Carl Kolchak Stalks No More... Darren McGavin 1922-2006
The one, true Carl Kolchak stalks the planet no longer.
Darren McGavin, who brought Kolchak to life in both the TV movies and the short-lived 1974-75 TV series, passed away this morning.
He’ll also live forever in many memories as The Old Man in “A Christmas Story.” If memory serves, he also played the amputee who oversaw the “Six Million Dollar Man” project.
An excerpt from my Oct. 4 review of the “Kolchak” DVD set:
Primitive and pitifully underbudgeted, the 1974 “Kolchak” had at least three things going for it: 1) It was the first regular TV gig for “Sopranos” mastermind David Chase, who served as “Kolchak’s” story editor and authored eight of its 20 teleplays. 2) It featured that creepy, stringy and unforgettable bass-fiddle theme music. 3) It offered a career-defining performance by Darren McGavin, who knew how to sell and showcase Kolchak’s indignant, authority-defying dialogue.
Read more of McGavin’s prolific life here.
Ahoy, squirts. Quint here again. I was working on finding some sort of confirmation on this when Herc posted the above. I still don't believe it. Darren McGavin was always one of my favorite character actors and has turned in more than his fair share of classic performances, none so more than his portrayal of "The Old Man" in A CHRISTMAS STORY. "Sonsabitches! Bumpasses!!!!"
I recently stumbled upon some of his early work in Season 1 of ALFRED HITCHCOCK PRESENTS... he had an episode which was essentially a stare-down between him and another man... in one room, both pissed. The power and pure talent he had for the craft was evident even in this early role way back in 1955. McGavin also appeared in Spielberg's first ever TV movie, SOMETHING EVIL. The movie isn't very good at all, but you can still see the filmmaker that was only a few years from the triple threat of DUEL, SUGARLAND EXPRESS and JAWS peek through here and there, with McGavin once again pulling more than his fair share of the weight.
Strangely enough McGavin appeared with Don Knotts, who also died today, in NO DEPOSIT, NO RETURN and HOT LEAD AND COLD FEET.
Don Knotts' passing made me sad. McGavin's passing has gutted me. My thoughts are with Mr. McGavin's friends, family and fans.
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Feb. 25, 2006, 6:08 p.m. CST
Feb. 25, 2006, 6:09 p.m. CST
by Shawn F.
Fra-geee-layyyy.... RIP, Mr. McGavin. And thanks.
Feb. 25, 2006, 6:10 p.m. CST
by Shawn F.
The 1976 film "No Deposit, No Return" starred Darren McGavin and Don Knotts.
Feb. 25, 2006, 6:12 p.m. CST
Feb. 25, 2006, 6:14 p.m. CST
by Johnny Anarchy
I never saw Kolchak but I am he was omnipresent in most good TV stuff of the time period...as well as an appearance on The X-Files later. This Double Gut Punch of Don Knotts and Darren McGavin is the result of a cruel, cruel god's night of binge drinking. R.I.P. fellas.
Feb. 25, 2006, 6:18 p.m. CST
What is going on? Two of my favorites pass away in one weekend. Next you'll tell me Leonard Nimoy has kicked the bucket. A Christmas Story is the greatest holiday movie of alltime My dad always quotes him cussing out the neighbor's dogs. Rest in peace, and let there be many leg lamp awards to light the path to the pearly gates.
Feb. 25, 2006, 6:19 p.m. CST
I am going to watch the original Night Stalker movie tonight. Great stuff.
Feb. 25, 2006, 6:19 p.m. CST
by Darth Melkor
I don't usually find celebrity deaths all that sad. But this one bums me out.
Feb. 25, 2006, 6:30 p.m. CST
for were "The Six Million Dollar Man" and "Night Stalker." Back to back on the ABC Network on Friday Nights. The man was a great actor who made the show work, as demonstrated in this past season's fiasco of a remake/continuation which did not have the great supporting actors, a convincing lead, nor the writers the original had: Gang, David Chase AND Robert Zemenkis & Bob Gale were credited on the same episode. RIP dear sir. From a fan-----m
Feb. 25, 2006, 6:33 p.m. CST
Granted it wasn't the best adaptation, but McGavin's character was unforgettable. Anyone who opens a diner at a crossroads on Mars will live forever. He will be missed.
Feb. 25, 2006, 6:37 p.m. CST
...Truly sad. A few months ago I bought the Kolchak DVD box and spent a couple of blissful and creepy days reliving the magic of the Night Stalker. Most of the episodes I hadn't seen since I was a kid in the 1970s when they had had a huge impact on me. I remember many sleepless nights cowering in the dark, fearful of the supernatural horror which I had a few hours previously witnessed running rampant in a seemingly normal, modern Chicago environment. Somehow, though, the bumbling yet reassuring presence of American everyman and intrepid reporter Carl Kolchak made me feel that there was still a point in fending off the hordes of darkness, as hopeless as it may have seemed at the time. McGavin
Feb. 25, 2006, 6:45 p.m. CST
by Cheif Brody
have to do with this sad loss? Are you lost or something. I have fond memories of watching Night Stalker. Mr. McGavin took pages on a paper, and transformed them into a living, breathing person in Carl Kolchak. Something alot of TV actors fail to do even today. His gruff but lovable charcters will be sorely missed. RIP Kolchak!
