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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.









Thursday, December 1, 2016

Original K.I.T.T. #1967

K.I.T.T. #1967

Throughout the course of the first season of Knight Rider, the show didn't have a dedicated "blind drive" car (meaning, a dedicated car that was only used for when K.I.T.T. was seen driving by himself). Rather, the crew would simply place the blind drive seat in whatever car was available at that time.

Beginning in the second season, the show acquired a number of additional cars. One of those cars, a 1983 Trans Am, became the full-time, dedicated "blind drive car".

The car was first used in the very first episode FILMED for the second season, "Return to Cadiz". It's fairly easy to spot, as besides the slightly mis-shapened driver's side seat, it also had a rear view mirror mount and a passenger side sun visor still in place. #1967 also (briefly) had the season 1 style overhead console, the only other car besides the season 1 hero car to have it. This overhead can only be seen in #1967 in this episode and the next one filmed, "Ring of Fire", before it is replaced with the more form fitting season 2/3/4 style overhead console.

#1967 makes its debut in "Return to Cadiz"

For the second season, the interior of #1967 was mocked up and not meant to be seen on camera. It featured a telescopic round stunt steering wheel, a custom, long-reach shifter and a half-dash shell that was meant to resemble the overall shape of K.I.T.T.'s dash from afar.

In this screencap from "Diamonds Aren't a Girl's Best Friend", viewers get a quick glimpse of #1967's interior, sans the driver's side blind drive seat.

By the start of season 3, #1967's interior was upgraded. Since the show upgraded K.I.T.T.'s dashboard, they had no need for the season 1/2 hero dash. They removed that hero dash and placed it in #1967. If you ever spotted K.I.T.T.'s 2-TV dash in the 3rd and 4th seasons of the show, that's #1967!

#1967's interior for season's 3 and 4. The pods were removed from the hero car. Overhead console was devoid of buttons. The long-reach shifter, installed in season 2, is still in use. The switch mounted to the side of the factory lower console are the headlight and fog light switches, moved from their factory locations to make them easier to reach for the blind driver.


By the final season, #1967 was mostly unchanged from the previous year, except it received the new, season 4 style rubber front nose.

#1967 in a screencap from "Deadly Knightshade"

So, what happened to #1967? As was the fate of most of the Knight Rider cars, it was crushed at the conclusion of the series.





Wednesday, December 9, 2015

The Original, Screen Used K.A.R.R. License Plates - FOUND!


We have some amazing, exciting news for all of you! File this under, "Props That We Thought Were Long Since Destroyed".

Earlier this summer, we acquired 3 original, screen used KARR license plates, from the most well loved episode of the series ever, "K.I.T.T. vs. K.A.R.R."!!

We wish we could say that our excellent detective skills led us to the plates, but in reality, we were contacted through our site by the former owner. He actually had 4 plates, and sold us 3 of them, keeping the remaining one for himself. We are forever grateful to him!


They exhibit all of the typical wear seen on a 30 year old prop license plate, to include peeling paint and cracks in the clear coat used to finish them off.


The plates are constructed in exactly the same way as the KNIGHT plates, starting with a blank metal plate and hand glued letters.

Below is a comparison of one of the KARR plates to an original KNIGHT plate that we have in our collection. Notice that the KNIGHT plate is faded a bit, due to its extensive use, while the KARR plate exhibits slightly less wear.


Another original Knight Rider prop - saved and preserved!

Friday, December 4, 2015

Original K.I.T.T. #1196





For the final season of "Knight Rider", Universal Studios contracted with George Barris to build a convertible version of K.I.T.T., seen above. While the "C Mode" K.I.T.T. was only used a handful of times, it is fondly remembered by the fans.

In June of 1985, Barris began the conversion of a 1982 Pontiac Firebird (base model) into the convertible version of our favorite talking car. This car, as equipped from the factory, was Maroon on the outside with a gray cloth interior, a V-6 engine, and very few options. It didn't even have the full instrument cluster, but rather the required speedometer, tachometer and dummy lights for the rest!

This car was built over the course of a couple weeks at Barris' Kustom City shop in North Hollywood, CA, before being delivered to Universal.


When the series ended in 1986, the remaining dozen (or so) K.I.T.T. cars were left to languish on Universal's backlot. Most of the cars ended up getting crushed, per an agreement between Universal and Pontiac. A select few of the cars were saved from this fate, due to the ownership status of those particular cars. The convertible is one of those that was saved. These cars were acquired by a car show exhibitor, and spent the next few years touring on the Budweiser World of Wheels car circuit.



Here, you can see the convertible on display a few months after the series ended.

In 2002, the car was put up for auction at Kruse and sold to the Cars of the Stars Museum in Keswick, England, where it stayed until 2012. The museum's contents were then sold to the Dezer Museum in Miami, FL, where the car still resides today.

In late 2013, we were honored to be asked to do some minor repair work on the car's scanner. We are happy to report that the Dezer Museum is taking excellent care of this unique piece of Knight Rider's History!