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Culture

Still Our Heroes

"Knight Rider" and the "A-Team" may be being re-released on DVD. But for some the hit TV shows never really faded -- fan clubs have been celebrating their idols for 20 years, with perseverance and membership cards.

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These men knew how to solve problems back in 1987

It was about justice. It was about adventure and being cool.

Crowds of half-baked boys sat in awe in front of their televisions. They marveled at the talking hi-tech car KITT, or the former professional wrestler with the Mohawk and a good ten kilos of gold around his neck.

A-Team in Aktion

Part of the A-Team in action

Whether in New York, Newcastle or Nettersheim: both the US series "Knight Rider" and "A-Team" ensured the exhaustive socialization of youth for a short period in the mid-1980s.

The best scenes were re-played in backyards, and technical particulars expertly discussed in great detail.

More than just a hobby

The ones who could do it the best founded small fan clubs, gave them powerful American-sounding names and made membership cards. But even ambitious projects peter out at some point. After all, there was more out there to discover, sports took up ever more time and, of course, there were girls, too.

Knight Rider Season

Michael Knight on a mission

But not everyone stopped. There were still those with staying power: the ones who salvaged the posters out of their teenage rooms right into their first own apartment. There were fans who worked as paid laborers during the day and, in the evenings, indulged in their hobby, which had long since become more than just a hobby -- 20 years after the first episode of "Knight Rider" was broadcast on German television.

"Sometimes I really ask myself why on earth I do this work for nothing," a Knight Rider activist confesses online. The answer is simple: passion. Someone who starts to layout their own club newspaper after work or copy it a hundred times like a cottage industry, has to be passionate about it.

After all, a fan club is a serious matter with membership card, fees and annual meetings.

A country lifestyle

Fan clubs of long past television series are not the pastime of city folk. Whether it's the "Knight Foundation" or the "A-Team Fan Society" (ATFS), their makers live in small towns like Aschheim, Bexbach or Rinkerode.

Knight Rider Fanclub Germany

Germany's Knight Rider fan club

Thanks to the Internet, fans worldwide can also come together, like in Preussich Oldendorf. This is where Karl-Hermann Horstmann, who founded ATFS in 1987, lives.

"We have members from the United States, Australia, France, Switzerland, England, Austria and, of course, Germany," the engineer writes on his Web site.

Responses that Horstmann has gotten in the past years show that a 20-year-old TV show is sometimes still more important for some people than current events. These include a request from Romania to send by the A-Team with an old PC or people that want to acquire an anti-snoring device invented by the A-Team.

"It continues to be difficult for me to understand that a lot of people think I have the entire A-Team on call in my garage," said Horstmann.

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