The men behind Back To The Future wrote this eerie TV episode

Ten years before Marty rode a skateboard, a headless ghost rode a motorcycle.

"The teenage years: sixteen candles, fervent passions, aimless joyrides and the forbidden taste of beer. A time the world allows for sowing one's wild oats..."

Is this a line about the teenage coming-of-age movie Back to the Future, where Marty McFly longs to take his girlfriend to the lake for the weekend? Or maybe it's about his parents when he goes back in time to their teenage years?

Actually, this is the opening narration to "Chopper", an episode of Kolchak: The Night Stalker near the end of the show's one-season run. Kolchak was known for bringing such creepy characters as zombies, vampires, and demons to the small screen, and this episode did not disappoint. 

When a land developer moves the coffin of a beheaded motorcyclist, the rider's rest is disturbed and he comes back to life. Like a modern-day Ichabod Crane, this headless spirit rides around on his "steed" and terrorizes the community — specifically, the members of a rival biker gang who killed him. His vengence comes in the form of lopping off heads. The story follows Kolchak as he tries to get this spirit back to rest.

The writers behind Kolchak are already an impressive bunch — previously, we shared how Sopranos writer David Chase worked on some of the first episodes — but the minds behind this high-adrenaline tale are especially unique. Bob Gale and Robert Zemeckis worked on the story for "Chopper".

Recognize those names? In 1975, when this episode aired, maybe you didn't. But ten years later, in 1985, they would have a smash hit with their movie Back to the Future. Written by the duo and directed by Zemeckis, it went on to make nearly 400 million on a 19 million budget. Of course, the hero in that story rides a skateboard (and later, a hoverboard), not a motorcycle. 

When you watch this spooky episode, keep an eye out for similarities to the later cultural phenomenon. After all, history tends to repeat itself. 

Watch Kolchak: The Night Stalker on MeTV!

Saturdays at 12 AM

*available in most MeTV markets
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46 Comments

Neky 8 months ago
Loved Kolchak. It was basically a police/crime drama aka dragnet style. But with super natural twist. Loaded with guest stars, you really wanted to tune in to next weeks show. Chopper is one of my favorites, even with the bad effects. I'm talking about the enlongated body to cover the riders head. Great fun.
BradBeall 8 months ago
Back in the early 70's, I had a comic book (perhaps "CarToons?") that had a story about a motorcycle - NOT it's rider - that came back from the "dead" to avenge whomever was involved with the death of the bike's previous owner. Any chance that there's a copy of that in somebody's collection, and do you want to sell it?
Runeshaper 8 months ago
I love ❤️ BTTF! This episode sounds pretty cool 😎
Snickers 8 months ago
Not a big fan of that episode. Can't remember the name of the episode but my favorite is the one where the alien stops for a bite on the way home.
AnnaRentzVandenhazel 8 months ago
Modern Day Ichabod Crane???? He was a timid schoolteacher who ran FROM the headless horseman!
Unlike the MeTV Staff writer(s) who penned this piece, Bob Gale and Robert Zemeckis likely *read* "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow"
DuanneWalton 34 months ago
Ichabod Crane WASN'T the Headless Horseman.
denny 35 months ago
Liked the Night Stalker, but it seemed almost every episode ended with the flash from his camera blinding the bad guy.
AnnieM 35 months ago
I just wish that Kolchak had lasted longer than one season, so we'd have more episodes to enjoy. At least we *kind of* got to see him again when Darren McGavin played Arthur Dales on the 'X-Files'.
Ric 35 months ago
Greetings. As a Kolchak The Night Stalker fan and motorcycle enthusiast, this was one of my favorite episodes. I believe Bud Ekins did the stunts. Fine fare indeed!
Jimo 35 months ago
It was a good creepy show in the day.....and then came "a can of simonize".Fragily"award,too funny!
ChristopherMichael 35 months ago
I really liked the Night Stalker. It was one of my Friday night shows. After Emergency and Kung Fu. Ah, the memories.
Klink 35 months ago
Let’s get the original movie on!
WordsmithWorks 35 months ago
Loved "The Night Stalker" TV movies and the "Kolchak" series, especially the interactions between Kolchak and his exasperated editor, Vincenzo.
Andybandit 35 months ago
Cool story. I never seen Kolchak. I would watch it if didn't come on at 11pm.
Pacificsun 35 months ago
Okay, MeTV writers, it's not like we're not paying attention out here. We really DO read your stories! So maybe this is just a test! 😉

"The teenage years: sixteen candles, fervent passions, aimless joyrides and the forbidden taste of beer. A time the world allows for sowing one's wild oats..."
Is this a line about the teenage coming-of-age movie Back to the Future, where Marty McFly longs to take his girlfriend to the lake for the weekend? Or maybe it's about his parents when he goes back in time to their teenage years?

