Kolchak: The Night Stalker

3 Stars

Just read over at DVD Drive-In that Universal will be releasing all 20 episodes of Kolchak: The Night Stalker this October.

Can anyone confirm this? If this is true, I bet it’s because the new Night Stalker series is premiering this fall.

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Kevin Collins

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224 Comments

  1. Robert,

    This is a pervasive (and probably reliable) rumor that has been going around since early this year. Among other places, I heard this reported on Sci-Fi Channel's website several months back, so I would say it's very likely true, although no release date has been set as far as I know.

    I'm sure the release is meant to correlate with the new NS series.

  2. i'm breathlessly waiting for Universal to formally announce this. DVDDrive-in is usually correct, but i'll feel alittle more comfortable when Gord has the official word up on his site- and even better once i have it in my hands.

    months ago, when word first broke, the 'targeted' street date was 10/4. i don't think thats still going to hold as its looking to be a big release day for Universal in other areas with the Alfred Hithcock material among others.

    as a little kid (7 yrs old) when the series premiered, i still vividly remember the commercials trumpeting this new fall show- which included scenes taken from the Night Strangler movie of Kolchak walking thru the cobwebed dining room admist the mummefied corpses. being a huge monster fan, i saw that and could not wait for this show to air- but on premier night we had to go to my aunts wedding party, so it wasn't until 1979, when CBS late nite began re-airing the show, that i was able to catch the ripper ep.
    nowadays, i find myself rolling my eyes aplenty at some of the woefully contrived bits of business, and its formula aspect really doesn't make it compelling viewing in and of itself for me anymore- but it is still a big nostalgia kick, when i'm in the right mood- and to have a compact, affordable , quality set of the entire 20 episodes is a 30 yr dream come true.

    one of the most anticipated releases ever for me on this format.

  3. I figured with the new Night Stalker series premiering this fall, we'd finally get one of my last holy grails on DVD.
    Too bad the early word on the new Night Stalker pilot (which has started to proliferate online) is not so good. OH well, even if it sucks, without it, I doubt we would have seen the original series on DVD, so all's well that ends well.

  4. Man oh man. I've been waiting for this set since I got a DVD player.

    So many great episodes: Jack the Ripper, the female Vampire, the Zombie, the Bayou monster. There were some duds,too, but the good ones were great.

    I would argue that Karl Kolchak was one the greatest TV characters of the 70s. He had a cool car, his boss was always screaming at him … man I loved that show.

  5. well, we knew it was coming, but it appears today it was officially announced.
    10/04-
    packaging will be 3 slim packs in a slipcase, with at least one of the discs loose and scratched [​IMG]
    msrp is a surprising $29.98 for what will surely be over 15 hours of content.
    in fact, i won't be surprised to see that get changed.

    i just hope this set doesn't have 'issues' due to the low price. extras are, of course not expected at all, but i hope the PQ is up to snuff

    no box art yet

  6. Yeah Universal doesn't seem to have its act together with sets released on double-sided discs. Most of the double-sided discs I've gotten from them have either frozen up at some point, skipped, or pixelated. I don't know how many Abbott and Costello Vols 1-3 movie sets I bought and had to send back until I finally got a set that played every movie without locking up. Let's hope either Universal has corrected the errors on their discs at the pressing plant, or we luck out and get Kolchak sets that play perfectly from start to finish. I'm really looking forward to this set.

  7. Yeah, what Carlos said. I just bought the McCloud, McMillan & Wife, and Columbo sets and batted 1 for 3. My fear is that some people don't consider it too big a deal and never take the sets back. There is no doubt in my mind that is a very widespread problem and Universal either doesn't realize it or just doesn't care. I never had these kind of problems until Universal went DVD-18 on my arse.


  8. Maybe we should start a new thread about Universal's disc problems–or maybe someone already has in another forum–just to draw their attention to the fact that there are a lot of unhappy consumers because it should've been fixed by now.

    I had problems with their Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew set. One disc wouldn't even play. I tried it on 2 different dvd players. My Toshiba Player and my Panasonic recoder/player.

    I sent the set back and got a new one in return. Now the new disc plays fine, but the other disc started pixelating and froze.

  9. universal just posted the cover art

    [​IMG]

    can't say i'm fond of the red and green tones (or the menu screen for that matter- if i were the producer of the set, i would have chosen a shot of the empty, darkened office for the main menu to set the mood better).
    but in this case, i'm not really complaining.
    just give me a set with the complete 20 episodes, no edits, and no authoring problems and i'll be more than happy at the end of the day.

  10. I remember this show terrifying me as a kid. I also remember watching Sanford and Son afterwards to give me happy thoughts before going to bed. Some of the episodes I remember:

    -Headless motorcycle guy
    -Sewer creature that could imitate voices.
    -an episode that dealt with witchcraft. I recall in the beginning of the episode,a woman getting into the shower and the shower door locking by itself and the hot water knob turning by itself scalding the victim inside.
    – wasn't there another vampire episode where Kolcak takes gasoline sets fire around the vampire's house?

    I rented the Night Stalker movie not too long ago and my 8 year old daughter loved it.

  11. Universal lists the price as $29.99 on their site, although it's probably just because they would be stupid to charge full SRP at their own studio store. The site also lists the running times for each disc, and it would seem tht discs 1 & 2 have 8 episodes each, four on each side, whereas disc 3 would contain the final 4. The first 2 discs have a running time of 6 hours 53 minutes, which works out to about 51:38 per episode. The third disc is 3 hours 22 minutes so the episodes would be 50:30, on average. There's a slight discrepency there but I'd be more inclined to believe that the episodes just ran a bit shorter, I don't suspect cuts because the shorter running times on disc 3 are still considerably longer than you would see if cut for reruns. I don't own any Universal TV-on-DVD, so I don't know if they'll split up the third disc to 2 episodes per-side or if the it will be single-sided with disc art.

  12. I have had no problems with the double sided discs except on the DVD-ROM in my computer only a few times (a freeze up at certain spots on a disc or two on the SLIDERS set). However they play fine on the VCR/DVD Recorder combo unit.

  13. Yeah….it was called 'The Vampire'.[​IMG]

    My absolute favourite episode was 'The Zombie'….that's the one where Kolchak ends up in the middle of a car junkyard trying to stop one using salt and a sewing needle…still gives me chills to this day.[​IMG]

    Looking forward to watching that one on DVD. Love the cover art too.[​IMG]

  14. there won't be any disc art on this.
    assuming they only use five sides, the last side will just be blank.
    i've noticed that on certain dbl sided discs lately Universal hasn't even bothered to have a 'ring' identifier on one side.

    Gord has a larger scan of the cover art up on his site.
    Coloring looks a bit better than the small one, but i'm still not crazy about bathed in red lighting. looks like they are using the succubus from "Demon In Lace" (one of the long unsyndicated episodes) as the ghostly creature on the front of the jacket.

    it was so cool when columbia House started to put this series out. i only bought two of the tapes, but i was able to see 3 episodes i hadn't seen in their original format since 1975. that was a real treat.
    and those four eps on VHS cost the same as this 20 ep sets msrp, and takes up twice as much shelf space- gotta love the DVD format [​IMG]

  15. I'm really looking forward to this. This show scared the hell out of me when I was a kid. I had nightmares each and every week because of this show.

    I hope that I don't have the same problems with Universal double sided discs. My Battlestar Galacitca and Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew sets all played fine, but Buck Rogers was a nightmare. I had the same problem with V: The Complete Series from Warner Brothers. I guess my machine just doesn't like double sided discs.

  16. There are a couple of reviews on Amazon's page from people that actually have the set and both of them are negative:

    Have any reputable reviewers gotten their hands on this yet? Is it possible that these reviewers just aren't being realistic in regards to this 31-year-old show's age?

  17. Yeah, it's quite possible some people think a cult TV show is going to get a full restoration. Did anyone actually think that the episodes were going to look that good? It'd be great if they did but I don't think it was realistic to think that Universal was doing anything beyond transfer the episodes from their masters onto a disc.

    That being said, I think it's a safe assumption that the episodes are going to look better than anyone's ever seen them. Granted, they'll still look like crap but they'll beat my VHS copies from the Sci-Fi Channel or a bootleg I could buy. [​IMG]

    To me, the more important question is are the episodes complete? They probably are since Universal has a pretty good track record with not having edited episodes.

