Kolchak: The Night Stalker: Season 1 (1974 - 1975)


Season 1
Kolchak: The Night Stalker

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Episodes

Air date: Sep 13, 1974

The first episode of the series, following the television films The Night Stalker and The Night Strangler, "The Ripper" attempts to condense the better elements of the longer entries into a workable hour-long format. Now based in Chicago and working for the news agency INS, reporter Carl Kolchak (Darren McGavin) continues his crusade to expose the supernatural as printable fact much to the dismay of editor Tony Vincenzo (Simon Oakland, reprising his role from the two films). Removed from covering a string of Ripper-like murders because of a predilection for pestering police, Carl finds himself writing for the agony column. Only Kolchak can find a way to answer the letters of the lonely-hearted and solve the murders. Although lacking the sharp writing of Richard Matheson and skillful direction of Dan Curtis, the series retains much of the two films' wit, grittiness, and imagination. Originally aired September 13, 1974, on ABC.

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Air date: Sep 20, 1974

In the second episode of the series, reporter Carl Kolchak (Darren McGavin) tangles with mobsters, a crooked police captain, a Voodoo priestess, and the walking dead. After a series of underworld figures die from having their spines snapped, Kolchak recognizes a correlation between the murders and a deceased Haitian numbers runner who has been buried multiple times. Finding himself ensnared in crooked politics and a gangland turf war, Kolchak may need more than salt and white candles to ward off evil. Blending realistic and supernatural dangers, "The Zombie" rivals the quality of the two television films that led to the series. What might be more threatening than the undead stalking the streets of Chicago, the episode argues, are the forces of authority that deny the existence of the supernatural. A similar theme works its way into many episodes of The X-Files. "The Zombie" originally aired September 20, 1974, on ABC.

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Air date: Sep 27, 1974

An unseen entity has the power of a hurricane, an affection for electronic gadgetry and a thirst for bone marrow. James Gregory. Kolchak: Darren McGavin.

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Air date: Oct 4, 1974

Venturing to L.A. to write a story on transcendental meditation, reporter Carl Kolchak (Darren McGavin) becomes involved in the investigation of a series of murders in which the victims have been drained of blood. The police suspect a coven of warlocks; Kolchak suspects something more sinister when the trail of strange deaths leads back to Las Vegas. This is the only episode in the series connected to the films that spawned it, although no direct reference to the longer efforts is made. The monster is the same as in The Night Stalker and the mentioning of Las Vegas, the setting for the first film, suggests the vampire was once the victim of Janos Skorzeny (Barry Atwater), who converted Kolchak to a belief in the supernatural. William Daniels, from St. Elsewhere, appears as an impatient police lieutenant. The third episode in the series, "The Vampire" originally aired October 4, 1974, on ABC.

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Air date: Nov 1, 1974

Aboard the luxury liner Hanover to cover the ship's final voyage and a concurrent convention of middle-aged swingers, reporter Carl Kolchak (Darren McGavin) must convince an authoritarian captain a werewolf is responsible for the disappearance of several passengers. He must also find someone among the swingers who can speak Latin and bless some peculiar silver bullets. This episode makes good use of a unique and claustrophobic setting. Trapped aboard ship, Kolchak has to fight rather than flee both the monster and the unwanted advances of a divorcée. Eric Braeden, best known as Victor Newman on daytime soap opera The Young and the Restless, plays the eponymous creature in makeup making him look like famed sideshow attraction Jo-Jo the Dog-Faced Boy. Dick Gautier, who played Hymie the Robot on Get Smart, guest stars as Kolchak's lusty cabinmate. The fourth installment in the series, "The Werewolf" originally aired November 1, 1974, on ABC.

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Air date: Nov 8, 1974

In "Fire Fall," reporter Carl Kolchak (Darren McGavin) investigates three cases of spontaneous human combustion. In typical Kolchak fashion, he suspects someone or something that is responsible for the deaths, in this case a kind of fire doppelgänger, the double of a famous symphony orchestra conductor. Although departing from the monster-of-the-week format established in the five previous episodes and drawing from two divergent folkloric traditions, "Fire Fall" borrows a bit too much from Don Siegel's Invasion of the Body Snatchers, with sleep providing the means for the doppelgänger to take possession of the actual conductor's body. Dated special effects -- extensive use of obvious superimposition -- and plot holes -- the doppelgänger can only kill while the victim is asleep but one individual dies while driving his car in daylight -- may make viewing the episode difficult. David Doyle (Bosley from Charlie's Angels) guest stars as an overzealous product inspector. The sixth episode in the series, "Fire Fall" originally aired November 8, 1974.

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Air date: Nov 15, 1974

A vicious dog hounds Kolchak as he delves into the background of a prominent politician (Tom Skerritt). Kolchak: Darren McGavin. Lorraine Palmer: Ellen Weston.

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Air date: Nov 29, 1974

A gem thief is a diabolic killer who looks like a towering Indian and can vanish into thin air. Kolchak: Darren McGavin. Baker: Ramon Bieri. Indian: Richard Kiel. Agnes: Alice Ghostley. Rolling Thunder: Victor Jory.

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Air date: Dec 6, 1974

Victims are crushed to death by a killer that leaves bits of Spanish moss in its wake. Kolchak: Darren McGavin. Siska: Keenan Wynn. Dr. Pollack: Severn Darden. Fiddler: Randy Boone. Pepe LaRue: Johnny Silver.

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Air date: Dec 13, 1974

A newly constructed hospital is plagued by inexplicable destructive forces. Kolchak: Darren McGavin. Elkhorn: William Smith. Janice: Elaine Giftos. Kibbey: Tom Drake.

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Kolchak: The Night Stalker: Season 1 Photos

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Critic Reviews for Kolchak: The Night Stalker Season 1

All Critics (6) | Top Critics (1)

Darren McGavin's disheveled newspaper reporter Carl Kolchak might not be as hunky as David Duchovny's Agent Fox Mulder, but he shares an equally paranoid obsession with the paranormal.

Aug 13, 2020 | Rating: B | Full Review…

The Night Stalker presents its hero as a put-upon man wholly out of his depth in terms of the actual threat at hand, but his unfailing ability to use his eyes and piece metaphorical puzzles together gives him a decided leg up among his peers.

Aug 13, 2020 | Full Review…

Though predictable and very dated, Kolchak featured an interesting concept. Fans of The X-Files and supernatural mysteries may enjoy it.

Aug 13, 2020 | Full Review…

[In Kolchak] the supernatural was taken out of gothic castles to prowl in the shadows of the real world.

Aug 13, 2020 | Rating: A- | Full Review…

Like a pair of old, soft slippers the Kolchak DVD is a welcome friend on a cold October day.

Aug 13, 2020 | Full Review…

Kolchak: The Night Stalker still stands tall as a true piece of Horror Americana, and rightly so.

Aug 13, 2020 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Kolchak: The Night Stalker: Season 1

  • Jan 05, 2020
    Seer sucker suits, an old Mustang, and a sometimes campy 'monster-of-the-week? What's not to love!

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