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JohnHopper

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The chapters menu from “The Youth Killer”.

19_youth_.jpg
 

JohnHopper

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As in “Legacy of Terror”, find again Kolchak’s working idiosyncrasy: taking a random picture by accident in the scene of the crime or in front of the foe like an innocent bystander to avoid censorship: see the Max Match meeting with Helen Surtees.

 

JohnHopper

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As in “The Zombie”, Kolchak betrays himself and displays his clumsiness with the bad use of his tape recorder during a crucial event and, here, at a secret ceremony at Max Match that Kolchak defines as “the midnight interview”.

 

Matt Hough

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The episode has a lot going for it even if I don't quite understand how Helen's ritual wears off so fast early on and then seems to take hold longer near the end of the episode. Does she need a certain number of victims for the youthfulness to last? I haven't seen the episode in a few months, so I forget the basics of her powers in her deal with Hecate.

What I do remember is that Gordy's desire for a color TV for the morgue is hilarious, and this is the last episode to feature all of the core cast, so it has a special place in my pantheon.
 

JohnHopper

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The episode has a lot going for it even if I don't quite understand how Helen's ritual wears off so fast early on and then seems to take hold longer near the end of the episode. Does she need a certain number of victims for the youthfulness to last? I haven't seen the episode in a few months, so I forget the basics of her powers in her deal with Hecate.

What I do remember is that Gordy's desire for a color TV for the morgue is hilarious, and this is the last episode to feature all of the core cast, so it has a special place in my pantheon.

The main drawbacks of this episode is the lack of budget and the poor production values and it shows. At this stage of the series, the freshness and the energy are gone and it feels like a tired attempt to finish off the season. Anyway, without the guest actress, the episode would have been very dull.
 

High C

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Good analysis, Mr. Hopper, of what a pastiche of previous tropes this episode is. Consider it took Star Trek three seasons (or at least into season 2 to do that), and it took only 19 episodes for Kolchak to get to this point.

Still, I won't deny that the presence of Cathy Lee Crosby in a Greek goddess outfit makes this a lot more, err, palatable to me than the previous 'human sacrifice' ep. And I think CLC's performance is solid, too and believable. I was under the impression she is supposed to be the 'real' Helen of Troy, which is odd, because, of course, she was a legend, but still a mortal. I guess the writing didn't make that plot point clear to me.

It's too bad they didn't scrap this concept and just go with the 'siren' mythology, which is kind of what they're dancing on the edge of anyway. But obviously they didn't have the budget to simulate boats being wrecked on the shores of Lake Michigan!
 

ScottRE

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Good analysis, Mr. Hopper, of what a pastiche of previous tropes this episode is. Consider it took Star Trek three seasons (or at least into season 2 to do that), and it took only 19 episodes for Kolchak to get to this point.
Some shows just burn out so quickly. The really short series, the one season wonders, can turn into a mere shadow of their original selves so fast that it feels like a decade passed creatively. The Time Tunnel and V were two series that, in the end, were almost parodies of their original concepts. V in particular was running on empty in those last weeks. No money, most of the cast killed off and some of the laziest writing I've seen in a major network series.

Kolchak was kind of a Dead End series, mostly because it's impossible to sustain the concept when you don't leave Chicago. If they had him traveling the country, it may have really been a winner for the network.
 

Philip Verdieck

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A better plan might have been two or three episode arcs thus not blowing through their entire catalog of ghouls in a single season. But at the time, that kind of serialized storytelling was not the norm. It was case-of-the-week whether it be a doctor, lawyer, police, education, or journalism show.
Agreed. Occasionally shows might have one 2-parter during the season. I can recall a couple Rockford Files, 1 Star Trek and a Battlestar Galactica that were 2-parters.

What McGavin wanted existed on TV a series with an overall arc over a lot of episodes.

But it was much more limited in duration: Mini-Series.
 

JohnHopper

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Still, I won't deny that the presence of Cathy Lee Crosby in a Greek goddess outfit makes this a lot more, err, palatable to me than the previous 'human sacrifice' ep. And I think CLC's performance is solid, too and believable. I was under the impression she is supposed to be the 'real' Helen of Troy, which is odd, because, of course, she was a legend, but still a mortal. I guess the writing didn't make that plot point clear to me.

