Kolchak: The Night Stalker 1.14 – The Trevi Collection

On the casting front alone, Rudolph Borchert’s “The Trevi Collection” would be worth a spotlight for all the great actors and actresses who appear in it. Familiar faces that we’ve seen and heard before include Richard Bakalyan, Bernie Kopell, and Marvin Miller, who’d be providing the voice of the Zarn a few months later for Sid and Marty Krofft. They provide some background color for Nina Foch and Lara Parker, who I don’t believe that we’ve seen before at our blog, and who are playing a pair of witches locked in a magical struggle that’s leaving a lot of corpses around Chicago.

Lara Parker had played the witch Angelique in the popular Dark Shadows for a few years prior to this episode. Maybe that was obvious casting, but she knew how to cackle and laugh like she’d lost her mind. I remember thinking that she went over the top in a couple of scenes when I watched this ages ago, but she scared the pants off our kid. She ends the episode screaming and laughing maniacally while charging after Karl, and I could feel the poor fellow tense up so much that he was shifting the sofa.

But it wasn’t all terrors from the witchcraft story. Bakalyan is in only one scene, as a hood who wants Carl to turn over some evidence about a union shakedown, but the heavies come back to the INS offices after hours to smash up the place, write threats on the windows, and, just to be obnoxious, smear peanut butter all over Tony’s homburg. Poor Tony complains “My favorite hat smells like a kid’s lunchbox,” and our son laughed so hard that he begged me to pause and wind it back so he could hear it again.

The Ghost Busters 1.2 – Dr. Whatsisname

This episode is so named because Zero’s message is garbled and our heroes don’t realize until the final faceoff that their opponent is Dr. Frankenstein, played by Bernie Kopell, who was Sigfried in Get Smart and a hundred other roles in a hundred other shows.

The message is garbled because this week, it’s in a cream pie and it has too much frosting for the message to come through clearly before it self-destructs, leaving Tracy with a face full of pie. He’s the first; before the show’s over, the three leads and the two guest stars all get pies in the face.

Daniel absolutely adores the slapstick mayhem like this. He liked the Krofft shows just fine, with some reservations about the villains, but this is very clearly second to Thunderbirds as his favorite show so far. He just howled with the pies in the face and all the surreal gags about Tracy’s magic powers. Tracy – we’re told this week that he is “sensitive” about mentions of the Empire State Building, as his grandfather was King Kong – has a bag from which he pulls bombs with lit fuses, and bottles of seltzer water to extinguish the fuses. He can also draw a picture of a fridge, and then open it to give Spencer a bottle of pop and a bologna sandwich. All the while, Daniel just roared with laughter.

Filmation was on my mind, because my best mate Dave was in town for Anime Weekend Atlanta, and he performs/hosts/curates the perennial Friday night event Anime Hell at this and a few other cons around the country. Dave likes to occasionally remind his audience how awful American TV animation was, and among the things he cherry-picked this year was the opening of The Kid Super Power Hour. Filmation’s animation was most often world-endingly crappy, and some of their live-action shows that we’re going to watch down the line I remember as being slow and preachy, but this show is revealing itself to be absolutely the funniest thing in the world for a four year-old. You should watch some episodes in the company of one.