dark-intruder-2DARK INTRUDER (1965) – This thoroughly enjoyable piece of Forgotten Television was a failed pilot for a series. Supposedly the network passed on it because they thought it was too scary and gruesome for tv viewers of the time. Instead they released this 59-minute black & white gem to theaters as the second title for double features.

The story is set in 1891 San Francisco with Leslie Nielsen himself starring as Brett Kingsford, an occult expert and investigator. If this had been picked up as a series the title was going to be The Black Cloak and apparently would have been a forerunner of The Norliss Tapes, Kolchak and Spectre. In my opinion the period setting would have given The Black Cloak the edge, though.

dark-intruder-4Brett Kingsford maintains a quasi-secret identity. On the surface he’s known in San Francisco as a bon vivant and ladies’ man and when the police want to consult him over something supernatural he dons various disguises to rendezvous with them. That way nobody in his usual social circles is made aware of his connections with the cops. 

dark-intruder-3A taloned, humanoid creature is committing a series of slayings in Frisco and Kingsford is called in to investigate. Our hero’s sidekick is a midget named Nikola and is played by Charles Bolender. He also raises an intelligent Mandrake plant. Werner Klemperer of Hogan’s Heroes fame is along for the ride in a villainous role.

The story’s horror elements include a Jekyll/ Hyde figure on a killing spree, an occult object made of actual human flesh & bone, a skeleton in an open coffin and human sacrifices to match each of the seven spokes of a wheel. And of course, any horror tale set in 1891 San Francisco will automatically throw in a sinister Chinese mystic in old Chinatown for good measure.

There’s even a bone thrown to H.P. Lovecraft fans as events unfold!  

Judi Meredith is as pretty as always but has virtually nothing to do in the story. However the telefilm features plenty of action, including a few physical tussles between Nielsen’s character and the monster.

dark-intruderDark Intruder features perfectly acceptable special effects for what was originally a television production. The story is not a classic but a tale like this is all about the hero and Nielsen as Kingsford was dashing and intriguing enough that he could have carried this series like he did his old Swamp Fox show. It’s a shame we never got to learn more about either this figure or Robert Culp’s character in Spectre.    

Jack Laird’s usual levels of production quality are on display as well.  

And no, Nielsen at no time says “I’m going to solve this series of murders. And stop calling me Shirley.” ++

FOR MORE FORGOTTEN TELEVISION CLICK HERE:  https://glitternight.com/category/forgotten-television/

© Edward Wozniak and Balladeer’s Blog 2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Edward Wozniak and Balladeer’s Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. 



Filed under Forgotten Television, Halloween Season


  1. Thanks for this! Love it!!! Hopefully it will show up on Svengoolie some night!!! And man, I pulled an “…and stop calling me Shirley!” 4th of July weekend on a group of my peers and they didn’t get it!!! I explained about Airplane with lots of “don’t You remember?”s peppered in. Nope. No laughter! Crickets. Wait?!!! What? 😅😅🤣

    • Oh my God! They probably would not have reacted to “A hospital? What is it?” jokes either!

      • Oh noooo! You got me! Dying laughing here because I don’t remember THAT one!!! 🤣🤣🤣 Thanks for starting my day with a laugh!

      • Uh oh! Glad you got a laugh out of it!

      • Ok. Now You have to pity/humour me and remind me where that’s from? I’m guessing Airplane?!! 🤣 And I was speaking to my dear friend again yesterday on the phone and she started passionately politically ranting as she does. I told her I couldn’t take it at the moment but asked if she’d seen Your blog. She bopped by but it must have been on a day You weren’t being political so she wasn’t sure why I sent her there. I told her to go back and just look around…she will just love Your blog and I think will have MUCH to discuss/say/contribute!!! 🤣💕🤗

      • Hey there! It is from Airplane. Leslie Nielsen’s doctor character tells Julie Haggerty that the stricken pilots and crewmen need a hospital and she says “A hospital? What is it?” and he replies “It’s a big building where they take care of sick people, but that’s not important right now.” And thank you again for sending your friend here! If she leaves a comment please tell her to be sure to mention that you sent her so I know who she is!

      • YES!!! I remember! Whew! 🤣 Thank You!!! And I sure will! Her name is Lois and I think Y’all would have fun discussing politics, for sure!!! Cheers! 😀

      • Thanks again! Hopefully she will scroll way down the blog to see the variety of topics covered.

  2. Denny

    Buzzbomb comparison by mentioning Spectre with Robert Culp!

  3. Monica

    I like stuff like this that’s horror but not too scary.

  4. Marlin

    I thought this was boring.

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