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Knight Rider is an American television series that originally ran from September 26, 1982, to August 8, 1986. The series was broadcast on NBC and starred David Hasselhoff as Michael Knight, a high-tech modern-day knight fighting crime with the help of an advanced, artificially intelligent and nearly indestructible car.

Conceived and produced by Glen A. Larson, the show was an instant hit. "I wanted to do The Lone Ranger with a car", and "Kind of a sci-fi thing, with the soul of a western", Larson said in The Last Great Ride. In 2003, in research conducted by web-portal Yahoo! amongst 1,000 television viewers, this show and other popular televisions series from the 1980s such as The Dukes of Hazzard were beaten out by The A-Team as the one "oldie" television show viewers would most like to see revived.[1]


PlotEdit

Self-made billionaire Wilton Knight rescues police detective Michael 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 Knight Industries-funded 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 Pontiac 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).

ProductionEdit

The car used as KITT in the series was a customized 1982 Pontiac Trans-Am sports model that cost US$100,000 to build.[2]

Cast and charactersEdit

  • David Hasselhoff as Michael Knight – Michael Arthur Long is an undercover Las Vegas police detective who, while on a case, is shot in the face and nearly killed. Wilton Knight, creator of FLAG, directs his doctors to save Long's life and reconstruct his face. With his new identity, "Michael Knight", Long is provided with high tech crime-fighting equipment, most notably the car nicknamed KITT. David Hasselhoff also played the villainous Garthe Knight, Wilton's estranged son who has become a criminal.
  • William Daniels as the voice of KITT (Knight Industries Two Thousand) – the autonomous car/artificial intelligence with whom Michael Knight is partnered. Daniels, who simultaneously also starred on St. Elsewhere, requested to not be credited for his role as KITT's voice.
  • Edward Mulhare as Devon Miles – the leader of FLAG, who appeared in nearly every episode to provide mission details to Knight and KITT. He was also the spokesman for FLAG whenever it came under scrutiny.
  • Patricia McPherson as Dr. Bonnie Barstow – (Seasons 1, 3–4) she served as KITT's chief technician and as romantic tension for Michael. The character was dropped after the first season, but due to strong fan reaction and lobbying by Hasselhoff and Mulhare, she was returned for the third season and remained through the end of the series.[3]
  • Rebecca Holden as April Curtis – (Season 2) chief technician for KITT. The character was written out when Patricia McPherson returned.
  • Peter Parros as Reginald Cornelius III aka RC3 – (Season 4) Driver of the FLAG mobile unit and occasional sideman for Michael & KITT.
  • Richard Basehart as Wilton Knight – (Pilot) the creator of FLAG, who dies in the pilot episode. Basehart's voice, however, is heard throughout the series, narrating over the credits.

EpisodesEdit

Main article: List of Knight Rider (1982 TV series) episodes==Spinoffs and sequels==

Code of VengeanceEdit

The two-part episode "Mouth of the Snake" served as a backdoor pilot for a 1984 series to be called All That Glitters. Rejected by NBC, the lead character and actor were recycled for a short-lived 1985-1986 series titled Code of Vengeance, revolving around Charles Taylor as Vietnam veteran David Dalton. The Knight Rider episode featured Dalton exhibiting great gymnastics, not unlike The Six Million Dollar Man sans bionics, but when Code of Vengeance aired, Dalton was an ordinary-skilled drifter. It soon fell off the schedules after only two two-hour movies and two one-hour episodes.[4]

Knight Rider 2000Edit

Main article: Knight Rider 2000Knight Rider 2000, a 1991 sequel movie featuring Michael Knight and Devon Miles, with KITT being given a new sporty red body (a close copy of the Pontiac Banshee IV concept car, was actually a Dodge Stealth with custom body work) as the Knight 4000, and serving as a Television pilot for a would-be new series starring Susan Norman as Shawn McCormick, but it did not sell.

