Kolchak – The Night Stalker – tape 1316

All aboard the Mystery Train, as Richard O’Brien introduces another episode of Kolchak The Night Stalker. 

In The Werewolf Kolchak gets to take a cruise on an old cruise ship, to file stories on the swinging singles scene – in the Kolchak universe, apparently cruises are for young romantic people.

“Oh you’re a reporter? Like the Fifth Column?”

“No, the fifth column was a nazi spy ring, you mean the Fourth Estate.”

Swinging Singles

Eric Braeden plays Bernhardt Stieglitz, another passenger, who asked specifically for a single room, and has a suspicious wound on his arm. What could that possibly mean?

Eric Braeden

Well, there’s a full moon, and pretty soon, a hairy looking man is throwing old ladies off balconies.


Next day, Kolchak wants to prepare for the next full moon, stealing silver buttons from the Captain’s dress uniform for silver bullets, needing a priest to bless the bullets in latin.

Making Silver Bullets

Next night, Braeden, who has been suffering blackouts, has nevertheless chained himself to his bed, but when he transforms into his wolfman form he breaks the chains and goes for another rampage.

The programme doesn’t allow us a good look at the werewolf, probably because the costume is basically a brown hairy balaclava,


BBC Genome: BBC Two – 11th October 1991 – 22:30

Next, it’s an episode called The Spanish Moss Murders. People are being killed by some kind of swamp monster, and it’s somehow linked to an experiment into sleep disorders.

Swamp Monster

BBC Genome: BBC Two – 18th October 1991 – 23:45

The next episode is in progress when recording switches. The episode is The Zombie.

Kolchak Zombie

BBC Genome: BBC Two – 25th October 1991 – 23:45

After this episode, recording continues with an animation by Bill Plympton – One of Those Days. It’s like a pencil-animated scene from Final Destination.

One of those Days

This is followed by I was a Teenage Werewolf. Michael Landon plays Tony, an angry young man who lashes out at everything.

Michael Landon

There’s a scene in a dance club where a boy sings a song that’s so out of time with the musical accompaniment that it’s painful to listen to. It’s not that he’s a bad singer, just that the backing track doesn’t match what he’s singing. I’m guessing his singing was recorded on set, and he wasn’t singing to a prerecorded track, and the final track produced just didn’t match his tempo.

Landon’s rage gets the better of him again, so he reluctantly sees a psychiatrist, the dependable Whit Bissell, who decides to experiment on him. “I’m going to transform him, and unleash the savage instincts that lie within him.”

This recording finishes before the film ends, and underneath there’s the end of another old film, Earth vs The Spider judging by the big, old Spider that’s chasing them.

Big Spider

This is followed by a part of Aeon Flux, in which sexy ladies in skimpy leather costumes run around and shoot a lot of people who are shooting at them.

Aeon Flux

The tape ends during this programme.

Here’s all of Richard O’Brien’s bits from this tape.


  1. I always liked the story behind the opening titles – Darren McGavin hired Gil Melle literally just before he was going shoot the opening where he goes into his office whistling the theme music! (Melle wound up reusing a melody he wrote for another Universal show (“The Name Of The Game”), because of time. Cheek!

  2. Mystery Train was a belated try at a very American TV institution, the horror host where a “character” would introduce various old movies the station had the rights to and build up a following in the process, so you would tune in every week to see what the host would say as much as for the films. Paul Thomas Anderson, the Hollywood director, was the son of Ghoulardi (Ernie Anderson), one of those horror hosts. Elvira’s probably the best known in the UK.

    I really liked Richard O’Brien in the role, and was disappointed there was only one series of this. It’s difficult to imagine the concept playing today when everything’s getting to be TV on demand rather than “appointment television”.

    1. I think these ideas will find a way back on an on-demand world. In fact, I think it works better that way, as you can make the ‘host’ optional. I’d love to see Netflix or iPlayer offer an option of seeing an introduction to a movie in the vein of Moviedrome. It would be especially useful for older movies, although the online services don’t seem to do ‘old’ movies justice.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s