Darren McGavin's agent thought the original ''Kolchak'' script was so bad he nearly didn't pass it along to his client

The actor that almost wasn't.

Ask many fans why they love Kolchak: The Night Stalker and they’re probably going to tell you that they adore the show because of its freaky and bizarre nature. However, the freakiness of the script is precisely why we almost didn’t see Darren McGavin starring in the television series.

According to The San Bernardino County Sun, McGavin’s agent had gotten a hold of the script for the Night Stalker film and almost didn’t send it McGavin’s way, fearing that he might not like it. The article stated, “Ironically, his agent thought the original script was so far out that he wasn’t even going to send it to Darren.”

In fact, the only reason McGavin’s agent sent the script along in spite of his own reservations was because of a rule that McGavin himself had previously implemented. His agent, “remembering the edict that Darren wanted to see every script submitted by producers no matter what... sent the script along.”

Thankfully, McGavin saw something that his agent did not and agreed to do the film, which became the highest-rated movie made for television on the ABC Movie of the Week, up until that point. The film was given a sequel before the television series was ordered, and McGavin, who had spent the past ten years refusing starring television roles, said yes to being Kolchak once more.

McGavin recalled the interaction in an interview with The Charlotte News. He recalled picking up the phone and hearing a voice say, “Listen, I’ve got this screenplay I want you to read. It’s awful, and...” McGavin, however, responded, “Okay, send it over.” The caller continued, “Gee, I hate to do this to you. I think it’s terrible.” McGavin continued to insist that he’d read the script before it was finally sent.

In the series, McGavin said his plan as the character was “to work toward people’s fears of the dark, the unknown, the unseen. Something scratching at the door. You can’t see it but you can hear it. It’s much scarier that way.”

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10 Comments

Klink 9 months ago
Cmon METV, show the original movie on Svengoolie
IndianaRockz 9 months ago
I just love the Kolchak character, especially how he grates the nerves of his boss & police chiefs to get his way or weasel in the mix to get leads for his stories, good comedy mixed in with the 'scary' stories. He always wears the same rumpled suit, old hat & shoes.......too busy chasing monsters to change!!!
Bapa1 9 months ago
I remember when they showed that on TV. I was in Jr. High at the time and everybody was talking about it the next day. The follow-up movie was not as good, and neither was the series. He was really good in it.
Rick 9 months ago
He sure poured his heart and soul into the character. It's such a shame the writers couldn't figure out where to take it after the "monster of the week" episodes ran thin.
Runeshaper 9 months ago
Darren McGavin was excellent as Kolchak!
Andybandit 9 months ago
That is too bad. I have never seen an episode of K:TNS.
Pacificsun 9 months ago
Here's the deal: actors transform the written word for a reason. McGavin's secret was acting as though he believed in the story. No easy trick for anyone less talented. Even 20 episodes are worthy of re-watching. DM conveys curiosity, determination, disbelief, and finally horror. He nailed the premise and he's fascinating to watch with so little to work with.
BrittReid 9 months ago
Excellent vampire film. Good call Darren.
harlow1313 9 months ago
To me, the movie is unforgettable. It was the talk of we boys, next day at school.

The woman strapped to the bed, with her blood being drained, was such a helpless image, that I can still picture it in my head.
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