Revisiting KITT: Knight Rider, Then And Now

knight rider

“Knight Rider” was without a doubt one of the most popular shows of the early 1980s and it is easy to see why. The main character was a billionaire, and his partner in crime was a sexy female mechanic. Oh, did we mention they had a talking car? That was the recipe for one of the best shows of the early 1980s and deserves some credit in launching the monumental career of David Hasselhoff on TV.

The ’80s are now long gone, so let’s take a look back at what the cast of characters are up to now. We’ll also be going over some interesting facts about the show that you probably don’t know.

You’ll be shocked to learn about the voice for #9…

Hasselhoff Was The Most-Watched Man In TV History

Hasselhoff Was The Most-Watched Man In TV History

(Source: Coming Soon)

This how helped Hasselhoff to break out become a star. He got numerous other highlight roles because of his time on “Knight Rider” and this ultimately led him to be the most-watched TV actor throughout the 90s. He has since been replaced by Hugh Laurie.

Patricia McPherson Is Very Active In Wildlife Preservation

Patricia McPherson Is Very Active In Wildlife Preservation

(Source: Screen Rant)

After relinquishing her role as Bonnie Barstow, the attractive and talented mechanic to K.I.T.T, McPherson went on to become very active in preserving the earth’s wildlife. She retired from acting in 1991 and has since devoted most of her time to her love of the environment and keeping it healthy.

K.I.T.T. Cost Upwards Of $100,000 To Make

K.I.T.T. Cost Upwards Of $100,000 To Make

(Source: Wikipedia)

The car that was used as K.I.T.T throughout the show was actually a customized version of a 1982 Pontiac Trans Am. But this wasn’t a regular Trans Am, as the designer (Michael Scheffe) made numerous adjustments inside and outside of the car that cost a pretty penny.

K.I.T.T. Sparked A Toy Branding Empire

K.I.T.T. Sparked A Toy Branding Empire

(Source: DuclosToys)

There were dozens and dozens of “Knight Rider” and K.I.T.T inspired products and sets of toys that were released over the years. Some of them even talked! In addition to the action figures, there were games, models, and even a video game released inspired by the hit TV show.

Hasselhoff Had Very Public Struggles With Alcohol

Hasselhoff Had Very Public Struggles With Alcohol

(Source: Choose Help)

When a lot of people think of Hasselhoff nowadays, they picture him lying on the floor being filmed by his daughter while he drunkenly struggles to eat a burger. This now infamous video shows just how much Hasselhoff fought with alcohol addiction for a period in his life.

Stunt Work Ruined Multiple Cars Per Season

Stunt Work Ruined Multiple Cars Per Season

(Source: Starcentral)

There were some brilliant stunts and some sweet jumps that took place on the show, but all that stunt work they performed wreaked havoc on the cars used for those maneuvers. In total, the show ran through between four and nine cars per season, which wasn’t cheap.

Rebecca Holden Became A Country Singing Superstar

Rebecca Holden Became A Country Singing Superstar

(Source: Rebecca Holden)

Holden got her big break in show business by appearing as Amber Curtis in the second season of the show. But after being done with TV, she moved on to her real love, which was singing. She put out an album, toured the country, and even sung a duet that was released with Grammy winner Jon Secada.

Why K.I.T.T?

Why K.I.T.T?

(Source: BestRide)

People are often curious about the origin of the name, so let us clear that up for you here. The name stands for Knight Industries Two Thousand and was designed by Knight Industries, which was the company of the main character and his family in the show.

Geena Davis Made Her TV Debut On The Show

Geena Davis Made Her TV Debut On The Show

(Source: NBC)

Before she became an Oscar-winning actress in movies and film, Geena Davis made her debut on TV in a single episode of “Knight Rider.” She appeared in a season two episode where she played a suspected cat burglar named Grace Fallen. Who knew she would go on to do what she did?

While Knight Rider Launched His Career, Baywatch Made Him A Sex Symbol

While Knight Rider Launched His Career, Baywatch Made Him A Sex Symbol

(source: DarpanMagazine)

As the heading of this entry says, while “Knight Rider” was responsible for putting Hasselhoff on the map, it was truly his role on “Baywatch” that made him the desire of thousands of women across the country. His co-star, Pam Anderson, was a similar sex symbol to a lot of men thanks to the show as well.

