The history of the series!

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The history of the series!

Post by Admin on Wed Sep 17, 2014 10:11 pm

If any series can be noted as an influence Kolchak " The Night Stalker" can be, even the creator of the X-Files noted that this very series influenced him as kid to create the cult Sci fi series X-files.  I love this series cross between Colombo and the monster squad which had everything from Vampires to Aliens and was groundbreaking in it's day thanks largely to the talents of Darren McGavin aka Carl Kolchak . Cool


In late 1973, Matheson and William F. Nolan completed the script for an intended third television movie entitled The Night Killers, a story about android replicas. ABC decided it wanted a weekly series instead. After some negotiation, McGavin agreed to return as Kolchak and also served as the series' executive producer. However, ABC did not obtain Jeff Rice's permission, and he sued the studio. The suit was resolved shortly before the series aired in the fall 1974 season; Rice received an on-screen credit as series creator. The first four episodes aired under the title of The Night Stalker. After a month-long hiatus, the series was renamed and returned as Kolchak: The Night Stalker.

Kolchak "The Night Stalker" the series: Is an American television series that aired on ABC during the 1974–1975 season. It featured a fictional Chicago newspaper reporter—Carl Kolchak, played by Darren McGavin—who investigated mysterious crimes with unlikely causes, particularly those that law enforcement authorities would not follow up. These often involved the supernatural or even science fiction, including fantastic creatures. Although the series only lasted a single season, it remains popular in syndication even today.

Kolchak "The Night Stalker Movies: Feature films The series was preceded by two television movies, The Night Stalker (1972) and The Night Strangler (1973).

The Night Stalker The Night Stalker 1972 (film)

ABC approached Rice with an offer to option The Kolchak Papers, which eventually was adapted by Richard Matheson into a television movie, The Night Stalker. It was produced by Dan Curtis and directed by John Llewellyn Moxey. Darren McGavin played the role of Carl. The cast also included Carol Lynley, Simon Oakland, Ralph Meeker, Claude Akins, Charles McGraw, Kent Smith, Stanley Adams, Elisha Cook Jr., Larry Linville, Jordan Rhodes, and Barry Atwater as the vampire Janos Skorzeny. The Night Stalker first aired January 11, 1972, and garnered the highest ratings of any television movie at that time (33.2 rating – 54 share). Matheson received a 1973 Edgar Award from the Mystery Writers of America for Best TV Feature or Miniseries Teleplay."

The Night Strangler film (1973) Impressed by the success of the first television movie, ABC commissioned Richard Matheson to write a second movie, which featured another serial killer in Seattle who strangled his victims and used their blood to keep himself alive for over a century. Kolchak recruits exotic dancer and psychology student Louise Harper (Jo Ann Pflug) to assist him in tracking down the eponymous strangler.

A fictitious version of the Seattle Underground City was used as a setting for much of the movie's action, and provided the killer with his hiding place. Dan Curtis both produced and directed the second movie, which also did well in the ratings. Rice then wrote a novelization based on Matheson's screenplay, a reverse of the situation for the first movie. The novel was published in 1974 by Pocket Books as a mass-market paperback original under the title The Night Strangler with a close-up of the monster's eye to tie in with the movie.

Simon Oakland reprised his earlier role as Kolchak's editor, Tony Vincenzo. The cast also included Richard Anderson, Scott Brady, Wally Cox, Margaret Hamilton, John Carradine, Nina Wayne and Al Lewis. Several scenes were filmed with George Tobias playing a reporter who recalled a series of murders he had investigated during the 1930s. These scenes were cut from the version aired because of time constraints.

The Night Killers? A third film was planned which was based on a story by Richard Matheson but completed by science fiction and horror novelist William F. Nolan (the two share credit on the unproduced script). The third film was set aside when ABC elected to order the TV series and have it produced by Universal (none of the original participants aside from actors Darren McGavin and Simon Oakland appeared in the TV series).

Entitled "The Night Killers" and set in Hawaii, the script had Tony Vincenzo hiring Kolchak to work for him. Once again Kolchak discovers a cover up—this time involving a mysterious UFO, a nuclear power plant and important people being murdered and replaced by androids. Kolchak ties all of this together believing that the aliens on the UFO landed on Earth intending to set up a colony and replacing key government figures with these androids to assist them in their secret colony.


Kolchak cast list:

Kolchak ( Played by Darren McGavin 1922-2006) is a talented investigative reporter with an affinity for bizarre and supernatural occurrences, obtaining information driving around Chicago in his yellow Ford Mustang convertible and always snatching exclusives armed with his camera and portable cassette recorder.

Tony Vincenzo ( Played by Simon Oakland 1915-1983) was Kolchak's bellicose editor who seems to be one of the only people willing to tolerate Kolchak's antics, despite their arguments. Vincenzo has a grudging respect for Kolchak's reporting skills, but often finds himself caught between Kolchak's zeal and his own management responsibilities. Vincenzo's hot temper often negatively impacts his blood pressure and digestion and he sometimes laments that he did not go into his family's Venetian blinds business.

Ron Updyke ( played by Jack Grinnage 1931-present) – Kolchak's supercilious rival at INS whom Kolchak repeatedly refers to as "Uptight". A San Francisco native, Updyke is the complete opposite of Kolchak, always smartly dressed and hobnobs with Chicago's elite. He also plays the French horn, a fact which does not surprise Kolchak.

Emily Cowles ( played by Ruth McDevitt 1895-1976) Is an elderly puzzles and advice columnist known as "Miss Emily". Cowles aspires to be a novelist and expresses passion for issues relating to the elderly. She is often sympathetic toward Kolchak and the two share a warm working relationship.

Monique Marmelstein ( Played by Carol Ann Susi  1952- present) Was an intern whose Uncle Abe is highly placed in the management of the Independent News Service's New York office, Ms. Marmelstein is a graduate of the Columbia School of Journalism. Despite her education and enthusiasm, many of her coworkers believe she got her job due to nepotism, an allegation she fiercely denies.

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