Kolchak Wikia

Carl Kolchak, born Karel Kolchak[1], is the protagonist of the two telefilms and TV series. He was played by actor Darren McGavin in all these productions.


Born in 1922, Carl served for two years during World War II, spending most of that time behind a typewriter, though his time in the actual field resulted in him sustaining a knee injury that prevented him from serving in the military again. After the war he graduated from Columbia University with a B.A. in journalism. He later served in Vietnam, likely as a war reporter

He worked as a copyboy in Chicago[2] before moving on to a rapid succession of hirings and firings (twice in Chicago, three times in Washington, three times in Boston, and twice in New York City) before ending up at the Las Vegas Daily News in 1963 with Tony Vincenzo serving as his managing editor.

The Night Stalker[]

In the TV movie, Kolchak is living in Las Vegas and working for Tony Vincenzo at The Daily News. He also has a girlfriend named Gail Foster, who is a dancer.

When dead individuals begin appearing with massive blood loss, Kolchak initially believes that the murderer merely believes he is a vampire. He is initially skeptical, but the murderer - identified as Janos Skorzeny - displays superhuman speed and resilience that eventually convince him that Skorzeny actually is a vampire. He successfully kills the vampire.

Unfortunately, the authorities quickly quash the facts by publishing a false story under his byline, forcing Gail to leave town for parts unknown and threatening to convict Kolchak of murder if he doesn't leave the city forever. Kolchak is forced to obey, and is unable to find Gail. He is seen in a cheap motel, narrating that all people who knew of the event have vanished and all evidence has been destroyed. He later sold a novel he had written accounting the events to author Jeff Rice, who published it.[3] Though the book was a success, Kolchak was forced to flee before he could get a share of the profits when goons were sent by the authorities in Las Vegas to silence him.[4]

These events had a profound effect on Kolchak's psyche, giving him a strong anti-authoritarian streak and a tendency to believe in supernatural events rather than rationalizing them away.

The Night Strangler[]

Kolchak was later found in a Seattle bar by Tony Vincenzo, who is now the managing editor of the Seattle Daily Chronicle. Vincenzo hires Kolchak and assigns him to a new string of bizarre killings: exotic dancers are being killed by a man powerful enough to crush their necks, and a few ounces of blood are taken from their bodies. The police are trying to keep the murders secret from the public, but Kolchak is determined to reveal the details of the case.

He soon discovers that a similar rash of murders have been taking place over eighteen days every twenty-one years. Even more striking, the perpetrator has been described, both in the past and present, as resembling a rotting dead man.

With the help of Titus Berry and exotic dancer Louise Harper , Kolchak eventually discovers that the blood is being taken as part of an elixir of life, which the immortal Malcolm Richards takes periodically to maintain his immortality. He even defaces a picture of "Richard Malcolm" to prove that they are the same man.

Eventually Kolchak manages to find and stop Richards, but the story is once again suppressed by the authorities. This time, Kolchak is run out of town not by himself, but with the very irritated Tony and Louis in the same car with him.

Kolchak: The Night Stalker[]

During the TV show's run, Kolchak has relocated to Chicago, once again employed by Tony, this time at the Independent News Service. In every episode, Kolchak encounters a crime that turns out to be paranormal or conspiracy-based, and attempts to reveal the truth. However, he is thwarted by either authority figures or bad luck. Kolchak developed an enmity with his rival Ron Updyke, who he often played pranks on. In contrast, he developed a friendship with Emily Cowles, an elderly advice columnist who is the sole person in the world that he trusts completely.[5]


Short Stories[]

Personality and Quirks[]

Kolchak is immediately recognizable by his appearance: he always wears a light-colored seersucker suit and a straw porkpie hat. He also usually has his camera and tape recorder.

Kolchak is a contradictory character: he is a natural skeptic who claims to "trust nobody," and who shows little respect for authority figures (since he has seen them lie and suppress the truth too often). But despite his natural skepticism, he has a clear vision about the world as it is rather than how it "should" be, and his outlandish theories are always backed by actual evidence and logic.

He often infiltrates crime scenes and secure buildings by pretending to be things he is not, such as an army official, a chauffeur and a doctor. He also has a talent for irritating people to the point of madness.



  • "The Night Stalker", 1972
  • "The Night Strangler", 1973
  • "Kolchak: The Night Stalker", 1974-75 (all 20 episodes)
    • The Get of Belial, Eve of Terror, and The Executioners (graphic novels based off of uniformed episodes of the series)
  • Grave Secrets
  • Kolchak: The Night Chronicles
  • Kolchak: Tales of the Night Stalker

External Links[]


  1. "The Kolchak Papers", Jeff Rice
  2. in the original novel he worked as a copyboy in Boston.
  3. The Kolchak Papers
  4. The novelization of The Night Strangler
  5. Horror in the Heights