The writers had the Greek mythology wrong or messy. Oddly enough, the script was penned by story editor Rudolph Borchert and polished by story consultant David Chase (uncredited). The episode feels rushed and cheap as the last three episodes.

It's too bad they didn't scrap this concept and just go with the 'siren' mythology, which is kind of what they're dancing on the edge of anyway. But obviously they didn't have the budget to simulate boats being wrecked on the shores of Lake Michigan!

The series renewed itself from episode 6 by introducing new folklores and the Greek mythology could have been interesting but since it was an end of the line episode, it went wasted and poorly treated.
 

High C

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Two really good points here by ScottRE (I was attempting to quote and messed up).

'Some shows just burn out so quickly. The really short series, the one season wonders, can turn into a mere shadow of their original selves so fast that it feels like a decade passed creatively. The Time Tunnel and V were two series that, in the end, were almost parodies of their original concepts.'

Time Tunnel really was kind of retro-fitted, so to speak, because it was done to take advantage, it seems to me, of a lot of the films in Fox's vaults. Thus is got repetitious, plus you're writing the scripts around the old footage to some extent.

Kolchak was kind of a Dead End series, mostly because it's impossible to sustain the concept when you don't leave Chicago. If they had him traveling the country, it may have really been a winner for the network.

Yes, being locked in Chitown is a big issue, and I think there's another problem and McGavin might not have been happy with the potential solution. Sometimes I would have liked to have seen, especially, say, in the Skerritt and Crosby episodes with a semi-human baddie, what makes the villain tick besides avarice or vanity? That's commonplace today, giving the villain a backstory, but not so much back then. But that's time away from Kolchak.
 

High C

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The writers had the Greek mythology wrong or messy. Oddly enough, the script was penned by story editor Rudolph Borchert and polished by story consultant David Chase (uncredited). The episode feels rushed and cheap as the last three episodes.



The series renewed itself from episode 6 by introducing new folklores and the Greek mythology could have been interesting but since it was an end of the line episode, it went wasted and poorly treated.
Well-said (I think I've got this quote thing figured out now).

I feel like they also were trying to make a statement about the folly of the modern quest for youth as opposed to aging gracefully but it likely got lost somewhere in the rewrites. And as you alluded to, they needed to spend more time with Kaz because they messed up the mythology.
 

JohnHopper

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Well-said (I think I've got this quote thing figured out now).

I feel like they also were trying to make a statement about the folly of the modern quest for youth as opposed to aging gracefully but it likely got lost somewhere in the rewrites. And as you alluded to, they needed to spend more time with Kaz because they messed up the mythology.


The theme of eternal youth is as old as the question of immortality. The ancient Greek defines this impossible quest as the hubris or the Prometheus pride. What you stated about the folly of the modern quest for youth is a criticism on the urban, industrial, rationalistic and hedonistic America that is based on constructivism. In that context, Kolchak as well as the monster are remains, at odds with the contemporaries. One Mission: Impossible episode also tackled that theme: the season 6 “The Visitors”.
 

ScottRE

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Two really good points here by ScottRE (I was attempting to quote and messed up).

'Some shows just burn out so quickly. The really short series, the one season wonders, can turn into a mere shadow of their original selves so fast that it feels like a decade passed creatively. The Time Tunnel and V were two series that, in the end, were almost parodies of their original concepts.'

Time Tunnel really was kind of retro-fitted, so to speak, because it was done to take advantage, it seems to me, of a lot of the films in Fox's vaults. Thus is got repetitious, plus you're writing the scripts around the old footage to some extent.

Kolchak was kind of a Dead End series, mostly because it's impossible to sustain the concept when you don't leave Chicago. If they had him traveling the country, it may have really been a winner for the network.

