by Anthony King
Here's what's great about #Junesploitation: On any given day and for any given theme you can watch whatever you want. You watched Doctor Strange for Scott Adkins day? Perfect! You watched Singin' in the Rain for musicals day? Awesome! “How you interpret the connection is entirely up to you...” From Patrick's fingertips to your eyeballs. With that in mind I'm taking a little Junesploitation liberty and writing about an episode of a TV show.
Two things came into play with this decision. The first is that I'm writing about movies released in 1982, and in my list of movies from '82 that fit my specific criteria for this column, for the life of me I couldn't find a carsploitation movie. The second thing factoring in my decision is that back in the olden days television networks would end up creating feature-length pilot episodes split into two parts. With two episodes filling in two hour-long slots (commercials included) on a single night, we had, essentially, a feature-length made-for-TV movie. The Rockford Files, Hill Street Blues, Vega$ and many others did this.
Now, having only seen a handful of episodes, I don't know if this is ever revisited, but Michael Long (not The Hoff, btw) ended up needing reconstructive surgery because he was shot point-blank in the head. It turns out a metal plate in his forehead saved his life, but his face was messed up enough that Knight decided to make this mangled stranger look like Knight did when he was younger. Hoff holds a mirror to his face and says dramatically, “I don't know this person.” He hangs around to rehabilitate and becomes close to Knight just before the old man dies. Again, I don't know the ins and outs of the series, but Knight apparently had plans for this young man he rescued because he and Devon have given him a new identity and fixed his car up to be something of which Batman would be envious; a Pontiac Firebird now called the Knight Industries Three Thousand, or KITT. Michael Knight, nee Long, gets in his newly restored car and remarks, “It looks like Darth Vader's bathroom.” And guess what? It talks! Voiced by none other than John Adams himself, William Daniels.The Beach Girls as a car thief who KITT takes care of promptly, and Charles Napier in an uncredited role as one of the thugs that fights Hoff.