Wednesday, July 29, 2015

RIP Jeff Rice

I was saddened to read the other day that Jeff Rice had passed away. Although I had never met him, Jeff was one of the most influential people in my life.

Jeff wrote the novel The Night Stalker, which became the basis for the one-season television show of the same name starring Darren McGavin. The Night Stalker was my favorite TV show when I was a Monster Kid. It never bothered me that the plots were cheesy, the special effects were low grade, and the monsters were not scary. None of that mattered. As a twelve year old, I was mesmerized.

What I really loved about The Night Stalker were the scenes in which Carl Kolchak would move the plot along with his film noir-style excerpts from a column that would never be published, followed by a closing segment that offered a moody cautionary tale about things that go bump in the night. Every week I would hang on those opening and closing words, and every week I wanted to be Kolchak writing about his battles with evil. It's ironic how things turned out. I spent most of my adult life battling a different type of evil, events which I'll probably never put down on paper, and writing about monsters that exist only in my twisted imagination.

I owe much of that to Jeff Rice's street-wise, smart ass reporter in the crumpled suit jacket and straw hat who never saw his stories make the press.

Thank you, Jeff. May you and your inner demons finally be at peace.

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