Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Night Flight

Those of you who grew up in the 1980s undoubtedly remember spending a few weekend late nights gazing at the USA cable network and its amazing show NIGHT FLIGHT.

NIGHT FLIGHT is difficult to explain to those who never saw it. There's certainly nothing like it on television now. It was a strange potpourri of short films, music videos, obscure movies, serials, Japanese monsters, standup comedy...and more. The closest equivalent I can think of is Comedy Central's old SHORT ATTENTION SPAN THEATER, but that ran only an hour and consisted only of comedy bits.

I first saw THE KENTUCKY FRIED MOVIE (cut, of course) on NIGHT FLIGHT, as well as the Roger Corman/William Shatner drama THE INTRUDER, although it was televised under the title SHAME. You never knew exactly what you were going to see on NIGHT FLIGHT, each episode of which ran for four hours. Here's a minute and 14 seconds of one episode--a clip that's pretty typical of the weirdness NIGHT FLIGHT offered:

Where else will you find Hanna-Barbera, Pseudo Echo and SPACE MONSTER aka SPACE PROBE TAURUS teaming up? I don't know what that Claymation clip is, but if you do, please let me know.

Speaking of the old days when the USA network kicked ass and wasn't just a repository for back-to-back episodes of THE DISTRICT, LAW & ORDER: SVU and WALKER, TEXAS RANGER every damn day, here's a promo for COMMANDER USA'S GROOVY MOVIES. Remember this guy?

For those of us who lived in small television markets without a weekend horror host (like Svengoolie in Chicago, for instance), we had Commander USA, who aired crappy movies on Saturday afternoons, usually involving Chinese guys kung-fuing the hell out of each other or giant monsters from Japan beating the shit out of each other.


Anonymous said...

I feel a bit cheated having only gotten cable around 1988 ... never got to watch Night Flight and it looks awesome.

Marty McKee said...

We got cable around 1983, but it was a small town that prohibited MTV, so we could only watch music videos on NIGHT FLIGHT (although I didn't really start watching it until I went away to college) and NIGHT TRACKS on WTBS.