Starsky & Hutch hit the small screen in 1975 and it was considered fairly radical for the time. It was a fast flying, humorous action show aimed at the younger generation. These cops didn’t care about procedure, they just wanted to nap the bad guys, and have a heck of a good time while doing it. Twenty-five years later, the show has survived thanks to a very loyal fan following that is primarily British. Yes, Starsky & Hutchwere born in America but it’s England that has kept it alive.
David Soul starred in the series at Detective Ken Hutchinson. He was the serious one, the brooding one. He was well-educated, soft spoken with a taste for health food and a concern for world issues. Paul Michael Glasser was David Starsky, Hutch’s polar opposite. He was wild and wooley, he loved hot dogs with chili and he drove a car that has become an emblem for the series. Starsky’s tomato red Torino had a jacked-up back end and a white stripe running from the back of the roof to the tip of the hood. The Torino was so popular it became the 3rd star of the show.
The series was a delightful mix of comedy and drama with at least one car chase thrown in each week for good measure. The plots generally involved street crimes, from drugs to prostitution with an occasional murder for hire. Set on the streets of what we presume to be LA, the show had a gritty, dirty feel, kind of like what you see when you lift up your couch cushions; mostly yuck but you may find a quarter. What really made the show work was the chemistry between the two leads. Soul and Glasser managed to be too completely different people and at the same time, one in the same. Fangirls loved either the pensive blond or the wacky dark one and they scooped up fan magazines, posters and T-shirts by the dozen. What made the show work, was also what made the show a worry. Starsky and Hutch was one of the first shows on TV to allow male bonding and plenty of it. These guys cried, emoted and even hugged each other.
If you thought the show was popular here in the states, you should go to England. I traveled to London during the last year of the show and Starsky and Hutch mania was all over town. They had their own magazine on the newstand, stores were full of merchandise and David Soul’s 45 release was a number one tune on the radio. Here in the states, Soul released two albums, neither of which did very well, making them both good collectibles.
Here in the US, you can find the Milton Bradley board game, which features photos of the stars on the board, puzzles by HG Toys, and a series of paperbacks by Ballantine. One of the hottest American collectibles are the dolls by Mego. In 1976, Mego had just introduced a line of ‘dolls’ (not action figures), plastic figures with actual cloth clothing. They expected boy buyers, but I can tell you from experience that little girls were snapping them up instead. (Barbie, meet Hutch!) And oh, please, let me find a set of Starsky and Hutch handcuffs by Fleetwood, my life would be complete.
Look for Starsky’s Torino as a Corgi car, a model and a radio controlled unit by Galoob. There is also a very nice, larger scale Corgi with metal figures of the two leads. British items include annuals, fan club magazines, and puzzles. There is a target set with some funky artwork instead of photos and several playsets.
Today, David Soul is living in England where his fans are. He performs on stage and sings. Paul Michael Glasser is a director here in LA. His fine work in that area has been overshadowed by his personal nightmare. Years after Starsky and Hutch he was catapulted into the limelight again when his wife and child were diagnosed with AIDS. He lost both of them, not long after and a charity, the Elizabeth Glasser Pediatric Aids Fund, was set up in their honor.
When I think of Starsky & Hutch collectibles, I still think of those vintage T-Shirts with the crunchy transfers that they put on for you at the store. They just don’t make them like that anymore….oh, wait a minute….apparently they do.
Want to watch an episode, you can see them on Hulu.