- Fight Back! with David Horowitz
"Fight Back! with David Horowitz" was a weekly consumer advocate show that ran from
1980- 1992. The show, hosted by David Horowitz, attempted to inform consumers about corporations and other big businesses whose products were of poor quality. The format of the show allowed for some humorous segments, such as allowing people to send in photos of unintentionally funny signs (similar to Jay Leno's Headlines).
"Fight Back!" made its television debut in September 1976. When the show initially premiered it was shown locally on KNBC television in Los Angeles. At its inception, the show was called "California Buyline". This weekly show was one of the first consumer information shows to be taped in front of a live studio audience. Topics on "California Buyline" ranged from sneaky product labels to money saving tips and ideas.
In 1978, "California Buyline" became nationally syndicated and changed its name to "Consumer Buyline". Still hosted by Horowitz, the show was syndicated to
NBC owned and operatedstations in selected markets.
In 1980, "Consumer Buyline" returned to the airwaves as "Fight Back! With David Horowitz". Syndicated by
Group WProductions, "Fight Back!" was aired on NBC O&O stations as well as some independent televisionstations. "Fight Back!" became an instant weekend favorite and fully took off when distribution switched from Group W Productions to Paramount in 1984.
There is, however, a bit of discrepancy with the total years of consecutive airtime. While there is no dispute that "Consumer Buyline" went national in 1978, and Fight Back premiered in 1980, there are questions as to whether a 1979 season was ever produced or not. Most television encyclopedias list "Consumer Buyline" as being a one-season wonder (1978). However, evidence exists that there may have been a 1979 season produced. This is evidenced by two commercial challenge clips being aired on episodes of "Fight Back" in the early 1990s; one challenge showing an elephant stepping on a Tonka truck, and another testing the ride quality of a Renault LeCar. Both clips were dated as being from 1979.
In David Horowitz' own book "Fight Back! And Don't Get Ripped Off", there are several other commercial challenges mentioned. From the tone of speech in the book, and the fact that the book was published and released in 1979, one can assume that a 1979 season did exist. However, it is unknown if that series was still known as "Consumer Buyline", or had changed its name to "Fight Back!".
"Fight Back!" was unusual in the sense that it was a "hybrid" show. That is, it managed to meld together hard-hitting journalism with a nice blend of humor. Two of the most popular segments on this show were the "Fight Back! Commercial Challenge" and the "Horror File".
The "Commercial Challenge" first appeared on "California Buyline" in December 1977. David Horowitz decided to challenge a commercial for a Timex watch, simply to see if the commercial was bogus or not. Per the commercial, former Timex pitchman John Cameron Swayze strapped a Timex watch to an outboard motor, and raced the motor through a tank of water. At the end of the commercial, the watch was still ticking. Horowitz performed this challenge with two other watches (a Seiko and a Citizen) in front of his live studio audience. All three watches passed the test (despite the Seiko losing its band, prompting Horowitz to exclaim, "We've lost one watch!! The Seiko is in the tank!!"). While this was meant to be a one-time-only segment, the Commercial Challenge proved to be so popular that it soon became a permanent fixture of the show. Other commercials challenged over the years included Krazy Glue, Tide, Glad Trash Bags, Levi Jeans, Maybelline Nail Polish, American Tourister Luggage, The Club, Sherwin-Williams Paint and Bic disposable lighters. Not even restaurants were safe as Burger King was also challenged by "Fight Back!" in 1985.
The "Horror File" segment premiered around the 1981-82 season. In this segment, viewers would write in with various complaints about companies or customer service, while others would send in confusing and amusing signs, labels, or ads. If Horowitz challenged a viewer's commercial or used his/her letter on air, he'd send a "Fight Back!" t-shirt. In later years, he would also send a copy of the "Fight Back!" theme song, a copy of his latest book, or some other "loyal viewer" trinket, such as a key chain (in the shape of a boxing glove with the "Fight Back!" logo) or a pin, which read "Don't Rip Me Off!", followed by the "Fight Back!" logo.
"Fight Back!" was not cancelled. The decision was made to cease production. At the time, there were many other shows that were buying up all the prime access time. As a result, "Fight Back!" was being shoved off into slots such as 7:00 am, or 3:00 am in some markets. Rather than let the show be cancelled, it was decided to let the show wrap production. It was one of the longest running shows of its genre, and achieved many awards over the years.
Since wrapping production of "Fight Back!", David Horowitz has gone on to host a weekly radio show on
KGIL1260AM, a Los Angeles talk station. His radio show "Fight Back!" covers many of the same topics that were covered on his original television shows. One can listen to his program on streaming radio at www.1260.am [http://www.1260.am] .
The series was produced by
Lloyd Thaxton, a Los Angelesdeejay and television personality, who occasionally appeared on camera in such guises as "Dr. Freon" and "Dirty Moore". However, in the first season of episodes, he was not listed in the credits; whether he was with the show or not from the beginning is unknown. He was, however, with California Buyline/Consumer Buyline from its inception. The series also featured actor and wrestler Professor Toru Tanaka as a product tester.
* [http://www.fightback.com/ FightBack.com]
* [http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0092350/ IMDB Entry]
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