Five Facts You Likely Never Knew About ‘Starsky & Hutch’

The popular and groundbreaking 1970s program ran for 92 episodes — and helped shape the movies and television of today

by Zachary Leeman | Updated 02 Oct 2017 at 9:40 AM

Nearly every television show and movie revolving around a “buddy cop” plotline owes a big thank-you to “Starsky & Hutch,” the classic series that ran from 1975 to 1979.

For 92 episodes, writers mined the relationship between detective Dave Starsky (played by Paul Michael Glaser) and detective Ken “Hutch” Hutchinson (David Soul) for comedy and action gold.

One played by the rules and the other was a wild card. Sure, it sounds like familiar territory in 2017 — but "Starsky & Hutch" was breaking new ground in the '70s.

The show has aired in repeats at various points through the decades and is still celebrated by millions around the world. A movie adaptation (which included cameos by the original stars) was even released to solid box-office numbers in 2004.

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Here's a look at five facts you likely didn't know about the beloved cop series.

1.) "Nightside" was a "thing." Show creator William Blinn originally wrote his pilot under the title "Nightside." It was a show about two cops who only worked at night. The names Starsky and Hutch were still used for the lead detectives — but the series was not picked up. The studio decided it would be too expensive to shoot only at night.

According to Blinn, it was revived years later partly as revenge. Years after writing the script, Blinn was under contract with Warner Bros. An ABC executive called a Warner Bros. higher-up and asked if they could use Blinn to write something for them. According to Blinn, the Warner Bros. executive decided to flex some muscle and told ABC that Blinn belonged to Warner Bros. and Warner Bros. only — and would not be leaving.

This left a bad taste in ABC's mouth, so it dug up Blinn's old script, changed the nighttime angle of everything and retitled it "Starsky & Hutch."

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2.) Michael Mann was a writer. The man who would go on to executive produce and shape the classic "Miami Vice" series cut his teeth on "Starsky & Hutch."

Mann no doubt used some of his experience in writing the cop duo of Starsky and Hutch to help him mold detectives Crockett and Tubbs, the leads of his later program.

The man who would go on to executive produce and shape the classic "Miami Vice" series cut his teeth on "Starsky & Hutch."

Mann is credited with writing four episodes of "Starsky & Hutch" from 1975 to 1979. It's a humble beginning for a man who would eventually write and direct such blockbuster films as "Heat" and "Collateral," as well as the critically acclaimed film "The Insider," which was nominated for the Best Picture Academy Award.

3.) Then there was the car. Nearly as popular with fans as the leading detective duo was the car in which the two sped around the city — catching bad guys and looking cool as ice. The red and white Ford Torino almost didn't make it into the series. Producers originally sought out a green and white Camaro, but Chevy was unable to accommodate, forcing the creative team to make a compromise that ultimately paid off big time with fans.

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4.) And remember Huggy Bear? This guy was one of the most popular supporting characters on "Starsky & Hutch." Portrayed by Antonio Fargas, Huggy was Starsky and Hutch's bartender, snitch and friend.

The series was a huge international hit and Huggy Bear's name translated to "Huggy les bons tuyaux" in France, which conveniently means "Huggy good tips."

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5.)  Starsky hated the car. "A striped tomato" is what Starsky actor Paul Michael Glaser called the famous "Starsky & Hutch" car in an interview with Archive of American Television. He said he thought it was "ludicrous" that a detective would drive around in such an automobile.

"I'm going to destroy that thing," Glaser recalled saying to co-star David Soul after producer Aaron Spelling showed them the vehicle.

He continued by saying he actually did try destroying the car on many occasions. "I tried all the time to wreck it. That car had more bondo on it at the end of the series ... It was a pig."

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