Thursday, 22 April 2010

Icon #50 The Knight Industries Two Thousand

The most iconic vehicle in a movie or TV show.
Was a tough one today.  Again.

But in the end I had to choose one and despite a late run from the Tardis and me desperately wanting to write about a spaceship (I'll do a second post tomorrow night to explain that one) I've gone for one of the most requested icons all day.  The Knight Industries Two Thousand.

It's an 80s thing, obviously.  Anyone under 25 is probably going to look at the caption under the picture above and go, 'WTF?  Where's Optimus Prime?'  (@SoulIsTheGoal excluded.)

But KITT was what we all wanted our fathers cars to be like.  Black, sleek and able to talk.  Forget the new TV series.  Honestly, lets pretend it doesn't exist because the original was cool as fuck.  (Also, don't go back and watch any old episodes from the original.  Don't spoil the memory.  Well you can, cause it's kinda fun, just don't expect it to be as cutting edge as it seemed when you were 12.)  Of course The Hoff helps, big time.  Without him KITT was just a car with AI and a penchant for a droll quip, but with him, KITT came to life.

I can remember being sat at home, probably on a Saturday afternoon, trying to spot KITT's driver (Michael Knight was probably off on the pull) as he/it drove past, rather slowly, with apparently no one behind the wheel.  I probably (I did) dreamt of him picking me up from school and driving me home, chatting to me about my day on the trip back, as my fellow pupils gawked at this driverless wonder.  It would have been a lot cooler than the Nissan Jetta.

The constantly moving red light on the front grill helps too.  Back in the 80s this meant that a mechanical thing was alive.  If there was a red light, that moved, it lived.  Cylons, red light.  KITT red light.  Simples.

Being a Pontiac Trans Am helps a lot too.  It's not the coolest car ever, but make it black and shiny and give it  a Turbo Boost that lets it go a bit faster to jump obstacles and you have a winning combination.

The voice though was the true genius of this artificially intelligent car.  He sounds human, not mechanical, has a slightly sardonic sense of humour and displays affection for his 'driver'.  I often used to think that this 'robot' was probably a bit frustrated that he was a car and didn't have arms and legs.  If Michael went to a party the poor bugger had to sit in a car park and talk to himself.

It's probably only a matter of time before KITT gets a proper Hollywood make over.  The recent reboot hasn't been a huge success on TV but there's still plenty of room to make a decent stab at a proper movie.  If they can do it with the A-Team they can do it with Knight Rider.

The old TV series has a quaint appeal though, even now.  A friend came over about three months ago, obviously knew it was on and flicked over to one of the myriad of channels on Sky I never look at and there they were.  Michael and KITT on a film set somewhere investigating a corrupt director.  Or something.  KITT drove slowly on his own.  Michael flirted with the ladies.  They got the bad guy.  None of it made any sense.  Perfect.

'I need ya buddy!' - MK
'Right away Michael.' - KITT

Tonight's post is dedicated to (from twitter) @orchidblack, @jeninher30s, @Girl_In_A_Box, @KyeLani, @FliesOpen, @twosoups, @davielegend, @jackster69, @nessalouise, @nicky_t, @SoulIsTheGoal (and from facebook) Toby, Louise (not that one, soz hon) and Jackie.