Sunday, January 18, 2015

Outré Intro: Knight Rider (1982 - 1986)

If not a love story between a man and his car, Glen A. Larson's Knight Rider (1982 - 1986) is at the very least a bro-mance between a man and his car. 

The series follows the adventures of Michael Knight (David Hasselhoff) and his high-tech steed, KITT (voiced by William Daniels).  Basically, the series is a high-tech version of The Lone Ranger, in which a lawman believed dead takes up a new crime-fighting identity.  He does so with a machine/individual that assumes the roles of both Tonto AND Silver.

This cult-TV series has two basic and enduring highlights: the incredible car stunts, and the banter between these two appealing personalities, one man, one machine.

I have always fancied the elegant simplicity and focus of the Knight Rider introductory montage.  It is so uncluttered, and so visually appealing at the same time.  The photography is gorgeous.

The intro opens with a lovely, exterior long shot. 

Mountains dot the horizon. There is lavender sky above, and sandy desert below. And intersecting the center of the frame -- speeding towards us -- is K.I.T.T., the souped-up Trans Am. A smoke trail follows in his wake.

In the next shot, we get an especially good look at K.I.T.T.'s trademark "eye" -- the ping-ponging red scanner just beneath the hood of the car.

Next, after the title card (and just look at that gorgeous sky!), the montage focuses extensively on piece-meal views of this beautiful car.  We see every detail.

Tires. Eyes. Lights. Mirrors. Dash.

We are looking at the elements not just of a machine, but a love-object.

A close-up view of an interior view-screen transitions us to the next sequence of the montage.  We see K.I.T.T. on his own interior screen, racing towards us (representing, in a sense, the driver), and then the montage begins to acquaint viewers with his amazing capabilities. Optional extras?

First and foremost, we see K.I.T.T.'s coolest capacity: his turbo boost, which rockets the car (and driver) high into the air at an amazing speed.  

Next, we meet our driver and main (human) character: Michael Knight (David Hasselhoff).

Now, back to K.I.T.T. (the series' real star).  In the next grouping of shots, we see the car smashing through a wall, undamaged.

Next-up, we meet Michael Knight's boss, Devon Miles played by the great Edward Mulhare.

And again, back to the car.  You should be sensing a pattern here.  The car gets far more attention in this montage than do the human stars of the series.

We see K.I.T.T. traveling quickly at night, accelerating. Then, we see him avoiding explosions on a dirt road, blasting through a truck unharmed, and showing off his bulletproof paint-job in a rain of sparks.

One last cast-member is introduced -- Patricia McPherson as Bonnie -- and then the intro moves into a montage showing Michael and K.I.T.T. in action.  Yep, it's back to more detail shots of our obsessive focus: the car.

We see K.I.T.T. shifting gears and activating his own pedals, sans any driver whatsoever.

Finally, back to that iconic image in the desert.  A hero's car, racing toward adventure...and then, finally, into the distance.

Here's the montage in action:

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