Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The Night Stalker: A Laugh Out Loud Moment

Ace reporter Carl Kolchak (Darren McGavin) "crosses" paths with
vampire Janos Skorzeny (Barry Atwater). Credit: ABC/MGM
                                 The Night Stalker: A Laugh Out Loud Moment


                                                                    Jay Agan

      Back in the early 70s, when dinosaurs ruled the earth, Maneschevitz ran a series of tv ads. Little comic asides on Jewish tradition in extolling their line of table wines. The ads always started with someone saying, "whatever happened to tradition?".

      The ads had absolutly nothing to do with Dan Curtis' "The Night Stalker", but for one crazy little moment.

      It was 1972, I'm in my last year of high school at the JVS. One night, we're all in front of the set watching the ABC Movie of the Week (ch6, WTVN). It's the second time they ran "The Night Stalker". We missed out the first time as the set was busted.

      The flick itself is a not bad little made for tv thriller about vampire, Janos Skorzeny, loose in Vegas. Based on Richard Mathesons' "The Kolchak Tapes", it follows the book well. Darren McGavin as newspaperman Carl Kolchak, & Barry Atwater as the title character, give excellent performances as does a supporting cast of familiar faces. One part was made quite hilarious due to the insertion of a commercial break.

      Skorzeny's ransacking a hospital blood storage facility, stuffing a valise with IV bottles full of you know what, when he is rudely interrupted by several of the staff. Being the supernatural fiend he is, he proceeds to mop the floor with them. In a "two shot", he grabs one aide & hurls him through a second story window. Right after the aide "exits" the building, audience POV from the outside, a commercial abruptly cuts in.

      "Whatever happened to tradition?"

      I double up, laughing quite loudly. So much so, Mom expressed vigorous disapproval.

      You had to have been there.

Article copyright © 10-20-10 Jay Agan


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