In the pilot
episode, undercover police officer Michael Arthur Long was betrayed
and nearly killed by a gunshot wound to the head. In reality, a
metal plate in Long's skull deflected the round which shattered and
damaged his face. Declared dead to the public, his medical care was
taken over by the Foundation for Law and Government (FLAG).
FLAG is a private crime-fighting arm of the Knight Foundation, founded by dying
billionaire philanthropist Wilton Knight. Given a new face via plastic surgery,
Michael Long was resurrected as Michael Knight. Together with a high-tech
automobile called KITT, (Knight Industries Two Thousand), Michael set out to
carry on Wilton Knight's crime-fighting crusade. He was usually given mission
objectives by the new director of FLAG, Wilton's friend Devon Miles. Michael was
selected for his high level of self-defense training, and deduction skills not
to mention his ability and preference to work alone without assistance or
back-up. Michael Knight was a special type of hero, a modern knight who avoided
unnecessary violence and refrained from using firearms unless
Knight Rider Theme
About the Show
1st aired: Friday night, September 26, 1982 as a two-hour movie of
Last episode: August 8, 1986
Number of Episodes: 90
Shown on NBC
Creator and Producer: Glen A Larson
Sequels and spin-offs, including the TV-movies Knight Rider 2000
(1991) and Knight Rider 2010 (1994), the series Team Knight Rider
(ABC, 1997-98) and the planned Universal motion picture Super
Knight Rider 3000. Clearly, Knight Rider had the drive to succeed.
Reginald "RC3" Curtis III ..... Peter Parros (Season 4)
Voice of KITT ..... William Daniels
Garthe Knight ..... David Hasselhoff
Garthe Knight is an international
criminal who happened to be Wilton Knight's natural son. At the time
of Michael's surgery, Garthe was imprisoned in Africa. Believing
that his son would never be seen again, Wilton had Michael's face modeled after his own son Garthe's.
In the pilot episode, both Devon Miles and Wilton stated that
Michael actually resembled the face of Wilton himself as a young
man. In the novels written after the series aired, it is described
that Michael's reconstructed face was based off of images of both a
young Wilton and his son.
K.A.R.R. the "Knight Automated Roving Robot"
KARR is the prototype version of KITT, designed first by Wilton
Knight and built by Knight Industries. Unlike KITT whose primary
directive is to protect human life, KARR was programmed for
"self-preservation" making him a ruthless and unpredictable threat.
KARR does not appear as streetwise as KITT. He is very gullible
and inexperienced, viewing the world more like a child, although he
ultimately believes himself superior and unstoppable. He was aware
of the construction of another car like him (KITT), before he was
deactivated, and displays anger and annoyance about having a "twin"
brother. Because he didn't know KITT's name at first, KARR referred
to KITT as an "inferior production line copy".
Goliath-Garthe piloted a huge, nearly indestructible truck
named Goliath. Goliath also counts as a nemesis of a sort for
KITT, since it shared the same Molecular Bonded Shell, although it
had no artificial intelligence.
When asked about KITT's whereabouts, David Hasselhoff
indicates that, like Roy Rogers did to Trigger, KITT is now
stuffed and mounted in Hasselhoff's living room.
The voice for KITT was provided by St. Elsewhere and 1776 star
William Daniels who requested that he not be credited for his
work. He never appeared in any
episode of the series.
KITT made an entry accompanied by David Hasselhoff, when
Hasselhoff did a performance on stage, singing one of his songs at
Disneyland back in 1985, with various Disney characters behind him
as his band.
KITT appeared in a AT&T television commercial with other
robotic entertainment stars as Robby the Robot, WOPR, and Rosie
the Robot Maid.
KITT was actually the second smart car developed by FLAG. The
first, named KARR (Knight Automated Roving Robot), was built
without the directive for the preservation of human life that KITT possessed. KARR fell into the
wrong hands and served as KITT's evil twin during two episodes,
"Trust Doesn't Rust", and "K.I.T.T. vs K.A.R.R.".
The idea of KITT was modeled after HAL 9000 in 2001. However,
Larson had used the concept earlier in Battlestar Galactica (C.O.R.A.,
Episode "The Long Patrol") and Buck Rogers (Dr. Theopolous, Twiki).
The car was inspired by a prominent television executive seeing a
similar car in B.J. and the Bear, another Glen Larson production.
