K is for Kojak, Kolchak: The Night Stalker, Knots Landing and the Knight Rider #atozchallenge

K

STATEMENT THAT APPEARS AT THE BEGINNING OF ALL A-Z 2016 PAGES:

Welcome to the A-Z Classic TV Shows Theme Songs and Intros! Last year I did an A-Z Musical Tour of My Life and featured tons of classic rock music. I had so much fun with it that this year I decided to present classic television shows theme songs and intros. These are shows that I remember from my youth during the 60s and 70s…with an occasional 80s show thrown in. Each show is introduced with information (gathered primarily from my favorite go-to for info, Wikipedia) or associated memories, followed by a video of the TV show’s theme song intro. At first glance, the posts may seem long because of the number of videos included but it’s really laid out in a way that will enable you to scroll through and read, watch or hear just what you want and then either move on to the next A-Zer or linger and go back in time with all the fun theme song intros you’ll find here. Please leave a comment and share your favorite classic TV shows. By all means, bookmark my blog so you can come back! I hope you enjoy my collection. Now, let’s get started with…

K is for Kojak:  Love Telly Savalas!

Kojaktelly

Kojak is an American television series starring Telly Savalas as the title character, New York City Police Department Detective Lieutenant Theo Kojak. Taking the time slot of the popular Cannon series, it aired on CBS from October 24, 1973, to March 18, 1978. In 1999 TV Guide ranked Theo Kojak number 18 on its 50 Greatest TV Characters of All Time list.

The series was set in the New York City Police Department’s Eleventh Precinct (the building shown was actually Ninth Precinct),[4] Manhattan South Patrol Borough. The show revolved around the efforts of the tough and incorruptible Lieutenant Theodore (“Theo”) Kojak (Telly Savalas), a bald, dapper, New York City policeman, who was fond of Tootsie Roll Pops and using the catchphrase, “Who loves ya, baby?” Kojak was stubborn and tenacious in his investigation of crimes—and also displayed a dark, cynical wit, along with a tendency to bend the rules if it brought a criminal to justice. Savalas described Kojak as a “basically honest character, tough but with feelings—the kind of guy who might kick a hooker in the tail if he had to, but they’d understand each other because maybe they grew up on the same kind of block.” Kojak’s Greek American heritage, shared by actor Savalas, was featured prominently in the series.

In the early episodes of the series, Kojak is often seen smoking cigarettes. Following the 1964 Surgeon General’s Report on smoking, cigarette commercials were banned from American television in 1971, and trying to quit smoking became common in the 1970s. To cut down on his own habit, Kojak began using lollipops as a substitute. The lollipop made its debut in the Season 1 episode “Dark Sunday”, broadcast on December 12, 1973; Kojak lights a cigarette as he begins questioning a witness, but thinks better of it and sticks a lollipop (specifically, a Tootsie Pop) in his mouth instead. Later in the episode, Kevin Dobson’s character Crocker asks about the lollipop and Kojak replies, “I’m looking to close the generation gap.” Lollipops became a trademark of the character.

His longtime supervisor was Capt. Frank McNeil (Dan Frazer). Later in the series, McNeil was promoted to Chief of Detectives in Manhattan. Kojak is the commander of the Manhattan South Precinct’s detective squad. His squad includes one of his favorite employees: young plainclothes officer, Det. Bobby Crocker (Kevin Dobson). Detective Stavros (played by Telly’s real-life brother George Savalas, who originally used the name “Demosthenes” as his screen credit; under his real name, Savalas also received a Production Associate credit during the early seasons), Detective Saperstein (Mark Russell), and Detective Rizzo (Vince Conti), all gave Kojak support. Roger Robinson appeared in 12 episodes as Detective Gil Weaver.

 

K is for Kolchak: The Night Stalker:

Originally airing as The Night Stalker, the show changed its title after the first five or six episodes to Kolchak: The Night Stalker. It is an American television series that aired on ABC during the 1974–1975 season. It featured a fictional Chicago newspaper reporter—Carl Kolchak, played by Darren McGavin—who investigated mysterious crimes with unlikely causes, particularly those that law enforcement authorities would not follow up. These often involved the supernatural or even science fiction, including fantastic creatures.

