Knight Rider (1982 TV series)
|Created by||Glen A. Larson|
|Voices of||William Daniels|
|Narrated by||Richard Basehart|
|Theme music composer||
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||4|
|No. of episodes||90 (list of episodes)|
|Running time||48 minutes|
|Distributor||NBCUniversal Television Distribution|
|Original release||September 26, 1982– April 4, 1986|
|Followed by||Knight Rider (2008 TV series)|
Knight Rider is an American television series created and produced by Glen A. Larson. The series was originally broadcast on NBC from 1982 to 1986. The show stars David Hasselhoff as Michael Knight, a high-tech modern crime fighter assisted by KITT, an advanced artificially intelligent, self-aware and nearly indestructible car. This was the last series Larson devised at Universal Television before he moved to 20th Century Fox.
- 1 Premise
- 2 Production
- 3 Cast and characters
- 4 Soundtrack
- 5 Episodes
- 6 Syndication and home releases
- 7 Spin-offs and sequels
- 8 In popular culture
- 9 In sports
- 10 See also
- 11 References
- 12 Further reading
- 13 External links
Self-made billionaire Wilton Knight rescues police Detective Lieutenant Michael Arthur Long after a near fatal shot to the face, giving him a new identity (by plastic surgery) and a new name: Michael Knight. Wilton selects Michael to be the primary field agent in the pilot program of his 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, technologically advanced Pontiac Firebird 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).
The car used as KITT in the series was a customized 1982 Pontiac Trans-Am sports model, that cost US$100,000 to build (equivalent to about $245,000 in 2014). Nose, dash and other interior of the car were designed by the design consultant Michael Scheffe.
Cast and characters
- David Hasselhoff as Michael Knight (born Michael Arthur Long), an undercover Los Angeles police detective who, while on a case in Las Vegas, is shot in the face and nearly killed. Wilton Knight, founder of Knight Industries and 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 named KITT. Hasselhoff also played Garthe Knight, Wilton Knight's estranged son and a criminal mastermind who drives Goliath, a semi tractor trailer Peterbilt 352 Pacemaker truck armed with rockets and protected by KITT's molecular bonded shell after the formula was stolen by Elizabeth Knight, Wilton's widow.
- William Daniels as the voice of KITT, for Knight Industries Two Thousand, the autonomous, artificially intelligent car, with whom Michael Knight is partnered. Daniels, who simultaneously starred on St. Elsewhere, requested not to 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), KITT's chief technician and 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.
- Rebecca Holden as April Curtis (Season 2), chief technician for KITT. The character was written out when Patricia McPherson returned. The connection between the two was never established in any installments.
- Peter Parros as Reginald Cornelius III aka RC3 (Season 4), driver of the FLAG mobile unit and occasional sideman for Michael and KITT.
- Richard Basehart as Wilton Knight, the creator of FLAG, who dies in the pilot episode. Basehart's voice, however, is heard throughout the series, narrating over the intro and outro.
- Peter Cullen/Paul Frees as the voice of KARR (Knight Automated Roving Robot), the evil autonomous artificially intelligent car. Cullen was KARR's original voice (in Season 1's "Trust Doesn't Rust"). Frees took over the role for KARR's second appearance (Season 3's "K.I.T.T. vs. K.A.R.R."), but as he was also closely associated with Disney, he requested not to be credited for the role.
The "Knight Rider Theme" was composed by Stu Phillips and Glen A. Larson. The series DVD bonus material contains an interview about this lead music, where Glen A. Larson says he remembers a theme out of a classic piece ("Marche Et Cortège De Bacchus" Act III - No. 14 from Sylvia written by French composer Léo Delibes) from which he took pieces for the "Knight Rider Theme".