  18. I am considering this one as a blind buy… never seen a single episode…. but it is the type of show I love!

    being I will be new to the series I have a Question though…

    When I get this set… will I still need to add…

    – Night Stalker/Night Strangler

    to my collection? is the above release like feature movies… or just a couple episodes from the series?

  19. You should add the Movies and I'd watch them prior to picking up the series. The series is good mainly for Darren Mcgavin as Kolchak. They definately ran out of ideas toward the end of the series. Don't forget the New Series Premiere's tommorrow night. I expect it won't hold a candle to the original. I hope they use the series unique Original theme as a Homage, but I bet they won't

  20. What I can't understand is why Frank Spotnitz didn't make this Carl Kolchak's son? Is Darren McGavin too old to act? Frank should have gone the Bret Maverick route used in the Mel Gibson movie, since the ending made it clear that James Garner was really Bret, Sr. (Mel's Pappy) and not the Sheriff he was pretending to be.

    Aside from that minor issue, maybe we should judge the new Night Stalker series on its own merits. ABC can't do any worse with this than they did with
    Commander in Chief. I always liked Geena Davis and the possibility of a woman President of the U.S. is not unreasonable, but that show is BORING, poorly acted by the entire cast, and as the pilot episode which first aired last night clearly demonstrates, ineptly edited (events happen in a too-rushed manner).

  21. The new series is so awful, I gave up after the first 15 minutes. Stewart Townsend is too serious and good looking to pass for Carl Kolchak. The lady cop is also a bore, and so is this show. I expected more from former X-Files producer / writer Frank Spotnitz and as a consulting producer — the original Kolchak series creator Dan Curtis.

  22. Ditto on what Jeff said…terrible, just terrible..It's amazing what passes for TV now. Why call it Night Stalker, this could have been any piece of crap. They bascially took what was a very entertaining character and sucked all the life out of him. There is no humor, no fun charcters, no life what so ever..In fact I was hoping the creature would get them all and be done with this mess. What a brooding, downbeat bunch of garbage.

  23. No offense George but I don't see how you saw anything positive..I saw nothing that wanted to make me watch those characters more then once. 1 out of 10..the 1 for the digital Carl, as he was the only thing in the show that remotely had anything to do with the original series. They could have called it anything.
    I wouldn't mind so much if it was good but it wasn't. The writer basically tried to make this the X-files with a reporter, and missed the whole point of what made Kolchak good in the first place. The new Carl is such a wimp he wouldn't even fight to have his story printed..that was half the fun, him and tony fighting..new Tony blows too.

  24. I was sorry to hear of the lackluster transfer. I recently watched Emergency! Season One, and I thought it looked great. Same studio, right?

    I'll be anxious to read more reviews. I may hold off on buying it.

    Man, this could be really disappointing.[​IMG]

  25. [​IMG]
    i'm bout ready to cry myself.
    it seems like every single 'most wanted' title i've had this year (which hasn't been all that many anyways) has had a dissapointing transfer- far worse than i would have ever expected.
    there is just no reason Kolchak should look bad, unless it has purposefully been meddled with (the 'darkening' comment really disturbs me, because i can easily envsion that being done by a bunch of airheads in an attempt to 'improve' the look of the show).
    and unlike all the premature slings and arrows hurled at the Night Gallery set last year (a set i thought looked great actually, unremastered and all)- these are comments coming from people who have actually seen the thing.
    the next month is going to be murder, but i should have expected to hear something like this…it was the last big release i've been looking forward to for a while…in a class all by itself actually- for me, this would have been one of the all time biggies of the format – period.

    arrrgggghhhhhhh [​IMG]

  26. Call me blindly optimistic but I still think that this is going to be the best that Kolchak has ever looked.

    I don't think Universal will take the time to do anything to try to 'enhance' it. Whether it be to fully restore the video or (as Paul said) meddle with it to achieve a look. I think they're just going to take their copy of it and put it on a DVD and not spend much more time or effort than that.

  27. I was looking forward to re-mastered episodes, especially since Universal's sell-sheet to dealers boldly indicated "each episode has been digitally re-mastered for maximum clarity". Looks like they changed their plans.

  28. [rant]Guys…I've never seen a poor-quality episode of Kolchak: The Night Stalker! Every Universal series made in that era looked great to begin with (Columbo, Kojak, McCloud, etc.) so Kolchak should be no different. It's not necessary to digitally remaster any film prints here.[/rant]

  29. Jeff#, why are you yelling at everyone?

    Anyway, since the show was shot & edited on Film maybe remastering the original prints isn't such a bad idea, look at what was accomplished with the first two telefilms….the same quality could have been had with the series.

    But that's all conjecture as I haven't even seen the DVD yet, I recall all of the yelling that was done over Night Gallery's PQ and after seeing it I thought it looked reasonably good to be honest.

  30. It was dark show to begin with ,the main thing is that it's not cut in any way. I'm sure the picture quality will be good enough. I hate when these "the sky is falling" threads get started..in these forums especially your always going to have people who over anylyze every release and take a magnifier to find everything wrong they can, though I will add that Amazon is worse,and I beleive this is where this started. That happened with the Night Gallery set as well, and it wasn't bad at all..of course we will probably never see a season 2 but that's for another thread.

    Don't think Jeff was yelling just had bold on. Yelling is capitals.

    Bill, sometimes discusssions just get going where they may..glad you felt the need to be thread police.

  31. Thanks, Mike — I wasn't yelling. [​IMG] I was trying a different font. You know the Rant button above? Well, I never used that before, so I wanted to see how it would look and I don't care for it.

    All I'm saying is that every print of Kolchak that's been rerun on TV over the years going back to when CBS Late Night had it around 1990 to recent years with the Sci-Fi Channel has been in excellent condition. Digital remastering doesn't seem to be necessary.

  32. i agree with the comment that almost every Uni show from the seventies has looked great on this format- for my money Universal has put out the most consistently high quality (looking , anyways…i know they have issues with playability) vintage TV material. every other studio has their highs and lows, but uni has been consisitent for me- and that's why i expected Kolchak to look at least as good as every other release i've seen from them.

    i hope its much ado about nothing, and i agree that the 90s era (Columbia House)transfers should be adequete to put out a decent product…i guess we'll see in a few days.

    i'm on the road right now so i'm leaving it up to you guys to put my expectations in line for when i finally get to see this for myself

  33. I have the complete series from Columbia House on vhs. Although I spent almost $300 for them (this was before dvd was on the market) they look fantastic. Think I will just transfer them to dvd, along with season 1 of St. Elsewhere, which I also got from Columbia house.

  34. Unless they are remastered, I doubt they will look that much better than the tapes, but yeah, because I spent all that money and time(they were released 1 tape every 3 weeks or so) on owning that set, I don't want to invest in the new set. Also, I have had the worst experience with Universal double sided discs. I don't want to spend $40, and get another bum set.

  35. I bought DVD bootlegs of this show about 4 yrs ago. The picture was mastered off the official Japanese released laserdisc from many years ago. Well, to me the picture quality looks awesome. The show had bright scenes, and the laserdisc reproduced the quality very well. I was looking forward to dumping my laserdisc copied DVDs and buying this new release. However, after reading many reviews from people who have already screened the new DVDs, and all the complaints about how dark and grainy the picture looks, I don't plan on buying this set at all! I think I'll keep my bootlegs, since I'm pretty sure they look alot better than this new set. Perhaps Universal wanted to market this set to X-Files fans, and they decided to darken the show to make it more acceptible for today's audience. Well, that may be fine for today's audience, however, for people like me, who grew up watching the show during its initial run, I think it stinks. Sorry Universal, you lost me on this one…Now let's see how you plan to lose me with Leave it to Beaver, Alfred Hitchcock Presents or The Best of Abbott & Costello Volume 4…With Universal's track record of technical problems with most of their double-sided discs, they may lose my business completely with those sets as well.

  36. Mines been shipped, so looking forward to this. Love this show and it's the only "official" release on DVD so it's not like I have options. For my less picky eyes it will be fine I'm sure ,as long as it's not cut in any way. After seeing how bad the new show is I had to get this..lol

  37. Here are my thoughts:

    There's a lot of dust and debris in the picture. While there may be some places that don't have dust, it's only a few seconds at a time.

