in , ,

10 Facts About Knight Rider, KITT and the New Film

Good News for fans of the 1980’s TV series Knight Rider. Spyglass Media has linked up with James Wan of Atomic Monster and Michael Clear to reboot the popular series as a full-fledged feature film. TJ Fixman, best known for being a video game writer, has taken the wheel to adapt the show into a screenplay.

Knight Rider was the creation of Glen A. Larson and airs on NBC from 1982 to 1986. It was the springboard that helped launch David Hasselhoff’s career into stardom. The show all pivoted around a super high-tech car named KITT that was a foreshadowing of SIRI and Alexa in many ways, while helping fight crime and unravel mysteries with the help of Michael Knight.

Over the years, the show has garnered a bit of a cult following, resulting in numerous spin-off shows, movies, video games, toys, books, and even lunch boxes featuring the show’s iconic cast and talking car.

The upcoming film is keeping tightly under wraps but what we do know so far is that it will take place in the modern era and will follow the same anti-establishment vibe of the original series.

Judson Scott As The Executive Producer

Judson Scott has signed on as the executive producer and TJ Fixman – known for his work on the Ratchet and Clank video game series and as the lead writer for Resistance: Fall of man – will draw upon his recent creative works like Brotherhood of Magic and Men Who Kill to produce a film that hopefully will satisfy fans of the series that have been hoping for this day to come for far too long.

In honor of the legacy that Knight Rider has left behind and to boost the excitement for the upcoming film, let’s take a quick look at some little-known facts from the show that brought us the first smart car.

Stick around to discover the unbelievable origins of the Knight Rider opening theme music. You won’t believe where the iconic tune drew its inspiration.

Facts Verse Presents: 10 Facts About Knight Rider, KITT, and the New Film

But this wouldn’t be a Facts Verse video if we didn’t ask you for a little bit of support before we dive into the dicey details. Tap the like button and subscribe to our channel to show us a little bit of support. Once you’ve hit subscribe, you’ll see a bell icon. Tap it to turn on notifications so you can keep up with all of our latest content.

The Show Was A Hodgepodge Of The Lone Ranger And Classic Science Fiction

Glen A. Larson was no stranger to science fiction and crime dramas. In the 1970s and 80s, he had already amassed a pretty impressive resume as the creator of shows like Battlestar Galactica and Magnum P.I.

In 1982, he came up with one of his most successful show concepts to date. Knight Rider might have sounded like a bit of an oddity on paper – being about a crime-fighting talking car and all – but the actualized concept proved to be wildly entertaining.

Larson cited The Lone Ranger as one of the primary influences for the show’s premise. He wanted to combine the elements that made that show so successful and entertaining with a sci-fi twist that would make it uniquely it’s own thing.

Hasselhoff further noted that the Lone Ranger inspiration was coupled with HAL 9000, the talking AI-driven computer from Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey. The red strobing lights on KITT’s hood were a subtle nod to the scanner lights that were the hallmark of the Cylons in Battlestar Galactica.

By the way, did you ever get around to liking this video and subscribing to our channel?


William Daniels Wanted KITT To Be More Personable

Daniels provided the voice of the talking car that we all know and love but initially, producers of the show were going to just use a very generic synthesized robotic artificial voice for the part. Daniels thought that a more personable voice of an actual human would get audiences to empathize and connect with KITT – and he was right! Soon enough, following his recommendations, KITT took on the natural charm that William had to offer and the rest was history.

Larson Took In A Lot Of The Merchandise Money

Knight Rider inspired a wide variety of products, toys, backpacks, trapper-keepers, ashtrays, and pretty much anything else you could slap with the show’s logo and imagery. That part isn’t so surprising, as most successful shows end up becoming money-making franchises.

Larson was a smart businessman and had a lot of faith in his work. The show never expected to be as successful as it was but Larson’s perseverance paid off in a huge way. When he was negotiating his contract with Universal, he made the smart move of making sure that he would get a decent percentage of the merchandising rights to his creation. That move would be one that would prove to be quite profitable once the show soared in popularity and became a household name.

He managed to secure an unheard-of deal where he received a 50% cut of all the merchandise that the studio would officially endorse. That kind of arrangement would never happen today but Larson counts his blessings for making the right requests at the right time.