KITT makes a cameo in the 2005 Disney film Herbie: Fully Loaded
during the opening credits. As supposedly old newspaper clippings
are shown, displaying Herbie's past racing success (all articles
were fabricated for the movie), an (edited) photo shows Herbie and
KITT "hanging out" together, as a sign of Herbie's once-celebrity
KITT's red scanner was a carryover from the "eye" of the
robotic Cylons of Glen A. Larson's previous television series,
KITT's grille scanner was red, and his "voice modulator" was
a simple red square that lit up when he "spoke." In KARR's first
appearance, it had a red scanner but a yellow voice modulator with
lines increasing by degrees with the voice's decibels. KITT was
eventually given a similar voice modulator, but it was still red.
When KARR debuted, it had no license plate. But when it returned,
its scanner was yellow, and it had a California license plate
Fans of the series regard a device installed in KITT that only
appears in second season episodes as an "April gadget".
William Daniels and David Hasselhoff never met face to face
until they met at a Christmas party. All lines for KITT during the
production were done by a script person, while William Daniels
would read the lines for KITT at a recording studio.
The opening title narration (used from "Good Day At White
Rock", season 1, onwards) was spoken by Richard Basehart (who
played Wilton Knight):
Knight Rider, a shadowy flight into the dangerous world of a man
who does not exist. Michael Knight, a young loner on a crusade to
champion the cause of the innocent, the helpless, the powerless,
in a world of criminals who operate above the law."
According to Glen A. Larson, in his interview on the Season
One DVD, after the show became a big hit, Pontiac dealerships
across the country were swamped with calls and visitors looking
for the black Trans Am model that had KITT's features. Many people
were practically laughed out of the dealership after learning the
car really didn't exist. Toward the end of the first season, in a
formal letter to Universal Studios, General Motors kindly asked
them to never refer to KITT as a "Pontiac" or a "Trans Am" ever
again. From then on KITT was just called KITT, or referred to as a
Glen Larson admits to not spending enough money on season one of
Knight Rider. See the Legacy book. Part of the cheesiness of the
show people pick on is the constant use of stock footage, and
The first piece of background music used in the series that
was not specifically created for the series was the Eagles' "Take
it Easy", and another Eagles hit, "Peaceful, Easy Feeling", can be
heard soon after. This happens in the scene immediately following
the scene where KITT reveals that he can talk to Michael, when
Michael reveals that he wishes he had some music with him and KITT
instinctively asks, "What would you like to hear?"
David Hasselhoff's ex-wife Catherine Hickland starred in 3
Knight Rider episodes. Ironically, after their divorce, she went
on to marry Michael E. Knight, a soap opera star.
The speech room in the president's mansion in "Knight Flight to
Freedom" and the party room in "Voo Doo Knight" were both in the
In the same fashion as Star Trek fans are known as "Trekkies",
some people refer to Knight Rider fans are "Knerds", in homage to
the episode "Knight and Knerd."
When Knight Rider aired in syndication, a 30-minute version of
several episodes was prepared and was aired by some television
stations. These 30-minute versions cut many significant sections
of the show out and deleted entire subplots and characters to fit
the shows into this vastly shortened time-frame. These heavily cut
episodes were not popular and did not continue to be aired for
Devon's Last Name Was Originally Shire. The name "Miles" was
originally intended to be the name of the surgeon performing the
operation on Michael Long's face.
The last, originally aired episode of Knight Rider was "Voo Doo
Knight." This episode was not intended to be the series finale,
however. When David Hasselhoff was informed that the show would be
canceled at the end of its fourth season, he came up with the idea
for the episode "The Scent of Roses", which would serve as the
finale. Ultimately, however, NBC wanted "Roses" as a January
sweeps episode, and chose to run it at that time. Most fans
support Hasselhoff's vision of the end to Knight Rider over the
network's vision. However, some fans consider Knight Rider 2000 as
a finale to the series, principally because it involved KITT,
Michael, and Devon.
Knight Rider was parodied on The Simpsons episode And Maggie
Makes Three. Homer and the family are watching a show called
Knight Boat which featured a man named Michael driving a boat with
Knight Rider was also parodied in an episode of Futurama where
his windshield wipers were used in the creation of Project Satan,
the most evil vehicle ever created. When Fry says that "Knight
Rider wasn't evil" he is told that "his windshield wipers were."