    The picture is dark. I would say there's a lot of contrast in it; the blacks absorb darker areas, while the brights are still bright. There was a scene in EP two with a turkey and a dark background. The turkey was completely lost in the picture; you could only see the head and feet.

    I'd give it 6/10, and the MGM movies 8/10.

    Gord

  38. Thanks for the input, Gord. Would you say the picture is comparable to other Universal TV stuff from the same era?

    EDIT: The reason I ask is because the one of the Amazon reviews makes it sound like the screen is pitch black the entire episode. A little dark is one thing, the way the Amazon review makes it sound is another.

  39. It's not pitch black, but there's not a lot of detail in the shadows at all. Wait…virtuall NO detail in the shadows. The MGM release was great, but this one…not so great. I'd say Columbo looks better than this does.

    Gord

  40. I'll be checking it tonight and will post tomorrow re: any problems. Maybe since only 2 of the 3 discs are DVD 18s I'll get lucky. (Had no problems with Law & Order: SVU Season 2 and Alfred Hitchcock Presents: First Season.)

  41. Since it's a Universal DVD-18, there's gonna be problems. Just like every Universal DVD-18, some are going to play perfectly and some are going to be messed up. I'm not trying to be a prick but it seems kinda obvious[​IMG]

  42. Just finished side 1. No problems with playing…yet. As far as it being to dark. Well, it is a tad dark. It looked OK on my 36" Sony XBR. I wouldn't try to throw it up on a 10 foot screen in the brightest room of your house or anything. It is what it is, as long as it will play i will be happy. This was a fun show, and worth $30. Now onto side 2 of disc 1.

  43. My Disc One was off the hub, so maybe I'll be joining the Universal Exchange Club this time around. Though I'm burning to know if it's going to be a problem, I won't know for a few days. I believe if anything has been affected, it'll be Side B, and I refuse to rush through the episodes just to see if there's a problem.

  44. Just finished checking all five sides. No DVD-18 problems for me. The transfers are definitely as dark as reported. However, I don't believe anyone intentionally
    darkened them to appear more "X-Files-ish". Universal probably just used the best elements they had ready, without any remastering or restoration. I adjusted the brightness and contrast a bit, and was able to make them a little better. These are certainly not comparable to Universal's other reference transfers from the same era. I agree with Gord: they rate about 6/10. Since I don't remember how they're supposed to look from their original broadcasts, and I've been watching them since on my EP VHS dubs from reruns, they'll have to do. Universal probably just rushed this set to coincide with the premiere of the remake. Too bad, since this show deserves better.

  45. Getting this title is like pulling teeth. Apparently it's on backorder at Best Buy and my Amazon order is taking 8
    days before it even ships. Hopefully Amazon will answer my
    e-mail and tell me what is going on.

  46. The Best Buy i go to here in Tulsa only got 8 copies. I dont know how big a seller it will be. I am sure they figure only 40 year old guys like me would want it. Just finished disc 2, side 1. Still playing fine, still a tad dark in areas, but what fun it is to watch again.

  47. Travis, after you watch it you'll have to tell us what you think of it. I am also an X Files fan. Curious how an older show like Night Stalker hold up to a younger audience. Just dont judge the show on episodes like Chopper! [​IMG]

  48. I've seen them all before but it's been quite awhile. I had a friend who had them in the '90's and I saw them all back then. Eventually I taped them all off of the Sci-Fi Channel.

    I'm impressed by how well the episodes stand up against the Kolchak telemovies. I've seen the movies a bunch of times over the years and my memory was that the series was good but not really up to the level of the movies. I was happy that many of the episodes that I've watched so far are almost as good as the movies.

    And I don't know how but I forgot how Scully's closing narration on many older XF episodes was 'borrowed' from Kolchak. [​IMG]

  49. When I saw that Wal-Mart carried other Universal "Classic Television" series I was sure they would have "Kolchak", especially with the tie-in opportunity with the new TV show. I was surprised to see that they didn't have it and even more surprised when my local FYE didn't have it, either. I ordered it yesterday morning on Amazon and, being the impatient person I am, I got the next-day shipping and it arrived today. I've watched the first five episodes with no problem whatsoever. I'm hoping to finish up disc 1/side b tonight and I'll watch the next two discs over the next two days, hopefully I won't have any problems. The image quality is definitely lower than the films on the MGM disc but part of that can obviously be interpreted to the fact that the series surely had a lower budget than movies of the week. The quality is about what I expected out of a 30-year-old TV series. I'm not a 40-year-old, I'm only 23 and as an "X-Files" fan I've been interested in checking this show out for years.

  50. This Is not unusual for Amazon if you have used free shipping. I've pre-ordered a bunch of stuff. One example is the new Outer limits season one that will be released on November 1st. Well if I choose free shipping, my ship date goes from November 1st to November 14th with a delivery on the 18th. They never use to do this to me but now they typically hold on to packages at least 10 days before they ship if free shipping is selected.

  51. Rick, I have really noticed this at Best Buy. To borrow a term from another forum, I think they are staffed at all levels by whippersnappers who just don't get it. For example, when I went in and asked for the Muppets set, I got blank stare by one associate, and was all but dismissed by another. I went to Costco, where they had an ample supply. I expect blank stares from floor staff, but the people in the BB executive offices must be as equally young and stupid. They must be targeting the 18-30 set and thinking they are the only shoppers who matter. Or they have no concept of what might be popular because they were not around to notice it. (Oh, and the business articles I've read about Costco say that they are staffed by very savvy people, and not just because they stock Muppets DVD's.)

    I loved the Night Stalker as a kid. And as a 40-year-old, I am also looking very much into checking out some of those episodes. (Alas, I probably won't be able to watch all for my review, but if anyone has any that are a particular concern or interest, let me know.)

    – Steve

  52. They had a couple of copies at my local Best Buy. The prices are crummy, so I used a 30% off coupon from Border's Rewards and got it for what I'd pay at Amazon for it. Kind of disappointed that it didn't show up at Costco, but my saving on the FLY two-pack makes up for it.

    The transfer does look unusually dark, but is much better than I feared after reading some of the Amazon reviews mentioned here.

  53. Yea Steve, when i go to BB i only have 1 guy who i can talk to. He is the only guy working in the place close to OUR age. I asked him Tues. morning where the Night Stalker discs where. He took me to them, and had already taken one for himself. Thats when he said, "we only got 8". I asked him if BB had Dracula 1972…i know, what was i thinking! He knew of the movie and actually looked to see if they had it. No, it was an online order only. But like you Steve, if i ask ANYONE else in the media area at BB about a 20 or 30 year old movie or TV show i get a blank stare, and no offer to look. I had to work the last 2 days, so i hope to finish up on the last disc of the Night Stalker this weekend, it was a fun $30 buy.

  54. His recorder was not a wire recorder, in what time do you think the series was supposed to take place, 1947? [​IMG]
    It was a tape recorder, in the first film you can see the tapes themselves spread across the desk in the close-up's, in the series there are many close-up's of the tape recorder with the tape inside spinning.

  55. Man, am I dumb! I posted this a few days ago:

    Anyway, I'm enjoying it, and now I can enjoy it even more since the possibility of a bad disc is no longer hanging over me.

    BTW, the image was dark but acceptable on the first three, and quite excellent as far as I could tell on the fourth one.

  56. Regarding "The Vampire" episode which also guest starred Kathleen Nolan…just why did she quit The Real McCoys some 12 years earlier? Was it a contract dispute for more money, or was she ready to move on after the first 5 years of that sitcom? Obviously her career since that time wasn't particularly memorable.

  57. Thanks for the heads-up on Amazon. If they ever send me a
    feedback form, they are going to get a eyeful. I will be taking my business elsewhere. Whether Amazon is violating any laws may be questionable but it is dirty pool. It
    took 4 business days before my card was even charged and the status moved from "not yet shipped" to "preparing
    to ship".