Yes, being locked in Chitown is a big issue, and I think there's another problem and McGavin might not have been happy with the potential solution. Sometimes I would have liked to have seen, especially, say, in the Skerritt and Crosby episodes with a semi-human baddie, what makes the villain tick besides avarice or vanity? That's commonplace today, giving the villain a backstory, but not so much back then. But that's time away from Kolchak.
The Time Tunnel sometimes worked really well, other times not. The leads were, sadly, dull cardboard cutouts, but when they were given something to do, they were great. This didn't happen often. But even as late as "The Death Merchant" (the Gettysburg episode), the show could still bring in a solid win.

Kolchak, like a lot of shows spun off from successful TV movies, should have remained in its original format. Having Kolchak TV movies a few times a year would have been great.

Having said that, I still really love the series. A lot of that is because of the cast more than the stories, but when the show worked, it was great. I thought it was fun.

Sadly, according to McGavin, "it may be fun to WATCH but it wasn't fun to MAKE." Still he was a solid enough actor to put everything into it even though he hated the experience.
 

High C

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Sadly, according to McGavin, "it may be fun to WATCH but it wasn't fun to MAKE." Still he was a solid enough actor to put everything into it even though he hated the experience.
Yeah, I've never read the Mark Dawidziak book(s), but apparently McGavin and Cy Chermak were at odds, per Dawidziak. It was a troubled production.

I would not have wanted to lose the byplay between Carl and his co-workers, Carl and the experts, Carl and the cops. I could've done with less of Carl's increasingly 'samey' escapades sneaking into places if it resulted in more character development for the 'humanoid' villains.
 

High C

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BTW, this may have been mentioned on this board, and I won't put in a link, but any of you McGavin fans should go to YT and check out the 1950s PSA 'A Word To The Wives' featuring McGavin as a put-upon husband. He first appears around the 4-minute mark. A lot of you probably know about it, but it's great fun if you can put up with the sexism of the day and enjoy his stuff. He sometimes seems to be channeling Kolchak, except with kids.
 
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JohnHopper

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Episode #20
“The Sentry”
written by L. Ford Neale and John Huff
directed by Seymour Robbie
music score by Jerry Fielding (stock)
guests: Kathie Browne, Albert Paulsen, John Hoyt, Frank Marth, Tom Bosley, Cliff Norton, Frank Campanella, Margaret Avery, Lew Brown, Keith Walker, Bill Deiz, Greg Finley, Tom Moses


The MA Inc. receptionist: “There was a Mr. Kolchak. I believe he was with a nickel firm in New Mexico.”
Lieutenant Irene Lamont: “He’s got nothing to do with nickel. He’s the proverbial bad penny.”


Item: It’s an amusing, lighthearted and ‘very’ minor episode salvaged by a wide array of colorful guest characters working in the Merrymount Archive Incorporated building that includes the wife of Darren McGavin playing the only female police head named Lieutenant Irene Lamont who first seduces the people and then reacts vividly against Kolchak and even defines his car as the Yellow submarine (Cf. The 1969 Beatles album)! As in “The Youth Killer”, find another young blood and objective police head and, unlike it, Kolchak keeps on provoking this new police head by giving her derogatory German monikers. This is really the end of the line episode in which they show the same chase scene: see the golf cart escape scene at the start of Act 1 as a preview and at the end of the final Act. That episode can be seen as a rework of “The Energy Eater” because you find another lower level incident with cracked walls—here, the underground storage vaults—, the lobby of Universal City’s MCA Black Tower and another monster disturbed by workers: tool packer Howard Kimper in sector ‘R’, electrician Larry Coogan in sector ‘M’. Some reviewers and critics state that the main plot of the monster protecting its eggs and killing intruders indirectly borrows from a Star Trek episode entitled “The Devil in the Dark”. The best part goes to actor Albert Paulsen as betrayed and paranoid geologist Dr. James Verhyden who almost blows the cover of Kolchak.