Peter Parros Became A Soap Star

Peter Parros Became A Soap Star

(source: Alchetron)

Parros played RC3 in the final season of the show, who was a talented mechanic and newest member of the team. But after “Knight Rider,” Parros went on to be a prolific soap opera actor as he appeared in numerous different shows including the “Young and the Restless” and “One Life to Live.”

You’ll Never Believe What ’90s Show The Man Who Voiced K.I.T.T Was In

You’ll Never Believe What ’90s Show The Man Who Voiced K.I.T.T Was In

(Source: Vulture)

While you could recognize the voice of K.I.T.T from a mile away, it turns out that you could also recognize the face. That is because the voice of the car was none other than William Daniels. Daniels would eventually go on to play Mr. Feeney in the popular ’90s show “Boy Meets World.”

Knight Rider Was Glen Larson’s Final Hit

Larson

(Source: Dailymail)

Throughout his career, Glen Larson was behind some of the absolute best TV shows to ever hit the small screen. In addition to “Knight Rider,” he also produced “Battlestar Galactica” and “Magnum P.I.,” among others. “Knight Rider” was his last big win as all of his later shows after simply failed to live up to their hype.

Hasselhoff Has Done More TV Shows Than He Knows What To Do With

Hasselhoff Has Done More TV Shows Than He Knows What To Do With

(source: Fabulousbuzz)

This show really launched the career of Hasselhoff, as he went on to star in a number of other TV shows. However, they weren’t all as big as some of his shows such as “Baywatch.” In addition to regular TV programming, he also appeared in specials like “Dancing with the Stars,” among others.

NBC Was Initially Very Hesitant To Pick Up The Show

NBC Was Initially Very Hesitant To Pick Up The Show

(source: Forbes)

NBC almost didn’t pick up “Knight Rider,” specifically because of the fact that the show included a talking car. This was because the network had memories of a show in the 1960s that had a talking car (My Mother the Car), which turned out to be one of the worst TV shows of all time.

They Originally Wanted K.I.T.T To Have A Monotone Electric Voice

They Originally Wanted K.I.T.T To Have A Monotone Electric Voice

(Source: Popular Mechanics)

In the original ideas for the car, the team wanted it to have a mechanical and electrical-sounding voice, unlike a human at all. However, when they cast William Daniels, he insisted that they add a bit of personality to the character. It was a good choice, as the relationship between K.I.T.T and Knight was legendary.

Richard Basehart (Wilton Knight) Narrated The 1984 Olympics

Richard Basehart (Wilton Knight) Narrated The 1984 Olympics

(Source: Vectordiary)

While Basehart played the wealthy billionaire behind FLAG (Wilton Knight) in the show, his role at the 1984 Olympics was much different. He had a brilliant voice and thus was chosen to narrate the closing ceremonies at the 1984 Games in Los Angeles. He also narrated the opening sequence of the show.

Hasselhoff Has Done More Than Just TV

Hasselhoff Has Done More Than Just TV

(Source: billboard.com)

While he is most notable for his TV roles on a number of shows such as “Knight Rider” and “Baywatch,” Hasselhoff isn’t only a TV actor. In addition to this, he has acted in various different movies and has also appeared on Broadway in various musicals.

A Young Jason Bateman Appeared In An Episode

A Young Jason Bateman Appeared In An Episode

(Source: NBC)

Most people know Jason Bateman as the successful and hilarious comedic actor of the last little while, but he wasn’t acting in comedies as a child. In fact, Bateman made a cameo appearance in “Knight Rider” as a young boy who got the exciting privilege of driving K.I.T.T.

Many Of The Cast “One-Offed” On Various Other TV Shows

Many Of The Cast “One-Offed” On Various Other TV Shows

(Source: Screen Rant)

As is common with most long-running TV shows, a large number of the cast members have gone on to star in other shows. These range from reality shows to cartoons to soap operas. While none have been able to use their fame from the show as well as Hasselhoff, they have still found good work.

