I was eleven on that fateful night of Friday September 13th when The Night Stalker debuted on ABC. I remember I kept thinking about it all day while at school, and couldn't wait to get home, have dinner and settle in to watch my favorite newsman, Carl Kolchak on TV. Why was he my favorite? He fought and killed a Vampire in Las Vegas in 1972 and he also fought an ageless killer in Seattle in 1973.
The episode they ran that night was "The Ripper" and afterwords I was hooked for life. Here was a show based on one of the greatest TV movies ever made and it was on weekly!!
Darren McGavin always gave a flawless performance a Kolchak, a reporter who was human like us. I mean after all he hated the dentist, wasn't afraid to admit he was wrong, wasn't a superhero...just a plain joe who happened across the supernatural or some other paranormal activity happening in Chicago.
Simon Oakland essayed the role of Anthony Vincenzo with perfection and he and McGavin played off each other very, very well. The show only ran one year, but what a year it was and all 20 of the episodes I cherish and watch on a regular basis.
Here is a list of all 20 episodes.
The Ripper 9/13/74...Kolchak investigates a killer who may be the original Jack The Ripper.
The Zombie 9/20/74...A voodoo priestess brings her dead son back to life to seek vengeance on those who killed him. Kolchak is also targeted for death.
They Have Been, They Are, They Will Be 9/27/74....Aliens who eat human bone marrow land on earth and Kolchak is on the case.
The Vampire 10/4/74...The victim of a vampire that Kolchak fought in Las Vegas comes to life and heads for Los Angeles to seek new victims. Kolchak is flown to LA for a story on meditation and tangles with the female monster.
The Werewolf 11/1/74....On a singles cruise ship Kolchak comes face to face with a werewolf.
Firefall 11/8/74...A music conductor is possessed by the spirit of a dead arsonist that threatens to take over his body and Kolchak helps him fight the evil.
The Devil's Platform 11/15/74....A senate candidate sells his soul to the Devil in order to destroy his opposition.
Bad Medicine 11/29/1974....Kolchak battles a cursed Native American medicine man who is condemned to walk the earth for eternity collecting treasure.
The Spanish Moss Murders 12/6/74....A sleep project on a man manifests a swamp monster that kills it's victims by crushing them.
The Energy Eater 12/13/74...One of my favorite episodes! Kolchak discovers that a new hospital has been built on the burial ground of a Native American "Bear God" spirit that feed on human protein.
Horror in The Heights 12/20/74...One week before I turned 12 and this episodes scared the crap out of me. A Hindu demon called a "Rakshasa" that can makes itself look like someone you trust in order to kill. A very haunting monster.
Mr. R.I.N.G.1/10/75....the first episode of the new year was about Kolchak tracking down an artificially intelligent, and possibly homicidal robot.
Primal Scream 1/17/75....Cell samples from the Arctic begin to grow after getting warm. The cells evolve into creatures who terrorize Chicago, and Kolchak must fight a government cover-up to track them down. Another excellent episode.
The Trevi Collection 1/24/75....Kolchak discovers witchcraft is being used in the fashion industry.
Chopper 1/31/75....A headless motorcycle rider is chopping heads off of members of a 50's biker gang.
Demon In Lace 2/7/75....A succubus seeks dead bodies of women to reanimate and scare men to death after a mysterious tablet is brought back from the middle east. Kolchak must stop the demon before it is too late.
Legacy of Terror 2/14/75....People in Chicago are having their hearts cut out as part of a bizarre Aztec ritual, and Kolchak is on the case.
Knightly Murders 3/7/75....A demonic knight is executing certain people who are responsible for desecrating his ancient burial ground.
Youth Killer 3/14/75....Kolchak investigates several people who have died of very old age all around Chicago. The eaths don't add up and Kolchak finds out why.
The Sentry 3/21/75....Workers in a new underground tunnel are being killed by a rampaging reptile monster in this final episode of the series.
All of these shows were fun and the series had many guest stars such as Antonio Fargas, Keenan Wynn, Jamie Farr, Cathy Lee Crosby, Ken Lynch and many, many others. If you haven't seen this I recommend you do very soon.