The main character originated in an unpublished novel, The Kolchak Papers, written by Jeff Rice (born 1944, Rhode Island). In it, a Las Vegas newspaper reporter named Carl Kolchak tracks down and defeats a serial killer who turns out to be a vampire named Janos Skorzeny.

The series was preceded by two television movies, The Night Stalker (1972) and The Night Strangler (1973). Although the series only lasted a single season, it remains popular in syndication. It is often cited as the inspiration for the popular series The X-Files.

In the series’ short run it managed to tackle most of the major monster myths, including classics such as vampires, werewolves, mummies and zombies. It also included stories about a doppelganger, witches, a succubus and a pact with Satan. Four episodes focused on monsters and spirits based in native folklore (two involving Native American legends, one Hindu and one Creole).

The series also dealt with creatures from science fiction, including a killer android, an invisible extraterrestrial, a prehistoric man thawed back to life and a lizard-creature protecting its eggs.

The series as well featured some more esoteric antagonists, including a headless motorcycle rider that hinted at the headless horseman myth, and an animated knight’s suit of armor possessed by a spirit. A story about Jack the Ripper was one of the few based on an actual historical figure, though the series provided a supernatural explanation. An episode about Helen of Troy dealt with immortality and aging.

 

K is for Knots Landing: was my favorite primetime soap:

Knots Landing is an American primetime television soap opera that aired from December 27, 1979, to May 13, 1993, on CBS. A spin-off of Dallas, it was set in a fictitious coastal suburb of Los Angeles, and centered on the lives of four married couples living in a cul-de-sac, Seaview Circle. By the time of its conclusion, Knots Landing had become one of the longest-running primetime dramas on U.S. television after Gunsmoke and Bonanza.

The series was largely inspired by a 1957 movie No Down Payment but also by the 1973 Ingmar Bergman television miniseries Scenes from a Marriage. Storylines included rape, murder, kidnapping, assassinations, drug smuggling, corporate intrigue and criminal investigations. Though initially not as popular as Dallas, Knots Landing eventually outlasted it and garnered much critical acclaim. The series peaked during the 1983–84 season.

Season 1 Intro:

Season 12 Intro:

 

 

K is for Knight Rider:  Ah yes, the first talking smart car.

Knight Rider is an American television series created and produced by Glen A. Larson. The series was originally broadcast on NBC from 1982 to 1986. The show stars David Hasselhoff as Michael Knight, a high-tech modern crime fighter assisted by KITT, an advanced artificially intelligent, self-aware and nearly indestructible car. This was the last series Larson devised at Universal Television before he moved to 20th Century Fox.

The show’s premise: Self-made billionaire Wilton Knight rescues police Detective Lieutenant Michael Arthur Long after a near fatal shot to the face, giving him a new identity (via plastic surgery) and a new name: Michael Knight. Wilton selects Michael to be the primary field agent in the pilot program of his public justice organization, the Foundation for Law and Government (FLAG). The other half of this pilot program is the Knight Industries Two Thousand (KITT), a heavily modified, technologically advanced Pontiac Firebird Trans Am with numerous features including an extremely durable shell and frame, controlled by a computer with artificial intelligence. Michael and KITT are brought in during situations where “direct action might provide the only feasible solution”.

Heading FLAG is Devon Miles, who provides Michael with directives and guidance. Dr. Bonnie Barstow is the chief engineer in charge of KITT’s care, as well as technical assistant to Devon (April Curtis fills this role in Season 2).

 

Have you watched any of these shows? What are your favorite TV shows, past and present?