“Knight Rider” Was Originally Based On “The Lone Ranger”

Lone Ranger Filming

The Lone Ranger, a character who first appeared in pop culture on a radio in the early 1930s, is a Robin Hood-esque character who relies on his horse. Michael Knight from “Knight Rider” also tries to help the greater good by fighting on crime and he relies not on a horse, but on his car.

Michael Knight Had An Evil Twin

Michael Knight Had An Evil Twin

In season two, David Hasselhoff had a couple of episodes where he had to do double duty. Not only was he playing his usual role of Michael Knight, he also had to play a villain, Knight’s evil twin Garthe Knight. Of course, Garthe and Michael aren’t actually related, but they look exactly alike.

Producers Wanted More Of Garthe

twins.jpg

But David Hasselhoff wasn’t so sure. Because of the added drama, interesting storyline, and popularity of the Garthe Knight episodes, “Knight Rider” producers wanted writers to create more storylines including Knight’s evil twin. Hasselhoff argued against this, however, because he said acting two parts was too difficult.

K.I.T.T. Had An Evil Twin, Too

K.I.T.T. Had An Evil Twin, Too

No, Michael Knight’s evil twin didn’t drive the evil K.I.T.T.. (Although that would have been perfect, wouldn’t it?) The evil car was called K.A.R.R. (Knight Automated Roving Robot was a prototype of K.I.T.T.. However, something went wrong in its design, and it became selfish as opposed to something concerned with keeping humans safe. And when it got into the wrong hands…well, you can guess w hat happened.

“Knight Rider” Has Enjoyed Multiple Reboots

“Knight Rider” Has Enjoyed Multiple Reboots

“Knight Rider” was on the air from 1982 through 1984. And although it wasn’t the longest run, Knight’s story was not over then. There were two made-for-TV movies created after the show ended. In 1991, there was Knight Rider 2000 made by NBC. And in 1994, Knight Rider 2010 came out.

They Tried To Bring The Show Itself Back, Too

They Tried To Bring The Show Itself Back, Too

There were two attempts to start new revival versions of “Knight Rider,” but ultimately neither was successful. First, there was “Team Knight Rider” in 1997. This show involved vehicles with AI personalities. Ten years later, NBC tried “Knight Rider,” a more true-to-the-original revival and David Hasselhoff was even in that one.

K.I.T.T. Wasn’t Always Named K.I.T.T.

K.I.T.T. Wasn’t Always Named K.I.T.T.

So we know that K.I.T.T. stands for Knight Industries Two Thousand and was designed by Knight Industries, which was the company of the main character and his family in the show. But it turns out that this wasn’t the original name of Michael Knight’s car. Before it was K.I.T.T., it was originally named T.A.T.T. for Trans Am Two Thousand because the design was based on the Pontiac Trans Am.

They Created Lighter Cars For Jump Stunts

They Created Lighter Cars For Jump Stunts

Not only did the crew of “Knight Rider” go through a few K.I.T.T.s each season of the series, they also had to create a few different versions of the car. For jumps, the car had to be a lot lot lighter. To make them lighter, the car was modified to have a fiberglass body and a stripped interior. Of course, it still had to have the powerful engine, so these lighter versions ended up weighing in at about 1,500 pounds.

The Original K.I.T.T. Had No Custom Parts

Riding KITT

When the car’s designers were creating K.I.T.T., they only had two weeks to complete it before filming of “Knight Rider” started. To make it as close to what they imagined as possible, they had to get very creative. Since they had no time to get custom parts made, purchased or made anything they needed themselves.

Diff’rent Strokes Crossover

Diff’rent Strokes Crossover

There’s an episode of “Diff’rent Strokes” where Gary Coleman and Shaver Ross’ characters, who have recently moved to Los Angeles, decide they want to try and find the “Knight Rider” set. They sneak on, find K.I.T.T., and realize they’re in a car that’s supposed to blow up in that episode. And they almost realize too late.

