Thanks to my adventurous parents, the first time I saw Knight Rider, I was a kindergartener in Mexico. The year was 1991, I was almost five, and while back then I didn't realize how funny a Spanish-speaking car really is, I was fascinated by that black Trans Am.
We had a yellow VW Rabbit at the time with a wooden steering wheel (later destroyed by a flood), but even that wasn't cool enough to beat Michael Knight's ride. After we moved back to Hungary, they just started to air the show (the eight-year delay was due to the fact that we switched to a democracy only three years before), and I kept wondering how many chicks Michael promised to visit throughout the four seasons. But the Hungarian viewers weren't the only ones getting excited in 1992. Just ask Catherine Hickland, the real Knight Rider...
She first appeared in Knight Rider on March 4, 1983, in the episode White Bird. She must have had quite an effect on star David Hasselhoff, because in less than a year, they got married. Hickland had two more episodes in the series, first Let It Be Me on May 13, 1984, then on January 3, 1986, when in The Scent of Roses their wedding was recreated only so that her character can get shot at the altar. Drama at its best!
Knight Rider was finished seven months later after they all realized they couldn't top Super Pursuit Mode, while their marriage was over right before they could celebrate their five-year anniversary. But Hasselhoff kept himself busy, as Baywatch was on the verge of starting up.
After playing in some of the most influential movies of the late eighties, Catherine Hickland started a new phase, which included getting married again in 1992. And this is where it gets twisted...
Not only did she marry a guy called Michael E. Knight, but a guy who looked like this. Hairy chest, leather jacket, everything. Even KITT would have been confused about who the real Michael Knight was. A system error waiting to happen. So while I don't know exactly when David Hasselhoff started to drink heavily, the day he got the news about this marriage seems about right. Poor Hoff.
Catherine Hickland got divorced again in 2006. Nowadays, when not enjoying her own KITT replica, she hypnotizes people. Why are we not surprised?
Photo credit: Knight Rider Online/NBCU