If you think of the 1970's many things such as the flared fashions, disco music and long hot summers will probably spring to mind. But if I were to say you should think of a television programme one show would most definitely be at the top of everyone's list, Starsky & Hutch.
Originally transmitted in the US on April 30 1975 this dynamic and gritty series concerned two street-wise detectives, Detective Ken "Hutch" Hutchinson and Detective David Michael Starsky. Through 93 episodes the duo cleaned up the streets of Bay City, California driving a bright red Ford Gran Torino with abandon, piling through perfectly placed cardboard boxes and always (well, nearly always) getting their man.
Created by William Blinn and produced by the legendary Aaron Spelling, the series is thought to have been based on the two policemen seen in the cult 1974 movie Super Cops, which was directed by Gordon Parks. It's has also been suggested that a real newspaper report concerning two devoted street cops inspired the series. Chosen to play the leads were two actors who had met nearly a decade earlier. Paul Michael Glaser was cast as the auburn curly top Starsky, whilst blonde hunk David Soul (born Solberg) became Hutch.
The concept is wonderfully simple; two dedicated cops patrol the streets of a fictional city. Their boss, Captain Harold Dobey (Bernard Hamilton) would try and lay down the rule book at them but rarely was able to pass an episode without reminding them of the importance of correct police procedures. So that the dynamic duo knew what was happening on the streets, they enlisted the help of a charismatic street-wise informer Huggy Bear played to absolute perfection by Antonio Fargas.
Imitated but never bettered, the show made a huge impact when it smashed onto our screens. It paved the way for countless "buddy" cop shows and movies and added high-octane action to the ever increasingly dramatic storylines. In fact the show never strayed from showing the darker side of crime fighting and its hard storylines and screen violence caused quite a commotion. It kicked up so much of a stink that in that the BBC banned an episode entitled The Fix. Here, Hutch had heroin injected into his system against his will. Originally made in 1975 it remained unseen in the UK until 1999.
After the series ended the four main stars drifted off into very different careers. Soul carved himself a successful recording career releasing four hit albums and appeared in the cult classic TV serial Salem's Lot. Glaser continued to act for a while but found his true calling behind the camera directing episodes of Miami Vice and was behind the Arnold Schwarzengger classic The Running Man. Fargas has had a prolific career starring in countless shows and movies (he has three projects in production at the moment) though Huggy Bear still remains his most popular character. Hamilton, who sadly died last year aged 80 moved away from acting and went on to produce Gospel albums for the Chocolate Snowman label.
30 years after the last episode was produced the show is still in the public consciousness, not just because it is showing on CBS Action but because images from the series are featured on countless T-shirts, movie references abound and even exists as a best-selling computer game.
Starsky & Hutch may be old enough to retire but for lovers of truly entertaining television, they will always be on the beat.