Believe it or not, there were a fair number of communities in the U.S. whose cable carriers did not carry MTV in the early 80s, giving rise to the “I Want My MTV” promo the network used to encourage viewers of those cable companies to demand MTV be added to their cable package.
So where did viewers get their video music fix when they weren’t able to watch MTV? There were a couple of options. Starting in 1983, NBC aired a 90-minute show titled Friday Night Videos. That show ran until 2002, going through some changes in both title and show length through the years.
Another option was the show Night Flight on the USA Network from 1981 through 1988. The show ran for four hours every Friday and Saturday night, from 11pm to 3am. They aired music videos, documentaries, short films, and movies not aired on networks or pay television.
I used to watch Night Flight quite a bit after late night socializing. This video of O Superman seemed like it was on all the time. Even though it was a big hit in the U.K., the only place I ever saw this video was on USA Network.
I haven’t checked it out yet, but vintage episodes of Night Flight are supposed to be available for viewing at nightflight.com
Feel free to comment below about your impressions of Madness or other 1980s nostalgia.