What an absurd premise for a show! But boy was it a great one!
Between the super cheesy 80s synth soundtrack and David Hasselhoff’s ridiculous perm, It’s a show that’s definitely in the running for being the Mount Rushmore of 80s television shows.
It had a pretty impressive run. 90 episodes and four seasons are more than most shows get to boast about- and you can’t forget about the made-for-TV movies and the reboots it’s inspired. And if current trends continue, you can be sure that we haven’t seen the last of Knight Rider either. It seems like everything these days gets the remake treatment.
Anyways, for this video, we’re going to celebrate Knight Rider’s 38th anniversary by taking a deep dive into some of its most fascinating bits of trivia. Seriously. If you’re a fan of the series, you’re definitely going to want to stay tuned for this one. But first, we’ve got the inside scoop of what happened to the original 1982 Pontiac Firebird Trans AM that defined the show.
David Is Auctioning Off His KITT Car
It’s really impossible to talk about Knight Rider without talking about KITT, the autonomous, artificially intelligent talking car voiced by the one and only William Daniels. – That’s Mr. Feeney for all of you Boy Meets World fans out there.
Sure, David Hasselhoff was technically the star of the series, but KITT clearly stole the show. The cognitively aware vehicle was capable of taking out nearly any foe in its path. Who could compete with that?
Well, now one lucky Knight Rider fan is going to have the chance to get their grubby little mitts on their very own KITT. Car and Driver magazine reports that David Hasselhoff is currently in the process of auctioning off his very own personal KITT car. Sure, you won’t get any of the weapons or the fancy futuristic 80s tech that KITT sported in the show, and William Daniels won’t be narrating your life every time you take it out on the town, but it is a fully functional car complete with a very colorful display and flashy dashboard lights.
KITT’s aesthetic evolved over the course of the show. George Barris, the genius behind Adam West’s Batmobile, ended up adding hood scoops, wings, and various other gadgets to the iconic ride for season three. He also made design modifications to allow the specialty vehicle to perform specific stunts. But regardless of all the tweaks, the pimped out Pontiac always looked like a Firebird. If someone were to take one out on the road today, true fans of the show would be sure to recognize it as KITT.
Last time we checked, the current bid for the vehicle was at $500,000. If you want to get in on the action you can place your bid on liveauctioneers,com. We’ll place the link in the description. The winner of the auction will get another added bonus. Hasselhoff has agreed to show up to the new owner’s garage and personally hand over the keys. So what are you waiting for? Grab your credit card and start bidding – but Pro Tip: don’t tell you’re wife if you have one. She’ll probably lack the same enthusiasm that you have for your next big investment.
The auction ends on January 23, 2021. But before you start bidding, why not take a moment to give this video a like? Show us a little support by subscribing to our channel and turning on notifications by tapping the bell icon.
And make sure you keep watching to find out some truly astonishing Knight Rider facts! For one, did you know that William Daniels didn’t actually meet his co-star David Tallahassee until months after he had delivered his lines for the series first season? We’ll get to that fascinating detail in a second. So stay tuned.
Knight Rider Combined Elements of The Lone Ranger and Classic Sci-Fi Shows
Glen Larson had already made quite a name for himself in the 70s and 80s as creator of beloved shows like Magnum PI and Battlestar Galactica. In 1982 he came up with one of his most novel ideas, Knight Rider. Even though a talking car that fights crime does indeed sound a bit outlandish – because it absolutely is – the show was rooted in much more grounded TV classics.
Larson really wanted Knight Rider to be like The Lone Ranger but with a car. KITT was essentially the 80s equivalent of Tonto. The good verse evil narrative was inspired by The Lone Ranger but it also stemmed from Larson’s previous offerings in the realm of science fiction.
Hasselhoff noted in his autobiography that KITT was directly inspired by HAL 9000 from Stanley Kubrick’s 2001:A Space Odyssey. The red strobe lights on the hood of the car were also a direct homage to the Cylon’s scanner lights on Battlestar Galactica.
William Daniel’s Insisted That KITT Have More Personality
KITT was originally intended to sound more robotic and synthetic, but William Daniels fought hard for the sentient vehicle to have a more vivid human-like personality. He envisioned KITT as being bright and vibrant and with maybe even a touch of a sense of humor. Listening to his suggestions, the producers gradually allowed KITT to show more of Daniel’s personal sense of charm and charisma as the show progressed.
