We were cleaning out the shop over the weekend and looky what we found: an original promotional piece, direct from NBC, for the yet-to-be broadcast “Knight Rider” show. Neat piece of pop culture history from the early Eighties we thought you’d enjoy.

Back in the Fall of ’79, CBS launched “Dukes Of Hazzard” and it turned into the first marketing juggernaut based on a TV show with a car as its main character. On the heels of the Star Wars franchise, toys, action figures, Underoos, sneakers, shirts, lunchboxes and a flurry of other amazing shit were quickly rolled out to support the orange ’69 Charger with the stars-n-barsed roof. And, as kids, we devoured as much stuff as the “Dukes” franchise could produce.

By ’81, NBC wanted a piece of the action. But, how to knock the formula of a bitchin’ muscle car/hot chick/moonshine/CB craze/southern-by-the-grace-of-god off its pedestal? Would the exact opposite work? How ’bout a tall, tan, perm-ed drink-o-water driving a brand-new, redesigned black T/A that talks with a British accent who runs around Southern California like a modern James Bondian crimefighter? Would that work?

NBC thought it might.

So, NBC reached out to the minions of General Lee fanatics with a well-designed promotional blitz for their new “Knight Rider” concept: broadcast “teaser” commercials that gave a glimpse of the signature glowing red hood blip on K.I.T.T.’s nose, magazine ads, etc. And then there’s this little gem: if a kid (us, for instance) saw the new “Knight Rider” ad and sent in a request for a super-secret piece of something-or-other that would just blow his young, impressionable mind, he’d get, in return, this side-by-side comparo of the something that looked alot like the General Lee (“00″ instead of the iconic “01″) up against this mysterious talking car. In a poster-sized, two-sided, Motor Trend-style comparison.

We won’t waste your valuable time replicating some of the amazing details of this poster –– you can dig into this thing in all its glory yourself by clicking on the pics below. You’re welcome.


  1. William says:

    You know, I swear I remember a TV ad of the same vintage with a guy in a lab coat basically saying the same thing. I can’t find it anywhere on line, though.

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