The rest of the series music was composed by Stu Phillips for 13 episodes, Don Peake for 75 episodes, Glen A. Larson co-wrote music only for the "K.I.T.T. vs. K.A.R.R." episode and Morton Stevens who wrote music for the "Deadly Maneuvers" episode in the first season. Peake took over scoring duties at S1E14 in 1983, when Larson moved to Twentieth Century-Fox and Phillips was working there on his projects. Peake insisted as the only and main composer until the end of the series in 1986, exceptionally for the "K.I.T.T. vs. K.A.R.R." episode in third season, which he composed together with Stu Phillips and Glen A. Larson.
In 2005 FSM released a disc of music from the series, featuring the series theme, ad bumpers and Phillips' scores for "Knight of the Phoenix" (the pilot), "Not A Drop To Drink", "Trust Doesn't Rust", "Forget Me Not" and the composer's final episode "Inside Out", as well as the logo music for Glen Larson Productions. Albums of Don Peake's scores have also been issued.
|First aired||Last aired|
|1||22||September 26, 1982||May 6, 1983|
|2||24||October 2, 1983||May 27, 1984|
|3||22||September 30, 1984||May 5, 1985|
|4||22||September 20, 1985||April 4, 1986|
The intro throughout most of the episodes began with this narration:
"Knight Rider, a shadowy flight into the dangerous world of a man who does not exist.
Michael Knight, a young loner on a crusade to champion the cause of the innocent, the helpless, the powerless in a world of criminals who operate above the law."
During the first season, the outro was Michael and KITT driving though a road in the desert with Wilton Knight's words of "One man can make a difference, Michael."
Then the narration goes on to say:
"Michael Knight, a lone crusader in a dangerous world. The world of the Knight Rider."
The outro of Seasons 2 and 3 was Michael and KITT driving away from the sunset toward the camera. Season 4's outro was the same, except with KITT in Super Pursuit Mode.
Syndication and home releases
Knight Rider was first syndicated in the U.S. in the Fall of 1986. Stations were initially offered either the original hour-long format (with three minutes cut from each episode), or severely-condensed into half-hour format. Reruns were later syndicated on USA Network in 1994, Sci-Fi Channel in 2003, Sleuth in 2005, and on G4 in 2012. The series was airing on Cozi TV as of May 2014 and on El Rey Network beginning in March 2016.
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 & 2.
On March 8, 2016, it was announced that Mill Creek Entertainment had acquired the rights to the series in Region 1; they subsequently re-released the first two seasons on DVD on May 3, 2016. On October 4, 2016, Mill Creek re-released Knight Rider- The Compete Series on DVD in Region 1.
In Japan, NBCUniversal Entertainment Japan—a subsidiary of NBCUniversal—released a Blu-ray box set containing all four seasons, replicas, props, and memorabilia under the title ナイトライダー コンプリート ブルーレイBOX (Knight Rider: The Complete Series). The set is limited to Region Code A, which includes the U.S. It was released on November 27, 2014. Individual seasons are unavailable on Blu-ray at this time.
The complete series on Blu Ray was released in Region 2 on November 28, 2016.
Spin-offs and sequels
Code of Vengeance
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. As a result, the participation of Michael Knight and KITT in the episode was actually quite limited. The Knight Rider episode featured Dalton exhibiting great gymnastics, not unlike The Six Million Dollar Man without 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.
Knight Rider 2000
Knight Rider 2000 was 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, actually a Dodge Stealth with custom body work) as the Knight 4000. It served as a pilot for a would-be new series starring Susan Norman as Shawn McCormick, but the series never materialized.
Knight Rider 2010
Team Knight Rider
In 1997, Team Knight Rider was introduced as a spin-off. 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 sequel
On September 26, 2007, NBC announced that it was creating a two-hour backdoor pilot to air later that season. In the new version, Justin Bruening stars as the estranged son of Michael Knight, Mike Traceur. Deanna Russo plays Traceur's one-time girlfriend and love interest, Sarah Graiman. Bruce Davison co-stars as her father, physicist Charles Graiman, the original designer of KITT (Knight Industries Two Thousand). Wayne Kasserman co-stars as Mike's roommate and friend. David Hasselhoff appeared in the pilot as Michael Knight. The new KITT (Knight Industries Three Thousand) is portrayed as a Ford Shelby GT 500 KR Mustang.
