Night Flight on IFC: Episode 3!

By on May 4, 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 third “Night Flight Highlights” episode (“Movie Star President & Shock Rock”) 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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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!

“Atomic TV” was inspired by the 1982 documentary Atomic Café, released during the ’80s “No Nukes” era.

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The film — which aired frequently on “Night Flight”– offered up a mish-mash of mostly public domain film clips of the 1940s and ’50s, set to a soundtrack of atomic-themed songs from the Cold War era.

Our “Atomic TV” segments mainly focused on music videos which had some kind of “atomic” theme, with added footage of exploding atomic bombs.

This one featured videos by Donald Fagen (“New Frontier“), Crosby, Still and Nash, the Ramones, Frankie Goes to Hollywood, Twisted Sister, James Brown, Alcatrazz, Joe “King” Carrasco, Rick Springfield, Devo, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Time Zone (“World Destruction”), Fishbone, and Sammy Hagar’s “VOA.”

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Buy Gumby: The Best of Gumby

The 1950’s-era stop-motion character Gumby — sing along with us now, we know you know the words: “He was once a little green slab of clay.… Gumby!” — is our latest addition to Night Flight Plus. Come on over and re-live your favorite TV memories once again with America’s Favorite Clayboy!

The “Gumby” episodes are thematically arranged into the following Gumby-themed compilations: “Crazy Creatures,” “Gumby vs. The Blockheads,” Laboratory Laffs,” “Pilgums and Patriots,” “Prickle’s Predicaments,” “Puppy Dog Tales,” Of Kings and Things,” and “Way Out West.”

In the mid-1980s the original episodes of “The Gumby Show” also aired on “Night Flight,” and so we’re bringing the series full-circle again by making the original episodes available to our subscribers on Night Flight Plus!

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Buy Rockin’ Ronnie VHS

In 1986, deep into Ronald Reagan’s second term as president, Night Flight’s very own Stuart Samuels assembled Rockin’ Ronnie, a hilariously irreverent look the life and times of America’s Leading Man!

This satirical light-hearted 45-minute film presents a portrait of our most colorful president with carefully-edited clips from his many onscreen appearances, from smooth-talking actor to silver-tongued politician.

Stuart Samuels tells us a little bit about Rockin’ Ronnie: Rockin’ Ronnie was a labor of love. The fact that Reagan was both a film star and President of the United States, I decided to make a mash-up of old Reagan films, public domain films, trailers, with newsreel of Reagan, mixing the real and the fictional into an extended fake ‘documentary’ mixing these different sources into a documentary called Rockin’ Ronnie. With editor and NF archivist Adam Sargis, we spent weeks editing together this ‘fake doc.’ We completed this project in the mid-1980s, mixing newsreels, trailers, bloopers, commercials, public domain films, US Army films into a Night Flight special program. Enjoy.”

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Arise! The SubGenius Movie — now streaming on Night Flight Plus! — tells the story of beloved founder J. R. “Bob” Dobbs and his Church of the SubGenius, an adults-only discordia-influenced “religion” ideally meant for those who “slack.”

Arise! is a mind-melting 86-minute collage of clips created for the sole purpose of attracting and indoctrinating new believers into the Church’s semi-spiritual slacker belief system.

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Night Flight are also pleased to be able to share several SubGenius shorts, including The Ballad of “Bob”; Adventures in Teen Life; Day of the SubGenius,

There’s also Reproduction Cycle Among Lower Life Forms Under the Rocks of Mars, an award-winning claymation film and big hit at film festivals that Rev. Stang and Dr. Drummond did in 1978.

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Night Flight Video Profile, which featured the Plasmatics’ music videos for “The Damned,” and “It’s My Life, written by KISS‘s Gene Simmons. Our profile of the Queen of Shock Rock originally aired on September 20, 1985, and you can watch it now on Night Flight Plus.

Pat Prescott introduces us to the Chainsaw Princess this way: “In 1978, former Times Square live sex show queen Wendy O. Williams came to public attention as leader of the Plasmatics, the only sex & violence-touting heavy metal band to emerge from New York’s underground punk scene.”

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During our 1980s run on the USA cable TV network, Williams appeared several times on “Night Flight” and also on our “Radio 1990” segments — she was one of our favorites — and she even guest-hosted an episode of the latter show too, interviewing Tommy Lee and Vince Neil of Mötley Crüe back in 1985, at the time they were in our New York studio, promoting their third album, Theatre of Pain.

Years before she was the envelope-pushing frontwoman… before going on to become a feminist punk rock icon who was always in charge of the way she portrayed her own sexuality… before she paved the way with her patented performance art/punk-cum-metal mayhem which others then tried to replicate themselves… before all of that, Wendy O. Williams already seemed like she like she was living life at full-throttle, with at least one finger on a self-destruct trigger.

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J-Men Forever was a project started by two members of the Firesign Theatre comedy troup, Phil Proctor (our newest contributor here at Night Flight) 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.

I suppose we should talk about the movie’s plot here, which to boil it down is essentially about a secret culture war. In fact, until the film was released theatrically, it was known as The Secret World War.

On one side there’s the leader of the Moon, the enigmatic Lightning Bug, an evil genius who appears in various super-villain disguises (he explains his changing appearance by saying to his underling, “Pack all of my disguises!”) — one of those disguises is called the Crimson Ghost, whose face famously served as the punk band the Misfits’ band logo — and his henchmen and henchwomen (including the villainess Sombra), who attack Earth with transistorized radios blasting rock ‘n’ roll and an onslaught of marijuana they hope will devastate the peace-loving populace, corrupting wholesome middle-class America while brainwashing the planet’s citizenry into becoming his slaves.

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On the other side, battling back against the Bug’s rock ‘n’ roll invasion from outer space, are the the J-Men, a group of unhip government agents hired by the legendary J. Eager Believer.

Buy J-Men Forever

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Buy The Sacred Triangle: Bowie, Iggy & Lou, 1971-1973

The Sacred Triangle: Bowie, Iggy & Lou 1971-1973 — now streaming on our Night Flight Plus channel — is a fascinating documentary about the intertwining careers of David Bowie, Lou Reed, and Iggy Pop.

At 106 minutes, it’s a dizzying attempt to describe exactly who inspired what, with the ultimate conclusion being that all three benefited greatly from each other. Still, the tale is complicated, which makes this movie essential for anyone wanting to get the story straight.

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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.

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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.