Knight Rider was also parodied in an episode of South Park which
parodied Family Guy making a parody of Knight Rider where David Hasselhoff jumps on Peter's back to drive him, and Peter's smile
becomes KITT's grille scanner.
The Knight Rider theme music was sampled by System of a Down in
their song I-E-A-I-A-I-O
In "Trust Doesn't Rust", the voice of KARR was
provided by voice actor Peter Cullen, better known as the voice of
Optimus Prime in the The Transformers cartoon series. In "K.I.T.T.
vs K.A.R.R.", KARR was voiced by Paul Frees.
KARR's three bar led voice display inspired fans
to write in and ask for KITT to have a similar LED for his
"mouth", instead of a simple flashing light. Midway through Season
One (episode "Hearts of Stone"), KITT was given a three bar LED of
KARR is possibly parodied in the Adult Swim
television series Stroker and Hoop, considering the duo drive a
computerized talking vehicle named C.A.R.R., although he is not
evil and depicted in a more comical role.
About the Car
Total production cost: $11,400,000 estimated in 1982. (This was
KITT's total construction cost as he was first built in 1982. The
cost of subsequent equipment improvements and the installation of
additional features since his activation have not been factored.
KITT is a modified Pontiac Trans Am, designed by Michael Scheffe.
The convertible and super-pursuit versions of KITT were customized
by the legendary George Barris.
The 1982 Trans Am that KITT was based on featured the WS6
performance suspension that included 15 x 7 Turbo Cast-Aluminum
wheels and hubcaps.
The Trans Am body is designed for speeds up to 300 mph, meaning
the airfoils in KITT's super pursuit mode are technically not
required under ideal conditions. A Trans Am with a standard body
proved this at Bonneville during Speed Week. However, KITT's
altered configuration gave him greater acceleration at takeoff.
There were at least four KITT cars used for filming:
KITT One was a normal car with the prop KITT dashboard that Michael's
character drove. It was also used for most interior shots. It was
commonly referred to as the "hero car."
Another car was made specifically for jumping and sometimes
suspended by a crane as it passed through the air. It can be seen
in various episodes with a sparse underside, an obviously fake
fiberglass body, and thicker tires. According to stunt coordinator
Jack Gill, this car weighed only 1500 pounds, and was weighted in
the back to create a smoother looking descent.
A third car was modified to be driven from the back seat as the
stunt driver (Jack Gill) hid behind the driver seat under a tarp.
The driver looked through a little window in the headrest. You can
usually see the "hidden driver" in most of the scenes where KITT
drove himself by noticing the different design and size of the
interior seats. A blooper in the very end of the last episode of
first season, called "Short Notice", you can clearly see the stunt
driver pop his head up and wave to the camera.
A fourth car was driven by a stunt driver. It had no custom KITT
dash and was equipped with a roll bar. In some scenes with the
car, you could see a round steering wheel and dashboard that were
straight out of a normal Trans Am. This car was equipped with a
nitrous oxide system and was used in scenes whenever KITT "burned
rubber" or went "skiing" on two wheels.
In fourth season a "Super Pursuit Mode" KITT was created. Scenes
where panels and airvents popped out were used on a static mock up
model of the car.
The third generation Trans Am was Larson's initial choice of car.
However in very early pre-production, pilot producer Harker
Wade was looking to use a Datsun.
ALL of the KITT cars used in the series have been destroyed. They
were destroyed because of an agreement that Universal had with
Pontiac. All of the original cars had a big ol' destruction ball
put through them. Approximately 10 minutes after the original cars
were destroyed official replicas commissioned by Universal were
made by George Barris and/or Jay Ohrberg. Two were sold to David
Hasslehoff. One of these now resides in Keswick Cars of the Stars
KITT had many features, most of which had an activation button
associated with them that were on panels mounted on either side of
the steering wheel or on a console mounted on the ceiling of the
interior. Many of these button functions seem to change around,
appearing and disappearing, or rearranging from episode to episode.
Some were used once and never seen again.