Feb. 25, 2006, 6:51 p.m. CST
Just thought I would throw that in the ring.
Feb. 25, 2006, 6:59 p.m. CST
I still remember cold nights in Canada in the earl seventies. Standing outside the house twisting the tv antenna pole one inch at a time, then going in to see if the tv reception was any better, all the better to catch Night Stalker on whatever damn night or time ABC had stuck the show in that week.
Feb. 25, 2006, 7:12 p.m. CST
sorry, but i got nothing...
Feb. 25, 2006, 7:19 p.m. CST
by Miami Mofo
He was great in The Natural, and I hope he was happy that Jon Favreau and Peter Billingsley brought the A Christmas Story leg lamp back to life in Zathura. R.I.P.
Feb. 25, 2006, 7:21 p.m. CST
by Chief Redcock
Feb. 25, 2006, 7:38 p.m. CST
OK, now I'm P*ssed! First Don Knotts, now Darren McGavin. Both of these guys were the best in their craft. In honor of the passing of Mr. McGavin, I am now stalking the Grim Reaper.......and when I find him, I'm going to take take his scythe and shove it so far up his *ss it's going to split his bones right in two. I will then proceed to the pearly gates, where I will drop what is left of him in front of St. Peter, and tell him he'll have to find someone else to do the dirty work. Of course, my editor, Tony Vincenzo, will never believe the story, and it will never see print, but I'll just adjust my hat, whistle a familiar tune, and stroll out of the office to the nearest bar. Adios Kolchak. You'll be missed. What a crappy day. Since these things come in threes, I nominate the following for the third spot. 1)Margaret Thatcher 2)Justin Timberlake 3)the Shrub and Dick (it's a package deal)
Feb. 25, 2006, 7:42 p.m. CST
by Some Dude
"The Old Man" is the dad.
Feb. 25, 2006, 7:58 p.m. CST
by Lain Of The Net
Darren McGavin is probably why I like the scary stuff so much. I was lucky to have seen Night Stalker the first time around. Bye.
Feb. 25, 2006, 8:06 p.m. CST
Kolchak the Nightstalker was a great show. Too bad it didn't last very long. I wish the remake had done McGavin justice.
Feb. 25, 2006, 8:07 p.m. CST
Thats where I know him from, so sad. will have him in that holiday classic for all time. "SONS A BITCHES!!!"" after the neighbors dogs eat the turkey. leg lamps rule!!!
Feb. 25, 2006, 8:15 p.m. CST
in heaven's pub and raise a glass to cheesy 70s Disney movies. Those films were just classic - they just don't make them like that anymore. Damn, what geniuses these two were. McGavin's range was a bit wider than Knotts', but hell, they were a great team. So many memorable roles besides Kolchak, too. I hope when people visit his grave, someone puts the leg lamp there as a shrine. Or better yet, a coffin that says 'Fragile.' It's Italian, you know. Wow, he'll be missed. I'll have to pour myself a single malt to toast the memory of Don and Darren. Cheers!
Feb. 25, 2006, 8:20 p.m. CST
by Farging Bastige
Only I didn't say fudge. RIP.
Feb. 25, 2006, 8:20 p.m. CST
Or is it only actors who passed in 2005 or since the last Oscars?
Feb. 25, 2006, 8:31 p.m. CST
After a great day playing games with my sons and watching funny videos (thanks Mori for the Electric Company review, the DVDs are as good as I remembered them) I get this sucker punch. Damn it. I called my friend who is one of the biggest DMcG fans out there and he was speecheless. We are losing the best and brightest talent in the entertainment world, folks, drip by drip, inch by inch. Darren was a great actor, and he had a reassuring presence that a lot of the best actors bring. Remember, he also was one of the voices who wanted to end the Night Stalker show before the quality slipped too far. He wasn't just in it for the paycheck. We will not see such accessible and enjoyable acting again, from any of the generation we now have to "entertain" us. Hell, Tom Hanks or Colin Farrell or Russell Crowe are not good enough to shine this man's shoes. God bless you Darren and thanks - You did good. Once again, another favorite I will not have the chance to thank in person. Fuck.
Feb. 25, 2006, 8:34 p.m. CST
by Farging Bastige
Don Knotts, Darren McGavin, and last week Richard Bright (Al Neri in the Godfather series) was killed by a bus in NYC last week.
Feb. 25, 2006, 8:44 p.m. CST
by new alien
I am bummed out seeing these posting although I heard of the Don Knotts passing on tv today. Both gentlemen left fond memories of their work on film and television. Most of you have covered are shared memories, feelings, and moods of their work very well. Funny how the NIGHT STALKER remake did not get what made the original work. Sure some remakes you have to totally change, but others you have to really capture the orignal spirit. Here is to Don and Darren and their work we can enjoy for many years to come. Peace out.