The Theme Song Has Been Sampled By Artists Like Busta Rhymes

The Theme Song Has Been Sampled By Artists Like Busta Rhymes

The “Knight Rider” theme song was created by Stu Phillips (the “Knight Rider” creator was a huge fan) who also worked on “Battlestar Galactica,” among other shows. The catchy theme song has lived on after the show’s end, and other artists have sampled it including Busta Rhymes in 1997 and Punjabi MC in 1998.

“Knight Rider” Paid Homage To “The Dukes Of Hazzard”

“Knight Rider” Paid Homage To “The Dukes Of Hazzard”

In one episode, titled “Give Me Liberty … Or Give Me Death,” Michael Knight races an orange Dodge Charger when he enters the Alternative 2000, must like the one in the show “The Dukes Of Hazzard.” Of course, even though they’re in the race under cover in this episode, K.I.T.T. manages to jump over the 1969 Charger.

K.I.T.T.’s Character Wasn’t Originally Going To Have Personality

K.I.T.T.’s Character Wasn’t Originally Going To Have Personality

Since K.I.T.T. was essentially a robot, the original plan was that he would have a robot-like personality along with a monotone voice. Had that been the case, however, his character would never have developed and his lines and behavior would have probably become too predictable. Luckily, the actor who does the voice of K.I.T.T., William Daniels wouldn’t work on the show unless writers developed a real personality for K.I.T.T.

K.I.T.T.’s Lights Were From “Battlestar Galactica”

K.I.T.T.’s Lights Were From “Battlestar Galactica”

In “Battlestar Galactica,” the Cylons (a robotic civilization in the show) had pulsing red lights on the front of their chests. The creators of “Knight Rider” took this idea from that show and created similar red lights on the front of K.I.T.T. The lights, on both characters in both shows, conveyed moods and emotions.

Fans Could Add The Lights To Their Trans Ams

Fans Could Add The Lights To Their Trans Ams

K.I.T.T.’s red light, based on the Cylons, were such a hit that after the show ended, a company came up with the brilliant idea of creating a kit for fans to add the red lights to their Trans Ams, too. And you know what that means; some day you could technically see one of these modified rides speeding down the highway.

Once The Show Gained Popularity, So Did Pontiac

Once The Show Gained Popularity, So Did Pontiac

Well, Trans Ams specifically, of course. After the show really started to take off, Pontiac started seeing a huge increase in their Trans Am sales and requests. Actually, the requests were for black Firebird Trans Ams with tan interiors and red front lights. The people wanted their own personal K.I.T.T..

K.I.T.T. Couldn’t Really Drive Himself

K.I.T.T. Couldn’t Really Drive Himself

As good as the show creators were at making K.I.T.T. seem like a real life article intelligence vehicle, sadly, he wasn’t. But it was indeed some good movie (er, TV) magic nonetheless. In the scenes where K.I.T.T. drives himself, there was intact someone in the backseat who was driving. Or, in some cases, K.I.T.T. was being towed.

Hasselhoff And Daniels Rarely Interacted

Hasselhoff And Daniels Rarely Interacted

Because the voice actor who played K.I.T.T. (William Daniels) did most of his work inside the studio, he and Hasselhoff did not often see each other face to face. In fact, they only met after nearly half a year of filming the first season. Their meeting took place at a Christmas party that year.

The Camera Changes Angles During Stunts

The Camera Changes Angles During Stunts

Whenever there was a stunt that involved K.I.T.T. launching off of some huge jump, the car was usually totaled. Because of this, the camera often changed angles at the moment of lift off because it had to pan away from Michael Knight driving the car. More often than not, it’s the front end of a car that gets smashed in such a stunt, so there wouldn’t actually be anyone sitting there.

Some Of The Hardest Stunts Used Miniatures

Some Of The Hardest Stunts Used Miniatures

Each season, a few of the stunts that the show wanted to pull off were just plain crazy, even for a professional stuntman. In order to mitigate the risk, creators started using miniatures, beginning in the second season. Miniature K.I.T.T.s were made to 1/8th scale.

