‘Fantastic Car’, from ecstasy to torment by David Hasselhoff



‘Fantastic Car’ turns 40. For a week, her unconditional fans can follow her from Monday to Friday on Gol at 4:00 p.m. This series marked the stardom of David Hasselhoff, with Kitt’s permission, the Pontiac Firebird Trans-Am V8 that gives the series its title. A success that lasted while the production was on the air. Later, for the actor born in Baltimore (1952), his life as in the movie ‘Blake Edwards’ became days of wine and roses, to be honest more of the former than the latter.

But, let us start at the beginning. Before this series came to his resume, Hasselhoff participated in films such as ‘Revenge of the Cheerleaders’ or as a guest actor in series such as ‘Vacation at Sea’, and was part of the cast of ‘Young and the Restlees’.

This last one was a ‘Dallas’-style soap opera aired on CBS. His big break came with ‘Fantastic Car’. With this title, success catapulted him, in the image and likeness of one of Kitt’s Gadgets, to popularity. Unlike other occasions, it seems that it was Hasselhoff himself who was interested in being part of it from the moment he became aware of the project. The series brought together everything that our protagonist liked: action, driving, fast-paced situations, the fight against evil, beautiful girls and, of course, music with country airs.

David Hasselhoff in ‘Fantastic Car’ – NBC

Pigeonholed for life

Could you ask for more? He didn’t know that popularity was fleeting and that it eventually ate him up. How? Michael Knight’s character of him typecast him. The series was a success not only in the United States, but throughout America and Europe. When she put up the poster for The End (it was on the air between 1982 and 1986) the offers that came to her were all of a similar nature and it is already known that he likes little and tires a lot. All this caused Hasselhoff to enter an emotional labyrinth and a great professional crisis, even considering putting an end to his career as an actor. At that time he had a brief time with alcohol problems, but in a moment of clarity he took the bull by the horns and made the decision to dedicate himself to his other great passion: music.

Over the years, and despite amassing a dozen albums, his facet as a singer has not been as brilliant as might be expected – the shadow of Michael Knight and Lieutenant Mitch Buchannan is long – but he enjoys great popularity (in music) in Germany and Switzerland. As a fun fact and proof of his success in German speaking countries in 1993, he released a single ‘Pingu Dance’. It was a rap, in the style of the stressful ‘Baby Shark’, based on the popular children’s series ‘Pingu’. A part of the song would be used as the main theme for the third and fourth seasons of this series starring this friendly plasticine penguin.

From Malaga to Malagon

In 1989, television producers Douglas Schwartz and Maurice Hurley offered him the idea to once again star in a series. It was ‘The Beach Watchers’ (1989-2001) and it recounted the professional and personal day-to-day life of a group of herculean and pneumatic lifeguards on the Californian beaches of Malibu (later it was extended to Honolulu). This series returned him to the world of fame and popularity smiled at him again, although at first it seems that he rejected the proposal since he wanted to be recognized for his acting merits, not for his physique. After consulting the script for the pilot episode he agreed to play Mitch Buchannan. In addition to this series he also served as executive producer.

David Hasselhoff in 'Baywatch'
David Hasselhoff in ‘Baywatch’ – ABC

This series marked him even more than ‘Fantastic Car’. It can be said that he left Malaga to get into Malagón since his character did not make him forget the previous one and marked him with fire in his career. Fans shrouded Michael Night in a haze of memories of him to make way for Mich Buchanann, a character that has haunted him to this day, though he has played other roles in film, musical theater and television. After ‘The Baywatch’ and its variants, he immersed himself in the production of a spin-off entitled ‘The Night Watchmen’. This time Mitch opened a detective agency, along with a friend. The series was on the air for three seasons. Here in Spain it was broadcast on Antena 3 at dawn.

jump into the void

It is good that they recognize you with a character or with two as is the case, but an actor wants variety and to date, with few exceptions, he has reinterpreted the same roles over and over again… and the most bloody in some of them parodies of himself or giving life to an actor who was looking to resurrect his career. David Hasselhoff has made a few cameos in titles like ‘Guardians of the Galaxy 2’. ‘Sharnado 5’, ‘Anaconda3’ or ‘Piranha 3D’. A new professional crisis caused David Hasselhoff to plunge headlong into his addiction to alcohol and other substances.

The rawest moment was when a video was leaked in 2007 in which he was seen lying on the floor with alcohol up to his eyebrows trying to eat a hamburger. It seems that the images were recorded by his daughters as a home video to ask his father to stop his addictions. This video fell into the hands of the family, which meant in large part the end of his career since they stopped hiring him and he was left touched and almost sunk, in addition to being about to lose almost all of his fortune. After a long rehabilitation process, it seems that Hasselhoff has overcome his addiction. He has been married three times and since 2018, he got married in Italy, he shares his life with Hayley Roberts, whom he met when he was a judge on the British edition of ‘Got Talent’.

… and back, back

After his recovery, although as he himself assures, one must always be on alert not to fall, he has combined his work as an actor with musicals. So in 2006 he participated in ‘Click’ with Adam Sandler. He even took part in the pilot episode of a new series based on ‘Fantastic Car’. He has also been seen, red shorts included, in a wrestling special ‘Raw’ and even offered himself in 2012 to be the representative of the Netherlands in the Eurovision Song Contest. Lastly, matching ‘Fantastic Ride’, he was the face of a Kit Kat ad. We can also highlight ‘SpongeBob, the movie’ in which our protagonist helps Bob and his inseparable Patrick to reach Bikini Bottom. He has even made his first steps in Spanish cinema in ‘Fuga de cerebros 2’.

On July 17, David Hasselhoff turned 70 and it seems that, according to what he said on one of his visits to ‘El Hormiguero’, he still has a lot of fire left and projects to do. From always and now more he is a person very sensitized with the infantile world. He has founded an organization, ‘Race For Life’, which raises money for sick children; as well as the Hasselhoff Club to help children with cancer. As the popular saying goes: making mistakes is human, correcting is wise and it seems that Hasselhoff has succeeded.

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‘Fantastic Car’, from ecstasy to torment by David Hasselhoff