Larson Got A Huge Chunk Of The Merchandising Residuals
Larson wasn’t stupid. He had been around the television world long enough to get an idea of how he should negotiate his contract with Universal when developing Knight Rider. Not only was he business savvy but he also knew what his creation was really worth. As such, he made sure that he received a large cut of the merchandising rights when drawing up his contract.
Once Knight Rider’s popularity started escalating, so did Larson’s bank account. He had worked out an agreement with the studio to receive a 50 percent cut of all the residuals for the toys, models, clothing items and everything else. If you bought a lunch box with KITT and Hasselhoff on it back in the day, Larson likely received half of the profit. Today, those kinds of deals are practically unheard of. Studios wised up, but at the time, Universal had no clue just how profitable Knight Rider and it’s merchandising would actually be.
William Daniels and Hasselhoff Didn’t Meet Face To Face Until The Show’s Christmas Party
Even though they had noticeable on-screen chemistry, Hasselhoff and Daniels didn’t actually sit in the same room as each other for quite some time after the show had premiered. The first time that they actually met was at the show’s Christmas Party months after the show was already established as a bonafide hit. To put that into perspective, the series premiered in September meaning that filming had already wrapped up months prior. Theoretically, the two could have been working on the show together for almost a year before ever shaking hands.
Daniels took his job very seriously. He would show up to the studio – always on time, of course – deliver his lines and be on his way. Since he only provided the voice for KITT, there was really never a reason to bring him on the set.
In total, Daniels would only ever need to come into the studio for about 45 minutes at a time for each episode. Sometimes he would come in and record three or four episodes worth of dialogue at a time. All that he would have to work with was the script with David’s lines and his. He never got to watch any of the episodes while he was recording it, but regardless of that limitation, he rarely had to re-record any of his lines. He was a natural, but it must have been surreal to work on a show for so long without meeting your costars.
While at that Christmas party, the two had a pretty awkward moment while sitting at a table with each other. Daniels reached out his hand and said ‘Hi I’m William Daniels! I play KITT.”
After Hasselhoff introduced himself, he added “We have a hit don’t we?”. That was their first conversation.
Daniels Was Snubbed In The Credits
At no point does Daniel’s name appear in the opening or closing credits for Knight Rider. Apparently, that was Daniel’s own idea. He wanted the audience to really believe that the car had a mind of it’s own. He loved keeping that mystery alive, but despite his best efforts, his plan failed miserably. People constantly recognized Daniels as the voice of KITT everywhere he went. He couldn’t go to the bank or grocery store without people asking him about the show and asking for autographs. You got to give it to the guy for trying though!
KITT Was Almost TATT
KITT is short for ‘Knight Industries Two Thousand’. The car was originally conceived as having another name early on in production. TATT, as it was once known, stood for ‘Trans AM Two Thousand’.
KITT’s evil arch enemy’s name, KARR, stood for Knight Automated Roving Robot. Peter Cullen was the voice actor called in to provide that nefarious vehicle’s voice. 80’s kids might remember him as the voice of Optimus Prime for the Transformers cartoons and movies.
There Was A Specially Modified KITT To Mimic Self-Driving Features
For all of the scenes were KITT drives itself, Barris commissioned a specially designed vehicle with the steering controls on the right-hand side tucked just below the dashboard. A trained stunt drive was placed in that little dip and had to do their best to avoid appearing on camera, but they still had to sit just high enough to make out where they were going. Barris helped create multiple models of the car to perform specific stunts and to fit the special needs of the show. Can you imagine having a cooler job than that?
The Theme Song Was Inspired By An 18th Century Ballet
Stu Phillips composed Knight Rider’s theme music, but he was heavily inspired by the works of Leo Delibes – especially his composition, Cortege de Bacchus, for a ballet called Sylvia. Although the two works aren’t carbon copies of each other, you can definitely hear their similarities. You know what they say, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.
Over the last several decades, numerous artists have sampled the Knight Rider theme music including Busta Rhymes, Lil’ Kim, and System of a Down. In 2005, Phillips won an award from BMI for the most downloaded ringtone of all time. Phillips did, however, have to share that honor with Lalo Schifrin for his Mission Impossible theme music.
Well, here we are once again at the end of another facts-packed video. So what do you say? Are you going to try and win Hasselfhoff’s auction and take home your very own KITT car? Can you imagine showing up to your next Tinder date in that?
Anyway, we’d love to hear from you! Do you think that they should come out with a new Knight Rider series or movie or should they leave the original alone and let it continue to stand on its own? Let us know what you think in the comments section below.
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