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Knight Rider (TV Series 1982–1986) Poster

(1982–1986)

Trivia

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David Hasselhoff and William Daniels (the voice of K.I.T.T.) did not meet until the production's Christmas party, six months after filming season one. Until that point, Hasselhoff had not seen the face behind the voice of the car.
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In many of K.I.T.T.'s jumping scenes, the vision cuts to another angle (such as Michael driving) before landing. This is because, more often than not, the front end of the stunt car is heavily damaged upon landing.
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Patricia McPherson was fired after the first season, and replaced with Rebecca Holden to add more sex appeal to the show. David Hasselhoff was unhappy with the change, and lobbied the producers to hire McPherson back. McPherson returned in the third season.
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No long shots of K.I.T.T. are ever seen changing into Super Pursuit Mode, since K.I.T.T. is not moving at all. A shell of K.I.T.T.'s body was used when filming the transition to Super Pursuit Mode, since large hydraulic rams were needed to articulate the body panels, and there was no room for an engine or running gear in the car.
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William Daniels, who did the voice of K.I.T.T., never appeared in the credits during the show's four year run.
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The "jumping car" was a hollow fiberglass Trans-Am.
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Pontiac, who supplied the Trans Am for the series, found itself swamped with customer requests for black Firebird Trans Ams with T-tops, tan interiors, and red lights on the front bumper, just like the show car.
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The "auto-cruise" car was a right-hand drive car, so that Hasselhoff could get into the car without cutting the scene (only on the last season).
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K.A.R.R. - (Knight Automated Roving Robot) (the evil Trans Am), was the prototype for K.I.T.T. But its system had only been programmed for self-preservation, whereas K.I.T.T. is programmed to preserve human life, its "evil twin" was not. The voice of K.A.R.R. was done by Peter Cullen, who is probably best known as the voice of Optimus Prime of "The Transformers", Cullen has also been voice to "Predator" and Eeyore of "Winnie the Pooh".
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K.I.T.T. has a roving red sensor on the hood. It is modelled after the Cylon's roving eye from Battlestar Galactica (1978) and also has the same sound effect of it moving as the Cylon's eye made.
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When this show became a hit, and for several years following its cancellation, aftermarket kits were available to add the "scanner eye" to consumer Trans-Am cars of appropriate vintage.
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According to Brandon Tartikoff, the head of programming at NBC during the 1980s, the inspiration for the series came about when NBC executives started complaining about the problems of casting handsome leading men in television series, because many of them couldn't act. Tartikoff and his assistant came up with a concept for a television show called "The Man of Six Words". Each show would begin with the leading man getting out of a woman's bed and saying, "Thank you". Occasionally, throughout the show, the leading man would say, "Okay", when receiving orders from his boss. Then he would chase down some villains and say, "Freeze!" Finally, when the people he had saved from death would thank him, he would say, "You're welcome". For the rest of the show, the car would do all the talking. Although Tartikoff had meant the pitch to be a joke, the NBC executives liked the idea of a television show about a man with a talking car, and approved it for development.
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The second season saw the extensive use of miniatures provided by Jack Sessums for most of the really impossible stuff like jumping over trains, over helicopters, crashing into Goliath and "walking on water". The miniatures of K.I.T.T. were made to 1/8th scale, modified from the existing commercially available Monogram kit of the 1982 Camaro Z-28 to the same scale. Almost everything done involving trains were miniatures built by Sessums and his crew, as it turns out Sessums was a model train enthusiast who had large scale garden railway models already built, and the production crews made a lot of use of these models which for the most part were ready for use. The same model trains were also used in The Fall Guy (1981) and other similar productions of the time.
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In season one, episode two, "Knight of the Phoenix: Part 2", while K.I.T.T. is driving back from the Sheriff's station, the driver is seen hidden in the driver's seat. Before Michael gets into the car, the driver's arm is visible, cleverly hidden with the upholstery.
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K.I.T.T., the Knight Industries Two Thousand, was a customized 1982 Pontiac Trans Am. The 1982 model year was the first year of the third-generation (1982-1992) F-bodies (Chevrolet's Camaro and Pontiac's Firebird share the same platform), and was a complete redesign of the second generation.
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The "auto-cruise" car was driven by a stunt driver inside the driver seat.
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The narrator of the show's opening credits was Richard Basehart, who played dying benefactor Wilton Knight in the pilot episode, "Knight of the Phoenix: Part 1".
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The Trans Am body is designed for speeds up to 300 mph, meaning the airfoils in K.I.T.T.'s super pursuit mode are unnecessary. A Trans Am with totally standard body proved this at Bonneville during Speed Week. However, K.I.T.T.'s altered configuration gave him greater maneuverability at higher speeds.
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Super Pursuit Mode was introduced as a means of retaining viewers for a fourth season.
