Long before agents Mulder and Scully tracked aliens and monsters through a byzantine maze of government secrecy, corrupt corporations and assassinations by everyone from the Smoking Man to the Internet, intrepid fallen-from-grace Chicago newspaper reporter Carl Kolchak was outflanking pig-headed editors and stonewalling official run vampires to ground on the mean streets of pre-family-friendly Las Vegas.
Also the fictionalized snapshot into craft of pre-internet, pre-blogger, pre-smartphone-video, pre-laptop journalism circa 1974 makes for a fascinating time capsule.
Fun facts about The Night Stalker (Or Kolchak: The Night Stalker for you lovable pedants):
- It was based on an unpublished novel by Jeff Rice (when was the last time that happened?).
- It was adapted for teevee by the astonishingly prolific Richard Matheson, who wrote (among other things) 14 scripts for the original Twilight Zone and the vampire apocalypse novel I Am Legend which has been made into a move three times and to which virtually every modern vampire/zombie apocalypse novel, movie or teevee series owes a debt.
- And speaking of debt, a character named "Senator Richard Matheson" appears in The X-Files a few times. This was Chris Carter's public tip-of-the-hat to Matheson's influence on the show, in the same way that Babylon Five's favorite malevolent Psi Cop "Alfred Bester" was named by J. Michael Straczynski to honor the author Alfred Bester, who dove heavily into the idea of telepathic police in his 1953 novel, The Demolished Man, which is still a terrific read 60 years later but which you will never hear about until someone at The Daily Beast "discovers" it :-)