Mystery Solved!


By Shawn Robare

So it’s been almost a year since I stumbled upon a mystery that I like to call “Michal Knight and the Mystery of K.I.T.T. and the Blue Prowler“.  The basic gist of the story is that while I was looking up Knight Rider read-along books on eBay I stumbled upon an auction for one that was originally published in Greece.  Though at first it didn’t seem all that special, the title font for the book looked weirdly familiar.  It struck me that the company that produced this foreign read-along had used the Transformers font for the book.  Upon closer inspection I noticed a really small grainy picture on the back of the packing highlighting some of the other books in the series and I could have sworn that one of them featured either Prowl or Blue Streak from the Transformers.

As I wrote in the article detailing this mystery, I’m not completely unaware of these sorts of cross product mash-ups, as the Transformers Vs. G.I. Joe comic books were pretty darn popular back in the day.  Typically though, these cross-over events took place between two product lines released by the same company, whereas the idea of Knight Rider meeting a Transformer was just the sort of thing that doesn’t happen.  Anyway, I couldn’t be completely sure that I wasn’t just seeing things as I didn’t have an really good proof that this book even existed outside of the tiny grainy photo on eBay, so after writing about it I promptly tucked that memory away incase I ever found some better evidence.

Well that day has come as I’ve finally managed to track down a copy of this crazy Greek book!

Published by El Gre Co sometime in the early to mid 80s (there is no publication info, at least nothing numerical), this book does indeed feature a giant robot facing off against Michael Knight and K.I.T.T., though I’m pretty sure it wasn’t supposed to be a Transformer.  The artists who worked on this book obviously swiped the character design of Blue Streak from the toy’s packaging art…

Though I’m not having much luck translating any of the text in the book, there are some context clues in the design that lead me to believe one of two things.  Either El Gre Co was a foreign partner of the Kid Stuff record company, or they completely pirated both properties to make bootleg books.  The Kid Stuff connection, though tenuous, makes some sense as they were the American publishers of the Knight Rider and Transformer branded read-along books.  There’s also some design and artwork on the book that’s taken directly from Kid Stuff like a “This Book Belongs to” page that is a spitting image for the ones they typically used.  It wouldn’t be that crazy to figure that when sending over some sample art for a foreign Knight Rider book they also shipped some artwork from other properties they held the license to.  Heck, maybe there are El Gre Co brand Transformers read-along books out there as well.

  

Either way, I wasn’t crazy and this book does indeed exist.  I have to say that I was a little disappointed after opening up the set as it wasn’t as artistically cool as I’d hoped.  Though the cover is pretty awesome, the inside of the book is filled with some pretty terrible artwork.  Not only that, but the artist was super lazy and continuously re-drew the Blue Streak robot in the same pose as the packaging art it was originally stolen from with only minor tweaks here and there.

  

There was one cool picture of the robot sprouting a couple sets of helicopter propeller blades and taking to the sky, but honestly it just looks like some really loose fan art that I might have done when I was five or six.  I guess in a way this adds to the charm of the whole book, but only a little.

This all raises yet another crazy mystery though, as the original auction that brought this all to my attention was for another Knight Rider book that had what appeared to be the alien mothership from E.T. on the cover.  There’s some pictures in that previous article, as well as on the back of the gift set below…

Though I’d love to track that book down as well, I’m not so sure it’s worth the effort as the interior art would probably be horrible.  Maybe the meeting of Michael Knight and E.T. is best left a mystery for the ages.  In fact the image in my head of the two standing next to K.I.T.T. and giving a dual thumbs up could probably never be topped anyway…

  • http://www.brandedinthe80s.com/ Shawn Robare

    However bad the inside is, it was worth it for that cover.

  • https://www.tearsofenvy.com Tears of Envy

    This post sums up why I love your blog! Delving into those little, dim corners of the 80s is endlessly entertaining.