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“While the monster of the week format did get a bit wearisome after a while (mostly because of the show's micro budget) Kolchak was a milestone in tv history, AND the inspiration
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Debuting Friday, September 13, 1974 on ABC, the weekly, hour-long sci-fi/fantasy series Kolchak: The Night Stalker was spun off from two well-received feature length entries from the same network's Movie of the Week: The Night Stalker (1971) and The Night Strangler (1973). Starring in both these made-for-TV offerings was Darren McGavin as Carl Kolchak, a fly-by-night newspaper reporter who'd stumbled onto proof of actual paranormal and supernatural activity (a vampire terrorizing Las Vegas in Night Stalker, a werewolf decimating Seattle in Night Strangler), only to have his stories suppressed and himself bullied into silence by nervous police officials and politicians who didn't want to scare away tourists and merchants. By the time the Kolchak series proper began, the title character (still played by McGavin) had been effectively blacklisted by every major publisher in the US, and was forced to work for the Chicago-based Independent News Service, a seat-of-the-pants operation edited by Tony Vincenzo (another carryover from the movie versions). Having likewise been exiled from the higher journalistic circles thanks to Kolchak's "unbelievable" news scoops, Vincenzo harbored a grudge against our hero, but kept him on the payroll all the same. As for Kolchak, he was determined to regain his credibility by filing a story about the Supernatural that could be proven beyond doubt--and of course, he was always foiled when the evidence "mysteriously" vanished at the end of each ...
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