THE NIGHT STALKER-Made for TV-United States-1972

Note: Clip is for the opening theme of the TV series. I could not find a trailer for the 1972 TV Movie.

Directed by John Llewellyn Moxey

Teleplay by Richard Matheson

Based on the book by Jeff Rice

January 11, 1972-A made for TV movie called The Night Stalker would become the most widely viewed TV movie of its time and would make a 10 year-old boy with a love for scary monsters very happy.

The Night Stalker is the story of a reporter who uncovers the biggest story of his life only to have it covered up at every turn. Is there a vampire loose on the streets of Las Vegas? Of course there is and reporter Carl Kolchak knows it. There’s only one problem. Who in the blue hell is going to believe him?

To me, the appeal of The Night Stalker was not in the vampire, but in  the fact that both our beliefs and disbeliefs in the supernatural were represented in both the character of Carl Kolchak and in the powers that be that attempted to thwart  him every chance they got. We believe that there is no such thing as vampires, that there is no such thing as werewolves or zombies. Yet we want so badly to believe. We are Carl Kolchak, reporter and believer. We are the doubters who cry ‘insanity!’ at the mere mention of the things that go bump in the night. Does that make sense? I hope so because I don’t know any better way to put it.

One more thing; The Night Stalker precedes another show about a man who believed in the unknown; and the people around him who try to shut him down at every step. It was called The X-Files and without Carl Kolchak and company to pave the way it probably wouldn’t even exist. Now, can you believe that? I certainly can.


While filming in Las Vegas, producer Dan Curtis was amazed at how oblivious the casino gamblers were to any events going on around them other than gambling. So as a joke one day, actor Barry Atwater (Janos Skorzeny) was asked to walk through the Sahara’s casino in full costume and makeup to see if anyone noticed him. He did this for over 40 minutes, and didn’t even get a second glance.
The original script by Jeff Rice called for Carl Kolchak to be dressed in Bermuda shorts and wearing an Aloha shirt. Actor Darren McGavin said, “That doesn’t sound like anyone I know,” and elected to use a different wardrobe. While reading up on the character, McGavin noted that Kolchak had been fired from a New York newspaper years before, and thought, “That’s it! He hasn’t bought a new suit since!” So, Kolchak appeared in a circa 1950s suit.
In the scene where he is exploring Skorzeny’s house, Kolchak opens up a refrigerator and finds one of the bottles of blood stolen from the hospital. The bottle is labeled, “Richards, Benjamin”. This appears to be a leftover prop from The Immortal: Pilot, a TV-movie (later a series, The Immortal) about a man named Ben Richards whose blood makes him immune to aging and disease.