Kolchak: The Night Stalker: Season 1, Episode 1

The Ripper (13 Sep. 1974)

TV Episode  -   -  Comedy | Horror | Mystery
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When a rash of serial murders suddenly begins in the Chicago area, Kolchak establishes a similarity between the new killings and the murders committed by Jack The Ripper. The killer soon ... See full summary »



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Episode complete credited cast:
Beatrice Colen ...
Jane Plumm
Elderly Woman
Jack Grinnage ...
Capt. Warren
Masseuse (as Marya Small)
Don Mantooth ...
Policeman (as Donald Mantooth)
Rob Berger ...
Mail Boy (as Robert Bryan Berger)
Roberta Collins ...
Det. Cortazzo
Clint Young ...
Mickey Gilbert ...


When a rash of serial murders suddenly begins in the Chicago area, Kolchak establishes a similarity between the new killings and the murders committed by Jack The Ripper. The killer soon reveals himself to possess superhuman characteristics, and Kolchak suspects that they may be dealing with the original Ripper after all. Written by acidxian

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Release Date:

13 September 1974 (USA)  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


About 19 minutes in, when Kolchak is arguing with his editor 'Tony Vincenzo (Character)', played by Simon Oakland, there is a picture of Maj. Gregory "Pappy" Boyington behind Simon Oakland's character. Simon went on to play Brig. Gen. Thomas Moore in the TV series _Black Sheep Squadron (TV Series 1976-1978)_ a few years later. See more »


When Kolchak buys the electrical supplies including a box of stuff and several feet of conduit from the store, he places them into the trunk of his car. When he goes to the Ripper's house, he takes the box out of the trunk and closes the trunk, but he doesn't have the conduit. In the next scene, as he walks from his car, he has the box in hand and the conduit on his shoulder. See more »


Carl Kolchak: For once be a cop instead of an ostrich!
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User Reviews

Magic and Mayhem
1 May 2012 | by (Valencia, Spain) – See all my reviews

I liked Darren McGavin in some of his TV and movie roles, but I was never a big fan of his, until the Night Stalker movies and TV series came out. It seems amazing now, but something about The Night Stalker took all the stops out of Darren McGavin, and I think he was completely free to be the character as he wanted it to be.

It is hard not to notice that he often looks like a kid in a playground, and he seems to be thoroughly enjoying himself in this role. The chemistry between Kolchak and Vincenzo is also a plus. There is a free wheeling attitude on these sets that also reminds me of how TV movies and TV series used to be a lot more like live acting. Nowadays, you watch an episode of Supernatural, and it looks so un-natural and contrived. Not a single moment of that show just pops up and runs.

Kolchak on the other hand, looked like they were working with an outline, not a script. A lot of the lines and interaction between the characters seem ad-libbed, or spontaneous, and I think that is a big credit to the confidence that this group of actors had in themselves. There is a looseness here that is hard to find in any other series that I can remember.

Perhaps the most notable and under-rated characteristic of this show is that all the characters were playing the straight-man or woman to the story. There are often bizarre and silly moments, dialogue that is intended to make fun of the situation, and yet it is played straight, so that you can chuckle and still get into the suspense. I do not think that is easy to do.

How often can you watch a horror or suspense show where the character can fall down the stairs, make a fool of himself, get you to laugh, and yet get right up to shoot his camera and put the focus back on the monster? This is a TV series (and TV movies) that have stood the test of time, and yet I do not think that the actors have ever been given their full due for the amazing work that they did in the Kolchak series.

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