Feb. 25, 2006, 9:03 p.m. CST
this just...I have no words. Just tears.
Feb. 25, 2006, 9:25 p.m. CST
... when you already thought he was dead.
Feb. 25, 2006, 9:32 p.m. CST
Greatest line reading ever.
Feb. 25, 2006, 9:47 p.m. CST
by Admiral Nelson
Oh man -- Carl Kolchak -- one of the greatest TV characters ever. When I first saw "The Night Stalker" ABC TV Movie of the Week back in 1972 (I was 11 at the time), it was one of the scariest things I'd ever seen. I had nightmares when I went to bed, and the next day, EVERY SINGLE kid in my sixth-grade class had watched it, and had gotten the shit scared out of them as well. If ANY Talkbackers here still haven't seen it, watch it now. It's still a damn near perfect mixture of horror and humor, and Carl Kolchak was, and is, the model of an utterly dedicated reporter. Good night, Mr. McGavin -- you will be missed.
Feb. 25, 2006, 9:53 p.m. CST
by Det. John Kimble
Goodbye, sir. Thanks for the laughter.
Feb. 25, 2006, 9:58 p.m. CST
by don knotts' passing than darrin mcgavin's because i only knew darrin mcgavin from billy madison and a christmas story and i know those are comedy classics, but i never really got into any of those two films. i wish my sympthony to darrin mcgavin's friends and family by saving "frag-il-ay, hey! it must be italian!" godspeed to two recent comedy childhood greats who gave many inspiration. i hope that jonathan winters or ricardo montalbon aren't the next ones to go. every time i hear some great talent's passing ON THE INTERNET, i don't have a nice feeling inside because everyone else who grew up watching these greats and having been inspired with their own stuff, has to feel the same way. and it sucks. big time. but as the late great johnny carson put it on his final show in memory of his brother,"life does what it's supposed to do and you accept it" that's all.
Feb. 25, 2006, 10:09 p.m. CST
on other obit talkbacks, I now say sincerely about Don Knotts and Darren McGavin. They were legends. RIP
Feb. 25, 2006, 10:10 p.m. CST
Feb. 25, 2006, 10:16 p.m. CST
with that creepy eye and all. In fact he was good in everything hes done. bummer. they better pay tribute at the oscars, those fuckers better stand up.
Feb. 25, 2006, 10:17 p.m. CST
when i get pissed off
Feb. 25, 2006, 10:22 p.m. CST
I can't say how sad this news makes me. My chest hurts.
Feb. 25, 2006, 10:26 p.m. CST
That these two men appeared together in one of my favorite films growing up, Disney's Hot Lead and Cold Feet. Each give one of his greatest performances as the "Denver Kid" and Mayor Ragsdale. What a depressing oddity... <img src="http://tinyurl.com/pp7pe">
Feb. 25, 2006, 10:43 p.m. CST
I remember watching that show- summer of '74? It was creepy before the XFiles and Millenium made creepy "cool." Favorite line from Christmas Story: "Ah, thanks honey. A can of SIMONIZE.." Darren will live on every Christmas Day on TBS.
Feb. 25, 2006, 10:46 p.m. CST
Being a child of the late 60's and early '70, I can still remember watching the two original 'Night Stalker' movies, and the feeling of being so excited when I heard they were making a weekly series based on Kolchak's character. He was also in a number of TV pilots, He was the orginal Oscar Goldman, he was the original cammanding officer for the pilot of 'The Rookies' ( a '70 cop show), classic as Murphy Brown's father, and god, so many other roles ... Rest Well and Peaceful, you leave behind a multitude of fan who admire and respect your body of work .... and will be missed ...
Feb. 25, 2006, 10:46 p.m. CST
and I think I just noticed he was Frank Black's dad on Millenium? How totally appropriate. Scariest TV show ever.
Feb. 25, 2006, 10:47 p.m. CST
by Cotton McKnight
I have heard the news all this evening, but I never placed the name until now. I have really, REALLY enjoyed his work over the years and he will be sorely missed. God bless him.
Feb. 25, 2006, 10:57 p.m. CST
McGavin did many wonderful audiobook recordings of the Travis McGee novels. I heard these on long family road trips when I was in my pre-teens. He captured the spirit of McGee beautifully. Rest in peace.
Feb. 25, 2006, 11:04 p.m. CST
What the hell is going on today! Badb day for the old favs. Will be missed.
Feb. 25, 2006, 11:11 p.m. CST
Feb. 25, 2006, 11:16 p.m. CST
"He does too, he looks like a pink nightmare." I remember Darren McGavin for so many roles in addition to Christmas Story. Hanger 18 was one of the coolest sci-fi films I saw as a kid.
Feb. 25, 2006, 11:23 p.m. CST
Vaguely. He wore black, like Paladin in "Have Gun, Will Travel." Black must have been the new black back in 1959. In my memory it's a good show. Maybe not as good as Clint Walker's "Cheyenne" or -- well, uh, what was I saying . . .
