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Forty years ago, a series with an on-the-rise soap actor and a campy premise barreled into the zeitgeist.
Premiering Sept. 26, 1982, Knight Rider hailed from creator Glen A. Larson, the man behind Battlestar Galactica and Magnum, P.I. It centered on a detective who suffers a near-fatal gunshot wound and is reborn with a surgically altered face, thanks to a mysterious benefactor, and drafted into the crime-fighting Foundation for Law and Government (FLAG). David Hasselhoff, known at the time for The Young and the Restless, starred as Michael Knight, who drove a tricked-out, artificially intelligent Trans Am called KITT, voiced by William Daniels, and reported to FLAG director Devon Miles (Edward Mulhare).
THR‘s review praised the directing and stunts but noted the “fluffed, sugar-coated adventure” required viewers to “suspend knowledge of everything real.” However, the show found an audience seeking such escapism, and thanks to syndication and, more recently, Netflix, Knight Rider still captivates, even spawning a short-lived NBC reboot in 2008. Peter Parros, who played FLAG driver RC3 on the show’s fourth and final season, tells THR that Hasselhoff would constantly try to crack him up on set. He recalls with a laugh, “The one rule was, I could never sit in the driver’s seat of KITT.”
This story first appeared in the Oct. 5 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. Click here to subscribe.
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