Supervising producer Dave Andron wrote the pilot script, Doug Liman and Dave Bartis executive produced it. 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. 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. The series premiered September 24, 2008. 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 would be revamped after the original 13-episode order. On May 19, 2009, NBC announced that Knight Rider was canceled after one season because of poor ratings.
2017 Digital TV Series
On October 25, 2016, it was announced that a digital reboot of the show was in development, led by Fast and Furious director Justin Lin in a collaboration between NBCUniversal and digital network Machinima. The show is expected to be released sometime during 2017.
In March 2002, Revolution Studios announced a partnership with Mayhem Pictures to create a film adaptation of the television 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. In April 2003, Revolution Studios hired screenwriters David Elliott and Paul Lovett to pen the film's script. In April 2004, the premise of the film was described as having Hasselhoff reprise his role as Michael Knight, now the mentor to the protagonist as Devon Miles mentored Knight in the television series. The protagonist would be Knight's son, inheriting his father's role and driving the vehicle KITT. The producers' choice for the role was actor Ben Affleck.
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. The following September, Hasselhoff invited actor Orlando Bloom to portray Knight's son in the film adaptation, but Bloom turned down the offer. 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.
In December 2015, a media report indicated that a new movie named Knight Rider Heroes is in the works and will include David Hasselhoff.
In popular culture
In 1984, "Hooray for Hollywood", a two-part episode of Diff'rent Strokes, David Hasselhoff and KITT (not voiced by William Daniels) appeared when rescuing Arnold Jackson, played by Gary Coleman and Dudley Ramsey, played by Shavar Ross from a near on-set incident while visiting Universal Studios Hollywood.
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.
In 2012 and 2013, General Electric ran an advertising campaign, "Brilliant Machines", about the coming generation of General Electric robotic devices. The campaign was built around famous robots from the movies and television, and K.I.T.T. was prominently featured. One ad, narrated by William Daniels, showed K.I.T.T. in Autocruise mode racing a GE diesel-electric railroad engine hauling a freight train.
In 2015, both David Hasselhoff and KITT (voiced by Seth MacFarlane) appear in a Comic-Con segment in the unrated version of Ted 2. Hasselhoff and KITT later paired together again for an AT&T/DirecTV advertisement which also featured other film/television personalities such as Big Bird and the Oklahoma Sooners football team interspersed with the daily workings of a major city as someone walks around using the service's TV Everywhere initiative.
Toys, games and vehicles
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, using a recording of the voice of William Daniels, featured a detailed interior and a Michael Knight action figure as well.
Knight Rider: The Game was produced for PlayStation 2 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. Davilex also released a sequel in late 2004.
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 model, a "medium" model, and a large 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 episode) 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 steering yoke.
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 television show and the car's turbine engine sound with the "whoosh whoosh" scanner sound effect.
In December 2012, Diamond Select Toys released a talking electronic 1/15 scale KITT that features an illuminated dashboard, scanner, fog lights and tail lights, along with the original voice of KITT, William Daniels, all at a push of a button. An Entertainment Earth exclusive version of that Diamond Select Toys 1/15 KITT, exclusive, as it will include an in scale figure of Michael Knight to go with the car, was released in February 2013 and was available exclusively at Entertainment Earth's Web site. Diamond Select Toys will also was to be releasing an 8-inch figure of Michael Knight with the likeness of David Hasselhoff, which was to be released in March 2013.
In February 2013, Hot Wheels released a 1/18 die-cast of KITT as part of their die-cast Elite series of vehicles under their Cult Classics Collection. This one from Hot Wheels was an improvement over the one ERTL released back in 2004. With sharper attention to details on the dashboard, the model features an improved light up red scanner, opening doors and rear hatch, as well as an engine hood which opens up to reveal a detailed Knight 2000 turbine engine which is exclusive to the model and was never shown in the TV series. Additional features include pop up headlights, revolving license plates, ejector seats, removable t-tops and a foldable rear seat.
