I wanted to be Carl Kolchak when I grew up

Being a writer is something I really didn’t aspire too until later in life, but I look back and can see what inspired me to take it up. As I stated in other blogs, I wanted to be a comic book artist growing up, but when I focused only on art, I missed the writing I did in high school. That’s when I decided to join the Navy and become a Journalist, but the inspiration began earlier than that.

My wife and I were watching The Homecoming TV movie this past weekend. She was in the mood for something “Christmas-ee” so we decided to watch it. For those who may not remember it, The Homecoming was the TV movie that introduced us to The Waltons. I watched John Boy talk about wanting to be a writer, saying that he just wanted to write down what he saw that day because, “until he did, it didn’t really happen to him.”

Then it hit me. I remembered those words and, deep down, realized how much it resonated with me as a boy. Then I got to thinking, what else inspired me to be a writer?

at typewriter

Darren McGavin (1922-2006) as Carl Kolchak

The first thing that immediately came to mind was the classic TV series Kolchak: The Night Stalker. It was a TV series from 1974-1975 starring Darren McGavin (the grumpy Dad from A Christmas Story) as a reporter who investigated unusual, out of the ordinary and the supernatural (i.e. vampires, werewolves and witches) If anything inspired me to be a writer, it was Carl Kolchak. He was passionate about getting the story, even though it probably would never be published or get him killed, and he do whatever it took to stop the creature from doing any harm. He was fighting the supernatural before Supernatural or Grimm.

I idolized him growing up. I even remember writing a rough draft for a sequel where he was the editor of the INS (Independent News Service) and he discovered a son he never knew he had. The son has taken up where his Dad left off, investigating strange and supernatural events. The twist was his son used modern technology to fight the evil creatures his father decided to stop pursuing.

Another inspiration for me was the Lou Grant TV series. Ed Asner went from the comedic role in The Mary Tyler Moore Show and became a newspaper city editor in this drama series from 1977-1982. I remembered Lou Grant for his comedic wit and short temper. Watching him go from a TV station manager to newspaper editor was inspiring as the character evolved in this new role. The drive and determination he instilled into his reporters was exciting.

Today, virtually anyone can be a writer with a blog or self-published book. The technology of today has given inspiration to many to take up writing, either as a second job or even just a hobby. It was nice to look back and remember what made me a writer. It’s even better that I can relive the old days thanks to Netflix.

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