Wow. That’s certainly a stretch of an allegory. Made me go back to re-read the story though. To see if I could make that connection!

(IMO) BTTF wasn’t so much about a “longing” as it was an accident of time shifting. Doc’s time travel machine (the DeLorean) was an intentional invention (I believe) with the purpose of setting some things right in history.

Maybe the MeTV writers got confused by BTTF's Happy Valley land development distortion, and the general disturbance caused by a land developer (in the Headless Motorcyclist) who moves the corpse. And disturbs the spirit!

“Keep an eye out for all the similarities” (?) Well other than the writer's pure talent, I don’t think there is any, at least story wise. BTTF was just a great escape for bouncing around in the time portal! And giving Marty the time of his life! (Does anyone remember a spook in it)?
justjeff Pacificsun 8 months ago
No, but I do remember some inconsistencies... like Marty playing "Johnny B. Goode" - which was Written by Chuck Berry, and to have Berry's "supposed" cousin call Chuck up on the phone to "listen" to this new sound - A SONG HE HADN'T EVEN WRITTEN YET - is oxymoronic! (The song was released in March 1958!)... The guitar Marty was playing also hadn't been invented yet and i'm sure if I had paid better attention, there would have been many more continuity errors I would have found...

(But for the record, I DID like the film a LOT!)
Pacificsun justjeff 8 months ago
😊
The BTTF Trilogy has become a collection of fascination all unto itself. There is a fandom surrounding just the inconsistencies and impossibilities alone. But a lovely way for the Writers and Producers to preserve their legacy forever!! And a wonderful lesson to all about what signifies escapism! I hope they never try to reboot this masterpiece! The way they destroyed Quantum Leap.
justjeff Pacificsun 8 months ago
Give them a chance... they probably will...
Pacificsun 35 months ago
Kolchak is a great Show! Too bad it comes on so late. But it's better having than not at all. I urge a lot of viewers to check it out, if they don't know it from the past!
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Peter_Falk_Fan Pacificsun 35 months ago
"The Outer Limits" is the one that takes control of your TV. The 60s series is great. I didn't like the later series (1995-2002) as much.
Pacificsun kimmer 35 months ago
I'll send the suggestion to them one of these days. Wouldn't it be totally great for Halloween in October.
kimmer Pacificsun 35 months ago
What an absolutely fabulous thought!
kimmer kimmer 35 months ago
Seems us three have a major creepy factor ....love it!
MrsPhilHarris 35 months ago
Now this would be a great show for Sunday nights at 8 or 9.
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texasluva LoveMETV22 35 months ago
Yeah. Before that they were singing songs and laughing and carrying on a dark road in middle of nowhere. Just when you think everything is fine his partner turns into a monster . Goes to show-You just never know
texasluva Pacificsun 35 months ago

!!Wanted!! but preferred Alive
Those that wish to participate in the Weekly Movie Quiz.
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texasluva LoveMETV22 35 months ago
!!Wanted!! but preferred Alive
Those that wish to participate in the Weekly Movie Quiz.
Reward:
Conversation as to what this movie might be
Winners name in MeTV Lights
Just plain ole fun
Let's Do it at: Who did it: Bugs Bunny or Jerry Mouse?
Friday @ 10:00 P.M CT
The Show Must Go On-Another knock down quizorama and entertainment.
One of our Bonus Movies will be; Bye-Bye Birdie.
texasluva MrsPhilHarris 35 months ago
!!Wanted!! but preferred Alive
Those that wish to participate in the Weekly Movie Quiz.
Reward:
Conversation as to what this movie might be
Winners name in MeTV Lights
Just plain ole fun
Let's Do it at: Who did it: Bugs Bunny or Jerry Mouse?
Friday @ 10:00 P.M CT
The Show Must Go On-Another knock down quizorama and entertainment.
One of our Bonus Movies will be: Bye-Bye Birdie.
kimmer 35 months ago
Kolchak was a staple for us kids on Friday nights back in the day. Parents were all in the smoke filled kitchen playing cards and all us kids had our chips, dips, creme sodas and the Night Stalker.....what fun we all had!
Pacificsun kimmer 35 months ago
Now there's a memory only somebody who's been there, can appreciate. Thanks for that!!
kimmer Pacificsun 35 months ago
Amazing what memories we have attached to television shows...lol
Zip 35 months ago
Aside from the writers, I don't remember any similarities of that episode of The Night Stalker and Back To The Future, and I remember that episode pretty well. Guess I will have to look again.
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