Kolchak: The Night Stalker
Before The X-Files, there was Kolchak: The Night Stalker. This show laid the groundwork for the science-fiction-mystery genre. As a special tribute to the show, actor Darren McGavin appeared twice on The X-Files as Special Agent Arthur Dales in the episodes 5x15 - Travelers and 6x13 - Agua Mala.
The show follows the life of a reporter, Carl Kolchak, as he investigates stories of the uncanny and the supernatural. Tony Vincenzo, Kolchak's short-tempered boss at the Independent News Service doesn't lend much credence to the outlandish stories that Kolchak follows. He insists on more conventional stories to put to press.
The character Carl Kolchak originated in an unpublished novel by Jeffrey Grant Rice called The Kolchak Papers, written around 1970. It was adapted into a made-for-TV movie, The Night Stalker, by horror writer Richard Matheson, formerly of The Twilight Zone.
The movie was produced by and aired on ABC and premiered as the ABC Movie of the Week on January 11, 1972, and was the most watched TV movie that year. In the movie, starring McGavin as Kolchak and Simon Oakland as Tony Vincenzo, Kolchak tracks a vampire who goes on a killing spree in Los Angeles. A sequel ABC Movie of the Week entitled The Night Strangler, produced by ABC's TV movie division ABC Circle Films, premiered on January 16, 1973. When Kolchak: The Night Stalker went to series in 1974, ABC farmed out production of the show to Universal Television and Francy Productions. A reboot titled simply as Night Stalker was produced by Touchstone Television (by then ABC's corporate sister) in 2005.
NBCUniversal Television Distribution has syndication rights to Kolchak: The Night Stalker due to Universal's ownership of the series, while Disney-ABC Domestic Television is the TV distributor for the two TV movies that preceded it as ABC has ownership of both movies as well as dramatic rights to the Carl Kolchak character.
|Darren McGavin||Carl Kolchak|
|Simon Oakland||Tony Vincenzo|
|Jack Grinnage||Ron Updyke|
|Ruth McDevitt||Emily Cowles|
|The Night Stalker||ABC||January 11, 1972|
|The Night Strangler||ABC||January 16, 1973|
|Season One||September 13, 1974||March 28, 1975||20|
- At a Glance: Additional information about the series
|Made-for-TV Movies (Region 1)|
|The Night Stalker/The Night Strangler (Double Feature)||August 24, 2004||2|
|Complete Series (Region 1)|
|Kolchak: The Night Stalker||October 4, 2005||3|