Knight Rider 2010Edit

Knight Rider 2010 is a 1994 movie loosely based on the show. There are so few links to the original show, it may not be considered canon other than for carrying the Knight Rider title. The film was penned by Miami Vice writer John Leekley.

Team Knight RiderEdit

In 1997, Team Knight Rider was introduced as a spinoff. Set sometime in the near future, the show featured a fleet of intelligent vehicles. Michael Knight returned at the end of the final episode of the first season, though he was not played by David Hasselhoff. This was a cliffhanger intended to be explained in the next season. However, the show did not catch on and the second season was not commissioned. Team Knight Rider ran for 22 episodes.

2008 television movie and sequelEdit

Main articles: Knight Rider (2008 film) and Knight Rider (2008 TV series)On September 26, 2007, NBC announced that it was creating a two-hour backdoor pilot to air later that season.[5] In the new version, Justin Bruening stars as the estranged son of Michael Knight, Mike Traceur.[6] Deanna Russo plays Traceur's one-time girlfriend and love interest, Sarah Graiman.[6] Bruce Davison co-stars as her father, physicist Charles Graiman, the original designer of KITT (Knight Industries Two Thousand).[6] Wayne Kasserman co-stars as Mike's roommate and friend.[7] David Hasselhoff also has a cameo as Michael Knight.[6] The new KITT (Knight Industries Three Thousand) is portrayed as a Ford Shelby GT 500 KR Mustang.[8]

Supervising producer Dave Andron wrote the pilot script, Doug Liman and Dave Bartis executive produced it.[6] NBC announced on December 13, 2007 that the 2-hour pilot would air on February 17, 2008. Val Kilmer recorded the voice for the new KITT (Knight Industries Three Thousand) Mustang, after Will Arnett, who initially won the role, was asked to withdraw by General Motors due to his prior advertising agreements with them.[9] Sydney Tamiia Poitier, the youngest daughter of Sidney Poitier, played FBI agent Carrie Rivai.

After receiving good ratings, NBC announced that Knight Rider would return as a weekly series beginning in the fall of 2008. The show aired Wednesdays at 8:00pm/7:00pm CT.[10] The series premiered September 24, 2008 on NBC. In November 2008, NBC announced that the series had been picked up for a complete 22-episode season but that several cast members would be leaving and the story lines revamped after the original 13-episode order.[11] On May 19, 2009, NBC announced that Knight Rider was canceled after one season because of poor ratings.

Film adaptationEdit

In March 2002, Revolution Studios announced a partnership with Mayhem Pictures to create a film adaptation of the TV series. The film would be re-designed to be similar to Revolution's previous project, xXx. Series creator Glen A. Larson was hired to write the first script draft, with the series' lead actor David Hasselhoff attached to advise the project and also have an onscreen role.[12] In April 2003, Revolution Studios hired screenwriters David Elliott and Paul Lovett to pen the film's script.[13] In April 2004, the premise of the film was described as having Hasselhoff reprise his role as Michael Knight, though he would be an elder statesman who would serve as a mentor to the protagonist in the same way that Devon Miles mentored Knight in the TV series. The protagonist would be Knight's son, inheriting the family business and driving the vehicle KITT. The producers' choice for the role was actor Ben Affleck.[14] The series' voice of KITT, William Daniels, was being sought by Hasselhoff to reprise his role, as well as Peter Cullen for the voice of KARR.[citation needed]

In May 2006, The Weinstein Company acquired film rights to adapt Knight Rider from series creator Larson. He expressed his interest in the film adaptation as a potential franchise property.[15] The following September, Hasselhoff invited actor Orlando Bloom to portray Knight's son in the film adaptation, but Bloom turned down the offer.[16] In April 2007, Hasselhoff said that the film was in development at Miramax, and that he would at least have a cameo in the film.[17]