 

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45 thoughts on “K is for Kojak, Kolchak: The Night Stalker, Knots Landing and the Knight Rider #atozchallenge

  1. I absolutely loved Knight Rider. At the time, it took the place of Dukes of Hazzard which to that point was my favourite show. When I heard there was a new series I was excited. Then I watched Team Knight Rider. Nope was not the same thing. Didn’t enjoy it, never watched it. It was awful.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I never heard of Team Knight Rider. It must not have lasted long…

      The Dukes of Hazzard was a good show too. I bet you liked it especially because of Daisy and her “daisy dukes” 🙂

      Like

        • haha. Pleading the 5th is always a good response! 🙂
          I did know about the 2008 series and I think I saw only one or half of an episode. It didn’t catch my interest for whatever reason…

          Like

  2. “Michael… LOOK OUT!”
    – exclamation frequently uttered by KITT, the Pontiac Firebird Trans Am (voice of William Daniels)

    Hi, dear Michele!

    This is a memorable set of vintage TV series. I watched and enjoyed every one of them! I recently purchased on eBay, for the modest sum of $500, a slightly used lollipop that once belonged to Kojak. (Authenticity was guaranteed 🙂 The 1970s series Kolchak: The Night Stalker is an excellent choice for this post because the I don’t think many younger people ever heard of it. Actor Darren McGavin was perfect in the role of a doggedly determined veteran newspaper reporter investigating crimes (usually grisly murders) committed by fantastic creatures. As such, Night Stalker was similar to the modern hit series Grimm which Mrs. Shady and I never miss. Do you watch Grimm? Knots Landing was a guilty pleasure and I plead guilty to being madly in love with Donna Mills. Knots Landing’s Joan Van Ark joined the cast of my favorite soap The Young and the Restless in the mid 2000s. Knight Rider was another favorite series that I never missed. David Hasselhoff started his career as “Snapper” Foster on Y&R in the mid 70s.

    Great fun, great memories, dear friend Michele!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Shady, you REALLY paid $500 for a used lollipop said to be one of Kojak’s??? Wowsa. I’ve got some things around here I could sell ya… 🙂

      I never missed an episode of Kolchak! I loved Darren McGavin and his hat!
      I don’t watch Grimm. I’ll have to give that a try. Do you have to watch it from the beginning or can I just jump right into it and follow it just fine?

      Knots Landing was the best primetime soap, in my opinion. What great storylines. Sometimes they got a bit off track but for the most part it was a well-written series. My favorite actress from the show was Nicolette Sheridan, who came on later in the series.

      Thanks for posting Kitt’s famous yell: I could hear it in my head!
      And thanks again for stopping by. As always, it’s a pleasure…

      Like

      • Hi again, Michele!

        You would need to start at the beginning of the Grimm series for it to make sense to you. The special FX are terrific and so are the interesting characters and the acting. I think you’d like it.

        I just put a bid on the Brooklyn Bridge on eBay. Wish me luck (and don’t bid against me 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

    • Longmire is a favorite of mine. I love his quiet toughness. Just YESTERDAY, I was behind a car in line at the pharmacy and noticed the bumper sticker in the window that read “Walt Longmire for Sheriff” and then it said the county (Absaroka County) underneath. I thought that was funny. Yep, every town needs a sheriff like Walt! 🙂

      Like

    • Thanks Mary! I’m so glad you are liking my posts! That means a lot to me so thanks for sharing!! And thanks for the retweets! ❤

      Like

  3. I never watched any of these shows though there was a promoter for our shows who looked a lot like Telly Savalas and we would refer to him as “Kojak” but not directly to his face.

    Arlee Bird
    A to Z Challenge Co-host
    Tossing It Out

    Liked by 1 person

    • Lol. Well, I think there’s something about Telly Savalas that was very sexy so he probably wouldn’t have minded being referred to as him… 🙂

      Like

    • Oo, I’d love to have the complete DVD set!! I bet that is fabulous to go back and watch those!