Computer AI-KITT was
essentially an advanced supercomputer on wheels. The "brain" of
KITT was the Knight 2000 Microprocessor which is the center of a
"self-aware" cybernetic logic module that allowed KITT to think,
learn, communicate and interact with humans. Although KITT wasn't
programmed to have feelings, he always had an ego that was easy to
bruise and displayed a very sensitive personality. The system was
programmed to drive the car better than a human operator could. He
also has an in-dash entertainment system that can play music and
video, and run various computer programs including arcade games
which Michael sometimes indulged in whenever KITT was driving. The
belief that KITT was truly sentient was never discussed in the
show, however KITT was fully aware of himself and programmed to
obey all orders given to him by his human creators, so long as
they didn't violate his prime directive of protecting human life
(especially Michael's) to the best of his abilities. KITT has,
however been referred to as being "alive" in at least one episode.
According to the episode Dead of Knight, KITT's reaction time is
one nanosecond and his "memory" capacity is 1000 megabits. For the
latter, it is uncertain whether or not active RAM or Hard Drive
space was being discussed.
Molecular Bonded Shell-
KITT is armored with "Tri-Helical Plasteel 1000 MBS" (Molecular
Bonded Shell) plating which protects him from almost all forms of
conventional firearms and explosive devices. He could only be
harmed by heavy artillery and rockets, and even then, the blast
usually left most of his shell intact and only damaged internal
components. The shell protected every part of the car including
the tires. KITT could even act as a shield for explosives by
driving over bombs and suppressing the blast. The shell also
protected him from fire and electricity, however it was vulnerable
to some potent acids and at least one formula was made to
completely neutralize the shell. It is also shown that long
exposure to seawater can weaken the shell as in the case of KARR.
The shell is actually a combination of three secret substances
referred together as the "Knight Compound", developed by Wilton
Knight who entrusted parts of the formula to three separate
people. These individuals only know two pieces of the formula,
ensuring that any two of them could make more of the Knight
Compound in an emergency situation and that no one person would be
able to make it. The shell provided a frame tolerance of 223,000
lb (111.5 tons) and a front and rear axle suspension load of
57,000 lb (28.5 tons).
is protected by a thermal-resistant coating that can withstand
sustained temperatures of up to 800 degrees.
Power System-KITT is
powered by the Knight Industries Turbojet with modified
afterburners and a computer controlled 8-speed turbodrive
transmission. Specifications 0 to 60 mph in 2 seconds, Standing to
quarter mile 4.286 seconds. Electromagnetic hyper-vacuum disc
brakes: 14 foot braking distance (70 - 0 mph).
Turbo Boost-Used at least
once in every episode, a series of rear mounted undercarrage
rocket motors allows KITT to accelerate to incredible speeds of up
to 200 mph. When activated in combination with the Trajectory
Guidance System and a pair of rocket motors mounted just behind
the front tires that lifted the front of the car, KITT could jump
40 feet into the air and pass over obstacles in the road. The
system also allowed KITT added power whenever he had to maneuver
heavy objects such as pushing a heavy boulder off a cliff, or
pulling a large vehicle out of danger. The boosters could fire
forward or backward.
Voice Synthesizer allowed his logic module to speak and
communicate. With it, KITT could also simulate other sounds, such
as a police raid to fool criminals or a wild animal's growl,
useful for scaring away a too-friendly animals intending to pee on
his tires. KITT's primary spoken language was English, however by
accessing his language module, he could speak fluently in Spanish
and French. The module can be adjusted giving KITT different
"accents" such as the fourth season episode "Out of the Woods",
where KITT gets a "New York City" accent and called Michael,
"Micky". During the first season, KITT's "mouth" in the interior
of the vehicle was a flashing red square. In later seasons, this
was changed to three sectioned vertical bars, as this design
proved popular with fans as part of KARR.
most apparent feature was his front scan bar called the Anamorphic
Equalizer. The device is a fiber-optic array electronic eyes. The
scanner could see in all visual wavelengths as well as X-Ray and
infrared. When KITT's surveillance mode was active, the bar would
light up and make an ominous swooping sound as it panned left and
right. Occasionally, the bar could pulse in different patterns and
sweep rapidly or very slowly. The scan bar is also KITT's most
vulnerable area. In an attempt to stop KARR, Bonnie rigged a laser
that could penetrate KARR's sensor and disable his electronics.
system allowed KITT to hear sound. An array of audio sensors were
threaded throughout his interior and exterior.
could "smell" via an atmospheric sampling device mounted in his
are tiny audio and visual sensors embedded into the grooves of
KITT's body. They allow for visual tracking and display of
anything around the car.
