Posted by: Loren Coleman on February 26th, 2006
The Night Stalker is dead. Darren McGavin died at the age of 83, early on Saturday, February 25, 2006, in California.
Kolchak: The Night Stalker, starring Darren McGavin in the lead role, in two television movies and in one of the shortest but most memorable television series (1974-1975), had frequent creature themes. It is often discussed with affection by cryptofiction fans.
McGavin in the 1970s as "Carl Kolchak"
As the Internet Movie Database notes: "Carl Kolchak was a reporter for Chicago’s Independent News Service, and a trouble magnet for situations involving the supernatural. Kolchak turned his investigative skills to vampires, werewolves, zombies and all manner of legendary creatures, but in the end he always failed to convince his skeptical editor, Tony Vincenzo, that the stories weren’t products of Kolchak’s own overworked imagination."
The man who played the science fictional Night Stalker was a man of mystery himself. As Forbes comments in its obituary: "Born in Spokane, Wash., McGavin was sketchy in interviews about his childhood. He told TV Guide in 1973 that he was a constant runaway at 10 and 11, and as a teen lived in warehouses in Tacoma, Wash., and dodged the police and welfare workers. His parents disappeared, he said."
A little known fact is that the Night Stalker stories were vaguely based on the work of Fortean investigator and writer John A. Keel, best known for his The Mothman Prophecies. Even physically, McGavin outwardly resembled Keel.
John A. Keel, in 2002
Darren McGavin pictured in 2003, greeting fans
Cryptomundo mourns a great actor who filled several wonderful roles, from reporter Carl Kolchak in The Night Stalker to Agent Arthur Dales in The X-Files.