View Full Version : actor DARREN MCGAVIN has died
02-26-2006, 09:16 AM
to real sci fi nerds like me, KOLCHAK THE NIGHT STALKER was the ultimate in cool in the 1970s
not to mention is fine work on Riverboat, Mike Hammer and more
sorry to see him go
02-26-2006, 10:27 AM
02-26-2006, 11:06 AM
a sad weekend for tv fans......:crying: :crying:
02-26-2006, 02:42 PM
Some folks who have only recently begun trading old TV shows or who are younger than a certain age range may not even remember Darren McGavin except possibly for his role in A Christmas Story from 1983. He became known as the King of TV Movies in the 1970s, when the ABC TV Movie of the Week spawned many imitations and the TV movie reached its zenith. (Since the 1990s, the TV movie has largely disappeared, with the major networks producing only a tiny fraction of the TV movies they once did. From 1970 to roughly 1990, TV fans could count on seeing at least 2 or 3 different TV movies every week...many of them superbly written and brilliantly acted, like Short Walk To Daylight, or High Ice or Money To Burn or Deliver Us From Evil or City Beneath The Sea or Earth II or The Alpha Caper or The Stranger Within.)
Darren McGavin's fame rests on his superb performances in many of those 70s TV movies. Sometimes it seems like McGavin was in half of them. Kolchak The Night Stalker became justifiably famous...but remember that Kolchak the series actually started out as two extremely popular TV movies, both aired on the ABC TV Movie of the Week. The Night Stalker was at that time the highest-rated TV Movie ever broadcast, written by Richard Matheson, the author of classic screenplays like The Incredible Shrinking Man and the adaptation of Jules Verne's Master of the World (a very fine adaptation, which collapsed both of Verne's novels Master of the World and Robur the Conquerer into a single screenplay.) McGavin only ever had 2 TV series of his own: the very early 1950s series Mike Hammer and the short-lived Kolchak the Night Stalker.
Many outstanding screenwriters and directors who later became hugely famous and successful, like Richard Donner, started out doing TV movies. McGavin never stopped doing TV movies and TV series guest star roles. He didn't ever break out into the big screen in a big way. As a result, he never got an academy award and never got any special honors as far as I know (did he ever even win an Emmy?), but he was a superb actor, and his incredible body of work remains immensely impressive. TV movies like The Challenge remain classics, even 35 years after they were made. Darren McGavin's great performances in TV movies like The Challenge and The Death Of Me Yet and Tribes and Something Evil and The Night Strangler were a huge part of the reason why those TV movies are still so much fun to watch so many years after they were made.
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