Incredibly, it was five years ago today that American actor Darren McGavin--whose television roles included leads in Mickey Spillane’s Mike Hammer (1958-1960), Riverboat (1959-1961), and Kolchak: The Night Stalker (1974-1975)--passed away in Los Angeles at age 83.
I wrote about McGavin’s career the day after he died. Rather than rehash all that information, I’ll simply commemorate this anniversary by posting videos from two of the aforementioned TV series. The first clip is the main title sequence from McGavin’s Hammer, followed by a scene in which McGavin faces off against guest star Steve Inhat.
These next two videos show McGavin in what may be his best-remembered role, as investigative reporter Carl Kolchak, a guy with a frightening tendency to stumble upon mythical and murderous monsters. We start with the ABC series’ splendidly creepy introduction (and a brief scene from one of the episodes, “The Werewolf”), followed by a set of clips from the 1972 teleflick The Night Stalker, in which Kolchak faced off against a vampire in Las Vegas. The Night Stalker of course inspired the subsequent series and was, for its time, the highest-rated small-screen movie on record.
Rest in peace, Darren McGavin.
READ MORE: “How Kolchak: The Night Stalker Developed an Early Model for TV Horror,” by Phil Dyess-Nugent (A.V. Club).