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According to Car & Driver Magazine, K.I.T.T. was originally intended to be a modified Datsun 280ZX, but General Motors' recently introduced F-Body Firebird Trans Am was substituted in pre-production.
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K.I.T.T. was designed by customizer Michael Scheffe, who also designed the Delorean, for one of Universal Studios productions, Back To The Future (1985). The convertible and Super Pursuit K.I.T.T.s were designed and built by George Barris.
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Much of the fan mail written to the series by younger viewers was addressed to the name Michael Knight. Some of these letters were accidentally sent to actor Michael Knight, who was emerging as a popular cast member of the daytime drama All My Children (1970). Knight subsequently added his middle initial "E" to his screen name to avoid confusion. Interestingly, Michael E. Knight would later marry Catherine Hickland, who played Michael's love interest on this show, and was married to David Hasselhoff at the time of the series.
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Throughout season one, there is another car that appears regularly besides K.I.T.T. and Devon's Mercedes-Benz convertible. It is a red 1974 (or thereabouts) AMC Gremlin X, possibly one of the crew's personal vehicles. It was never used in a "supporting" role, but only as a vehicular "extra", usually driving away from the camera.
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Glen A. Larson got the idea for K.I.T.T. and Knight Rider from watching the movie The Love Bug Rally (1971).
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In the Grand Theft Auto series of games since the release of Grand Theft Auto III (2001), its been a hugely popular modification to add K.I.T.T. to the game. These fan made mods have become so popular, that in 2016, Grand Theft Auto creators have made an official K.I.T.T. style car modification for Grand Theft Auto V (2013) that can be purchased legally. The car is not a one hundred percent replica of K.I.T.T., and has no A.I. voice, Auto Cruise, or Ski Mode, but does include scanner, turbo boost, and weaponry.
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K.I.T.T. was referred to as a "Black Trans Am" in early episodes of the first season, then later simply as a "Black T-top" for the rest of the series' run.
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After two successful appearances, producers wanted to do more episodes featuring the truck Goliath and Michael's evil lookalike Garthe Knight. However, David Hasselhoff complained that playing the dual role of Michael and Garthe was too demanding for him.
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K.I.T.T. appeared in a 2013 commercial for AT&T alongside other well known iconic television and movie A.I. robotics, such as Hal from 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) and Robbie The Robot.
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Michael Knight, formerly Vietnam Army Special Forces Intelligence veteran and Police Detective Lieutenant Michael Long, is noted in the credits and in the first season for being a preferred loner. There is never a mention of his family, parents or siblings, throughout the original series four year run.
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Glen A. Larson borrowed the idea of K.I.T.T.'s hood mounted scanner from one of his earlier projects, Battlestar Galactica (1978). The Cylon Centurions in that series had an almost identical scanner that functioned as eyes, and Larson adapted the idea for K.I.T.T. Also, originally K.I.T.T. had a square red light on the dashboard that lit up as he spoke. His more familiar "voice modulator", with three red lines broken into cells which went up and down as he spoke, was introduced halfway through the first season.
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Mythbusters did a Knight Rider themed myth in their "Big Rig Myths" episode (season 5 episode 11) in which they tested if Kitt could actually get into the mobile command center (aka the semi trailer) at speed like he did in the show or if he would crash into the front of the trailer when his back wheels hit the ramp. After successfully recreating this maneuver in small scale they moved to a large scale test (with a similar full size car and truck) and, once again, successfully recreated the maneuver thus confirming that Kitt could have actually entered the semi trailer, at speed, like he did in the show.
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The computers, used inside the main console for K.I.T.T., were Tandy TRS-80 CoCo's - from Radio Shack, USA - and one of the dual TV monitors on the console, actually displayed a program called 'Audio Spectrum Analyzer' (by Steve Bjork), which was famously used, in the finale for "Revenge of The Nerds" (1984), when the Tri Lambs perform their rap song
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Network executives suggested for season two that K.I.T.T. should fly. The Knight Rider cast and crew rejected the idea, saying it was a stupid idea, of which the show did not need to go in the direction, ruining what Knight Rider was about.
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Although widely believed to have never appeared on screen during an episode of Knight Rider, William Daniels, the voice of K.I.T.T., does appear briefly in the pilot episode as an uncredited car thief.
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The logo on the side of the semi-trailer of the truck K.I.T.T. is always seen driving into is a "Knight" chess piece.
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At 6'-4", David Hasselhoff was uncomfortable with towering over his female costars so he had a height requirement for Michael's romantic interests in the series added to his contract.
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David Hasselhoff's ex-wife Catherine Hickland starred in 3 Knight Rider episodes. After their divorce, she went on to marry Michael E. Knight, a soap opera star.
