Night Flight on IFC: Episode 2!

By on April 27, 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 second “Night Flight Highlights” episode (“Hard Rock, Metal & Video Music Icons”) 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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Buy “Devo: The Complete Truth About De-Evolution”

Here’s an exclusive excerpt from Kevin C. Smith’s Recombo DNA: The Story Of Devo, Or How the 60s Became the 80s, about the film that started it all… right as it was about to end:

The film begins with the band, clad in their coveralls and hardhats, finishing a day’s work at the rubber plant (actually a display in Goodyear’s World Of Rubber museum, located across the street from the company’s headquarters in Akron).

Booji Boy—the only remaining character of the five that the band had conceived of the previous year—is the last of the workers to leave, and the only one not wearing a clear plastic mask. They pile into Mark’s battered 1967 Chevy Biscayne, take a short drive, and enter a nondescript building, instruments in hand, to perform Johnny Rivers’s 1966 song ‘Secret Agent Man,’ with Bob Mothersbaugh on lead vocals.

(The version in the film had been recorded two years earlier in 1974.)

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The set is now the lower level of JB’s in Kent, with the band performing on a small stage with low, dropped ceiling tiles. The back of the stage is lined with huge letters spelling ‘D-E-V-O,’ fashioned from what look like crudely cut panels of riveted steel, which were actually constructed by Gary Jackett years earlier during the summer Mark and Jerry spent with him in California.

The performance is intercut with visual non-sequiturs: men in monkey masks and satin boxer shorts spanking a woman in a bathrobe and a china doll mask with Ping-Pong paddles emblazoned with the faces of Richard Nixon and Mao Zedong; Chinaman fondling a coat hanger in the shape of a woman’s spread legs, complete with red panties; a leather-jacketed Jackett animatedly playing two thrift-store guitars bolted together and plugged into a space heater instead of an amp; Mark wearing a pink and purple balloon-sleeved and butterfly-collared shirt with quilted mustard-colored pants and a mask with a pompadour, slowly gyrating with his redheaded girlfriend Marina, who is dressed in a powder-blue waitress’s uniform; and a shaggy-haired man in a monkey mask, wraparound sunglasses, and a fur collar, eating a popsicle. The song ends with Mark in a John F. Kennedy mask and coveralls, waving goodbye to the camera.

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Watch Devo: The Complete Truth About De-Evolution at Night Flight Plus!

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Buy “Tunnel Vision”

Tunnel Vision is set ten years in the future, at a time when TunnelVision’s successful programming has essentially killed off the other three big networks, and we also learn that one of the reasons TunnelVision has become the most-watched channel in television history is because a new Bill of Rights (written in 1983) has eliminated censorship, making it possible for them to broadcast pretty much anything, no matter how raunchy or ribald it might be.

The film also takes precise jabs at how corporations like Exxon (parodied here as Axxon) who everyone knew in the 70s was polluting the world and getting away with ecological murder. They still are!

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In this sometimes crude, highly satirical low-budget and occasionally NSFW parody-laced film, we learn — during a cold open, pre-credits — that Tunnel Vision is actually not just the title, it’s also the name of futuristic network channel (usually seen onscreen as one word, while the movie title is two, so that’s how we’ll keep them separate here) and what we’ll be seeing for the next 70 minutes is essentially the evidence being presented as the reason for an increase in nationwide crime, unemployment and an overall slacker attitude among the American populace.

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On Monday, January 17, 1983, the four current makeup-wearing members of Kiss — Vinnie Vincent, Paul Stanley, Gene Simmons and Eric Carr — dropped by Night Flight’s New York City headquarters for a special interview with USA Network on-air personality Al Bandero.

Watch the full, unedited interview — broadcast later that year as “Kiss: Yesterday & Today” and collected here as Kiss: Invasion (The Lost Egyptian God, Vinnie Vincent) — which you’ll find streaming over on Night Flight Plus.

This is the raw footage from that hour-long mid-January interview, so you’ll see a lot of the behind-the-scenes stuff you normally don’t see during broadcast — including the director of the show stepping in and adjusting microphones and adjusting the camera position — which provides a closer look at what was involved in order to interview a band like Kiss for cable TV in the early 80s.

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Buy “All You Need Is Love”

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Buy Divine’s “I’m So Beautiful”

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Shortly after the release of his biggest hit, Hairspray, and his untimely death at age 42, Night Flight paid tribute to the groundbreaking midnight movie icon Divine — featuring choice portions from the thoughtful interview we did with him two years earlier — in a profile that originally aired on April 4, 1988. Watch it now on Night Flight Plus.

When Glenn Milstead first met filmmaker John Waters in Baltimore, Maryland in the ‘60s, it sparked a lifelong artistic collaboration and friendship. Both of them were from conservative households, and as gay men, had no intention of leading the kind of quiet, closeted lives others resigned themselves to back then.

Waters bestowed the stage name “Divine” to Milstead, and borrowing elements from the exploitation movies and melodramas they loved, they became the public faces of a gleefully shocking series of films.

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In 1988, Tom Cruise — at 26, still a relatively young actor on the brink of superstardom, although he’d already appeared in blockbusters like Top Gun (1986) and Risky Business (1983) — sat down to talk to Reba Merrill when he was promoting his latest movie, Rain Man.

In this candid, unguarded interview, Cruise appears visibly vulnerable as he remembers the time when he was so broke that he had to hitchhike to his parents home in New Jersey from his Taps audition in NYC.

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Ricky Henry and Richard Byrne’s Space Foxes airs on Electric Tapes, a throwback variety television show hosted by Ricky Henry.

When Ricky is forced to clean out junk from his basement, he decides it’s time to give his enormous collection of video tapes one last viewing. Care to join him?

Check ‘em out on Facebook and YouTube.

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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.