Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Today is the third anniversary of the death of actor Darren McGavin. Many know him from his role as Ralphie's dad in the holiday classic A Christmas Story. He appeared in a number of horror shows and movies as well, including his role as Carl Kolchak in the films The Night Stalker and The Night Strangler as well as the TV series Kolchack: The Night Stalker. It is for this latter role that I personally remember Darren McGavin the most fondly.

While some young boys had heroes like Superman or Luke Skywalker, my first hero was a wise-cracking, clumsy reporter with poor fashion sense and a knack for finding horrific things. I guess I've followed in his footsteps in a few ways. As far as fictional role models go, Kolchak isn't a bad one. He never gave up despite the odds always being against him. He always sought to expose the truth where he could and always stepped up to save the day with not much more than his wits and ability to research. He was far from perfect, but he had set ethics he didn't waver from.

Even though he died in 2006, McGavin's final film, Still Waters Burn, wasn't released until last year. It was his first film role since appearing on The X Files back in 1999. I just recently found out about the film and even though it isn't a horror film, I'm enough of a McGavin fan that I'll definitely be checking it out. Today, however I think I'll remember him by watching a few episodes of Kolchak: The Night Stalker (I've actually already started) and perhaps follow it by watching the 1988 film Dead Heat (which also features another of my favorite actors, Vincent Price).

Pay your respects at Darren McGavin's grave.

-Tom G

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