MA Inc. vice president Jack Flaherty: “Don’t you think you’re just being a little oversensitive?”
Dr. James Verhyden: “Paranoid?”
MA Inc. vice president Jack Flaherty: “I said oversensitive.”
Dr. James Verhyden: “Paranoid, is that what you’re trying to say? There are no paranoids in the Soviet Union. Do you know why? Because everybody there is being watched and plotted against. Only the insane man feels secure. And it’s the same thing here… Mysterious occurrences. Strange people who aren’t what they appear to be. For example, just who are you [looking at Kolchak]?”
MA Inc. vice president Jack Flaherty: “Dr. Verhyden, please. This is a potential new client.”
Dr. James Verhyden: “And I am Mickey Mantle.”


Item: As in previous episodes, Kolchak poses as someone’s else and, here, as three characters: surgeon Dr. Kolchakovsky to attend the autopsy and hides his face with a mask, a representative and storage buyer of the International Nickel Syndicate (I.N.S.) to sneak into the Merrymount Archive Incorporated building along with vice president Jack Flaherty and an insurance investigator to grill union representative Ted Chapman. In the tradition of Mission: Impossible, Kolchak is delivered in a shipping crate back to the underground storage vaults. As in “Chopper” with a headless rider, this photophobic monster is frankly flawed, cartoonish and ludicrous and reminds the look of the reptilian men from a Doctor Who story entitled “The Silurians”. As in “Primal Scream”, the outcome takes place in a tunnel. Tony-wise, he contradicts his former love for good food (Cf. “They Have Been, They Are, They Will Be...”) and his wish to get healthy (Cf. “The Youth Killer”). Notice the best use of composer Jerry Fielding’s fast-paced cue culled from “The Trevi Collection” (the final fight against witch Madelaine Perkins cue) at the start of Act 1 when Kolchak drives a golf cart in the endless corridor lit by gloomy blue neons to run away from the lizard and that cue is a rework from a Scorpio cue entitled “Into the Underground”. Furthermore, to illustrate the martial arrival of Colonel Brody’s men in the underground corridors, the music editor uses the dog tailing cue from The Devil’s Platform”. Contains stock music by Jerry Fielding (“The Trevi Collection”, “Firefall”, “The Werewolf”, “The Devil’s Platform”) and Gil Mellé (“The Ripper”, “The Vampire”, “The Zombie”).

Carl Kolchak: “Whatever happened… to the sweet Irene Lamont that we all know and love, hmm? All those poor bums down in the press department are always singing that pretty refrain—[singing and playing the violin without it] Irene, Irene, the loveliest cop I’ve ever seen.”
Lt. Irene Lamont: “You don’t know how bad I can be.”
Carl Kolchak: “Oh, I got a pretty good idea, baby.”


police head: Lieutenant Irene Lamont (actress Kathie Browne).
monster: a prehistoric lizard.
Tony’s tidbit: Tony eats some junk food.
featuring: Merrymount Archive Inc. vice president Jack Flaherty (actor Tom Bosley), Union representative Ted Chapman (actor Frank Campanella), water department head Colonel Brody (actor Frank Marth).
 
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JohnHopper

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Notice the best use of composer Jerry Fielding’s fast-paced cue culled from “The Trevi Collection” (the final fight against witch Madelaine Perkins cue) at the start of Act 1 when Kolchak drives a golf cart in the endless corridor lit by gloomy blue neons to run away from the lizard and that cue is a rework from a Scorpio cue entitled “Into the Underground”.

 

JohnHopper

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The best part goes to actor Albert Paulsen as betrayed and paranoid geologist Dr. James Verhyden who almost blows the cover of Kolchak.

MA Inc. vice president Jack Flaherty: “Don’t you think you’re just being a little oversensitive?”
Dr. James Verhyden: “Paranoid?”
MA Inc. vice president Jack Flaherty: “I said oversensitive.”
Dr. James Verhyden: “Paranoid, is that what you’re trying to say? There are no paranoids in the Soviet Union. Do you know why? Because everybody there is being watched and plotted against. Only the insane man feels secure. And it’s the same thing here… Mysterious occurrences. Strange people who aren’t what they appear to be. For example, just who are you [looking at Kolchak]?”
MA Inc. vice president Jack Flaherty: “Dr. Verhyden, please. This is a potential new client.”
Dr. James Verhyden: “And I am Mickey Mantle.”

 

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