      Thanks so much for stopping by Deena…

      Like

    • He was! People used to think I was crazy thinking he was sexy. I’ve always been one to like bald men anyway… I like that a lot of men are going completely bald these days…

      Like

  4. What a fun peek into the K archives of television history. Back in the early 90s I saw Telly Savalas sitting in an outdoor cafe in downtown Chicago. People were making quite a fuss over him, and although he was clearly trying to have a private meeting with a couple of other folks, he was very gracious about all the interruptions. I saw no sign of lollipops though. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh how exciting to see Telly up close and personal! It’s nice to hear that he was gracious. Some celebrity folks don’t take too kindly to their privacy being invaded. I’m glad he wasn’t a jerk!

      Like

  5. That was helpful. I’ve seen Kolchak on TV, and it was called different things, so I was confused as to what was what. (I hate starting shows midway, and I couldn’t make heads nor tails of where this one started, ended, or whatever.)

    Oh, I loved the theme song for Knight Rider.

    Like

    • Oh I’m glad the Kolchak section was helpful for you. I know what you mean about starting shows midway and they make changes.

      Thanks so much for stopping by Liz.

      Like

    • hmm, I’m not familiar with Knights of God. I’ll have to look that one up!
      Thanks for coming by today Tasha… I’ll be over at your place as soon as I get back from the dentist… 😦

      Like

  6. Michele, Knots Landing never captured my attention like Dallas did, but that being said I find these days I enjoy old shows/movies better than I did at their original airing dates. So, I will have to see if this retro show is on Netflix or Amazon Prime. I’m know all of these “K” programs, but I never really got into any of these back in the day. Good job!

    ~Curious as a Cathy
    All Things Vintage: Kisses #AprilA2Z

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I watched all of these shows and was completely hooked on Knots Landing, have first seen it as an offshoot of my other obsession, Dallas. Donna Mills as Abbey was so deliciously evil, as was Nicolette Sheridan. It was also fun to see Michelle Phillips (from The Mamas and the Papas) on there. Loved Knight Rider! KITT was deliciously sarcastic and David Hasselhoff was good eye candy. 🙂 Cool theme song, too. Thanks for the memories!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, I loved to see Donna Mills and Michelle Phillips. Nicolette Sheridan was my favorite. I like Karen’s husband too…Kevin Dobson. I also liked William Devane. Joan Van Ark’s character got on my nerves though. 🙂

      Glad you liked this one Debbie! Thanks!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. My mom loved Kojak and so I saw many episodes. Funny how the shows from the 70’s had a more dirty look to the precincts compared to shows now. I kind of like that grittier look. I loved Kolchak and would watch what I could because I was a kid and found them scary as hell! Darren McGavin may be known as the dad in A Christmas Story.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s true: the sets for the cop shows back in the day were much grittier — I think that’s because back then not much money out of the budget was put into cosmetics (in real life precincts and stations) so the shows were just duplicating what they saw. Old desks and peeling paint were a sign of the times too…
      Good point!

      I want to see more Kolchak now! I’m going to search for some episodes online. It was scary good stuff!

      Like

    • oh bummer, these are really good shows. Kojak rocked! Apparently Kolchak the Night Stalker is on some station now (I don’t get it so not sure where it’s airing but I have heard others say it’s currently running somewhere).

      Like

  9. The only one of this bunch I ever saw was Knight Rider. HOFF! Many of the others I’ve heard of, just never seen. Although, I’ve heard thrown around “Whatever you say, Kojak”. Not certain if being this is because of “Jak” or just something from the series possibly? I’ve no idea. Sounds like he was maybe a ladies man…? RAR… if so maybe that’s it 😉

    Also, if you liked Knight Rider or just The Hoff, you should totally check out Kung Fury! I’m sure it’s free on streeming services and/or YouTube!

    Like

    • Lol. Well, I’ve always found Kojak to be very sexy… He just has a way about him that’s very appealing. He’s a typical tough guy, with a heart… 🙂

      I’ll have to check out Kung Fury. I have to get the image of David Hasselhoff drunk off his ass stuffing his mouth with a hamburger or something out of my head!!! 🙂

      Like

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