runaway robot steals a case of cosmetologists's wax and fashions for himself something like a Michael Myer's mask. Unfortunately, the false face does little to make him seem any more intriguing, and though director Gene Levitt attempts to build some suspense whenever R.I.N.G. is on camera, his efforts prove mostly unsuccessful.

Kolchak eventually locates a scientist kidnapped by the robot. From her, he learns that government higher-ups had ordered R.I.N.G. be dismantled. This activated it's programmed survival instinct which lead to the murder of the doctor in charge of it's dis-mantling. But R.I.N.G. is such a breakthrough in robotics that it had also been given a conscience, which is now stricken with guilt over having taken a life. Clearly, the aim here (like in "Frankenstein") is for us to feel compassion for the confused "monster". Unfortunately, the robot doesn't get sufficient screen time for the audience to develop much of a rooting interest in it's fate. Indeed, when R.I.N.G. is shot at the end by a trigger happy soldier, the scene utterly lacks the emotional punch they were hoping to achieve.

One thing that does work moderately well is the feeling of paranoia and suspicion regarding the government's activities. During the episode, federal agents shadow Carl's movements, interfere with his investigation, threaten to shut down the news bureau, and even give the reporter narcotics to try and make him forget the events leading up to R.I.N.G.'s "demise". That those in positions of authority are often a shady lot with something to hide is a recurrent theme in the "Night Stalker" series, and was no doubt a reflection of the Watergate scandal that was still fresh in the public's consciousness during the time this series was shot.

The true highlight of "Mr. R.I.N.G." is the fun of watching Kolchak as he tries to get into places where he is not welcome. Also fun is his mocking attitude toward the agents who are following him. For example, spotting a fed parked across the street, Carl does a U-turn and pulls his car right up next to the undercover man.

Carl: "Hi there."

The agent keeps his eyes rigidly fixed to a magazine.

Carl: "Whatcha, readin'? Is it good?"

Still not a flinch from the agent.

Carl (putting his car into gear): "Better study hard. There's gonna be a test on it later."

Very funny stuff, and it's just a shame the attempts at generating some suspense in this episode were not nearly as successful.

Playing the wayward robot is Craig R. Baxley who would go on to direct Stephen King's "Rose Red" and "Storm Of The Century" for television. Baxley later donned another costume to play the titular character in the final "Kolchak: The Night Stalker" episode, "The Sentry".


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