Feb. 25, 2006, 11:38 p.m. CST
by Bumpasses Dawg
McGavin was great. No one could hold a candle to his performances as Kolchak and in A Christmas Story. I can't think of another actor from my youth that I gave fonder memories of. Thanks Mr McGavin... you made a young geekie kid very happy between the laughs and the scares.
Feb. 25, 2006, 11:56 p.m. CST
Feb. 26, 2006, 12:03 a.m. CST
Great movie, great actor, he'll be missed.
Feb. 26, 2006, 12:12 a.m. CST
by Johnny Smith
See that star? The gold star? That was hung in windows by a family who had lost a loved one in the service overseas. Your mother hung that for her brother, Joe, your Uncle Joe. You didn't know that, did you?Yeah, Joe was stationed in England and we all knew that he was going to be a part of the Allied invasion. We didn't know, of course, nobody knew for sure -guessed. It was a big secret, maybe the biggest secret in the 20th century -- what date that D-Day would begin. It was June 5, 1944, about 8.30 at night, we were all sitting around here listening to the radio; when suddenly, your mother jumped up and blurted out, "The Allies are attacking!" Well, we all looked at her like she had gone nuts, then suddenly, she burst into tears -- huge, weeping tears -- and ran upstairs to that room. Well, she was right, she was right. Joe died in the first wave on the beachhead at Normandy...Yeah, yeah, but I didn't know that for a long time. After that night, she took to that room; she moved out of our bedroom, out of my bed, and she started drawing those little angels. She told me about Joe -- that she had had a vision that he was going to die on D-Day. Well, I believed her, but it, uh, scared me to death. Because in those days, people who saw things, who had visions, that was the first ticket right down to the nuthouse. So I was afraid, I was afraid for both of us, I was afraid for you. You didn't see things quite the way your mother did, but it was clear there was a difference -- in the different sense that you had that others didn't. So there was this ability that your mother had -- that you had -- and that she couldn't turn away from. And I understood that, I sympathized with that, but it was taking my family away. It was taking my wife away: a woman I loved more than anything else in this whole world. I loved her so much, so much...I don't know, Frank, if you can understand how that can happen between a man and a wife...So she told me, no, she had been told, no, she had seen -- that she was about to die. Well, that was the last straw. "You don't see nothin', Linda! Nothing! It's in your mind! You don't see a damn thing!" I told that to you, too! "You saw nothing!" Do you remember Blue Rose Tea?...They used to have those little angel things that you could send away for. Your mother wanted one in the worst way and I wouldn't have the damn things in the house. Fifty-one years ago tonight, she gave in, to ease my mind I now know, but she gave in. She said that she wasn't seeing angels any more. Any more. The last picture she made was with you. And that scared me. That scared me, Frank. That scared me enough that I gave in. I wanted to find one of those little Blue Rose angels. I looked high and low for the damn thing and I finally found one down at the Woolworths...When I gave it to her, she was so touched. We made a pact over that, your mother and I. I told her that I would love her for ever and she said that she would move the figurine to show that she was waiting for me on the other side where I, too, could see the angels and where we could be finally forever together. Fifty-one years ago tonight, Tchaikovsky on the radio, she kissed me goodbye and then moved to you kinds, hugged you, kissed you...Then she rose, and with the most serene smile on her face, she walked up to that room alone, as she wanted. It was the only way it could have been, Frank...And that figurine didn't move an inch in fifty-one years. _________________________________ Rest in peace, Mr. McGavin.
Feb. 26, 2006, 12:16 a.m. CST
my favorite line from that movie
Feb. 26, 2006, 12:20 a.m. CST
Feb. 26, 2006, 12:21 a.m. CST
Feb. 26, 2006, 12:21 a.m. CST
I will miss the man. He sold the Night Stalker series, the good with the bad. I caught him on an old Mission Impossible and he was great. To the other fan of his reading of the Travis McGee books, you're right in the money. My wife worked for 1013 Productions (producers of "The X-Files" and "Millennium") and she got him to sign one of the Travis McGee books on tapes for me. He was caught by surprise because he expected it to be a Night Stalker thing. He said he had been stopped by people who had missed or been late to business meeting because they had to hear him finish off a Travis audio book. She said he was a very nice man. RIP Darren. Indie_DP
Feb. 26, 2006, 12:41 a.m. CST
by Silver Shamrock
His monologue in "Midnight of the Century" always gives me chills. He gave a performance better than most of whats in the theaters these days.
Feb. 26, 2006, 12:53 a.m. CST
Feb. 26, 2006, 1:26 a.m. CST
Sorry to see him go...
Feb. 26, 2006, 1:36 a.m. CST
thanks for your work Mr. McGavin.
Feb. 26, 2006, 1:42 a.m. CST
by Carl's hat
As a long time lurker on this site I"ve never really felt the need to post...until now. I could go on and on about McGavin and the legacy he's left behind but in a way that wouldn't fit with the guy. McGavin was a true tv legend. A guy who was the real deal, not some bullshit, full of himself asshole. He influenced my life in many ways and today I feel like I"ve lost a friend. Thank you Mr Darren McGavin.