In September 2007, Glen A. Larson appeared in a personal video for Knightcon 07 in the UK. This marked Larson's first public video appearance in which he addressed the fans directly and presented visual confirmation of a script for a proposed Knight Rider motion picture. Since this initial appearance, plans have been underway at The Weinstein Company to bring Knight Rider to the big screen as an updated take on the original series pilot, "Knight of the Phoenix". Larson's motion picture plans have no connection to the 2008 TV series by NBC.[citation needed]

DVD releasesEdit

Universal Studios Home Entertainment has released all four seasons of Knight Rider on DVD in regions 1, 2 & 4. A complete series box set featuring all 90 episodes in a collector's edition box has been released in regions 1[18] & 2.[19] Season 1 contains a bonus disc featuring many special features including featurettes, photo gallery, blueprints gallery of KITT and an owner's manual of KITT. It also contains the follow-up TV movie Knight Rider 2000.

Season Episodes Originally aired DVD release date
Season premiere Season finale Region 1 Region 2 Region 4
1 22 September 26, 1982 May 6, 1983 August 3, 2004[20] September 13, 2004 December 1, 2004
2 24 October 2, 1983 May 27, 1984 April 12, 2005[21] July 4, 2005 September 19, 2005
3 22 September 30, 1984 May 5, 1985 January 31, 2006[22] May 26, 2006 July 12, 2006
4 22 September 20, 1985 April 4, 1986 April 4, 2006[23] September 18, 2006 September 20, 2006

Knight Rider in popular cultureEdit

On July 8, 2008, GPS manufacturer Mio Technology announced the release of a Knight Rider-themed GPS unit for a price of $270. The unit has the original Knight Rider logo printed above the display and features the voice of William Daniels.[24]

Toys, games and vehiclesEdit

Various toy versions of KITT were released and produced solid profits. Among the more notable of the Knight Rider memorabilia includes the remote controlled KITT, the Knight Rider lunch box, and the deluxe version of KITT. This final model, sold by Kenner Toys and dubbed the "Knight Rider Voice Car", spoke electronically (actual voice of William Daniels), featured a detailed interior and a Michael Knight action figure as well.[25] Also various electronics firms sold kits to add the running red lights to any car.

In the 1980s there was a Knight Rider toy vehicle for Germany's Darda system.[26]

Knight Rider was adapted into a computer game in 1986 for several popular 8-bit formats including the NES, although it only received a partial release and proved too difficult for most players.

In the modern era, Knight Rider: The Game was produced by Davilex International under license. Players could drive KITT through 15 missions and meeting characters from the show like Devon, Bonnie, KARR and Garthe Knight.[27] Davilex also released a sequel in late 2004.[28] The game improved the overall structure of the game, but did not closely follow the original series as KITT has weapons and Knight uses them to fight robots.

In Japan, between 2002 and 2004, a Japanese toy manufacturer Aoshima which had the official license to produce Knight Rider merchandise, produced the Knight Rider FLAG trailer truck 1/28 scale model and a KITT and KARR mini-Z racers (these were R/C cars).

Charawheels 1/64 scale die-cast toy model of KITT and KARR (2004) — Charawheels is "Hot Wheels" in Japan. This toy is very hard to find now.

As with many popular series of the era (including The Dukes of Hazzard, The A-Team etc.), ERTL released die-cast toys of KITT in three different sizes — the common miniature sized model, a 'medium' sized model, and a large sized model. These toys featured red reflective holograms on the nose to represent the scanner (however, they were located on the point of the nose, rather like the early mock-up of KITT seen in the Pilot) as opposed to altering the basic model design to incorporate the scanner as commonly seen in the series. The toys also included round steering wheels as opposed to KITT's customized one. Also in late 2004, 1/18 scale die-cast models of KITT and KARR were produced from ERTL complete with detailed interior and light up moving scanner just like in the series.[29] KARR was later manufactured by Aoshima. They repainted the KITT models that they got from ERTL with KARR's colors and changed the scanner to amber. Both KITT and KARR sold very well both in stores and online. There was also a "chase" variant edition of KITT which featured a chrome finish. These models are still available but scarce on various websites selling die-cast models, as well as eBay.

