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A headless biker from the 50's returns from the grave to exact his revenge on those responsible for his grisly death.


Episode Info


Episode number: 1x15
Airdate: Friday January 31st, 1975



  • Currently 7.5/10
7.5/10 (2 Votes cast)
Special Guest Stars
Jim Backus
As Herb Bresson

Guest Stars
Larry Linville
As Capt. Jonas
Recurring
Art Metrano
As Henry "Studs" Spake
Fern Barry
As Mrs. Rita Baker
Frank Aletter
As Norman Kahill
Jay Robinson
As Professor Eli Strig
Jesse White
As Watchman
Jim Malinda
As Snow White
Jimmy Joyce
As Watchman #2
Joey Aresco
As Electric Larry
Sharon Farrell
As Lila Morton
Steve Boyum
As Harold "Swordman" Baker/Headless Rider
Steve Franken
As Neil, The Morgue Attendant
Main Cast
Darren McGavin
As Carl Kolchak
Simon Oakland
As Tony Vincenzo

Recap

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. But for some individuals I came to know in this summer of their discontent it had been a time when they had sown the seeds of their own destruction...

Read the full recap
Episode Notes
Capt. Jonas:
With this appearance, Larry Linville is now the second actor from the original TV movie to make a guest appearance on the series. In the Night Stalker film he played "Medical Examiner Robert Mokurji".

Neil, The Morgue Attendant:
Steve Franken was brought in as "Neil, The Morgue Attendant" when John "Gordy 'The Ghoul' Spangler" Fiedler was unavailable for shooting.

Co-writers Bob Gale and Robert Zemeckis, went on to successful Hollywood careers as writers and directors. The duo worked on hits like the Back To The Future trilogy, Who Framed Roger Rabbit and the HBO series Tales From The Crypt. Zemeckis, who has been quoted as saying of this episode, "It was my first professional sale. So I guess you could say it all started with Kolchak.", even picked up an Oscar for Forrest Gump.

David Chase, the story editor, must have really liked the name of the character "Electric Larry." It will show up again in a 1977 episode of The Rockford Files (1974), "Dirty Money, Black Light." Chase produced The Rockford Files.



Episode Quotes
Carl: (opening narration) 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. But for some individuals I came to know in this summer of their discontent, it had been a time when they had sown the seeds of their own destruction.

Carl: In one case the oversight was very small. But it blossomed into a flower of evil.

Carl: (to Norman Cahill) If you saw what you say you saw, you won’t find anybody more interested in it than I am.

Capt. Jonas: And you’re telling me that I should go into a barn of bones…and…and…and…find someone’s skull and then play pin the head on the stump?!?
Carl: Right, right.
Capt. Jonas: Is that what you think police do?
Carl: I’ve given up figuring out what police do. All I know is what has to be done!



Episode Goofs
Swordman Baker's coffin
Baker's coffin appears to have been made of unbraced quarter inch or so thick plywood. Such a flimsy box would have collapsed rather quickly under the weight of seventy or so cubic feet of earth, and yet the box was relatively intact when Carl found it!



Cultural References
The summer of their discontent...
This line from Carl's opening narration plays on Shakespeare's Richard III. In the opening lines of that play Richard's dialogue shows the audience how his unwholesome appearance has warped his mind.

Hills of Lethe Cemetary
The cemetery is named after the river Lethe from Greek myth. A single drink of its waters destroyed a man's memory for all time; this forgetfulness was part of the shade's passage to the afterlife.

Swordman Baker's first victim was a Joker named Turk Pelletier, whose murder shortly after Swordman's own death convinced the Jokers they had to reunite Baker's head with his body, an act that quieted the spirit for decades. Pelletier no doubt takes his name from Nicolas Jacques Pelletier, a highwayman who was the first man to die by guillotine. The guillotine, a mechanical means of beheading condemned prisoners, was believed to be a merciful form of execution (and compared to the methods used previously, it was).



Other Episode Crew

CreatorJeff Rice
 
Warning: Kolchak: The Night Stalker season 1 episode 15 guide may contain spoilers
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