|Feb 25 2010
Above is a publicity still of Darren McGavin, star of the short-lived American television show The Night Stalker. The series ran in 1974, and featured the character of Carl Kolchak as a world weary newspaperman investigating macabre and supernatural doings in Chicago. Over the course of twenty episodes Kolchak tangled with a vampire, a mummy, a werewolf, and even a killer android. It comes across a bit clunky now, but at the time the series was acclaimed for its deft writing and humor. Despite the good reviews, the American public didn’t get it, and the show suffered from poor ratings that only got worse with each week. McGavin, feeling constrained by the character and format of the series, eventually asked to be released from his contract and the network granted his wish. But some creations are simply ahead of their time and The Night Stalker, which should have been forgotten forever, continued to attract fans and today has a fierce cult. Even X-Files creator Chris Carter admits the show was a direct influence. He asked McGavin to reprise Kolchak on The X-Files as a running character—a turn that would have been momentous for fans of the macabre—but McGavin declined and the dream team of Kolchak and Mulder never materialized. Darren McGavin, forever to be remembered as Carl Kolchak, died today in 2006.