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Knight Rider has had three video game adaptations. Knight Rider (1988) for NES, Knight Rider for PC (2003), and Knight Rider 2 (2004).
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William Daniels recorded his lines as K.I.T.T. on his days off from St. Elsewhere (1982), in which he played Dr. Mark Craig. Knight Rider (1982) and St. Elsewhere (1982) both aired on NBC from 1982 to 1986.
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K.I.T.T. (Knight Industries Two Thousand) was never shown again in the form of the 1982 Pontiac Trans Am in any spin-off series or movies, apart from the 2008 reboot, where his hood and scanner are seen in the shadows of the garage the Knight Industries Three Thousand was created.
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The continuation of this show after season four has multiple alternate realities, where the world of Knight Rider ended up, with no connections between the alternate dimensions. The first being what became Knight Rider 2000 (1991), the second being Team Knight Rider (1997), and the third being Knight Rider (2008). There was also Knight Rider 2010 (1994) which had no real connection to the series beyond the title and concept of a hero with a talking car.
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An original concept was for K.A.R.R. to be white, based on the opposing Knights' colors of chess. The idea was rejected and left black with an alternate color scanner, due to K.A.R.R. being the same type of car used for K.I.T.T., and would require time and cost-consuming paint jobs. It also did not feel right to the producers, that black was good and white was bad, in the colors of the two opposing vehicles.
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Inside the F.L.A.G. (Foundation for Law and Government) truck trailer, in which K.I.T.T. parks for repairs, a schematic diagram of a boat can often be seen. It is unknown if this was a concept for K.I.T.T. or another F.L.A.G. project, but the design was never physically created in the series.
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In the first episode of the last season it is claimed that Michael is carrying out a James Bond fantasy. As a matter of fact Edward Mulhare did an uncredited appearance as a congressman in "You only live twice". David Hedison who stars inte the episode "Knight in retreat also starred in the James Bond franchise in "Live and let die" and "License to kill" as Felix Leiter.
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K.I.T.T.'s voice modulator lights changed after the first season, from a flashing solid red light to the iconic cross style. This was not the only feature to be modified as K.A.R.R. first appeared with a duplicate red scanner and cross, but later was changed to yellow, as well as changing the sides of K.A.R.R. to have a grey stripe from the mid-doors down.
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Universal Studios had ~23 cars, in total, but, there are only 5 genuine KITT cars, left in the world, as the rest were destroyed by the producers, upon a promise to General Motors, who supplied a surplus of vehicles, that couldn't be sold to the public, when they were involved in a train derailment, en-route to dealerships in California. Of the remaining vehicles some had to be heavily restored, and, are held in private collections, but, many replicas are often listed as genuine, by unscrupulous sellers, but lack certain markings of the originals
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The character of Michael Knight was originally known as Michael Long, a cop who is shot in the desert and left for dead. Recovered by Wilton Knight and Devon Miles of Knight Industries, Mr. Long then undergoes reconstructive plastic surgery on his face. He is given a second chance at life, joining the Knight Industries team donning a new face and identity, he is Michael Knight, the Knight Rider. Other aliases include: Mr. Dugan in season one, episode ten, "Inside Out".
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K.I.T.T. is a 1982 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am.
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Studio-musician covers of hit songs of the day were used frequently to allow the use of contemporary music without the costly licensing fees for using the originals.
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Bollywood movie Patthar Ke Phool (1991) used the Knight Rider theme music in a few scenes. This was done without any authorization. It was also used by the Indian music artist, Panjabi MC, as the bassline for their song, "Mundian To Bach Ke (Beware Of The Boys)"
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An unmodified 1982 Trans Am was used in Smokey and the Bandit Part 3. The same wheel cover can be seen on both the cars.
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Michael's middle name was Arthur. This was likely an allusion to the Legends of King Arthur in relation to his Knights.
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Part of Michael's backstory was that he served in the Vietnam War. At the time, this was one of the few TV series whose protagonist was a Vietnam Veteran, and one portrayed in a positive manner.
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K.I.T.T. is always seen driving into the semi-trailer of the Foundation's truck. The logo seen on its side is a knight chess piece.
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Whenever Michael was away from K.I.T.T., he would communicate with him through his wristwatch.
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Busta Rhymes sampled the theme music for his song "Turn It Up/Fire It Up."
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Was originally developed and produced with a more adult oriented Action-Adventure format. Much of the original tone was gradually phased out by season two due to the show's growing popularity with younger viewers.
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Spoilers 

The trivia item below may give away important plot points.

A convertible K.I.T.T. was introduced to the show in season four.
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See also

Goofs | Crazy Credits | Quotes | Alternate Versions | Connections | Soundtracks

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