Feb. 26, 2006, 2:42 a.m. CST
This has been a terrible, terrible day. Two legends are gone but, they each left a legacy to remember them by forever. Mc Gavin's Hammer was funny, a ladies man and when it came to action, he delivered the goods. Not only would he throw a gun down the stairs but, he'd drag him back up and throw him down a second time. He was a man's man. Sadly, a classy actor like him will never come our way again.
Feb. 26, 2006, 2:43 a.m. CST
This has been a terrible, terrible day. Two legends are gone but, they each left a legacy to remember them by forever. Mc Gavin's Hammer was funny, a ladies man and when it came to action, he delivered the goods. Not only would he throw a guy down the stairs but, he'd drag him back up and throw him down a second time. He was a man's man. Sadly, a classy actor like him will never come our way again.
Feb. 26, 2006, 4:06 a.m. CST
One of the first DVDs that I brought when it came on the market was Kolchak: The Night Stalker. Darren McGavin was perfect in it. To this day it is still one of the best vampire tales I have ever seen.
Feb. 26, 2006, 4:07 a.m. CST
Sorry, it is early, I meant bought
Feb. 26, 2006, 5:23 a.m. CST
Very sorry to hear this. I sent Darren an email last summer. His webmaster acknowledged it so hopefully Darren got it along with many other fans' messages. God bless Darren, say hi to Vincenzo for me.
Feb. 26, 2006, 5:23 a.m. CST
by Agent sith
Y'know the one with the "Italian" Red skull and a ugly ass actor who donned the red,white and blue costume? (with plastic ears). darren starred as a corupt general who worked for the skull.the acting wasn't half bad especially from darren,Ned beatty,scott Paulin and ronny cox. Anyways god bless yo Kolshack and R.I.P. (damn it's been almost a year since Ed Bisho passed and i'm just now hearing about it.) *geekesque tear*
Feb. 26, 2006, 5:27 a.m. CST
Thanks for the memorys , rest in peace.
Feb. 26, 2006, 6:41 a.m. CST
by Master Bruce
But, sadly, it has. Words can't express...was in Kindergarten when I first saw The Night Stalker & I've been a fan of the show & Darren McGavin's ever since...followed the reruns wherever they took me...CBS Late Night, syndication, Sci-Fi Channel, VHS & now DVD. Dan Curtis had a reunion TV Movie script written back in '90 & they never did it...I waited ever since for some network to get McGavin back & produce the damn thing...now, sadly, it'll never happen...Sonsabitches...RIP Darren, you will be missed.
Feb. 26, 2006, 6:52 a.m. CST
Feb. 26, 2006, 7:16 a.m. CST
"KOLCHAK! GET BACK HERE, KOLCHAK!" I have been "stalking" this site for the past few years and managed to resist posting... until now. As a long time champion of the original night Stalker to anyone who'd listen, I just wanted to leave a tribute to a great actor on a site populated with like-minded people. RIP Mr McGavin, you made a lot of people happy.
Feb. 26, 2006, 8:04 a.m. CST
by Mission Code Z
I felt like I lost a friend yesterday also. Not only did Darren McGavin make the Carl Kolchak character so memorable and lasting, but he respected the show and the fans till the very end. Like wazzamazza, Carl's hat, and others here, I have been a longtime lurker, but felt the need to finally post to pay the proper respect. Another great one leaves us for that soundstage in the sky. R.I.P. Mr. McGavin.
Feb. 26, 2006, 9:13 a.m. CST
R.I.P. Mr. McGavin. Herc's mention of your involvement in THE SIX MILLION DOLLAR MAN project makes me wonder yet again - Where the hell are the DVDs?
Feb. 26, 2006, 9:39 a.m. CST
"You use up all the glue...ON PURPOSE!" ...sigh.
Feb. 26, 2006, 9:41 a.m. CST
I echo the sentiment of the other posters.... Thanks for the memories, the performances, the laughs, and the example of what it means to be a professional at one's craft. I pray that you've entered into His rest.
Feb. 26, 2006, 9:55 a.m. CST
by Napoleon Park
Mike Hammer and Riverboat were a bit before my time, but I loved McGavin as private eye David Ross in "The Outsider", a wonderful, amusing, exciting, entertaining series that had the unfortunately luck to be on Wednesday night at 10:00 and debut opposite the first episode of Hawaii Five-0, which went on to be one of the years biggest new hits. "The Outsider", unfortunately, failed for low ratings back in the days when there were only three commercial networks plus PBS to choose from. Iit was a great show, sort of pre-Rockford with a similar vibe. * McGavin was also terrific in the made for Tv film "Tribes" as the tough as nails Hawk drill sergeant who comes to respect the viewpoint of the pacifist draftee he's trying to break. Those were my favorite McGavin roles, not to diminish Kolchak or The Old Man from "A Christmas Story", both of which were classic.