  58. I'm trying hard to watch just one episode a day so it will last until Halloween, but it's dang hard! I started the wrong way and began with The Werewolf. Loved it. Now that I have this set and the two TV movies makes for terrific marathons in the future.[​IMG]

  59. I finally got my Set today for $15.99 I did'nt mind waiting. The First Ep is really Dark, but things improve in the 2nd and third episodes. I don't really think they did any remastering since I swear I saw a film splice on the first show. The First two shows in the collection really shows how much the new series is just so lackluster and drab, the new Kolchak has all the spark and personality as a dishrag. Some of the shows of the original were'nt great, a good example is the third ep the UFO story, but Mcgavin excudes so much charm and personality, and the Duo of Mcgavin and Simon Oakland are so great , you hardly Notice.

    I dare anyone not to get the willies as Kolchak is trying to sew the Zombie's Lips shut, what a great series.

  60. Dave, you guessed correctly: the episode was filmed on the Queen Mary, which is now forever imprisoned docked in Long Beach, CA.

    However… while the Queen Mary was used for the majority of the episode(both interiors and exteriors), an entirely different ship was used/shown during any shots where you actually see the ship "at sea."

    This other ship barely resembles the Queen Mary in, well, nearly ANY respect — very different smokestacks, different shape, different design. It's so obviously a different ship… not just for those of us who know what the QM really looks like up close, but solely in the context of the episode itself. I remember watching this episode during it's first 1974 run (and subsequent re-runs over the years) and thinking the same thing each time… THAT's not the same ship! Oh well, what are you gonna do — obviously they couldn't find and/or use any color stock footage of the real ship at ship (any footage I've even seen was from black & white newsreels).

    Now there's a real good trivia question… what was the name of the "real' ship seen sailing at sea? Doubt we'll ever find that answer out…

    Just as an FYI, for many years the Queen Mary has hosted an annual Halloween Terror Fest… this year's "Shipwreck 2005" event is their 11th year. Even though I live in Southern California, I've never gone to one of these events (my health over the past 8 year is simply far too poor for me to even bother to attempt it, and this tour isn't really good for folks in wheelchairs due to all the stairs). An since the ship is supposedly "haunted," it's a good way to get a fright on during this best of holidays!

    Regards…

  61. Totally agree Dave, it's amazing how watchable a show can be even with a so-so story if the characters are alive and fun to watch. The new Kolchak forgot what made the original so good. In reading the article on the show in Entertainment Weekly I got the impression that the creator of the new one(forget his name)..didn't really put enough thought or importance into who played the character, just wanted someone known and young instead of who could be a really good Kolchak. I still say Bruce Campbell would have been perfect, watch him in that X-files episode he was in…perfect.

  62. Good memories, guys. I love K:TNS – absolutely one of my all-time favorite shows. And you guys nailed it – it was the performances of McGavin, Oakland and the rest of the supporting (and guest) cast, as well the wonderfully droll humor of the scripts, that made this show work so brilliantly. Just for example, check out Keenan Wynn's performance in "The Spanish Moss Murders" episode. Just terrific. And there are several other on par with that throughout the show's run. Even Erik Estrada is pretty good in "Legacy of Terror." So many good character actors back then to fill out the guest casts of shows like "Kolchak."

    As for the underlying wit of the show, you can see how Chris Carter (very wisely) imitated that aspect (especially in Mulder) when he conceived "The X-Files."

    Anyway, I'm thrilled to pieces to have this show on DVD at last, and be able to re-live one of the fondest TV memories of my childhood.

  63. I gotta say that I never watched this show when it first aired when I was a kid, although I had watched the 2 films. I'm absolutely loving it. Some of the lines are great, and the performances are really perfect. Of course, that's what you get when you hire great pros instead of just "faces." What a fun series. Sorry I missed out on it the first time around, but God bless DVD![​IMG]

  64. "Horror in the Heights" was a good one, and it featured a rare dramatic performance by the late Phil Silvers. It's probably the only time in his career in which Phil got to play an ethnic role (an elderly Jew, which he was).

  65. And probably the Worst ep has to go to Sentry with that god awful Monster, you can tell they were grasping at straws with that one. Mcgavin became pretty frustrated and wanted the series to end by then since scripts would come down as they were shooting the scenes, so for the series to be as good as it was is amazing

  66. Uh oh. I just finished side A of disc 2 and I was hoping that nothing could be worse than "Mr. R.I.N.G." but I guess I have another thing coming! Oh well, gotta take the good with the bad, I suppose!.

  67. Yeah the monster in The Sentry is really bad. Quick editing, dark lighting, and even the (slightly) dark transfer on the DVDs don't hide it.

    Not a terrible episode but the monster really didn't help it. [​IMG]

  68. I haven't finished all of the episodes but I do notice thatsome of the scenes are very grainy and it
    really shows up during the night scenes. If I remember correctly, McGavin insisted that the night
    scenes be filmed at night rather than using a filter. Not sure if that has anything to do with it.

    I loved seeing Lara Parker and Kathy Lee Crosby as guest stars. The chemistry between Simon Oakland and McGavin iswonderful especially when McGavin is trying to explain what is going on. The battles between
    McGavin and the cop of the week was absolutely hilarious. Keenan Wynn, James Gregory, Larry Linville, and Kathie Browne stand out. Then of course, there was Kolchak trying all sorts of stunts
    to sneak into places he wasn't wanted. Even if the
    monster was a little thin, it was always entertaining.

    The unfortunate thing is that this was a very cheap show. It's no accident that the best show, Horror in
    the Heights was written by Hammer horror veteran Jimmy Sangster. Apparently the show didn't have the money to get many horror veterans like this. Someone like Richard Matheson, who wrote the first two movies, was totally out of their budget. You get what
    you pay for.

  69. We've been slowly working our way through this set.I want to savor every episode and make this dvd set last as there are no further seasons(darn it!).

    What a great show. I enjoyed it when it originally ran on tv and it's really awesome to experience it again.

    The writing was excellent except for a few choice eps (Mr R.I.N.G has already been mentioned) and Darren McGavin and Simon Oakland really carried this series with their boss/employee chemistry. (What were they thinking when they tried to "remake" this show awhile back?)
    I hadn't seen this show for a couple of decades and it has really held up well over time.

    A few scenes are really dark but not too bad. I think it lends a bit of realism to the atmospheric night scenes as I can't stand shows that use "day-for-night" photography and even kids can spot it when they use that technique.There is also an "auto" black level on our dvd player so this may help a bit with the dark scenes when we watch the show.

    There is some dirt on the transfers and some softening on some episodes but it looks like they used the best prints they had available. I have to say that as someone who watched the original broadcasts,this release looks better than when it originally aired on television.

    It was fun to see the many,many character actors of the era pop up throughout this series.I had forgotten about so many of them.(we only had 3 major tv channels back then so these actors were seen alot!)

    The mono audio is nice and crisp and I don't notice any problems with it except maybe the volume level varies from episode to episode.On a side note,there is a lot of background/incidental music from Universal's music library of the time. I recognized a ton of this music that would be reworked for several other Universal tv productions of the era such as The Six Million $ Man and The Bionic Woman.

    I'd have to deduct points for the lack of extras regarding this dvd release as I feel that there could have been something they could have stuck in there for us but there is nothing at all.

    I can't add much more than what's already been voiced by other posters in this thread except this:No matter what era of televison you fondly remember and if you haven't bought this series yet,do yourself a favor and pick it up today.Some of this show's writing/dialogue was the finest of the 1970s' television genre.It's worth every penny!

  70. You did'nt suspend disbelief with the Motocycle ride..[​IMG]

    Really it was'nt about Special Effects with Kolchak, it was all about the acting and chemistry between the leads. Mcgavin New the production values were lousey and the scripts started sucking (Wait till you see Sentry) and thats why he asked ABC to pull the plug on it.

  71. Despite the bad selection of the biker for this episode, I still consider 'Chopper' as one of my favourites from the series….this would have been a standout if the effects were as good as the story was IMHO.

    As for 'Sentry', it was definitely a poor episode….but it did have a great scene where Kolchak is frantically riding the buggy through the tunnel trying to keep ahead of the creature……that image gave me the creeps as a kid.[​IMG]

  72. And the fact that the creature knocked out the lights during its advance in that tunnel served both to enhance the story and also (very conveniently [​IMG] ) to help hide the rubber monster suit… Creative, yet very practical, film-making on a budget. But it worked, oh so well!