In September 2006, Hitari, a UK based company that produces remote control toy cars, released the Knight Rider KITT remote control car in 1/15 scale complete with the working red scanner lights, KITT's voice from the TV show and the car's turbine engine sound with the "whoosh whoosh" scanner sound effect.[30][31] This can still be found online at eBay or at some stores in the UK.

In March 2007, Advanced Mobile Solutions Ltd (AMS) published the Knight Rider mobile game in 2D and 3D versions. The game has been released on wireless carriers' networks in Europe with a planned Q2 2007 release in the U.S. and Asia. In the 10 multi-level missions, the user plays avatar Michael Knight and drives KITT to combat enemies such as KARR, Goliath, the Fist and others.

MusicEdit

The series had a strong musical connection, the theme tune has been sampled and remixed a number of times, and episodes featured popular music tracks as well as original compositions.

The Knight Rider theme song has been sampled by the following artists:

Moreover, alternative metal band System of a Down used a part of the theme in their song I-E-A-I-A-I-O from the album Steal This Album!.

In addition, Film Score Monthly released a limited-edition disc of music from the series in 2005, featuring Glen A. Larson and Stu Phillips's theme and cues from Phillips's scores for "Knight Of The Phoenix" (the pilot), "Not A Drop To Drink," "Trust Doesn't Rust," "Forget Me Not" and "Inside Out." The album finishes with Phillips's music for the Glen Larson Productions logo.

See alsoEdit

Further readingEdit

Non-fictionEdit

  • Nick Nugent (2008). The Knight Rider Companion: The Ultimate Guide to Original Knight Rider Mythology. Will Garris Publishing. ISBN 978-0-9774505-9-6.
  • Joe F. Huth and Richie F. Levine (2002). Knight Rider Legacy: The Unofficial Guide to the Knight Rider Universe. Writers Club Press. ISBN 0-595-23910-2.

FictionEdit

  • Glen Larson and Roger Hill (1983). Knight Rider. Pinnacle Books. ISBN 0-523-42170-2 (adapted from and expanded upon the feature-length / two-part Pilot episode - among other differences, Tanya is shot in the face rather than the chest in the climax)
  • Glen Larson and Roger Hill (1984). Knight Rider: Trust Doesn't Rust. Pinnacle Books. ISBN 0-523-42181-8 (adapted from and expanded upon the first season episode of the same name)
  • Glen Larson and Roger Hill (1984). Knight Rider: Hearts of Stone. Pinnacle Books. ISBN 0-523-42182-6 (adapted from and expanded upon the first season episode of the same name)
  • Glen Larson and Roger Hill (1984). Knight Rider: The 24-Carat Assassin. (UK publication only) (adapted from and expanded upon the feature-length / two-part second season episode 'Mouth of the Snake'. Interestingly, the back of the book states that it is adapted from All The Glitters – the working title for the story)
  • Glen Larson and Roger Hill (1984). Knight Rider: Mirror Image. (UK publication only) (adapted from and expanded upon the feature-length / two-part second season episode Goliath. The back of the book states that it is adapted from Goliath and Goliath Returns, but the actual story is only adapted from Goliath. One of the interesting differences is that in the book, Garthe Knight is called Garthe Bishop. This novel also states that April is actually Devon's daughter, but this was never used in the series and is not considered canon)

A series of annuals were published each year in the UK by Grandreams. These books consisted of a mix of text stories and cartoon strips, as well as photos and articles on the shows stars and KITT. There were five annuals produced in total, each reflecting the different season of the show that was airing at the time, with the final two releases covering the final season. (The last annual was printed in a quite small quantity, due to popularity of the show gradually fading, and is considerably rarer as a result).

