Night Flight on IFC: Episode 1!

By on April 20, 2018

“Night Flight” was the most radically fun, nostalgically cranium-bursting cable TV program of all time, originally airing in the ’80s (and syndicated shows aired during the ’90s) during the wee hours on Fridays and Saturdays on the USA Network. Now we’re back on the IFC channel!

Tune in once again each weekend (check your local listings for the right time) to see a mash-ups of clips from rock movies and documentaries, concert films, experimental short films, weirdo kaiju monster flicks, computer art films, campy ’50s sci-fi serials, banned cartoons, and loads of music videos that MTV wouldn’t dare show.

We’ve had an online presence for a few years now with Night Flight Plus, our streaming subscription “channel,” which is where you can find all the above and more, supplemented by full-length streaming titles we’ve added from our content partners, including fellow cultural insurrectionists MVD Video.

Tune in to see why VH1 called us “the single greatest rock omnibus program ever aired” and Brooklyn Vegan named us “the most consistently weird and awesome thing on cable television in the ’80s.”

Read more below about our first “Night Flight Highlights” episode (“Heavy Metal & Punk”) on IFC — the cable network describes these episodes as “A fever dream of classic clips including iconic rock stars, animation, and heavy metal music, a trip back to the boundary-pushing music and videos of the 1980s” — and be sure to sign up for Night Flight Plus to watch more classic episodes of the original ’80s, available on Roku, Apple TV, and Amazon Fire TV.


Buy J-Men Forever

J-Men Forever was one of the more popular films that aired during Night Flight’s heyday, an underground cult classic that became the most demanded rerun for the entire eight years “Night Flight” aired on the USA Network! It was a project started by two members of the Firesign Theatre comedy troupe, Phil Proctor and Peter Bergman, who regularly did projects on their own, and originally began when producer Patrick Curtis began working with Republic Studios and produced an homage film to another one of Republic’s key genres, the B-movie western.


In Night Flight’s “Take Off to Heavy Metal History: Black Sabbath” — which originally aired on October 13, 1984, and you can now find streaming over on Night Flight Plus — Ozzy Osbourne veers off into the interesting topic of “backmasking.” We’ve listened closely to this Ozzy interview a few times and we believe this is what he’s saying:

“You know, In the United States of America, for instance, when you’ve suddenly become a success, then a minority of the people suddenly start to think, ‘Hey, this guy has gotta be singing backwards.’ So they’ll play the record backwards.”


Buy “Ozzy Osbourne – Prince of Darkness”


Back in the 1980s, one of Night Flight’s most popular segments were our “Atomic TV” featurettes, which took a satirical look at nuclear war hysteria, both real and imagined, through mashed-up music videos and public domain movie clips. You can now watch this episode — which first aired on April 15, 1988 — in your underground bunker or wherever you’re hiding out from the next atomic blast, real or imagined, on Night Flight Plus!


While digging through the pages of “Night Flight” tape logs, we noticed a February 20, 1986 Mark Hamill interview with our own Lisa Robinson, where he was promoting his appearance as Gordon Miller in the off-Broadway comedy play, Room Service, a farce set in a Times Square hotel, playing a role that Groucho Marx immortalized on film. Hamill sports a pencil-then mustache.


Buy “The Real Andy Kaufman”

The Real Andy Kaufman was directed by Kaufman’s friend, comedy club owner and hopeful filmmaker Seth Shultz, which you’ll find streaming over on Night Flight Plus. This documentary film may be one of the only ways we can see the real Andy Kaufman, at least the way he appeared after after a particularly awful performance at a popular Catskills resort in late 1979. This 85-minute documentary contains rare, live footage from Kaufman’s performance onstage the night before — either November 27th or 28th — at Kutsher’s Resort, which had by then survived for more than 100 years (it finally closed in 2013).


Buy The Sex Pistols Box Set

D.O.A.: A Right of Passage — which won’t be streaming on Night Flight Plus until June 2018 — is the ground-breaking classic “rockumentary” about the origin of punk rock. Centered around the Sex Pistols 1978 tour of the United States which ended with the group breaking up, the tour was the only one the Pistols played in the United States. Director Lech Kowalski (East of Paradise) followed the band with handheld cameras through the clubs and bars of their seven-city U.S. tour.

Mixing this with footage of other contemporary bands, trends in the fashion capitals and punks of all shapes and colors, Kowalski captured a grainy, stained snapshot of the punk movement at its peak (which includes the now famous footage of Sid Vicious and Nancy Spungen in bed) along with rare interview and concert footage of the late seventies punk rock music scene. Features live performances by the Sex Pistols, The Dead Boys, Generation X (with Billy Idol), The Rich Kids, the X-Ray Spex, and Sham 69, along with additional music from The Clash and Iggy Pop.


Buy “DOA: Rite of Passage” Special Edition

20 Years of Rock ‘N’ Roll Style: Punk Rock” — now streaming on Night Flight Plus — begins with short interviews with Sex Pistols manager and artist Malcolm McLaren and former Sex Pistols frontman John Lydon, whose name is shown as “Johnny Lydon.” Pat Prescott describes McLaren’s relationship to the band this way: “Malcolm McLaren was the impresario, and the Sex Pistols were some product, but some things just can’t be manufactured.”



Buy Billy Idol Vinyl

In Night Flight’s “Billy Idol Video Profile” — which originally aired on January 19, 1985 — Idol opens up about moving to New York City four years earlier, a move called “treason” by his fellow British countrymen, but Idol says living in NYC allowed him to “experience things like a normal human being.” This profile — now streaming on Night Flight Plus — features our candid interview with “Rock’s Rude Boy” interspersed along with five of his videos, most of them directed by the legendary David Mallet, except for “Dancing with Myself,” which was directed by cult horror filmmaker Tobe Hooper.


Buy Duran Duran Vinyl


Buy Chris Rock DVDs

Rick Newman’s Catch A Rising Star comedy club — on 1st Avenue between East 78th Street and East 77th Street, in uptown NYC — was one of the top clubs for discovering new talent, and one night, in 1987, Night Flight was there to catch the rising stars of comedy, including a very young Chris Rock, who talks about his relationship with his father. Watch it now on Night Flight Plus.


One of the more popular animated short films that aired during Night Flight’s ’80s heyday was Wes Archer’s cult fave Jac Mac & Rad Boy, Go!, a wonderfully frenetic cartoon about two party-bound teens who inadvertently destroy a city on their way to hell, which Archer admits he may have also been inspired by his own wayward youth in Houston, Texas. Watch it now on Night Flight Plus.


About Night Flight

Voice of a generation that spoke from 11PM-7AM EST Friday and Saturday on USA Network in the '80s. Back to enlighten and inspire 24/7.
  • Jerri Kohl

    This is the only episode not available on the IFC site. Is this episode available on NF Plus? Or is it lost forever?

  • Bryan Thomas

    All eight of the episodes that have aired so far on IFC (including Episode #1) are now streaming on Night Flight Plus!:

  • Moe Badderman

    Apparently no one knows.