Jeff Rice, the creator of intrepid reporter Carl Kolchak, died last month at the age of 71.
The Kolchak Papers," the inspiration for the landmark television movie, THE NIGHT STALKER. Curiously, the novel was published after the broadcast of the movie ... and would include the name of the film's screenwriter, Richard Matheson, on the cover.
Even though his story would have a massive impact on pop culture, Rice wouldn't benefit much from his most famous creation. He threatened to sue ABC when a television series starring Carl Kolchak went into production in 1974 because the studio hadn't secured the rights from the author. They settled out of court, Rice got his screen credit ... and was subsequently shunned.
"You didn't do that kind of thing in 1970s Hollywood," recalls Rice's friend, Mark Dawidziak. "Jeff immediately was barred from the studio lot. A five-book deal for more novelizations was called off. Jeff's Tinseltown career was over, just as it was getting started. By the late '70s, if you knew a vampire novel by a writer named Rice, it probably was Anne Rice's 'Interview With the Vampire.'"
Rice failed to garner a national obituary when he died in July. Dawidziak is attempting to remedy that oversight with a thoughtful piece over at cleaveland.com. You can find it HERE.