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Friday, November 17, 2017

Nose Job

In an earlier blog post, we revealed that the original season 1/2 hero car was converted to the all new right hand blind drive car for season 3. This new right hand blind drive car was a specialized K.I.T.T. that was only to be used for certain blind drive scenes.

The first episode (in order of production, not air date) where we see this new right hand blind drive car is in "The Ice Bandits":


Note here the slight sag on the top of the bumper, as well as the fog lights mounted towards the inside of the nose. Why are these lights so close together? Simple! Remember, this car was originally the season 1 hero car, with THREE sets of fog lights per side. When the show converted the cars to only have two sets per side, they simply removed the outer fog lights and left the others as is!

Here's another, closer look, from "Knight of the Drones", the very next episode produced:


Let's fast forward a few more episodes, to "Dead of Knight". Here, we can see that the nose sag is becoming more pronounced:


A few more episodes later, "Knight of the Chameleon":


Finally, we get to "Junkyard Dog". 

It should be noted that "Junkyard Dog" was extremely hard on this particular car. Daily Production Reports show that the right hand blind drive car was used when K.I.T.T. is lifted with the forklift:


This is what the notes said about the damage incurred:


Later in the episode, K.I.T.T. swings his door open to pick up Michael. And whoa! Check out that nose sag!


Here's the damage caused by this quick scene:


But the worst was to come! The climax of the episode shows K.I.T.T. pushing the "junk yard dog" into a pit of acid. For reasons unknown, the right hand blind drive car was used for this scene as well!


But a close eye can spot the damage done to the car for this scene, and it was extensive. It destroyed the front nose, hood and both fenders!


Close up:



Close up:


And the Daily Production Notes confirm it:


The car was returned to Universal Studios and repaired. During that repair, the right hand blind drive car received a new nose, steel impact bumper and fog lights. It returned in the VERY next episode filmed, "Knight in Retreat". Note the new fog light spacing and the non-saggy nose:


The new nose and fogs are hard to see in the above. This shot below is a couple episodes later, from "Knight Strike":


This car still exists today! While the front nose is not the one you see here, the fog lights are!






Thursday, October 19, 2017

Dedicated to Gino Grimaldi


Fans of "Knight Rider" will no doubt recognize the name Gino Grimaldi. Gino was a Producer on the show, and had his hand in nearly all of the episodes produced, in some form or another. From overseeing the production of the show, to working with George Barris to build the convertible and Super Pursuit Mode cars, to even directing season four's "Knight of a Thousand Devils", Gino was a multi-talented man who certainly left his mark on the series.

Unfortunately, Gino passed away on April 29, 2016. While we never had a chance to speak with him, we have been fortunate enough to talk with his wife and daughter, who gave us a bit of insight into "Gino, the husband" and "Gino, the father". They have also been so gracious as to dig through their archives and provide us with some terrific behind the scenes photos from the show. With their permission, we are able to give you a peek at these never before seen photos from the production of "Knight Rider".

Gino with "Bang" the orangutan from "Circus Knights":


Miniature K.I.T.T. vs. alligator filming from "Knight in Disgrace":




Stunt man and 2nd Unit Director Jack Gill on location in Chicago for "Knight of the Juggernaut":


Pushing the Juggernaut into place (Chicago, "Knight of the Juggernaut"):


David and an unknown man taking a break from filming (Chicago, "Knight of the Juggernaut"):


Producers Burton Armus and Gino Grimaldi. Note the Juggernaut in the background, as well as Edward Mulhare speaking with Cinematographer H. John Penner. (Chicago, "Knight of the Juggernaut"):


Edward Mulhare sizing up Burton Armus (Chicago, "Knight of the Juggernaut"):


Car customizer Jay Ohrberg poses with 5 K.I.T.T.s, RC's bike and the bad guys Lincoln in Gino's Knight Rider directorial debut, "Knight of a Thousand Devils":


Peter Parros shaking hands with H. John Penner while David Hasselhoff prepares for his scene, "Knight of a Thousand Devils":


Gino, Jay and company prepare to film a scene out at Indian Dunes, "Knight of a Thousand Devils":


Jay and Gino oversee the camera setup on the dune buggy, "Knight of a Thousand Devils":


David Hasselhoff horses around during a break in the filming of "Knight of a Thousand Devils":




Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Knight Rider Picture Car Reunion!

Mark your calendars! The Knight Rider Historians, in cooperation with the Kruse Automotive & Carriage Museum, are hosting a once-in-a-lifetime event – a screen used K.I.T.T. reunion! Join us on Saturday, April 29th at the Kruse Museum in Auburn, Indiana, where 3 of the remaining 5 original Trans Ams, used as K.I.T.T. in the 1980’s television series “Knight Rider”, will be on display. The last time these 3 cars were together was on the set of “Knight Rider” in California in 1986! Come and mingle with fellow “Knight Rider” fans and learn the detailed histories of each of these cars – how they were procured, how they were used in the series, what happened to them since the show ended, and more.

SPECIAL GUESTS INCLUDE:

-Michael Scheffe, the man hand-picked by “Knight Rider” series creator Glen A. Larson, to build the original K.I.T.T. cars in 1982. Two of the three cars at this event are the cars that Michael ACTUALLY built 35 years ago!