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "'A-Team' is viewers' most-wanted oldie for prime-time revival" by Matthew Beard in Independent, The (London), published on October 23, 2003.
  2. ^ Browning, Norma Lee. "Riding High with Knight Rider", Toys R Us magazine; Vol. 1, No. 2; 1986; Page 5
  3. ^ Nugent, Nick (December 2008). The Knight Rider Companion. Will Garris Publishing. p. 91. ISBN 0-9774505-9-7.
  4. ^ Buck, Jerry (January 1, 1986). "Premiere delay only one of the problems facing 'Dalton'". The Modesto Bee: p. D8. Retrieved March 21, 2010.
  5. ^ Adalian, Josef (2007-09-26). "NBC taps Liman for 'Knight Rider'". Variety Magazine. www.variety.com. Retrieved 2007-09-30.
  6. ^ a b c d e Andreeva, Nellie (2007-11-20). "Pair help KITT-start new 'Rider'". Hollywood Reporter (www.hollywoodreporter.com). Archived from the original on May 17, 2008. Retrieved 2007-12-16.
  7. ^ "Knight Cast Fills Out." scifi.com, November 29, 2007.
  8. ^ West, Kelly (2007-11-30). "Pictures Of Remake-Knight Rider's KITT Surface Online". Blend Television. www.cinemablend.com. Retrieved 2007-11-31.
  9. ^ "Kilmer 'will voice' Knight Rider". bbc.co.uk (BBC). 2008-02-07. Retrieved 2008-02-07.
  10. ^ "NBC reveals complete 52-week program strategy, earlier than ever, that gives advertisers the opportunity to create unique marketing solutions" (Press release). NBC Universal.
  11. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (November 10, 2008). ""Knight Rider" changes gears, ejects stars". Hollywood Reporter.
  12. ^ Michael Fleming (2002-03-18). "Revolution revs 'Rider'". Variety. Retrieved 2007-04-14.
  13. ^ Marc Graser (2003-04-13). "Scribes revving up 'Knight Rider' pic". Variety. Retrieved 2007-04-14.
  14. ^ "Knightmare". Empire. 2004-04-13. Retrieved 2007-04-14.
  15. ^ Ian Mohr (2006-05-08). "TV's 'Knight' rides again". Variety. Retrieved 2007-04-14.
  16. ^ "Bloom snubs The Hoff's role". News.com.au. 2006-09-01. Retrieved 2007-04-14.
  17. ^ Brooke Tarnoff (2007-05-02). "David Hasselhoff in Knight Rider Movie? Perhaps.". UGO. Retrieved 2007-05-02.
  18. ^ http://www.amazon.com/dp/B001D2WU8Y
  19. ^ http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B000J10L9U
  20. ^ "Knight Rider - Season One (1982)". Amazon.com. Retrieved 2011-02-21.
  21. ^ "Knight Rider - Season Two (1982)". Amazon.com. Retrieved 2011-02-21.
  22. ^ "Knight Rider - Season Three (1982)". Amazon.com. Retrieved 2011-02-21.
  23. ^ "Knight Rider - Season Four (1982)". Amazon.com. Retrieved 2011-02-21.
  24. ^ "Knight Rider GPS by Mio Brings K.I.T.T. to Every Car" (Press release). MiTAC Intl.. July 8, 2008.
  25. ^ "Knight 2000 Voice Car From Kenner". teamknightrider.com. Retrieved 2011-02-22.
  26. ^ "Classic & Current Darda Cars - The A-Z of darda cars in pictures". darda.co.uk. Retrieved 2011-02-22.
  27. ^ "Knight Rider: The Game (PlayStation 2)". IGN Entertainment. Retrieved 2011-02-22.
  28. ^ "Knight Rider 2 (PC)". IGN Entertainment. Retrieved 2011-02-22.
  29. ^ "1983 Knight Rider KITT diecast model car 1:18 scale die cast by Ertl". Amazon.com. Retrieved 2011-02-22.
  30. ^ "KNIGHT RIDER - K.I.T.T.". HITARI. Retrieved 2011-02-22.
  31. ^ "KNIGHT RIDER - K.I.T.T. - Specification Sheet". HITARI. Retrieved 2011-02-22.

External linksEdit

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