This week’s Columbo villian of the week is the unsung star of Knight Rider, the voice of Kitt: William Daniels.
Knight Rider along with the A-Team, Street Hawk and Airwolf was part of the 80s explosion of all action, all Americana television. It also gave us The Hoff who on the face of it looks like a prime target for Columbo Villian of the week but let’s get real – the guy couldn’t stay sober long enough to kill someone let alone cross swords with our cigar chewing detective.
No the real story here is Kitt, it always was all about the car. Imagine how infuriating it must have been to have that drunken German soft rock star taking all the glory. I can see it now: the car did it, backed over him three times and it was only its failure to erase the tyre tracks – a car doesn’t have the opposable thumbs required to wipe things down – that led Columbo to the murderer.
But a car can’t kill him on its own. Who ever heard of a sentient car? That’s just silly.
The voice of Kitt was played by the regularly employed but relatively unknown William Daniels who went onto play George Feeny in Boy Meets World and he was quite frankly born to play a Columbo villian although in actuality he never appeared on the show, opting instead for Quincy. As far as I can see the largely uncredited Mr Daniels carried the whole of Knight Rider – I certainly didn’t watch it for The Hoff’s mullet – and seeing that particular individual pour all his success down his throat whilst the public give him all the glory not to mention the cash…well a man can only take so much.
But it wasn’t Knight Rider that pushed Daniels over the edge. No, the final straw was Baywatch, the show that relaunched The Hoff’s career, the show that The Hoff was a producer of in addition to star of and the show that didn’t throw any work Daniels’ way. Daniels was a huge part of making Kitt interesting, without Kitt there wouldn’t be Knight Rider and the Hoff wouldn’t have had a career at all. Daniels, ever the intellectual, plans an elaborate death for The Hoff involving him choking on his own chest wig as a result of a well placed squib.
It’s the perfect crime leaving an opening in the show for an aging but wise Chief Lifeguard to step into The Hoff’s shoes played by his old colleague. Now why is that detective wearing a raincoat in LA in June? And on the beach?
Of course in this instance on discovering the murderer Columbo would have no doubt shaken his hand for sparing us The Hoff’s future music offerings, a frankly horrible series of Pipex adverts and tabloid photos of The Hoff dribbling on his own shoulder. Then he would have locked him up.
Rules is rules.
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