11 user 4 critic


Kolchak discovers that the evil spirit of a murdered gangster who loved classical music is somehow incinerating his former enemies, while simultaneously trying to take over the body of a popular music conductor and live again.


Don Weis


Jeffrey Grant Rice (created by) (as Jeff Rice), Bill S. Ballinger

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Episode complete credited cast:
Darren McGavin ... Carl Kolchak
Simon Oakland ... Tony Vincenzo
Fred Beir ... Ryder Bond
Philip Carey ... Sgt. Mayer
David Doyle ... Cardinale
Madlyn Rhue ... Maria
Jack Grinnage ... Ron Updyke
Virginia Vincent ... Mrs. Markoff
Alice Backes Alice Backes ... Dr. Shropell
Lenore Kasdorf ... Girl
Joshua Shelley Joshua Shelley ... George
Carol Ann Susi ... Monique Marmelstein
Carol Veazie Carol Veazie ... Mrs. Sherman
Patricia Estrin ... Felicia Porter


Kolchak looks into several instances of spontaneous combustion, where the victims were suddenly incinerated as they dozed. He finds that the apparition of a renowned orchestra conductor was spotted at the scenes of the crimes, but the catch is that the conductor isn't dead. With the help of a gypsy, Kolchak learns that a vengeful ghost known as a "doppelganger" is at work, impersonating the conductor in an attempt to take over his life. When Kolchak himself is marked for incineration, he must avoid falling asleep until he can stop the ghost once and for all. Written by acidxian

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Release Date:

8 November 1974 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


The phenomena of persons instantaneously igniting, or spontaneous human combustion, has actually been documented although completely turning to ash has not been documented. See more »


The young couple tell Sgt. Mayer they heard screams and ran to the pool, but they weren't doing that in the previous scene. They were laughing and casually walking to the pool. However, they may simply be embellishing their story for the police, to seem more like concerned citizens. See more »


Carl Kolchak: Mrs. Sherman, do you remember me? I was with Sergeant Mayer.
Mrs. Sherman: Well, he certainly takes a dim view of you.
Carl Kolchak: Well, he's a little dimwitted anyway.
See more »


Edited into Kolchak: Crackle of Death (1974) See more »

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User Reviews

solid episode
14 May 2010 | by stones78See all my reviews

This is one of the better and more memorable segments from this great, but too short series. There is an interesting plot about a music conductor possessed by a low life murdered arsonist. Some advice for those in a hurry, never cut in front of a driving funeral procession; you may have an angry ghost following you and burning those close to you. Credit to the original idea for this innovative episode, and major credit for the chemistry between Kolchak and Tony Vincenzo, who are at each other's throats once again. The actual killings aren't particularly memorable, but everything else about this segment is quite innovative and fun, especially the scene in the church. I wonder how Kolchak dug up the victim's body without getting dirty? That's television, I guess.

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