Real Name: Karel Kolchak
Identity/Class: Normal human
Affiliations: Emily Cowles, Tony Vincenzo, Gordy "the Ghoul" Spangler, Gail Foster, Louise Harper
Enemies: Janos Skorzeny, Jack the Ripper, Dr. Richard Malcolm, Mamalois "Marie Juliette" Edmonds, Catherine Rawlins, Bernhardt Stieglitz, Frankie Markoff, Senator Robert W. Palmer, the Diablero, Peremalfait, the Matchemonedo, the Rakshasa, Madelaine the witch, Harold "Swordsman" Baker, the armour of Guy de Metancourt, Helen of Troy
Known Relatives: Mike (father)
Base of Operations: originally Las Vegas, then Seattle, then Chicago, most recently Los Angeles
First Appearance: The Night Stalker (ABC, 11th January 1972)
Powers/Abilities: Highly inquisitive and open mind.
History: Carl Kolchak was a relentless reporter who believed that it was the press' job to find the truth and then tell the public about it...an attitude that hadn't made him many friends before his first truly bizarre case, and made him even fewer after.
Having begun his journalistic career in New York, Carl ended up working for a newspaper in Las Vegas, under editor Tony Vincenzo. He was assigned to look into a series of violent night-time murders of local women, and swiftly came to the conclusion that, no matter how insane it seemed, the killer was a genuine vampire; however the local authorities refused to acknowledge this, and were desperate to sweep the story under the rug. Finally Carl had no choice but to take matters into his own hands; he stalked and staked the vampire, Janos Skorzeny. For his life-saving efforts, he was run out of town under threat of a murder charge if he tried to tell his side of the story.
He next surfaced in Seattle, where he bummed around a bit, until he ran into his old boss Vincenzo. Feeling guilty for Carl being railroaded the last time, and against his better judgment, Vincenzo hired Carl on at the newspaper he now ran. Unfortunately Carl's first story for his new journal proved to involve the supernatural once more - this time an ancient alchemist killing women to steal their blood for a formula to keep him young. Things followed a familiar pattern - by being prepared to accept the facts for what they were, Carl was able to track down the truth behind the serial killer, while the police were hamstrung by the insistence from various elected officials that they treat the murderer as a regular lunatic, since to admit otherwise might be bad for business. Carl located the hideout of the alchemist, Richard Malcolm, and destroyed his serum, causing him to age to death. However he was once again run out of town by the authorities - only this time they kicked Vincenzo out too.
Both men ended up working for the INS (International News Service) out of it's Chicago office. Now that his eyes had been opened to the supernatural, time and again Carl found himself dealing with cases of it, facing werewolves on cruise ships, Native American spirits up skyscrapers, politicians in league with the devil, and even an immortal, youth-stealing, Helen of Troy. Time and again Carl won the day through persistence, wits, and dumb luck. Eventually a case in an underground facility in Merrymount cost him his job once more, and he moved on.
Most recently Carl has been working out of Los Angeles, once more in the employ of Vincenzo. He continues to confront the supernatural and bizarre far too often for his own liking.
Comments: Created by Jeff Rice, played by Darren McGavin.
Originally appearing in a couple of fun TV movies-of-the-week, Kolchak graduated to his own weekly series in 1974:
The Night Stalker
The Night Strangler
Kolchak: The Night Stalker (weekly series)
They Have Been, They Are, They Will Be
The Devil's Platform
The Spanish Moss Murders
The Energy Eater
Horror in the Heights
The Trevi Collection
Demon in Lace
Legacy of Terror
The Knightly Murders
The Youth Killer
Though the show was far from perfect and only lasted one season, the memorable lead performance and several of the more atmospheric episodes gave the show a lasting legacy. It served as one of the major influences for Chris Carter's X-Files, more than a decade later.
The two TV movies were expanded and turned into novels by Jeff Rice. In the early 1990's a new, original Kolchak Novel, Grave Secrets was published by Cinemaker Press, planned to be the start of series mixing new stories with novelisations which sadly didn't materialise. More recently, starting in 2002 with an adaption of the original story, Moonstone Publishing began to release a series of one-shot comics:
The Night Stalker
Get of Belial
Lambs to the Slaughter
Pain Most Human
Devil in the Details
The success of these also saw Moonstone release an ongoing Kolchak: Tales Of The Night Stalker comic. Though that proved relatively short lived, they continue to produce new Kolchak fiction, including comics such as Sherlock Holmes and Kolchak, Kolchak: Night Stalker of the Living Dead, The Frankenstein Agenda, Ghost Stories, and the Kolchak Annual (which saw him encounter Dark Shadows' Barnabus Collins), and prose short story collections.
There was also a short-lived new Nightstalker TV show launched in 2005, with Stuart Townsend playing Kolchak, which sadly lasted only a single season.
The Five People You Meet in Hell
What's the Frequency, Kolchak?
The 'M' Word
Any Additions/Corrections? Please let me know.
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