Night Flight on IFC: Episode 9!

By on October 5, 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 ninth “Night Flight Highlights” episode (“Rock On the Road”) 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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Tony Palmer’s ambitious All You Need Is Love: The Story of Popular Music — the compelling 17-part docu-series, originally broadcast on the BBC during prime-time on Saturday nights, between February 12 -June 4, 1977 — has been available, as of 2008, as a five-disc DVD set.

Eric Clapton playing a solo “Layla” is one of the great highlights to be found in “Whatever Gets Your Through the Night: Glitter Rock.”

Tony Palmer’s All You Need is Love — patterned on the popular historical British TV series like Alistair Cooke’s America (1972-1973) — begins with the music first made in West Africa before tracing how it evolved down through time as popular music, through Ragtime, Jazz, Delta Blues, Vaudeville, Music Hall, Tin Pan Alley, Musicals, Swing, R&B, Country, Folk and finally Rock ‘n’ Roll.

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Buy “All You Need Is Love”

British-born, Cambridge-educated Tony Palmer has a very impressive C.V.

He wrote music criticism for The Observer (1967-74), and a “Notes from the Underground” column for The Spectator (1969-74), and freelanced elsewhere, before he became an award-winning filmmaker, directing over forty documentaries.

His numerous credits include Frank Zappa‘s 1971 “fantasy opera” 200 Motels, (which he later savaged in his column), as well as several episodes for the BBC’s “Omnibus” series, including “Cream’s Farewell Concert” (1969).

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Check out the Reba Merrill Collection streaming over on Night Flight Plus!

The interviews come courtesy of Ms. Merrill herself, an Emmy Award-winning journalist with an extensive library of interviews which we’ll be bringing to Night Flight Plus subscribers (we’ll tell you below how you can become one of those if you aren’t already!).

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Some of her own personal favorites include her interviews with Johnny, Depp, Angelina Jolie, Brad Pitt, Julia Roberts, Al Pacino, Robin Williams, Dustin Hoffman, Harrison Ford, Denzel Washington, Jack Lemmon, Jimmy Stewart, Meryl Streep, Cher and Whitney Houston.

She has hosted four talk shows, two in Phoenix, Arizona — “Reba” and “Good Morning Arizona” on ABC — and two in San Diego, California — “Sunup San Diego” on CBS and “That’s Life” on Cox Cable, which garnered her an Emmy Award as well as a Cable Ace Nomination.

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Here’s more about Nearly Famous: Tales From the Hollywood Trenches:

Reba Merrill packed her dreams of stardom away at the age of seventeen when she walked down the matrimonial aisle. Marrying the man of her mother’s dreams, Reba never imagined that thirty years later she would have the chance to make her own come true.

However, her journey was anything but smooth. Nearly Famous: Tales From the Hollywood Trenches is the captivating and incredibly honest story of a woman’s journey as a ’50s-era good girl who played the game by the rules of the times, only to end up divorced, destitute and responsible for two little girls.

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Her experience ignited a fire that has fueled her determination to never be dependent on anyone else again. The result has been an amazing career in entertainment, from Emmy award-winning talk show host to in-demand Celebrity Journalist.

Reba has sat opposite the biggest stars in Hollywood, responsible for telling their stories… But at what cost? In her very revealing, pull-no-punches memoir, Merrill offers an insider’s look at achieving fame and success in the entertainment industry and the price that comes with it.

Always in high demand, her insightful interviews have already been syndicated in over sixty countries.

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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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In the early 70’s, legendary rock photographer Bob Gruen and his wife Nadya toured with Ike & Tina Turner, filming them out on the road, performing onstage and also capturing candid images off-stage.

Now, for the first time ever, you can see this exclusive footage unveiled in Ike & Tina Turner – On The Road: 1971-72, now streaming on Night Flight Plus!

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Released on DVD in 2012, On The Road: 1971-72 features classic Ike & Tina Turner Revue concert performances of “River Deep, Mountain High,” “Proud Mary,” “I’ve Been Loving You Too Long,” “I Want To Take You Higher” and many more.

Bob Gruen:

“I was 24 years old in the summer of 1970 when I met Ike and Tina Turner. They were the first famous band I worked with. A friend of mine told me I should go see them and I became an immediate fan. Soon after that first show I took my camera and went to see them again the Honka Monka Club, in Queens, NY.

I took some good pictures that night and at the end of the show Tina danced off stage as a strobe light flashed. I didn’t know where to set the focus or the exposure, but I thought that maybe if I tried a one second exposure I could catch several images of Tina in the flashes of light.

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One of the pictures came out really well capturing five images of Tina in quick succession showing here amazing energy and the extreme excitement that is Tina Turner in motion!”

“A few days later when I went to yet another Ike & Tina show I brought some of the pictures I’d taken to show my friends. After the show one of my friends saw Ike Turner walking by and pushed me in front of him, saying “Show Ike your pictures!” Ike was impressed with the pictures and took me into the dressing room to show Tina. They both liked my pictures a lot and asked me to come and work with them.

This changed my life and started my career in Rock photography. Ike introduced me to their record company’s publicist who took me to press events and receptions and introduced me to more people in the music business.”

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“In the Spring of 1971 Ike brought me to California to spend a week taking pictures there and one of those pictures became the cover for their Nuff Said album, my first album cover photo.

I had recently bought a Sony PortaPac video tape recorder, the first portable video recorder available to the public. It was a reel to reel tape recorder, weighed about 20 pounds, didn’t work well in low light and only recorded mono sound, but a ½ hour reel of tape only cost $10 and the tape could be played back immediately on any TV, in a dressing room or hotel.

The first show I captured was when Ike and Tina opened for the Beach Boys in Central Park. Tina liked being able to show the tapes to the Ikettes right after the show to go over the routines while it was still fresh in their minds to help improve their act.”

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“After seeing the tapes I made for them in New York, they invited us to go on the road with them. My wife Nadya sometimes did the filming as I took still photos. We filmed them on and off stage, recording in their studio in Los Angeles, and also at home with Tina and her kids.

We did most of our filming in 1971 and ‘72. After Ike watched the black & white footage in 1972, he asked me to rent 16mm color film equipment and we used that for the following two weeks on the road with them.”

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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.

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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).

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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.