Night Flight on IFC: Episode 14!

By on November 9, 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 — and we’re now on at a new time, 1am east coast/10pm west coast, but as always be sure to check your local listings for time/TV channel location.

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 fourteenth “Night Flight Highlights” half-hour episode (“The Heartbreakers”) 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.

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In the Spring of 1985, Tom Petty meet with rock journalist Lisa Robinson backstage at one of his shows for a candid in-depth interview, which we’re sharing over on our Night Flight Plus streaming channel. Have a look.

During his Night Flight video profile — which first aired on April 30, 1985, while Petty was still promoting his latest album on the Southern Accents Tour (Petty later told Rolling Stone it was his “concept record about the South”) — he talked openly about his songwriting process, his favorite music decade (the Sixties, naturally), what it was like making music videos, and other topics of interest.

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Petty’s music videos — including his Alice in Wonderland-themed “Don’t Come Around Here No More,” a Top Twenty single produced & co-written by Dave Stewart of Eurythmics — were frequently aired on “Night Flight.”

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Crazy Creatures” is the title we’ve given to a compilation of original Gumby episode excerpts featuring some of the craziest clay creatures you’ve ever seen, straight or sober, including the Glob, the Zoops, the Moon Boggles and more.

You’ll find this extremely popular episode streaming in our Gumby: Original Series section on Night Flight Plus!

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Buy The Gumby Show

Buy Gumby: The Best of Gumby

In “The Glob” (Episode 3, 1962), Gumby is a sculptor, and when his large glob of clay comes to life, it starts to chase Gumby and Pokey through a toy shop and into a book.

Marshall Dill Pickle winds up in a shoot-out with the ice-cream loving Glob in an Old West set straight out of TV’s “Gunsmoke.”

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In “The Zoops” (Episode 1, 1959), Gumby is selling watermelons to raise money to buy his mother a birthday present when he’s given a magic potion by a wizard. The potion transforms watermelons into colorful creatures called “Zoops,” and Gumby, seeing the chance to make a fast buck, sells them to the zoo.

There’s trouble, though, when a zookeeper hoses down the Zoops with a water hose, reverting them back to watermelons. Gumby has already spent half the money celebrating, though, so he’s given a job cleaning cages to work off his debt.

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Several episodes of “Gumby” also feature the Moon Boggles, too, including “Moon Madness” (Episode 97, 1967), and “The Moon Boggles” (Episode 103, 1967), in which the Moon Boggles escape from their cage at the zoo, causing everyone to panic.

Gumby and Pokey do their best to capture them, but they end up frozen. Thankfully, they only wanted a little fresh air. Clokey began to experiment with clay shapes, getting it to the right density in order to be able to shape it easily and thus duplicate his movements without much trouble.

Clokey may have based the head of Gumby on his late father’s forehead, but he patterned his walk after his infant daughter, who was just learning to walk.

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His wife Ruth was the one who suggested that Gumby’s body have the shape of a gingerbread man.

One of the first things everyone notices, young and old, is that Gumby is green, which Clokey considered a racially neutral, universal color. He also thought green represented life itself; it was the symbolic color of chlorophyll, after all, which turns light into energy and provides life. Clokey believed light itself was life, and it was love, and the light-energy-lifeforce are at the very heart of understanding Gumby and all of us, really.

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The low-budget 90-minute film — the young Spanish filmmaker raised some of the film’s estimated $100,000 budget on the crowd-funding site IndieGoGo — tells Johnny Thunders‘ story, chronologically, from his birth as John Anthony Genzale, Jr. in Queens, New York (he first called himself Johnny Volume, then changed it to Thunders, which came from a Kinks song) all the way to his sad last days, dying of an overdose in Room 37 of St. Peter House, a New Orleans flophouse, although the film speculates that the amount of drugs in his blood wasn’t high enough to kill him, leading some to think that his death was the result of locals robbing him for his methadone supply.

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Along the way we hear from the people who knew him best, like his bandmate Syl Sylvain of the New York Dolls, who tells us that “Johnny was the best songwriter that ever lived,” and how he once heard that Bob Dylan state that he’d wished he’d written “You Can’t Put Your Arms Around a Memory.” We also hear from writer/musician and cultural maven Lenny Kaye, who says Thunders is “the essence of rock ‘n’ roll.”

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Garcia — who previously directed The Rise and Fall of the Clash — spent eighteen months traveling all across the USA and Europe, filming interviews with fifty people from various parts of Thunders’ life, talking to people like Heartbreakers guitarist/vocalist Walter Lure (now a stockbroker), celebrated New York photographer Bob Gruen, the late Alan Vega of Suicide, Richard Lloyd of Television, Terry Chimes of the Clash, three of his late managers — Marty Thau, Leee Black Childers and Malcolm McLaren (both Thau and Childers passed away after the film was completed) — BP Fallon, Heartbreakers bassist Billy Rath, Don Letts, Sami Yaffa and many others, each providing a personal perspective on the man they knew.

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We learn along the way about the legend he became — and, also, how he ripped off friends and bandmates, living the desperate life of a junkie, the sum total of the takeaway feeling very much like a cautionary rock ‘n’ roll fable.

We also hear the story of Thunder’s involvement in the founding of the New York Dolls, as well as the stories of the later bands he founded, including the Heartbreakers — who had a classic masterpiece of raw, energetic punk-doused rawk, L.A.M.F. — and a solo career that gave us some memorable recordings to remember Thunders by, including the aforementioned album So Alone, featuring guest appearances by Thin Lizzy’s Phil Lynott, the Pretenders’ Chrissie Hynde and others.

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The movie moves along briskly, particularly during the New York Dolls period, which highlights his talents as a songwriter. The film is rich with archival live footage interspersed throughout, beginning with his early life in Queens, growing up without a father.

We learn that like many young boys he wanted to play professional baseball until he got into high school and discovered music.

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Odessey & Oracle [Revisited]: The 40th Anniversary Concert — recorded live in concert at Shepherd’s Bush Empire Theatre in London on March 8th, 2008 — pays tribute to the Zombies’ incredible 1968 album, released forty years earlier (at the time).

Watch the concert tonight on Night Flight Plus.

Odessey & Oracle‘s twelve tracks are lovingly recreated here by all four of the baroque pop band’s surviving members: lead vocalist Colin Blunstone, keyboardist/vocalist Rod Argent, bassist/vocalist Chris White and drummer Hugh Grundy.

The concert is dedicated to their much-missed fifth member, guitarist Paul Atkinson, who died in 2004.

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For the past twenty years, on or near the anniversary of the April 1968 UK release date of Odessey & Oracle, a few of the original Zombies have been reuniting to do special concert performances.

Occasionally they’ve released these special reissue versions as well on CD and DVD, beginning in 1998 with the 30th Anniversary edition on London’s Big Beat imprint.

On this particular night in 2008, the concert began with classic rock icon, producer/musician/A&R man Al Kooper telling the audience how Columbia’s head honcho Clive Davis wasn’t going to release the album until he convinced Davis to do so.

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The Zombies had broken up before they could play any of these songs live. Blunstone and Argent have been performing some of them for several decades.

This 2008 concert — shot with multiple Hi-Def cameras, and occasionally split-screens are used to show what’s happening with each member of the band — was quite literally the first time that the original band had performed Odessey & Oracle live in its entirety since the album was released forty years earlier.

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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.