Feb. 26, 2006, 10:36 a.m. CST
First Don Knotts passes on and now Darren McGaven. The man who is the ONLY embodiement of Carl Kolchak and Ralphie's Old Man from "A Christmas Story" will always live on in the hearts and minds of people who truly respected and revered this wonderful man. My head hangs low at this news. He will truly be missed as he was a terrific actor.
Feb. 26, 2006, 10:44 a.m. CST
by Dark Knight Lite
... in that great newsroom in the sky. It's hard to describe the impact the first TV movie had on me and the kids in my 3rd grade class. I remember one of the girls couldn't sleep that night, and went home sick from school. Kolchak: The Night Stalker has been in constant play in our house since the dawn of video. We had taped combo episodes off CBS called "Crackle of Death", then graduated to the Columbia House VHS tapes. Then in the 90's we laid out over $800 for the laserdisc set from Japan. Of course I was at the WalMart at 12am to get the dvd set out of the box a couple of months ago. My wife is even more upset than I am - we love that show and Darren McGavin will surely be missed. If you've never seen, "The Night Stalker" or "The Night Strangler", do yourself a favor, and track them down, then watch the series - it's time well spent.
Feb. 26, 2006, 10:53 a.m. CST
Though I had watched them many, many times before, I was in the mood to have the Night Stalker DVDs playing in the background while I worked last night. RIP Carl, Old Man, Darrin McGavin.
Feb. 26, 2006, 10:59 a.m. CST
Wow. Him and Don Knotts in one fell swoop. Kolchak was the best. I hope gets ample reward in the hereafter just for that, but he has the Christmas Story under his belt, so one hopes he gets paradise x 2.
Feb. 26, 2006, 11:04 a.m. CST
He gave his characters such neat little quirks. In Turk, he nailed the part of a NYC detective who was sarcastic, yet kind-hearted. And he was so compelling to watch in The Natural as the man with the glass eye. I loved the scene when he guessed how much money Redford had in his pocket. Thanks for the memories, sir. You will be missed.
Feb. 26, 2006, 11:04 a.m. CST
Damn, this was a show I loved in sindication during my childhood.
Feb. 26, 2006, 11:30 a.m. CST
Just got through watching that this morning. What an underated movie that was!
Feb. 26, 2006, 11:42 a.m. CST
Now he can truly be spinning in his grave in response to that abomination they tried to pass off as "The Night Stalker." RIP Darren McGavin. You will be missed.
Feb. 26, 2006, 12:36 p.m. CST
and that fragile line always cracks me up, and it's because the way Darren delivers that line. Perfection. RIP
Feb. 26, 2006, 12:39 p.m. CST
..."The Night Stalker" would mess with my young mind week in and week out...and I couldn't wait to talk about it at school. McGavin remained a fave character actor for me ever since. Damn...first Barney, now Kolchak...what a morning.
Feb. 26, 2006, 3:26 p.m. CST
My son had to interview me last week for a school assignment, and one of the questions was "What is your favorite TV show?" My answer then, as it has been since the fall of 1975, was "Kolchak: The Night Stalker." Perfect marriage of character and actor. Rest in peace, Mr. McGavin. You brought a LOT of joy to a lot of people... :(
Feb. 26, 2006, 3:55 p.m. CST
This is indeed sad news. I wish it would have been a bogus news story, just like the SciFi Wire's news story a few months back that I caught and brought to their attention. Sad. What is really sad is that actors like McGavin - who have/had so much talent - rarely are monetarily compensated in comparison to hacks like the Tom Cruises of Tinseltown. That is the true injustice of the trade. Perhaps now ABC, NBC Universal, and Dan Curtis and Jeff Rice will hammer out their disputed rights to the Kolchak property and us fans might get a proper Kolchak film on the silver screen...with some actor who has the gravitas and moxy to take over the mantle. Call me a fanboy but I still think only Bruce Campbell has that moxy to wear that straw hat and deliberately cheap blue suit. Paging Mr. Fincher.
Feb. 26, 2006, 3:56 p.m. CST
this really sucks. i just keep thinking of how I was only 8 when A Christmas Story released and how old Gavin looks after only 2/3 of my lifetime. man. where does the time go. he was 81, so, that's good. man. i'm 31. will 50 years pass as quickly for me too? i hope he enjoyed his life. every year I watch A Christmas Story. it's my It's a Wonderful Life. man. this does gut you.
Feb. 26, 2006, 5:06 p.m. CST
by Alonzo Mosely
Truely an actor I would have watched in anything... I was a huge Kolchak fan, but others have mined that, so I will turn to one of my favorite 'bad movies' of all-time, the zombie buddy cop flick 'Dead Heat' in which he shared scenes with not only Treat Williams and Joe Piscopo, but got to ham along as joint bad-guy with Vincent Price. God bless ya man, my life was better for your work...
Feb. 26, 2006, 6:12 p.m. CST
dana elcar was his boss in KTNS. Think he died recently too. Fragile'! That's Italian! This is a MAJOR AWARD!! Classic.