-Ron Martinez, Unit Production Manager of the series. Ron also worked on such classic TV shows as Baretta, Quincy M.E., Airwolf, Little House on the Prairie and Miami Vice. He is one of our favorite people and always has amazing stories to tell!

-Jim Morris, Universal Studios Transportation. Jim has great memories of working on the set and, specifically, with the cars.

EVENT SCHEDULE:
Saturday, April 29, 2017
9AM - 5PM
----------------------
9:00 - Meet and Greet/Explore Museum
10:00 - Speaker: Michael Scheffe, Designer of the Original K.I.T.T.
10:30 - K.I.T.T. #1 & #2 Discussion
11:00 - A "Lost" Knight Rider Tour Car Found Down Under - Greg Hackett
11:30 - Lunch (available at the museum's concession stand)/Explore Museum
12:30 - Speaker: Ron Martinez, Unit Production Manager
1:00 - K.I.T.T. #3 Discussion (Includes 40 minute documentary)
1:45 - Speaker: Jim Morris, Universal Studios Transportation
2:15 - The Mysterious Train Derailment - Revealed!
2:45 - Enhanced Viewing of the Pilot - Come watch the very first "Knight Rider" adventure, with the cars identified throughout the broadcast! See the cars on screen, then see the exact same ones in person!
4:00 - Open time to explore the museum/mingle with fans, possible photo ops
5:00 - Event concludes

Our event will be housed in the Kruse Hall, a huge, 30,000 square foot room off the side of the museum. If you have a completed replica, or a nice stock Trans Am, please bring it for display in the hall alongside the original cars!

Beyond housing one of the original K.I.T.T. cars, the Kruse Museum is also home to hundreds of other historical and Hollywood related vehicles, to include a General Lee from “The Dukes of Hazzard”, the van from “The A-Team”, the Batmobile from “Batman Returns”, a Mustang K.I.T.T. from the 2008 “Knight Rider” series, and more! These Hollywood vehicles are all owned by the world famous car customizer, Carl Casper. A separate wing houses an impressive military museum as well. Be sure to take the time to check out the museum’s other offerings!

TICKETS: Please email KnightRiderHistorians@gmail.com to get your tickets! Please also let us know if you plan to bring a car to display, so we can reserve a space for you. Payment can be made via PayPal using this address: KnightRiderHistorians@gmail.com. Please submit your payment as Friends & Family to avoid any fees.

There are plenty of restaurants and hotels only a few minutes from the museum. We recommend the Comfort Suites, 1137 15th St, Auburn, IN 46706. If you are flying, your destination should be the Fort Wayne International Airport, which is only a 30 minute drive from the museum.

We also need some volunteers to pick up our special guests at the airport, and possibly to bring/set up audio/video equipment. Contact us privately if you think you’d be able to help with either of these.

Don’t miss this once-in-a-lifetime chance!

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Welcome Newsweek Readers!

If you are coming to our site due to the Newsweek article that we recently collaborated on, welcome! Please take a moment and join our Facebook page for all kinds of interesting information about Knight Rider: https://www.facebook.com/knight.rider.historians/

We are also hosting a KITT Car Reunion on April 29th at the Kruse Museum in Auburn, Indiana. We are reuniting three of the surviving five Knight Rider cars! Please check it out here: https://www.facebook.com/events/1267539139997967/

Thanks and enjoy!

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Original K.I.T.T. #1995


When "Knight Rider" began filming its third season in 1984, the producers built an all-new K.I.T.T. car to be used for insert shots - the car that was usually towed while the actors inside played out their scene. This new car was K.I.T.T. #1995. This is also the ONLY car the show ever had in which the "Auto Roof" feature actually worked. In fact, in this scene from "Knights of the Fast Lane", you can see the mechanism as Jack Gill drives past:

Jack Gill drive #1995 in "Knights of the Fast Lane"

This episode, along with "Knight in Disgrace", are the only two episodes in the third season in which we see #1995 from the exterior. It was used in every third season episode, but viewers mainly saw the inside. This is also one of the few cars to have the 1983+ split rear seat back.

The Interior of #1995

Another interesting detail worth noting, and it will become important later on. #1995 only had the Trans Am-style rear stone guard on its driver's side, and NOT the passenger side!

Stone guard!

No stone guard!

Also, one other detail that is worth pointing out, as it will be important later. Take note of the hole in the passenger side rear trim panel, where the show normally had a trunk pull cable mounted. This shot is from "Ten Wheel Trouble" in season three:

Trunk pull cable hole in "Ten Wheel Trouble"

Fast forward to the summer before the fourth season. Universal Studios had contracted George Barris to build the Super Pursuit Mode car and the Convertible car. For the SPM car, Universal gave Barris one of their already existing cars - 1995 - to convert to the full-time Super Pursuit car with working EBS flaps!

Remember the stone guard discrepancy? Here it is on #1995 again, as the Super Pursuit car:

Stone guard!

No stone guard!

Here's a rare shot of the interior of the Super Pursuit car, from "Knight of the Juggernaut". Check out the trunk cable hole - EXACT same location as what we saw in #1995 in "Ten Wheel Trouble!"

#1995 as the SPM car with the same trunk cable hole

So there you go! #1995, first used as the insert car for all of season three, converted to the full-time, non-transforming Super Pursuit Mode car for season four and, ultimately (and unfortunately) crushed upon the series' conclusion.