Darren McGavin's agent thought the original ''Kolchak'' script was so bad he nearly didn't pass it along to his client
The actor that almost wasn't.
Ask many fans why they love Kolchak: The Night Stalker and they’re probably going to tell you that they adore the show because of its freaky and bizarre nature. However, the freakiness of the script is precisely why we almost didn’t see Darren McGavin starring in the television series.
According to The San Bernardino County Sun, McGavin’s agent had gotten a hold of the script for the Night Stalker film and almost didn’t send it McGavin’s way, fearing that he might not like it. The article stated, “Ironically, his agent thought the original script was so far out that he wasn’t even going to send it to Darren.”
In fact, the only reason McGavin’s agent sent the script along in spite of his own reservations was because of a rule that McGavin himself had previously implemented. His agent, “remembering the edict that Darren wanted to see every script submitted by producers no matter what... sent the script along.”
Thankfully, McGavin saw something that his agent did not and agreed to do the film, which became the highest-rated movie made for television on the ABC Movie of the Week, up until that point. The film was given a sequel before the television series was ordered, and McGavin, who had spent the past ten years refusing starring television roles, said yes to being Kolchak once more.
McGavin recalled the interaction in an interview with The Charlotte News. He recalled picking up the phone and hearing a voice say, “Listen, I’ve got this screenplay I want you to read. It’s awful, and...” McGavin, however, responded, “Okay, send it over.” The caller continued, “Gee, I hate to do this to you. I think it’s terrible.” McGavin continued to insist that he’d read the script before it was finally sent.
In the series, McGavin said his plan as the character was “to work toward people’s fears of the dark, the unknown, the unseen. Something scratching at the door. You can’t see it but you can hear it. It’s much scarier that way.”