    Lotsa good stuff in this series, especially since so many of us were at the ideal age when we first saw it… I must admit…when I first saw "Nightmare On Elm Street" so many years later, I couldn't help but be reminded of "The Spanish Moss Murders"… [​IMG]

  73. Even though I got this set the day it was released, I just now finished it up tonight. I've got to say, I don't get the reputation of the Sentry. It wasn't a bad little episode. The story was slight and we had an obvious guy in a rubber suit, but it had good atmosphere and was fun to watch. I loved the idea of a gargantuan records facility. That was a big ass hall! The opening reminded me severely of Austin Powers. A mix of the scene where the guy was run over by the far distant steamroller, and the scene where Austin couldn't get turned around in the hall. There were a couple of episodes that will be painful to revisit, but overall? [​IMG]

    That was one of my favorite episodes of Star Trek, for largely the same reason. I absolutely adored the set. Don't tell me it is a universally disliked episode, too!

  74. sad news, but in case you missed it in the other forum, Darren passed away today.

    i was just watching this set the other night too and wondering about his health.

    My most profound thanks, sir, for giving me so much pleasure thru your work here.

    you will be missed.

  75. The Night Stalker was a product of its times. Low budgets were the rule and there had to be some creative story telling to cover up the lack of a nice budget to work with.

    I always loved the Night Stalker but I have to admit some of the episodes are hard to watch today. Like R.I.N.G. for example.

  76. Darren McGavin was a wonderful actor, and he was one of those who was underrated — totally unknown to today's generation of kids….unless they watched Kolchak reruns on the Sci-Fi Channel, which I kind of doubt.

    The cheesy special effects due to budget constrictions were typical of ABC series at the time. Some of them just followed the way TV shows were produced in the 1970s, and that didn't help Kolchak. What did was McGavin's sense of humor and likeability. Basically the original series had everything that was missing from the even shorter-lived remake.

  77. Actually He live on and I think probably be remembered for his performance as "The Old Man" in A christmas Story. That has become pretty much a Classic along the lines of Wonderful Life. His performance really makes the movie

  78. Yeah, the interesting thing is that Ten Thirteen tried to get him to reprise Kolchak in an "X-Files" episode, and he declined, then they tried to cast him as Bill Mulder, and he declined, then they tried to cast him as Senator Richard Matheson (obviously named after the famous writer, who wrote "The Night Stalker" and "The Night Strangler") and once again, he declined before ultimately accepting the roles of Henry Black on "Millennium" and Arthur Dales on "The X-Files".

  79. Well I picked up the series last November and now it's starting to do the freeze up thing, I email to DeepDiscountDVD and they said their policy is only for 30 days, no matter what the problem is, is there some place else to contact to get a replacement set?
    Thanks,
    G2

  80. Generally you will need to contact the distributor of the disks. MGM replaced a defective copy (layers delaminating) of "The World is Not Enough" for me. It took a while and few emails but once I found the right person, they were very nice about. YMMV, good luck.

  81. OK, I finally got a Universal set (COLUMBO — 4th season), in which one of the 6 episodes didn't play at all on my RCA TV's DVD player and on that same player only the very beginning of another didn't play.

    However, I was able to watch both of those episodes (along with the other 4) on my Panasonic DVD recorder on my TV downstairs and they all played perfectly from start to finish. [​IMG]

    Sometimes people think it's a Universal problem, but often it can simply be the fault of your equipment. So if you have more than one player, I suggest you try it on another. [​IMG]

  82. I've been creating a few covers lately — mostly for Universal shows that have been released, or announced for release, with rather lackluster covers, including Night Gallery, The Incredible Hulk and Amazing Stories. I had also made one for Kolchak: The Night Stalker awhile back, but never posted it. The cover that was released, I feel, is one of the worst offenders. It's such a non-descript cover, with the images very hard to discern.

    There are very few decent color promotional images available for this show, which is why Universal seemed to just (poorly) colorize a few B&W stills for the cover. I found a decent photo, which I think makes for a much better cover. So, just for fun, here it is: (original is on the left; mine on the right)

    http://home.mn.rr.com/starvinmarvin/…hak_dvd_LR.jpg

  83. This message is for the Kolchak fanatics/purists/etc. out there. As such people may know, the original title for the series was The Night Stalker. It was changed to Kolchak: The Night Stalker at episode 5. Beginning with the Sci-Fi channel airings and continuing on with the Columbia House tapes and Region 1 DVD release, the first four episodes' title sequence baring The Night Stalker was replaced with Kolchak: The Night Stalker. No big deal, I guess, but for the fanatic…

    Which brings me to the recent Region 2 release. Despite the fact that the packaging is virtually identical, the content of the Region 2 Kolchak release is NOT the same as the Region 1 release. This release features the original title sequences for the first four episodes. Furthermore, the episodes do not appear to have gone through any remastering so that you can actually see the Ripper emerge on the left side of the screen during a key scene in the first epsiode. Also, you actually see the dog fade out of the picture in episode 7. In fact, there are none of those artificial fade-outs here. In summary –

    Pros – No DVD 18s (DVD-9s), Original titles, No phoney fade-outs
    Cons – PAL speedup (if that bothers you), Not as sharp looking as Region 1

    I'm glad I spent the $ on the set. This is how I remember seeing them in 1974/1975 and when CBS used to rerun them on Fridays through 1987.

  84. Bringing an old thread back, does anyone know if the dvd's are now fixed
    so they all play properly? I don't dare order another one for that reason
    the set I have is very frustrating with it's stops and pixelations all the time.

    Thanks in advance,
    G2

  85. Gary, I bought my set in late '06, and I haven't run into any problems. I've played it through all the way once and about 2/3 of the way again. Does that mean they're all fixed, or that I just got lucky? I can't say for sure, but a year after the initial release, I snagged a problem-free set.

  86. Has anyone else had problems with their Kolchak Region 1 DVDs?

    I took one of the discs out to watch last night and it just wouldn't spin up. I took the disc out and it is all cloudy in spots. I checked the other ones and they are the same way.

    I looked at the cases and sure enough, they all had an oily, filmy feel to them.

    I had forgotten all about the infamous "Curse of the Scanavo" plastic DVD cases…

    I purchased this set when it was first released so I guess asking Universal for replacements is out of the question by now.

    Suppose I will have to re-purchase the set. I'm not real happy about having to do so, but I absolutely love this show.

  87. Brett*H

    Has anyone else had problems with their Kolchak Region 1 DVDs?

    I took one of the discs out to watch last night and it just wouldn't spin up. I took the disc out and it is all cloudy in spots. I checked the other ones and they are the same way.

    I looked at the cases and sure enough, they all had an oily, filmy feel to them.

    I had forgotten all about the infamous "Curse of the Scanavo" plastic DVD cases…

    I purchased this set when it was first released so I guess asking Universal for replacements is out of the question by now.

    Suppose I will have to re-purchase the set. I'm not real happy about having to do so, but I absolutely love this show.

    Did you check it on the computer?

  88. I purchased the double-sided discs set when it was frist released and haven't had any playback issues so far (thank goodness), but I really wish universal would re-release it on single-sided pressed discs at some point.

    Darby

  89. Darby67

    I purchased the double-sided discs set when it was frist released and haven't had any playback issues so far (thank goodness), but I really wish universal would re-release it on single-sided pressed discs at some point.

    Darby

    I'm with you 100%!

  90. Mr. Handley

    I'm with you 100%!

    I also wish they'd go back and fix the opening credits on the first few episodes (which were correct on the R2 discs.

    For those who might not know what I'm talking about: the early episodes were simply titled "the night stalker" and the lettering was also in a different color than the "kolchak:" version. It wasn't until around episode 5 that "kolchak:" appeared in the title card.

    Obviously, they did just like has been done on many other TV show sets: one opening gets cleaned up, and the "variant" version(s) get forgotten about/replaced.

    To be honest, though, I don't think I'd bother re-buying unless we got a blu-ray upgrade. Unlikely, perhaps, but it is a "cult" title and there's not a gazillion episodes to remaster…

  91. Brett*H

    Has anyone else had problems with their Kolchak Region 1 DVDs?

    I took one of the discs out to watch last night and it just wouldn't spin up. I took the disc out and it is all cloudy in spots. I checked the other ones and they are the same way.

    I looked at the cases and sure enough, they all had an oily, filmy feel to them.

