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Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Stuff We Miss From the '80s: Night Flight

Posted By on Tue, Sep 27, 2011 at 10:30 AM

Night Flight was a four-hour show on the USA Network that aired on Friday and Saturday nights from 1981 to 1988. Its "ever-changing and flexible format" featured videos, cult movies and cartoons, and general weirdness which didn't fit anywhere else on TV -- not even on Night Flight's arch-nemesis, the PlayCable-killer MTV.

Voiceover hosting was provided by the dulcet tones of Pat Prescott, who I'm happy to report is still going strong. There was a syndicated revival of the show in 1990, with a host who was not Ms. Prescott, and we shall speak of it no further.

Instead, let's look at Night Flight's 3rd Anniversary Special from June of 1984.

The intro establishes Night Flight's mission and history -- it premiered three months before MTV, face! -- and the fact that Ms. Prescott doesn't quite know how to pronounce Koyaanisqatsi takes nothing away from the fact that Night Flight showed freakin' Koyaanisqatsi.

Introducing The Buggles' "Video Killed the Radio Star," Ms. Prescott's writers claim that it was the first music video shown on national TV. I question the factuality of that statement -- music videos were shown on TV before MTV or Night Flight -- but the gratuitous computer-generated face during her voiceover makes for up it.

You couldn't zip past commercials back then, so we ain't gonna now, and if you don't associate Mountain Dew with breakdancing, you soon will.

My favorite thing in this nonsensical Coffee Achievers commercial is a caffeinated Cicely Tyson learning how to hit a guy.

Two years after E.T. was released, Pepsi's rip-off commercials were still airing. Think about that. (Does anyone even remember Avatar in 2011?)

But June of 1984 was all about Ghostbusters, and Night Flight was there.

There'll never be another Night Flight. Nor should there be another Ghostbusters, but that's a different article entirely.

Sherilyn Connelly is a San Francisco-based writer. She also curates and hosts Bad Movie Night at The Dark Room every Sunday at 8 p.m.

Follow us on Twitter at @ExhibitionistSF (follow Sherilyn Connelly on Twitter at @sherilyn) and like us on Facebook.

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