Saturday, December 16, 2017

Spontaneous Human Combustion Was a Thing in the 70’s, or Thoughts on Kolchak: The Night Stalker Episode Six, Firefall

Carl always writes the story he’s interested in, and in most cases, (well, all of them), that story involves mysterious deaths.  In Firefall he chases a pyro-ghost doppelganger who’s immolating the close friends of some famous Chicago conductor.  The doppelganger angle, and how to defeat it, is explained by a nice Gypsy lady who actually believes him, for once.  Watch out for David Doyle, Bosley from the original Charlie’s Angels, as a fire expert.  Or he might be an insurance expert, the episode wasn’t clear.
Some random observations: Ron plays the French horn, which isn’t a euphemism, (except yeah, it sorta is), the INS keeps their deep storage files in the men’s room and while we can all agree that one of the stars of the series is Carl’s gorgeous vintage lemon yellow 1966 Mustang, but is it supposed to be a piece of junk in 1974?  Is this a Millennium Falcon situation?  And how does he find the perfect parking spaces in downtown Chicago?  And who drives up, directly into a crime scene in progress, jumps out, elbows the cops out of the way and starts taking photos?  That’s Kolchak for you, he’s fearless when it comes to getting the story first.

PREVIOUSLY, on Kolchak: The Night Stalker:  Carl Takes a Moonlit Cruise, or Thoughts on Kolchak: The Night Stalker Episode Five, The Werewolf

NEXT, on Kolchak: The Night Stalker:  Tom Skerritt is Discount TV Damien, or Thoughts on Kolchak: The Night Stalker Episode Seven, The Devil’s Platform



you can read my books for free on amazon kindle,  or buy the paperbacks, available at fine bookstores everywhere (or really, just on amazon). 

Friday, December 15, 2017

Chicago’s Favorite Vampire Slayer on Sunset, or Thoughts on Kolchak: The Night Stalker Episode Four, The Vampire


Carl goes to Hollywood to write an article on Transcendental Meditation and discovers a vampire escort service, which you have to admit, is a clever twist on the Jack the Ripper theme; hooker slashing johns instead of vice versa.  He’s able to antagonize another city’s police department while still giving his long-suffering editor Tony Vincenzo heartburn over the phone.  If you’ve ever had a fetish for a vamp in a 70’s polyester pantsuit, this is the episode for you.
I appreciate The Night Stalker series going with the traditional, old-school vampires, with the requisite sunlight allergies, cross phobias and the old stakey-stakey in the heart.  It just makes things easier.  The episode also bookends nicely with the 1972 TV movie, The Night Stalker; one of the victims of the Las Vegas vampire returns to Los Angeles, where Carl, in an extraordinary coincidence, gets to trap her in a flaming cross circle in the Hollywood hills.  Very cinematic, maybe not so much in these more inclusive and sensitive times.  But dude, he's fighting vampires, stop trying to co-opt Carl's message.


PREVIOUSLY, on Kolchak: The Night Stalker: The Truth Was Out There For Carl, or Thoughts on Kolchak: The Night Stalker Episode Three, They Have Been, They Are, They Will Be...

NEXT, on Kolchak: The Night Stalker: Carl Takes a Moonlit Cruise, or Thoughts on Kolchak: The Night Stalker Episode Five, The Werewolf



you can read my books for free on amazon kindle,  or buy the paperbacks, available at fine bookstores everywhere (or really, just on amazon). 

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Kolchak Takes a Moonlit Cruise, or Thoughts on The Night Stalker Episode Five, The Werewolf

I never get tired of that Courier font, it’s so evocative of the series and quickly establishes a theme: journalism, typewriters, and story, while in The Werewolf (guess what this episode is about), Carl finagles a free cruise to escape the bitter Chicago winter.  Ostensibly to write an article on the singles movement (it’s a single’s cruise, a “love boat”, if you will), our intrepid reporter for the INS gets bored with the lifestyle column and decides to run down the murders that the ship is trying to keep quiet.  There’s no police to antagonize but never fear, Carl makes up for it by upsetting the captain while impersonating his son. 
The Werewolf is especially enjoyable for the motley crew of oddballs Carl somehow convinces to help him: Paula, a comely single brunette, George, a sketchy purser, and a lapsed Catholic priest (he needs a blessing in Latin).  By episode 5 the series also settled into a comfortable formula: there’s a monster, Carl knows it’s a monster, the authorities won’t accept a supernatural explanation, leaving it up to Carl to kill the monster.  However circumstances conspire and Carl is never able to print the real story or tell the truth.  But he confides in us, the audience, and that creates a shared bond and a sense of intimacy, we’re friends with Carl, he’s our buddy, and we share in his successes and failures.  And regrettably, him being Carl Kolchak and all, there’s a lot of failing.   
   



PREVIOUSLY, on Kolchak: The Night Stalker: Chicago’s Favorite Vampire Slayer on Sunset, or Thoughts on Episode Four, The Vampire


NEXT, on Kolchak: The Night Stalker: Spontaneous Human Combustion Was a Thing in the 70’s, or Thoughts on Episode Six, Firefall


you can read my books for free on amazon kindle,  or buy the paperbacks, available at fine bookstores everywhere (or really, just on amazon).