    I had forgotten all about the infamous "Curse of the Scanavo" plastic DVD cases…

    I purchased this set when it was first released so I guess asking Universal for replacements is out of the question by now.

    Suppose I will have to re-purchase the set. I'm not real happy about having to do so, but I absolutely love this show.

    I checked my set and the discs look great except for some scuff marks on one side of disc 3, it seems to play fine. I re-watched these a year ago and never had any problems. Never heard of the Scanavo problems, will look into it.

  92. I've had the R1 discs for years but not watched them for quite some time.

    But here in the UK Amazon recently had the R2 edition for under £7 so it seemed rude not to buy it in order to get single sided discs just in case.

    It's back to £11.99 now.

    All these years later there are still no UK discs for the pilot movies

  93. Darby67

    Perhaps if the Johnny Depp remake of Kolchak ever materializes, that might motivate Universal to re-release the original tv series on single-sided discs.

    Darby

    This would work. It's not a hard series to make into a good atmospheric thriller of the supernatural sort.

  94. Brett*H

    Has anyone else had problems with their Kolchak Region 1 DVDs?
    I took one of the discs out to watch last night and it just wouldn't spin up. I took the disc out and it is all cloudy in spots. I checked the other ones and they are the same way.
    I looked at the cases and sure enough, they all had an oily, filmy feel to them.

    I don't have this set, and this is just a shot in the dark — but I found what I think you're describing in another set, and I was able to clean the cloudy shit off completely with a liquid disc cleaner and microfiber cloth. After that, they looked and played like new.

  95. I bought my copy on August 1, 2008 (thanks Amazon for keeping track. lol). Without replaying the discs, a quick look at them reveals nothing out of whack, physically.

    One interesting thing to note: the Amazon entry for this set says it's 'under review' and as such, they've suspended sales of their inventory pending review of complaints they've received. Only third-party sales are available at the time I'm writing this.

  96. Many dvd releases that used dvd-18 ended up with problems like Universals 2 disc set with 8 Hammer films but in the intervening years I think they mastered the format.

    My UK boxset of ER uses dvd-18 for the whole set and I was extremely surprised when I watched all 331 episodes over a 7 month period to find not a single glitch. Warner at least continue to use double sided discs on some releases.

    If you do find these patches on the disc then something is wrong but as someone else posted it can be cleared although the problem is likely to return and may prove fatal.

    IN the early days of dvd these symptoms showed up on several Anchor Bay discs and some UK Columbia releases where a manufacturing error lead to the dual layers of the disc starting to separate. From what I recall these discs were all manufactured in the same place.

    The US disc of Opera was affected , and Anchor Bays Frankenstein Created Woman was out of print before the problem showed itself leaving many collectors unable to get replacements.

    Amongst the UK titles affected were The Terminator and Silence of the Lambs.

  97. Outtasighteous! I can finally consign my old, failing Kolchak DVD-18s to the dustbin of history!

    Now if only Universal would be so kind as to likewise reissue single-sided Season 1 sets of Alfred Hitchcock Presents and '60s Dragnet, all will be square, from my perspective.

  98. dana martin

    thanks for the price heads up, was there any bonus features on the original release?, would be curious if anything is on this.

    Dana:

    There were no bonus features on the original flipper disc release of the series.

  99. dana martin

    Darby,
    Thanks the best set of reissues i have picked up is the Buck Rodgers sets, but i am wondering if these will get the same 1080p upgrade that Classic Battlestar release got.

    The Kolchak episodes really do need a remastering and the two telefilms would be excellent bonus features (I did buy the flipper MGM release of the two telefilms when it first came but it is now OOP), so while I hope for remastered episodes and telefilm bonuses I am bracing for simply a rerelease on single-sided discs (which is an improvement).

  100. Darby67

    The Kolchak episodes really do need a remastering and the two telefilms would be excellent bonus features (I did buy the flipper MGM release of the two telefilms when it first came but it is now OOP), so while I hope for remastered episodes and telefilm bonuses I am bracing for simply a rerelease on single-sided discs (which is an improvement).

    I wish they'd at least go back and fix the incorrect opening title captions on the first few episodes (which the UK set did), but like you, I expect a straight reissue, albeit single-sided discs.

    I suspect the reason of their being no hope for the telefilms would be a rights issue (TV movie video rights still with MGM or Anchor Bay, series with Universal).

  101. I'm not expecting the two films to actually be included in this new set. I also bought the flipper disc when it first came out, but I think everybody here knows how I feel about those infernal things!!! That said, I've never actually had a problem with any of my Kolchak flippers. As others have said, the transfers could really use a clean-up, but not holding my breath for that either. I guess I always thought this show had a bigger following and that we'd eventually see an upgrade to blu-ray by now.

  102. My original DVD-18 set has always played fine, so need to "upgrade" to this re-release.

    If ever there was a classic series that shouted out (pun intended) for a remastered release from Shout! Factory, Kolchak: The Night Stalker would certainly be it. Or better yet, it screams out for a release from Shout's own specialty horror label, Scream! Factory.

    A remastered blu-ray set would be awesome, but I doubt Universal has bothered to make new HD transfers. Last I remember, MGM still has the rights to the two TV movies (but their DVD is out-of-print, having superceded the original Anchor Bay release, which had a missing audio cue).

    Shout! Factory has been releasing a ton of awesome product through their licensing arrangement with both MGM and Universal, so I'd think a deal could be made to combine the TV movies with the series proper as a complete collection. In recent years, the studios all seem to be loosening up a bit when it comes to sharing their properties for complete collection releases, so perhaps it's possible someday.

    With just about everyone involved with the original movies and series being no longer with us, I'd leave it to Shout! to handle the special features that might appear on any special edition release. They have been able to put together some very entertaining and interesting featurettes on some of their releases, even without the primary talent involved. There are still quite a few surviving guest stars who appeared on the show (Tom Skerritt, Cathy Lee Crosby, Sharon Farrell, Eric Braeden, Carol Lynley, Lara Parker, Andrew Prine, Erik Estrada, Richard Anderson) so it would be nice to get their thoughts on the show that was an early part of their careers. Also, there are several current writers/directors (including J.J. Abrams and Chris Carter) who have said they are huge Kolchak fans and that the show has been an important influence on their work. Robert Zemeckis and Bob Gale both received their first writing credit for an episode of Kolchak, and David Chase had his first Hollywood gig as a story editor on the show, so they would be obvious go-to people to include as interview subjects for any possible documentaries.

  103. My original set plays fine, but I will go ahead and pick this one up anyway. I have the Region 2 set and both releases of the two TV movies. Just to have everything Kolchak, I'd like to see The butchered together telemovies The Demon and The Mummy, and Crackle of Death released. I have them already, but would prefer to have nicer copies.

  104. [​IMG]

    At this late stage why perpetuate the outmoded "standard" DVD when in a single release it could be advanced to the superior blu-ray medium?

    Which is probably going to be done anyways.

    My own sensibilities are (exclusively) blu-ray, blu-ray, BLU-RAY!!!!!!

    Who really thinks about "standard" DVD anymore?!

    An odious pattern is developing here specifically with Universal Pictures Home Entertainment.

    These things are once again issued on DVD (ie. THE HAMMER HORROR COLLECTION). Then sometime later a blu-ray release is imminent.

    Every opportunity is being made to procure as much money from classic film and tv collectors as possible.

    SF and Horror genre entertainment collectors in particular are a very reliable and highly exploitable consumer demographic as I've always maintained.

    But for those who haven't bought this specific tv series release and really like the show by all means…GO FOR IT!

    [​IMG]

    Jeff T.

    <_<

  105. Oh, no doubt…I was seriously hoping for a blu-ray upgrade on this one. However, I'm a sucker for this series and I loathe flipper discs with every fiber of my being, so I'll buy this and I will be the first in line for a blu-ray upgrade, even if it's announced shortly after this one is released. I love this show THAT MUCH.

  106. JeffT.

    At this late stage why perpetuate the outmoded "standard" DVD when in a single release it could be advanced to the superior blu-ray medium?

    Because DVD still outsells blu-ray by a wide margin (unfortunately).

    Which is probably going to be done anyways.

    I wouldn't bank on any Kolchak blu-rays, ever… though I'd love to be proven wrong.