A "Fun Pack" based on Knight Rider for the toys-to-life video game Lego Dimensions is planned for release in February 2017. The pack includes a Michael Knight minifigure and constructible KITT, and will unlock additional Knight Rider-themed content in the game.
- "Knight Rider". AlloCiné. Retrieved February 22, 2017.
- Browning, Norma Lee. "Riding High with Knight Rider", Toys R Us magazine; Vol. 1, No. 2; 1986; p. 5
- "CPI Inflation Calculator". Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Government. United States Government. Retrieved 29 December 2014.
- The Knight Industries Two Thousand – K.I.T.T.- Behind the Scanner at carlustblog.com
- Nugent, Nick (December 2008). The Knight Rider Companion. Will Garris Publishing. p. 91. ISBN 0-9774505-9-7.
- "Knight Rider Theme" sheet music at musicnotes.com
- "Revving It Up", liner notes, Knight Rider: The Stu Phillips Scores, FSM Vol. 8, No. 10.
- http://www.americanradiohistory.com/hd2/IDX-Business/Magazines/Archive-BC-IDX/86-OCR/BC-1986-04-28-OCR-Page-0004.pdf#search=%22knight rider%22
- Daily Variety Magazine; November 3, 1994 issue; p. 23.
- "G4 to re-air Knight Rider starting October 1st - news". knight rider online.
- Knight Rider: The Complete Series. "Knight Rider: The Complete Series: David Hasselhoff, Edward Mulhare: Movies & TV". Amazon.com. Retrieved September 5, 2012.
- "Knight Rider — The Complete Box Set [DVD]: Amazon.co.uk: David Hasselhoff, Edward Mulhare, Patricia Mcpherson, Julian Alverez, James Young: Film & TV". Amazon.co.uk. Retrieved September 5, 2012.
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- Mill Creek Announces Blu-ray Disc for 'The Complete Series'! *UPDATED*. tvshowsondvd.com
- Knight Rider. NBC.com
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- Marc Graser (April 13, 2003). "Scribes revving up 'Knight Rider' pic". Variety. Retrieved April 14, 2007.
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- Ian Mohr (May 8, 2006). "TV's 'Knight' rides again". Variety. Retrieved April 14, 2007.
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- Brooke Tarnoff (May 2, 2007). "David Hasselhoff in Knight Rider Movie? Perhaps.". UGO. Archived from the original on October 11, 2007. Retrieved May 2, 2007.
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- "AT&T TV Commercial, 'Everywhere'". iSpot.tv. Accessed 3 February 2017.
- "Knight 2000 Voice Car From Kenner". teamknightrider.com. Retrieved February 22, 2011.
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- "Knight Rider 1:15 Scale KITT". Diamond Select Toys. Retrieved December 26, 2012.[dead link]
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- "Knight Rider Select-8 Michael Knight Cloth Figure". Diamond Select Toys. Retrieved December 26, 2012.[dead link]
- "Hot Wheels Elite 1/18 KITT". Hot Wheels. Retrieved March 7, 2013.
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- Nugent, Nick (2008). The Knight Rider Companion: The Ultimate Guide to Original Knight Rider Mythology. Will Garris Publishing. ISBN 9780977450596.
- Huth, Joe F.; Levine, Richie F. (2002). Knight Rider Legacy: The Unofficial Guide to the Knight Rider Universe. Writers Club Press. ISBN 9780595298488.
- 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'. The back of the book actually states that it is adapted from All That 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 interesting difference is that in the book, Garthe Knight is called Garthe Bishop. This novel also states that April is Devon's daughter, but this was never used in the series and is not considered[by whom?] canon.
An annual was 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 show's stars and KITT. There were five annuals produced in total, each reflecting the 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 the fading popularity of the show, and is thus considerably rarer.)
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