Cruise Modes-These are
KITT's three drive modes:
Michael had control of the car. In an emergency, KITT could still
take over and activate Auto Cruise mode. In order to prevent this,
one has to use the Manual Override. In the show's fourth season,
the word "Cruise" was dropped and indicated simply by the word
KITT could drive himself utilizing an advanced Auto Collision
"Pursuit" is used
during high-speed driving and is a combination of manual and
computer assisted operation. KITT could respond to road conditions
faster than Michael's reflexes could however Michael was
technically in control of the vehicle and KITT helped guide
Computer Override-KITT has
a hidden switch and setting dial under the dash that either
completely shuts down his AI module or deactivates certain systems
should the need arise.
Manual Override-KITT has a
function which can be activated in order to completely lock the AI
from all the vehicle controls. Unlike the Computer Override,
Manual Override simply keeps KITT from activating Auto Cruse or
preventing anyone inside the car from doing something that would
probably hurt them. KITT's AI is still able to protest such
headlights can flash red and blue as police lights, and he has a
Silent Mode-KITT could run
silently. The feature dampened his engine noise and allow him to
Grappling Hook and Winch-KITT
has a hidden winch and grappling hook system, one mounted under
his front bumper, and another in a compartment behind his tail
light plate. Most often the hook is connected by a strong cable,
but a metal arm has also been seen.
Parachute-KITT is equipped
with a parachute.
Oil Jets/Smoke Screen-KITT
could spray an oil slick and a plume of smoke from under the rear
Flame Thrower-KITT has
flame throwers mounted under his bumpers.
Tear Gas Launcher-KITT can
dispense a cloud of tear gas along with his smoke screen.
can launch magnesium flares, which can also be used to divert
heat-seeking missiles fired at him.
High Traction Drop Downs-When
activated the HTDD system hydraulically raises KITT's chassis for
better traction when driving off-road.
activated KITT's tires would have spikes coming out in order for
KITT to drive up steep off-road hills.
could contact home base and communicate with Devon over KITT's
Microwave Jammer - KITT
has an electronic jamming system that played havoc on electrical
systems. The three main components are the Electromagnetic Field
Generator, Electronic Field Disrupter and Microwave Ignition
Sensor. The system could take control of electronic machines,
allowing things like cheating at slot machines, breaking
electronic locks, fouling security cameras, and withdrawing money
from ATMs. The most common usage was to knock out the electronics
systems of a fleeing vehicle where he could disable the engine and
activate the brakes. In some episodes, KITT is even capable of
using it to magnetize and manipulate non-electronic objects such
as a mechanical combination lock and create "poltergeist"
activity, moving random objects to frighten people.
Mode did several things; KITT could detect people and vehicles and
track their movements and discern proximity. He could gather
structural schematics of buildings, vehicles, or other devices and
help Michael avoid potential danger when he was snooping around.
KITT could also use it to monitor radio transmissions and
telephone communications within a location and trace those calls.
He could tap into computer systems to monitor, or upload and
download information as long as he could break the access codes.
Infrared Tracking Scope-KITT
could monitor the position of specific vehicles in the area within
10 miles. For instance, if Michael wanted to know the location of
every police vehicle within 5 miles, KITT could display a
schematic on his monitors of all police vehicles relative to his
Laser Powerpack-KITT can
fire a high powered ultra-frequency modulated laser capable of
burning through steel plating. Like most of KITT's components, the
schematics for the laser device are classified.
Bomb Sniffer-KITT is
equipped with a bomb sniffer module that can detect explosives
within a few yards of the vehicle.
ECG - KITT has an
electrocardiographic medical scanner that could monitor and
display the vital signs of individuals on his monitors. It could
indicate such conditions as if they were injured, poisoned,
undergoing stress or other emotional behavior. KITT could even
monitor Michael's physical activity through sensors inside the
could deflate and reinflate his tires.
Fuel Processor-KITT was
powered by a turbine engine primarily fueled by hydrogen gas,
however, his complex fuel processor allows him to run on any
combustible liquid, even regular gasoline. KITT's actual fuel
requirements and efficiency ratings were classified, however in
one episode, KITT mentioned his fuel economy was at least 100
miles per gallon. However, when operating on fuels other than
liquid hydrogen, KITT's fuel efficency and power output may be
windows could darken to opacity for various situations.