Daniels And Hasselhoff Wouldn’t Meet Until The Show’s Christmas Party

Even though they had undeniable chemistry on-screen, it’s interesting that they never actually interacted with each other on the set. William Daniels would do all the voice-overs for KITT in post-production, so there was no real reason to ever have the two actors on stage with each other.

It wasn’t until the studio had a Christmas party for the cast that the duo would meet each other face to face – months after the show had already established itself as a monster hit.

Daniel’s walked up to Hasselhoff and cheerfully introduced himself as the voice behind KITT. David rebutted by introducing himself as the one who played Michael. He went on to add “We have a hit don’t we?” referring to the blooming popularity and high ratings of the show.

Yes, David. You had a hit.

William Daniels Wasn’t Credited

Perhaps it is a move to preserve the notion in the minds of the audience that KITT had a mind of its own or perhaps it was just a result of a cruddy contractual agreement, but William Daniels is never given a credit as being the voice of KITT for the entire run of the show.

Even without the credit, fans started recognizing his voice as being the one that played KITT. He couldn’t go anywhere in his hometown without people outing him as such.

Daniels Only Worked For An Hour Per Episode

What a great gig that must have been? All he ever had to do was show up to a sound booth and read his lines for an hour or so and the rest of his day was free for whatever.

Most episodes only ever took about 45 minutes to record in fact. Occasionally he would need to re-record a few phrases, but for the most part, there was no need for Daniels to even read the whole script.

His entire process consisted of reading the Michael Knight lines and then answering them as the voice of KITT.

Easy Peasy!

KITT Was Almost TATT

Early on in production, the show’s creator Glen Larson is working with the acronym TATT which stands for Trans Am Two Thousand but they decide to scrap that name in favor of Knight Industries Two Thousand or KITT as it will be famous. Pontiac apparently had a problem with referring to the car as a Trans Am, even though it clearly was and you’d think they’d enjoy the publicity, but whatever.

Remember KITT’s evil alter-ego lookalike KARR? Well, that acronym stood for Knight Automated Roving Robot and was voice by Peter Cullen who did the voice-work for Optimus Prime in the Transformers cartoon series and movies.

KITT Got Upgrades Throughout The Show

For the first few seasons, KITT is just your standard F-bodied Pontiac Trans Am. Sure, there are minor alterations like the red strobe lights that give the talking car a bit more life but not much.

The production team kept several backup KITTs around just in case, in a similar way as the Dukes Of Hazzard team had hundreds of General Lee’s.

It is during season 3 however that KITT got a long-overdue facelift and fits with all sorts of fancy cosmetic improvements like spoilers, wings, brand new fancy hood scoops, and more flashing lights and features. The man behind this makeover was none other than George Barris, the genius behind The Batmobile and The Munster Koach.

There Was A Self Driving KITT

Okay, well that might not be a fully true statement, but there was a KITT modified to look like it was automated. A special driving position creates on the passenger side of the vehicle where a stunt driver could sit low enough below the dashboard that cameras wouldn’t pick them up but still high enough to make out where the car was going.

George Barris was of course the mastermind behind this modification as well as later tweaks to KITT to help it perform special stunts that a regular Trans Am couldn’t even dream of doing.

The Theme Music Was Based Upon A Classical Composition

There is no way to dismiss the fact that the Knight Rider theme music is one of the most memorable tunes in TV history. It’s even been sampled by dozens of musical artists over the years including Busta Rhymes and Lil Kim. You probably even know someone that still uses the music as there ringtone.

But did you know that the opening theme music which was composed by Stu Phillips was actually based upon a piece by Leo Delibes known as Cortège de Bacchus? The composition was written for the ballet Sylvia and appears in its third act.

Now that you all have been reminded of the fact that you will never have a car as cool as KITT – sorry Tesla but you’re not even close – it’s time to hear what you have to say. Who do you think was the standout role in Knight Rider? Was it David Hasselhoff as Michael Knight or was it William Daniels as KITT. Let us know what you think in the comment section. Also, let us know what excites you the most about the upcoming Knight Rider film and what you want to see in it.

And before you just move on to watching something else, make sure you like this video and subscribe to our channel if you haven’t already.

Ranking The 15 Greatest SNL Skits (Best SNL Skits)

TV Shows That Went Too Far Then Got Cancelled