    Who really thinks about "standard" DVD anymore?!

    Sadly, sales figures have borne out that to the general public, DVD is "good enough" and most of them can't be bothered to shell out the extra money (sometimes, only $5-10 more) for the blu-ray version.

    There are many cases of TV shows that had some blu-ray seasons released alongside DVD versions, but at some point, the DVDs continued, while the blu-ray versions did not.

    While is is true that "genre" shows (sci-fi) tend to do better sales on blu-ray than standard comedies and dramas, Kolchak has only ever been considered to have a devoted but small cult following. Despite being of interest to "genre" buyers, I doubt Universal will put it out.

    Unless this much lower-risk re-release sells out quickly.

  107. If it does get remastered in HD, prepare for digital streaming only like so many Universal(and many other studios) shows available Digital HD(Murder She Wrote, The Incredible Hulk, Emergency, Quantum Leap, etc.) but not a chance for Blu-Ray. Wouldn't be so bad if the HD streaming versions didn't looks so vastly superior to their standard dvd counterparts(compare and episode of 'Murder She Wrote' and wave the white flag of surrender).
    It is the way of the world Digital is growing, Physical media is dying.

  108. Extras? They could start with the simple TV promos, which you can catch on youtube; maybe one of Curtis' other TV movies like Scream of the Wolf… or McGavin/Spielberg's Something Evil, another TV movie from the same era. Or the episode of the Evil Touch tv show that McGavin directed in 1973. Why, even for the curio effect, a game show featuring McGavin like Celebrity Sweepstakes.

  109. I have the new 5 disc Kolchak set and the episodes look very good…I never had the 3 disc dvd-18 set… after my rotten experience with the dvd-18's of the Rockford Files season 1, I vowed not to buy any others…thanks, Universal, for only taking 10+ years to correct the problem…

    You know, watching the witty and fun interplay between Darren McGavin and Simon Oakland, I find myself wishing that somehow Universal could give us Darren McGavin's one season private detective show The Outsider (1968-69)…if need be, through their rather limited "Vault" MOD series…in my opinion, It's one of the truly Great P.I. television series…I recall it's first run fondly, and never missed an episode…it's very much like the later Rockford Files, and equally as good, a deft combination of drama with comedic elements, with McGavin playing a conflicted, vulnerable and somewhat damaged character…there is one faded but complete episode on youtube…

  110. Bob Gu

    The OUTSIDER pilot has been shown on GritTV recently and appears to be scheduled again on Wed. Nov. 9 at 4 AM EST.

    Thanks for the heads up!

    Grit was just added in my area back in Sept. I'll be setting the TiVo.

  111. Just got my new set and watched the first episode ("The Ripper") last night. It appears to me that the picture has been cleaned up somewhat, BUT I noticed a few spots where it looked a bit "off". Kind of like that weird effect that the old All In The Family season 7 set had…kind of "herky-jerky" movements. Thankfully, it was just during certain shots (like the train movements in the opening scene and when all the mail gets dumped on Kolchak's desk) and didn't really hurt my overall viewing experience. Did anybody else notice this?

  112. Mr. Handley

    Just got my new set and watched the first episode ("The Ripper") last night. It appears to me that the picture has been cleaned up somewhat, BUT I noticed a few spots where it looked a bit "off". Kind of like that weird effect that the old All In The Family season 7 set had…kind of "herky-jerky" movements. Thankfully, it was just during certain shots (like the train movements in the opening scene and when all the mail gets dumped on Kolchak's desk) and didn't really hurt my overall viewing experience. Did anybody else notice this?

    Did they fix the opening credits captions (to say 'the night stalker' rather than 'kolchak: the night stalker')?

  113. I'm now 3 episodes in and I'm happy to report that the weird effect I described in my earlier post is no longer an issue. Still not sure what that was all about on the first episode. I must say that the prints on the new set look to be cleaned-up from the previous release. The quality is noticeably better for sure.

  114. I finally found some time to compare the reissued 5-disc set against the original 3-disc flipper set. Other than replacing each disc's opening Universal logo with the current Comcast-associated one, I found no differences. They are the same overly-dark transfers with film specs and scratches occasionally visible. The episodes are still missing the original Universal logo after the end credits. By current standards, it barely passes as watchable. A remastered blu-ray release is long-past due.

    On a related note… The recently-released Season 1 & 2 DVD sets of The Rockford Files from Mill Creek have been remastered, and are noticeable improvements over the previous Universal releases.

  115. After watching Universal's "Murder She Wrote" SD DVD compared to the remastered HD versions that aired on Netflix, it was night and day difference. I can't even watch my dvd set anymore knowing that such better quality exists. All Universal has to do is re-release the HD remastered versions on DVD.

    I don't even care if they are downrezzed to standard definition, as the remastered versions will still look worlds better.

  116. Call me unrefined and a pushover, but i dug out the ol' 3-disc version and at least on the 2 discs i've seen the image and video is pretty fine. Much better and less foggy than the Me-TV version we get fed on Sunday nights. I was considering re-dipping but I'll wait for any BR edition… McGavin was truly a master of consummate pent-up energy, and he and Oakland worked well together. I've also noticed (or re-noticed) how the casting director (and McGavin) liked to mine the old familiar faces of Hollywood for supporting players. Benny Rubin, Phil Silvers for small parts, but its very comforting when you see these old time actors give it their all, even if it is for less than a minute!

  117. I've previewed several episodes on MeTV, and it appears that their prints are likely videotape copies of the same film prints that were the source for the DVD release (Universal did the same thing for "The Rockford Files", until they switched over to the new HD prints of that show). They are definitely more blurry and fuzzy looking than the DVD's, and the blurriness is enhanced by MeTV's stubbornness on airing their programming in fake widescreen which crops AND stretches the original image. Zooming in on an already low resolution image isn't going to do it any favors…

    The only plus about MeTV's prints is that the original Universal logo is retained at the end of the credits. MeTV also has all 20 episodes, which is surprising since 4 episodes were removed from the syndication package to create the two cobbled together TV movies "Crackle of Death" and "The Demon and The Mummy".

  118. Mr. Handley

    With Kino doing an upgrade on the TV films, perhaps they will eventually get around to the series. I would buy it (again) in a heartbeat!

    I hope so. I watched the series one time, way back when it was released on DVD for the first time. I would love to revisit it in HD.

  119. Mr. Handley

    With Kino doing an upgrade on the TV films, perhaps they will eventually get around to the series. I would buy it (again) in a heartbeat!

    Yep, it would be a day-one purchase for me. I still revisit the DVDs with pleasure, but to lose those flippers and have the shows in high def would be a dream come true.

  120. Mr. Handley

    With Kino doing an upgrade on the TV films, perhaps they will eventually get around to the series. I would buy it (again) in a heartbeat!

    Kino got the rights to the 2 films via their deal with ABC/Disney. The TV series is owned by Universal. Kino doesn't have a deal with Universal. Mill Creek or maybe Shout would be the ones to release the series if it gets an upgrade.

  121. Mr. Handley

    With Kino doing an upgrade on the TV films, perhaps they will eventually get around to the series. I would buy it (again) in a heartbeat!

    me too. this would be my third time since the first was pirate booty. I shipped it back to them on a dinghy though…

  122. Randy Korstick

    Kino got the rights to the 2 films via their deal with ABC/Disney. The TV series is owned by Universal. Kino doesn't have a deal with Universal. Mill Creek or maybe Shout would be the ones to release the series if it gets an upgrade.

    Assuming there are HD masters and Uni was amenable, a Kolchak set on Blu from Mill Creek would probably be dirt cheap since it's only, what, 20 episodes?

  123. The original Night Stalker TV movie is brilliant because of the underlying attempt to evoke some authenticity. That for me is the reason why the concept just didn't work as a series because what was scary and shocking once can become boringly predictable every week.

  124. Jack P

    The original Night Stalker TV movie is brilliant because of the underlying attempt to evoke some authenticity. That for me is the reason why the concept just didn't work as a series because what was scary and shocking once can become boringly predictable every week.

    I agree. It should have been kept as maybe once a year TV movies. It didn't work as a series and also the other problem was Darren McGavin took over the whole show and Dan Curtis was not involved in the series. There was a script for a third Kolchak movie which unfortunately never came to be.

