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Saturday, May 21, 2005

Today's journalism students need more positive role models... I don't know if a new ABC-TV series about Carl Kolchak really fits the bill, but I'll watch at least an episode or two out of nostalgia for the old version.

The original Kolchak appeared on TV back when Watergate was putting investigative reporting on the map. I think I wanted a seersucker suit like his, but couldn't afford one on my reporter salary. Here are Amazon's notes on a DVD of the first two Kolchak movies:

Hey -- a newspaper reporter with a camera and audio recording, not just a notebook -- I'd forgotten Kolchak was a pioneer in multimedia reporting. Today, maybe he'd be a video blogger like
Steve Garfield or Amanda Congdon.

Besides the seersucker, he had a beat-up straw fedora and a '66 Mustang convertible... and an attitude any reporter would appreciate. ("Oh, editors always shout. You have to get used to that.")

After two made-for-TV movies, Kolchak became a TV series for one season, starting about a month after Nixon resigned and reporters were looking for other nefarious villains to investigate. Coincidence?

For 2005, Kolchak gets a makeover and a companion, described as "
a sexy if skeptical fellow reporter." (Aha! Another role model... as long as she's really skeptical.)

The new series won't have Darren McGavin and
at least one fan is upset that ABC decided to cast "a pretty boy lead actor in his 20's and team him up with an attractive woman... Didn't we already have something like that called The X-Files?!"

(In fact, X-Files creator Chris Carter has cited Kolchak as an influence, even if he did put his supernatural-investigators at FBI headquarters, not in a newsroom.)

Here are a few more 1970s Kolchak quotes, thanks to TV Tome:
  • "I promised I'd show up with a haircut, a new hat, and pressed suit... but I lie a lot."
  • "I'm not exactly Jimmy Olsen, Cub Reporter."
  • "This isn't a functioning newsroom! This is occupational therapy!" (Actually, that quote is from his editor.)
  • "Kolchak: Is there anybody important here?
    No, just reporters."
And one from McGavin (via SciFi Channel):
"The truth of the matter is, I love Kolchak. He's terrific. What he's saying to the world is beautiful: 'The heck with you, brother, I'll get my story anyway.' He's a man in a million."

12:04:07 PM    

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