Kids’ Fan Mail Went To The Wrong Michael Knight

Kids’ Fan Mail Went To The Wrong Michael Knight

Often addressing fan mail to Michael Knight (as opposed to real life actor David Hasselhoff), kids sent quite a lot of mail Knights way. There was just one problem; an actual actor named Michael Knight exists, and during the filming of “Knight Rider” he was a rising star on “All My Children.” Needless to say, he was probably pretty confused by his fan mail.

K.I.T.T. Was Originally Going To Be A Datsun 280ZX

K.I.T.T. Was Originally Going To Be A Datsun 280ZX

It’s hard to imagine, but our beloved K.I.T.T., the black Pontiac we know and love, almost wasn’t a Pontiac at all but actually a Datsun. This Datsun was also sold as the Nissan Fairlady Z and the Nissan Fairlady 280Z depending on which market it was being sold in. It was also the first time “by Nissan” was placed next to the Datsun logo. So yes, it was a historical model, but “Knight Rider” never ended up being part of that history.

K.I.T.T. Had Four Drive Modes

K.I.T.T. Had Four Drive Modes

K.I.T.T.’s four drive modes were Normal Cruise, Auto Cruise, Pursuit, and Super Pursuit. In normal mode, Michael still had control of the car. In auto, K.I.T.T. could start driving himself. In Pursuit, K.I.T.T. could respond to situations on the road quicker than Michael because they were going at top speed, but Michael still controlled the car. Super Pursuit wasn’t added until the 4th season. In it, rocket boosters provided even higher acceleration speeds.

Devon Miles Was In Every Episode

Devon Miles Was In Every Episode

Born in Cork Ireland, Edward Mulhare was an actor for 50 years. In “Knight Rider,” he played Devon Miles who was the head of F.L.A.G. (Foundation for Law and Government) Industries and played a large role in K.I.T.T.’s creation. Mulhare, as Miles, appeared in all 85 of the “Knight Rider” episodes (along with Hasselhoff). Mulhare passed away in 1997.

A “Home Improvement” Star Had A Guest Role On The New “Knight Rider”

A “Home Improvement” Star Had A Guest Role On The New “Knight Rider”

Zachery Ty Bryan, who is best known for the character Brad Taylor which he played on the sitcom “Home Improvement,” once made an appearance on the early 2000s version of “Knight Rider.” In the episode “Knight and the City,” Bryan played the role of Terry Driscoll. In that episode, Michael Knight investigates a series of fires in his old neighborhood.

One Of The Writers Also Worked On Star Trek

One Of The Writers Also Worked On Star Trek

Born in Germany, Winrich Kolbe wrote on 12 episodes of “Knight Rider” from 1983 to 1986. In addition, he also wrote for a variety of other TV shows from the 1970s through the 2000s including “Star Trek: the Next Generation,” “Star Trek: Voyager,” and “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.” Kolbe passed away in 2012.

David Hasselhoff Is The Most Watched TV Star…Maybe Ever

Guinness World Records David Hasselhoff

From acting on both “Baywatch” and “Knight Rider,” David Hasselhoff has earned himself a Guinness World Record for being the most watched TV star in the entire world. And interestingly enough, that’s not the only thing that’s landed him in the record book. Hasselhoff has also set a world record for completing the highest ever reverse bungee jump. A man of many talents.

Hasselhoff Also Was “The Most Popular Actor”

Hasselhoff Also Was “The Most Popular Actor”

Not only did everyone watch David Hasselhoff in all of his movies and TV shows, they also enjoyed it. At least, that’s what People’s Choice Awards. Hasselhoff won People’s Most Popular Actor award for his role in “Knight Rider,” specifically. Interestingly, he was especially popular in Germany in Austria. Sometimes even more so than in the US.

Hasselhoff’s Ex-Wife Married A Real Michael Knight

Hasselhoff’s Ex-Wife Married A Real Michael Knight

During the filming of the 1980s show “Knight Rider,” David Hasselhoff (Michael Knight on the show) was married to actor and singer Catherine Hickland. While they later divorced, it would seem that Hickland could not get away from the name Michael Knight completely. Coincidentally, she ended up marrying another actor whose actual name is Michael Knight.