    Speaking of shows which should have not been series, V would also be in that category. As a mini-series, it worked, especially the first one, which Ken Johnson helmed. Never should have tried to do it on a weekly basis.

  125. Jack P

    The original Night Stalker TV movie is brilliant because of the underlying attempt to evoke some authenticity. That for me is the reason why the concept just didn't work as a series because what was scary and shocking once can become boringly predictable every week.

    I completely agree, Jack; the monster-of-the-week format did wear thin. A great reference book on the telefilms and the series is Mark Dawidziak's The Night Stalker Companion: A 25th Anniversary Tribute.

  126. Wow, you guys are harsh! As an 8-9 year old kid back then, I thought the weekly series was great! Even viewing it thru my eyes today, it still holds up. The by-play between the regular cast members was a lot of fun. Yes, there was a formula, but you could say that about nearly every weekly series made at that time!

  127. I was 13 at the time of the series and it scared the heck outta me at the time. Now watching it, the "monsters" are a tad cheesy, but Darren McGavin is still so much fun to watch. I have loved revisiting the series, watching late at night, and remembering how it creeped me out back then.

  128. I admit, my first exposure to it was solely on DVD. Maybe from week to week in real time it would have been different for me but in binge watching as I do with a lot of shows, it just revealed its flaws more. How many times can you keep giving us the same formula of Kolchak being an irritant, having his comedy sparring with Vincenzo and Updyke, always being distrusted by the police, always losing the evidence? I think what the show needed to do was throw the occasional curve like having one week Kolchak discover a hoax because if you mix that in, then the audience won't know what to think necessarily and then when the real monster comes it can be more effective (this is also I might add why I was unimpressed by X-Files the one time I tried to sample that show).

  129. Neil Brock

    Speaking of shows which should have not been series, V would also be in that category. As a mini-series, it worked, especially the first one, which Ken Johnson helmed. Never should have tried to do it on a weekly basis.

    I'm pretty sure I remember Johnson telling the story that when the weekly series was tanking, Brandon Tartikoff came back to Johnson and admitted "you were right." Of course, I think Tartikoff was also asking Johnson to come in and save the show, but at least he admitted it.

    Another show I'd add to that list: the original Battlestar Galactica. The original plan was a once-or-twice yearly 6-hour mini-series. ABC got greedy and, the rest is history.

  130. This show scared me as a kid. I was about 8 when it aired originally. I think it may have been my first exposure to horror. I remember my school teacher being mortified when I told her I watched it. Very atmospheric at the time. Good soundtrack. Good camera work. As an adult, not so much. Maybe I'm jaded. I've watched a lot more horror since then.

  131. Jack P

    I admit, my first exposure to it was solely on DVD. Maybe from week to week in real time it would have been different for me but in binge watching as I do with a lot of shows, it just revealed its flaws more. How many times can you keep giving us the same formula of Kolchak being an irritant, having his comedy sparring with Vincenzo and Updyke, always being distrusted by the police, always losing the evidence? I think what the show needed to do was throw the occasional curve like having one week Kolchak discover a hoax because if you mix that in, then the audience won't know what to think necessarily and then when the real monster comes it can be more effective (this is also I might add why I was unimpressed by X-Files the one time I tried to sample that show).

    Which is exactly why I don't binge watch. I find cramming in multiple episodes at once greatly diminishes my enjoyment of nearly any show as it doesn't give you time to think about each episode and digest like watching 1 a day or 1 a week does. Episodic serialized shows are an exception but even with those I would never watch more than 3-4 a day. If its not a serialized show it was intended to be seen once a week. Movie serials are another great example they were intended to be seen 1 chapter a week and they work great that way. I usually add a chapter of a serial a couple cartoons, a short and 2 B movies for a nice Saturday or Sunday afternoon. I couldn't image watching an entire serial at once. Just way too repetitive that way. I'm bored after 2-3 chapters. Just my 2 cents.

  132. For me personally Kolchak is the perfect mix of horror and comedy. Not every episode is perfect, but you can't help but love the back and forth banter between Darren McGavin and Simon Oakland, and the numerous recurring quirks of the series (Carl's run-ins with the police chief of the week, The ineptness of Ron Updyke and Ms. Emily at the desk next to Kolchak's) often help out the episodes as well. Keep in mind however that this is coming from somebody who can get the same amount of enjoyment out of an episode of Lost In Space as an episode of Star Trek. 😀

    I find that binge watching any series made before the term was invented (really the last five years or so) is never really a good idea for the reasons that Randy mentioned earlier. On the other hand, I find the pacing of many more recent TV series to be dreadfully slow (I'm looking at you Walking Dead), and these shows almost seem to be written with the concept of watching three episodes at once instead of one. If I have more time for TV watching, then I'll pick out an episode from a different series to watch. I get more enjoyment out of grouping several series to watch together instead of focusing on just one show.

  133. Once a week on DVD would for me defeat the purpose of why I enjoy having shows on DVD. It's not that I only binge watch, but I like the fact I have the freedom to watch more than one episode at a time and Kolchak came out at a time (2005) when there was comparatively less classic TV on DVD available to watch and as a consequence it was not going to be something I would expose myself to in small doses.

    There was also another reason I had to binge watch when this came out. The series was released on that dual sided format and that was a point in time where it seemed like EVERY Universal double-sided set I was buying would freeze up on me. And that meant I would buy something, see a freeze up, exchange it and then force myself to practically watch EVERY episode again to make sure all was "safe" with this particular set. So that also in a way overexposed me to it at that point but I really feel ultimately had I watched it at a slower pace, I think my main point about how the show was too predictable to be scary would have still been borne out. If I know there's going to be a monster right away instead of being challenged to think "could it really be true?" like the original TV movie posited with understatement and that every episode is going to follow the same pattern, then my capacity to be scared just isn't going to be there.

    To offer another example in another genre, I've been revisiting another one season Universal 70s series "Ellery Queen" of late, and I've been struck by how the show holds up so well not just because of the great presence and interaction of its stars Jim Hutton and David Wayne but because in doing the mysteries, the show made sure to be diverse in its possibilities. Sometimes the killer turned out not to be one of the top billed guest stars but a seemingly insignificant back end of the credits character proving that when Ellery challenges the viewer, the "Maybe it was someone else" could sometimes be true. The show made sure the mysteries themself weren't predictable based on who was a bigger name etc.

  134. I was staying up to watch a Barretta or Columbo or something on the late mystery movie one night and Night Stalker appeared instead on our huge 25" (!!!!) Sylvania … Curses, no remote! But I broke the sound barriers stuffing off, skiping up 2 flights of split level stairs, and leaping under the covers. Still a mystery to NASA why a space shuttle re-entered just over a suburb in GA and disappeared!!! Boom!! 😀

    No binging for me either. Not easy, just yesterday I watched season 3 ST Next Gen, "The Enemy"… was so good I wanted more but didn't. Just one.

    Not too much…
    [​IMG]

  135. In my opinion, Ellery Queen sits atop all of the mystery series of the 1970s and 1980s and that includes Columbo. Intricate mysteries that aren't the least bit predictable or obvious, superb guest stars, fine period production, and two top-billed actors that have marvelous rapport. The fact that it only got one season means they didn't run out of ideas or have to result to a tried-and-true formula for the solutions. This is one show that never dumbed down its mysteries for the audience. Maybe that's why it didn't catch on, but it certainly stands the test of time now.

  136. The ultimate proof that they didn't run out of ideas is the fact that there were a number of unfilmed EQ scripts that Universal recycled for other shows like the deservedly short-lived "Eddie Capra Mysteries", and then most notably the "Murder She Wrote" episode "Adventure Of The Grand Old Lady" which was one of those "Jessica introduces a story about another detective" tales that in this case took an unused Queen script and changed the names of Ellery, Inspector Queen and Simon Brimmer to new but very similar characters to the point that EQ fans can clearly hear lines meant for the cadences of Hutton, Wayne and Hillerman (even the late 40s setting was retained)

    I think EQ and "Columbo" are the perfect yin and yang to each other in giving us similar template characters but letting one chart its own course in the "how does he find out how he did it?" while the other is the traditional "whodunnit". And its no coincidence that the men behind Columbo were also responsible for EQ.

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