Saturday, May 1, 2021

KOLCHAK: THE NIGHT STALKER EP 01 - "The Ripper" (1974)

Here's a pretty cool Saturday Night Special for you, the first episode of the 1974 TV show "Kolchak: The Night Stalker."

Before he died in 2006 at the age of 83, Darren McGavin managed to rack up 184 credits. He was a busy man, and besides Kolchak, he was the lead man in 79 episodes of "Mike Hammer" and was in the great film "Mission Mars" with Nick Adams, just to name a couple.
This first episode was called "The Ripper," because there's a modern day Jack the Ripper on the loose in Chicago, but is it a new guy or can it possible be the original Jack the Ripper even though he should have been long gone many decades earlier.

You might think, as is often the case in a show like this, that Carl Kolchak is a detective, but he's not, he's a newspaper reporter!

Carl is a free thinker, and because of it, he gets a lot done, but at the same time, he's in trouble most of the time for getting involved in things that aren't really his business!

Of course the first place The Ripper hits is a strip club!

The crimes of The Ripper are fast and furious, and just like the original, all the victims are women!

The next victim was a contestant in the "Miss Physical Therapist" beauty contest.

Unlike my Editor Lord Litter, who reminded me to watch this show, Carl and his editor are constantly going at each other! Simon (Psycho) Oakland as Tony Vincenzo was no slouch himself, and has 162 credits that include "West Side Story," two episodes of "The Twilight Zone," and one episode of "The Outer Limits."

Kolchak really wants to go after this Ripper guy, but Tony assigns him to pick up the duties for the "Dear Emily" advice column where people write in and ask annoying questions, while the regular writer is out.

Pursuing The Ripper, Carl sees some very strange things that just don't make sense. The guy can leap down off of multi-storied buildings without getting hurt, appears to have super human strength, and may possibly even be invulnerable!

At one encounter Carl takes a picture, but the film doesn't show anything at all.
Who or what can this Ripper actually be?

Next stop for The Ripper is the "Sultan's Palace" massage parlor, and it's not because he's feeling stiff!

This gal is not impressed with The Ripper's cane, but she will be soon.

Kolchak goes to the massage parlor to check it out for himself after that girl is murdered, and he gets arrested by this blonde female undercover cop for being a perv.

Thanks to Kolchak, they zap The Ripper with electricity, and are finally able to bring him in, but he uses his uncanny inhuman strength to knock the jail cell door right out of the wall!

Kolchak remembers that one of the letters to Emily that he had previously ignored, was from an old lady who said that the guy who lived across the street from her was a weirdo, and suddenly it all made sense, but the only other thing he remembers is that it was in a blue envelope, so they comb through all the letters looking for it, so they can get the envelope.

Kolchak goes to the dilapidated house described and breaks in, and when The Ripper returns home, Kolchak hides in the closet!

Most of the show is at night and it's very dark, and this is the first and last time we actually get to see the face of The Ripper.

Will Kolchak live through this harrowing experience? 
Well, he better, because there are still nineteen more episodes.


Randall Landers said...

This really is one of my favorite series of all time. It's a pity that there weren't more than 20 or so episodes, but it might also have been a blessing. The show's premise would have no doubt degraded and been less and less engaging.

Darren McGavin sold the show for its fans. He was just simply awesome as Kolchak, and the remake just didn't do Kolchak any justice. McGavin as Kolchak was obsessive, zany, a con man, and a hero. Not many could have accomplished bringing him to life.

Simon Oakland as his editor was perfectly cast as well. He was beleagured and furious and frustrated and angry all at the same time. The other supporting characters always entertained, especially the "guest senior police officer in charge," and weirdos like the mortician.

If you haven't watched the series, I strongly recommend catching up on it Saturday nights on ME-TV.

EEGAH!! said...

Thanx Randall, over the next couple of weeks, I plan on watching them all! It's difficult to do horror and comedy at the same time and pull it off, but Kolchak seems to be able to handle it rather easily!

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