Knight Rider was a popular television show that ran for four seasons on NBC from 1982 to 1986. It starred David Hasselhoff as Michael Knight, a former police detective who was left for dead during an investigation and then rescued and selected by billionaire Wilton Knight to be the pilot of a futuristic, indestructible, and self-aware car called K.I.T.T (Knight Industries Two Thousand). The crime-fighting organization established by Wilton Knight was called FLAG -- the Foundation for Law and Government, headed by his trusted friend Devon Miles (Edward Mulhare). The show was the brain-child of Glen Larson, the last he did with Universal Television.
Of course, the real star of the show was K.I.T.T., the highly-modified autonomous Pontiac Firebird Trans Am, complete with artificial intelligence, a personality, and the ability to learn and adapt. K.I.T.T.'s distinctive voice was that of actor William Daniels and became just as popular and recognized as that of James Earl Jones voicing Darth Vader.
The hero car cost over $100,000 to build (in 1982 dollars!). Outside of the hero car (the only one that had the electronic dashboard), the many stunt cars that were used were purchased by Pontiac for only $1 each. Why so cheap? These cars were damaged during a train derailment and it was cheaper for Pontiac to donate the cars instead of trying to repair them and sell them as salvaged. The nose and distinctive futuristic dashboard of K.I.T.T. were designed by Michael Scheffe. While designing the show, Larson told Scheffe he wanted the car to have a "heartbeat," and the result was the iconic red scanner within K.I.T.T.'s nosecone. Throughout the series, the intensity and speed of the scanner would communicate to the audience the vehicle's "health." A studio mock-up of the dash was used for close-up shots, especially of K.I.T.T.'s flashing "voice box."
The famous musical theme was written by Larson and Stu Phillips. It utilized as many as five synthesizers, a popular musical style in the 1980s. In an interview found in the Knight Rider DVD special editions, Larson says he was inspired by "Marche Et Cortège De Bacchus" Act III – No. 14 from Sylvia written by French composer Léo Delibes.
Although the show only lasted four seasons, it remained popular in syndication. Knight Rider also appeared in books, comic strips, and toys. There were two follow-up made-for-TV movies, Knight Rider 2000 and Knight Rider 2010. There was also a short-lived Knight Rider series in 2008. In 1985, Knight Rider was used as the launch pad for the spin-off show Code of Vengeance.
Both curators Thomas and Desiree are fans of the original Knight Rider and enjoy collecting and learning about various collectibles of the franchise. Although a little difficult to watch in the Twenty-first Century, Knight Rider was an awesome show in its prime and cemented the public's interest in computers, programming, and the genre of thinking and feeling machines.
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