Welcome to Night Flight.

a Throwback Thursday post

a Project 1983 post

Sometimes I make a new (to me) discovery that is so in my wheelhouse, and in this case so 80’s, I can’t believe it wasn’t part of my life earlier. Such is the case with the USA network’s cult late show, Night Flight.

This discovery came to me thanks to Amazon Prime. For those who have Prime accounts but are sleeping on the streaming, you’re missing out. For what you’re already paying to get your packages quickly you can also watch Amazon originals like Good Omens and the Tick. Or if you’re like me you can spend hours looking in every category to see the buried treasures. Plus there’s Amazon Music and Kindle reader with thousands of free to read titles.

As great as all of this content is, it’s extremely difficult to find. The major streaming services remind me a lot of renting videos. Netflix is Blockbuster, corporate and carefully curated selection. Organized, with a spotlight on selections they have more ownership in. Hulu is Hollywood Video. Similar, but different enough. And starting to sneak into more R and obscure territory. Amazon Prime Video is the mega video store that bought out all the smaller ones in town. It has everything. Big hits, stuff from yesterday, and a lot of random “where the hell did this come from?” Unfortunately, they don’t have the time to organize everything to OCD levels so be prepared to spend sometime inside roaming the shelves and looking through boxes on the floor.

Back to Night Flight.

Night Flight ran on USA from 1981-1988 for 8 hours every Friday night into Saturday morning. Four hours of content then the same four hours repeated. The show would feature some cult movies like Kentucky Fried Movie or Eraserhead that would never be played on any other channel. Interspersed throughout the night were clips from a variety of sources. Interviews, cartoons, public domain films, concert footage, stand up, and whatever else they got their hands on. In recent years much of this content (but not the movies) has been packaged together into short 10-15 minute shows. Some of these can be found on IFC but I discovered them through the aforementioned Amazon Prime Video.

 

I remember the opening graphics but there’s no way I was up late enough during the original run. Night Flight came back in syndication and later USA so it’s possible I saw the opening then. Right before changing the channel.

For some reason my comic and geek self was not interested in this when I was younger. It stuns me how much I remember on the TV that I turned away from. Kung fu, giant monsters, and Night Flight. Now I get excited for Svengoolie Saturday nights on MeTV. If you told me there was going to be a show with the most cult of cult media out there wrapped around a movie, it would be appointment television. Although, probably not for a 10 year old.

There’s an infamous interview with Ozzy Osborne in which he drops the Ozzy character for a few moments. Freddie Mercury talking about how much money he has. Divine revealing a conversation with his father (out of character interview, so I’m saying his). Early Chris Rock routines. Animation that makes you feel on drugs even if you’ve never touched them.

My only complaint is there’s only 19 short episodes on Prime. I could watch these for the next year, discovering new corners of pop culture and following where that leads with each episode. If you have Prime I highly recommend throwing this on and enjoying the night.

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