Stress Analyzer-KITT can
process spoken voices and determine if someone may be lying.
Auto Doors, Sunroof, and Trunklid-KITT
could automatically open and close his doors. He could also lock
his doors to prevent unauthorized entry into his driver
compartment. He could also open his hood automatically.
Rotating License Plate-KITT
can rotate his KNIGHT licence plate to reveal a fictitious one
reading "KNI 667". Michael used this to evade police when an APB
was placed on him.
Seat Ejection System -
KITT had two front ejection seats, mostly used when Michael needed
a boost to fire escapes or building roof tops.
Passive Laser Restraint System-Added
to KITT in later seasons, the restraint system helped protect
Michael and any passengers from the shock of sudden impacts and
hard stopping, especially after Super-Pursuit Mode. It is
speculated that this is a primitive form of inertial dampening
Video Display Monitors-
KITT had two CRT video display monitors on his dash for various
readouts. They are controlled by two systems, the Graphic
Translator (which sketches likenesses from verbal input) and the
Anamorphic Equalizer (which gathered visual information from
KITT's front scan bar) and microscanners. KITT only had one when
his dash was redesigned for third season.
Computer Print Out-KITT
could print hard copies of data on a dashboard mounted printer.
Ultraphonic Chemical Analyzer-KITT
has a retractable tray with an electron scanner that could analyze
the chemical properties of various materials. It could even scan
finger prints and read ballistic information off bullets and
compare these with a police database. Aside from the scanning
tray, the system could also analyze chemical information gathered
from KITT exterior sensors.
could put out small fires from a CO2 sprayer in his bumpers.
could release oxygen into his driver compartment and provide air
to passengers if he was ever submerged in water or buried in
earth. This is also used to overcome the effects of certain drugs.
Two-Wheel Ski Drive-The
Ski Mode setting allowed KITT to "ski" (driving up on two wheels).
this system, KITT can hydroplane and drive on water, using his
wheels and turbo system for propulsion.
Sub Zero-KITT could
release cryogenic gases and "flash freeze" the driver compartment.
This was used once when a baby tiger managed to get inside to gnaw
on his steering wheel and KITT wanted him out.
Sleep Gas-KITT could spray
a gas into the driver compartment that could knock an unwanted
occupant out cold.
Vacuum-KITT could expend all
breathable air from the driver compartment, however, only KARR
ever used it to harm someone. KITT used this to rid the
compartment of smoke after bombs were disposed of in his trunk.
Super-Pursuit mode was added fourth season. The system was a
redesign of his rocket motors that allowed him incredible speeds
of up to 300 mph (500 km/h) and boost speed by 40%. Fins extended
from his body for better aerodynamic.
Emergency Braking System-The
EBS slowed KITT down from Super-Pursuit speeds. It consisted of a
forward breaking booster and air panels that popped out to create
fourth season, by pressing the "C" button on KITT's dash, Michael
could bring the top down and KITT became a convertible.
Wrist Communicator-KITT is
in constant contact with Michael via a two-way communication wrist
watch Michael wore. The watch also had a micro camera and scanner
that KITT could access to gather information.
Homing Device-In dire
emergency, Michael can activate a secret homing beacon hidden
inside a gold pendant he wears around his neck. The beacon sends a
priority signal that can remotely activate KITT and override his
programming so that he rushes to Michael's aid.
Knight Industries Mobile Unit-KITT
has access to a mobile "garage", sometimes refered outside the
show as "The Rook", which was a semi tractor and trailer owned by
the Foundation. The mobile unit usually roamed somewhere near
Michael's location. The trailer has an extendible ramp that
dropped down and allows KITT to drive inside. The trailer was
loaded with spare parts and equipment for KITT. It also had a
computer lab where either Bonnie or April would work and conduct
repairs and maintenance. At the front of the trailer is a small
office area. During early episodes, the trailer was plain white.
In later episodes, it was painted black with a gold stripe and a
gold Knight chess piece emblem.
K.I.T.T. License Plate
KITT had a California license plate, yellow letters on a dark
blue background, that read "KNIGHT." In another tip to the James
Bond franchise, KITT was able to rotate his plate, in one episode
reading the very simliar "KNI 667