Feb. 26, 2006, 8:16 p.m. CST
remember that great episode of Tales From The Darkside he was in, where the aliens who were watching the old detective show via long range tv waves came to earth to finish it? They got the writer back and hunted him down and got him back up to health and off the booze so he looked like he did back in the day? Lenny Von Dohlen played the alien, the guy from Electric Dreams. I thought that was just neat. Went back to his days as Mike Hammer, so I perfect casting. Never be another like him.
Feb. 26, 2006, 8:37 p.m. CST
Did the Rapture perhaps come, and we missed the boat? Seems like all the good ones are going.
Feb. 26, 2006, 9:19 p.m. CST
by Darth Thoth
But I thank God for their lives and the way they impacted us all. They will live forever. God bless them and may they RIP.
Feb. 26, 2006, 9:30 p.m. CST
This one really hurts. When I think about my favorite television shows from my childhood, there are really only two that still hold the same fascination for me to this day. One of them is THE WILD, WILD, WEST, starring Robert Conrad and Ross Martin, and the other is KOLCHAK: THE NIGHT STALKER. Darren McGavin's portrayal of reporter Carl Kolchak was (in my opinion) one of the greatest characters ever created for television. He was the unlikely hero... the original "every man" that we average television viewers could relate to. And, of course, he was "one helluva reporter!" I just have to share a particularly memorable Kolchak experience from my past. I remember watching the episode entitled HORROR IN THE HEIGHTS one late night at my friend's house. This particularly creepy episode featured a creature called a rakshasa(sp?) which would assume the shape of someone who the victims knew and trusted before it killed them. After the show, I made my way home in the night, and braved a shortcut along the railroad tracks which ran through my neighborhood. I saw a figure in the distance approaching and was a little startled to discover that it was someone that I knew but had not see for years. Needless to say, I was pretty freaked out. The really funny thing is that when I explained the situation to him, he told me that he had just seen the episode himself, so he was similarly spooked. You can't make stuff up like that. lol Anyway, the show was great, and was made even greater by the actors in it. The greatest of these was Darren McGavin.
Feb. 26, 2006, 9:33 p.m. CST
...what a great movie 'The Night Stalker' is. I just think it's got one of the sharpest scripts ever written for a 'TV movie'. McGavin is a legend in Horror circles for Kolchak alone and I know we'll all miss the cool bastard.
Feb. 26, 2006, 10:38 p.m. CST
by Red Ned Lynch
Yeah, this one hurts a lot. You must have been pretty good at your job, Darren. Can't picture my childhood without Kolchak in it, or the weird little glee I always got afterward when I saw you in something else. Years before I could name the whole cast of the House on Haunted Hill remake, I knew you. By name, by face, when I barely registered most performers at all. And it was because of the thrill and fun and excitement you generated in Kolchak that I became, for better or worse, the kind of person who can name all the cast to The House on Haunted Hill. Thanks, Darren. I will never forget you.
Feb. 26, 2006, 11:41 p.m. CST
I also just saw it. He and this other dude are in a saloon, both have got their hands on their guns and are waiting for the other guy to draw first. It last for about 20 minutes this showdown is pretty friggin funny. But of course, love The Old Man. "Its a Clinkerrrr!!"
Feb. 27, 2006, 12:07 a.m. CST
by Farging Bastige
Ernest Borgnine is 89 and still working (G-d bless him). I have no idea why this came to my mind.
Feb. 27, 2006, 1:32 a.m. CST
by Col. Klink
It was called "My Summer Story" and had an all different cast following the further adventures of Ralphie Parker. The father part in the sequel was played by Charles Grodin! http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0110168/
Feb. 27, 2006, 3:56 a.m. CST
by Bumpasses Dawg
Heartsick over this :( I just lost someone in my family ecently, and this feels so similar you'd think Darren McGavin was family as well. It's a rare, rare thing that an actor can be so well liked, and his characters so identifiable that it feels like you've lost family when they pass. I was very sad to hear of Don Knott's passing as well. I always liked him and admired his work. But I agree with Quint, and think his word were perfect. This one gutted me. It's a great tribute to the effectiveness of his work, this large hole in my heart. I just ordered the Night Stalker DVD, and will attempt to fill the hole with fond memories (damned AP called the series The Night Prowler in it's obit!). By the way, the X-Files episode he's on will air Weds the 1st at 2am, so set your TIVO if you want to catch it and some ZZZs at the same time. Speaking of which... rest in peace Mr. McGavin. And thanks again.
Feb. 27, 2006, 4:36 a.m. CST
by The PimpDragon
The entire incident with the leg lamp is one of the funniest things I've ever seen still to this day! From "Frajeelay" to through gritted teeth "You used all the glue....on purpose!" to the ultimate "NOT A FINGAH!", I can't think of a funnier scene in any holiday film (and most comedies in general for that matter). But the heart he shows when he's watching Ralphie load his Red Ryder always makes my eyes moist. He HAD to get Ralphie that gift and you see it in his face and in his eyes in that scene. Darren McGavin was a true Hollywood treasure in every sense of the word and his passing leaves an emptiness that cannot and will not be filled. Rest in Peace, good sir.
