The men behind Back To The Future wrote this eerie TV episode
Ten years before Marty rode a skateboard, a headless ghost rode a motorcycle.
Read to Me
"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..."
Is this a line about the teenage coming-of-age movie Back to the Future, where Marty McFly longs to take his girlfriend to the lake for the weekend? Or maybe it's about his parents when he goes back in time to their teenage years?
Actually, this is the opening narration to "Chopper", an episode of Kolchak: The Night Stalker near the end of the show's one-season run. Kolchak was known for bringing such creepy characters as zombies, vampires, and demons to the small screen, and this episode did not disappoint.
When a land developer moves the coffin of a beheaded motorcyclist, the rider's rest is disturbed and he comes back to life. Like a modern-day Ichabod Crane, this headless spirit rides around on his "steed" and terrorizes the community — specifically, the members of a rival biker gang who killed him. His vengence comes in the form of lopping off heads. The story follows Kolchak as he tries to get this spirit back to rest.
The writers behind Kolchak are already an impressive bunch — previously, we shared how Sopranos writer David Chase worked on some of the first episodes — but the minds behind this high-adrenaline tale are especially unique. Bob Gale and Robert Zemeckis worked on the story for "Chopper".
Recognize those names? In 1975, when this episode aired, maybe you didn't. But ten years later, in 1985, they would have a smash hit with their movie Back to the Future. Written by the duo and directed by Zemeckis, it went on to make nearly 400 million on a 19 million budget. Of course, the hero in that story rides a skateboard (and later, a hoverboard), not a motorcycle.
When you watch this spooky episode, keep an eye out for similarities to the later cultural phenomenon. After all, history tends to repeat itself.