Feb. 27, 2006, 5:58 a.m. CST
I learned of the news of Darrin McGavin the same time I learned of Don Knotts, a day too late. I feel like the heel who missed a great wake. A give my words for Don in his thread. For McGavin, little more can be said outside what has already been told. A great actor. A fine man. Didn
Feb. 27, 2006, 8:42 a.m. CST
Aww Christ. Some more childhood memories... Sheer genius in Christmas Story and Kolchak... RIP Darren.
Feb. 27, 2006, 12:40 p.m. CST
by Sam Bones
Just so you know. The original airing of THE NIGHT STALKER TV movie on ABC-TV was THE highest rated showing of a TV movie at that time (and was on the top ten list for many years). A fact that blew television executives and news critics away (which led to another TV film, THE NIGHT STRANGLER, and series). The TV series was never as good as that first TV movie. Darren McGavin made loser reporter Carl Kolchack (and make no mistake he's busted, down and out at the end of the story) seem achingly real, sad, cynical, an opportunist and yet an unabashed idealist looking for more than a story while dressed in a shabby suit. The film somehow took a vampire story, set it in Vegas and made it about a reporter exposing corruption and cover-ups along with delivering some of the best damn creepy scenes ever done on TV at the time. Darren McGavin as an actor was a revelation to me back in high school when I first saw THE NIGHT STALKER. Every kid in my school watched that movie and every kid thought it was the best thing they'd ever seen. I still think it's one of the best vampire movies ever done. But you had Richard Matheson, a god among genre writers, creating the screenplay based on Jeff Rice's book (actually I don't think Rice's book got published until AFTER the film aired). And look at that incredible cast! Simon Oakland. Ralph Meeker. Claude Akins. Kent Smith. Hell, they even have Elisha Cook, Jr.! And Barry Atwater as the vampire. There was something so weird and REAL about his vampire. That's it. It was just a vampire story but...it seemed like if there really WAS a vampire operating in the world, this is how it would do things. Kill in Vegas where victims AT NIGHT are plenty. Rob blood banks and keep a captive victim alive with that stolen blood to feast upon. Shit, I can never forget that riot with the cops at the hospital, guns blasting and that motorcycle going out of control as the vampire sidesteps it like its playing touch football and runs into the night. If you've never seen the ORIGINAL TV movie, THE NIGHT STALKER, go buy or rent it NOW. Thanks for everything, Mr. McGavin. You made a difference in my life and the art I aspire to.
Feb. 27, 2006, 12:54 p.m. CST
by Sam Bones
See how the "thinking" fans rate the original TV movie of THE NIGHT STALKER at the imdb. Some terrific insightful comments are posted and a great read as a remembrance of McGavin. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0067490/usercomments
Feb. 27, 2006, 2:07 p.m. CST
Dennis Weaver just died as well....a depressing trifecta....
Feb. 27, 2006, 2:21 p.m. CST
Three of the people responsible for countless hours of joy I had as a kid have been taken in the past three days. Enough already! Don, Darren and Dennis. RIP, good gentlemen. Already missed dearly.
Feb. 27, 2006, 2:44 p.m. CST
Did Dennis Weaver just die today?
Feb. 27, 2006, 3:13 p.m. CST
And this is truly sad news.
Feb. 27, 2006, 8:02 p.m. CST
you will be missed Darren McGavin.
Feb. 28, 2006, 1:17 a.m. CST
"...you've got a big day ahead of you tomorrow...filled with daquiris, nintendos, jack-off magazines...." Rest In Peace Mr. McGavin.
Feb. 28, 2006, 9:10 a.m. CST
Who are these people? Hey, I heard the guy who mixed the fake blood for Fight Club died yesterday. He was a true genius. His work will live forever. Man!
Feb. 28, 2006, 9:48 p.m. CST
by Alonzo Mosely
Darren McGavin and Don Knotts are, I suggets you get an sort of historical film and TV knowledge before ever opening your mouth on the subject again...
Feb. 28, 2006, 10:20 p.m. CST
by wilbur gray
I wonder if ABC still has the broadcast rights to the original 1971 film?It would be a nice tribute to McGavin if the film were televised in prime time again after all these years.While they're at it,they could also schedule Duel in honor of Dennis Weaver.Maybe on a Wednesday instead of Lost & Invasion reruns.With the right promotion,they're sure to get a big audience.
March 1, 2006, 12:56 a.m. CST
That's amazing, Hercules. I didn't realize that Don Knotts and Darren McGavin had acted together twice... any idea if those two ever acted with Dennis Weaver? *That* would have been strange. I spent a couple of days putting together a pretty comprehensive (though mostly Kolchak-related) tribute to Darren. If anyone here would like to see it, please feel free to check it out: http://www.horror.com/php/article-1166-1.html I'm glad to see that AICN liked the DVD -- I think it was one of the best of 2005. Thanks, Staci
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