Starsky & Hutch is an American cop thriller television series, which consisted of a 70-minute pilot movie (originally aired as a Movie of the Week entry) and 92 episodes of 50 minutes each.
The show was created by William Blinn, produced by Spelling-Goldberg Productions, and broadcast from April 1975 to May 1979 on the ABC network.
It was distributed by Columbia Pictures Television in the United States and, originally, Metromedia Producers Corporation in Canada and some other parts of the world. Sony Pictures Televisionis now the worldwide distributor for the series.
The series also inspired a theatrical film and a video game
The series' protagonists were two Southern California police detectives: David Michael Starsky (Paul Michael Glaser), the dark-haired, Brooklyn transplant and U.S. Armyveteran, with a street-wise manner and intense, sometimes childlike moodiness; and Kenneth Richard "Hutch" Hutchinson (David Soul), the divorced, blond, Duluth, Minnesota native with a more reserved and intellectual approach.
Under the radio call sign "Zebra Three", they were known for usually tearing around the streets of fictional Bay City, California.
The vehicle of choice was Starsky's two-door Ford Gran Torino, which was bright red, with a large white vector stripe on both sides.
They used around four different cars for filming.
Earlier shots had red wing mirrors usually for long shots or footage used in later episodes, close ups and later episodes had silver wing mirrors.
The Torino was nicknamed the "Striped Tomato" by Hutch in the episode "Snowstorm", and fans subsequently referred to the car by that nickname, too.
However, this moniker didn't come from the writers, it came from a real-life comment that Glaser made.
In a segment titled Starsky & Hutch: Behind The Badge that was featured on the first season DVD collection, Glaser stated that when he was first shown the Torino by series producer Aaron Spelling, he sarcastically said to Soul, "That thing looks like a striped tomato!"
In characteristic contrast, Hutch's vehicle was a battered, tan, 1973 Ford Galaxie 500.
It occasionally appeared when the duo needed separate vehicles, or for undercover work.
However, the duo's cover was often blown because Hutch's vehicle had a bad habit; when its driver's side door was opened, the horn would go off, instantly drawing attention.
It was also noticeable due to the severely cluttered back seat, so cluttered that there was no room to transport both prisoners and the two detectives simultaneously.
The detectives' main confidential informant was the street-wise, ethically ambiguous, "jive-talking" Huggy Bear (Antonio Fargas), who often dressed in a flashy manner and operated his own bar (first named "Huggy Bear's", and later, "The Pits").
The duo's boss was the gruff, no-nonsense-but-fair Captain Harold C. Dobey (Bernie Hamilton in the series, and gravel-voiced Richard Ward in the pilot, only).
Starsky and Hutch continued the 1960s trend in some prime-time, U.S. TV dramas of portraying African-Americans (e.g., Huggy Bear, Capt. Dobey) in a positive light.
Huggy's immense popularity with viewers caused producers Spelling and Goldberg to consider giving actor Fargas his own TV series.
The second-season episode "Huggy Bear and the Turkey" was the test pilot for a proposed spin off with Huggy and his friend, former Sheriff "Turkey" Turquet (Dale Robinette) becoming private investigators; however, this premise proved unpopular with viewers, and a spinoff never materialized.
In the episode it was revealed that Huggy's last name is Brown (no clue as to his first name was given, though).
Two series characters were named for people from William Blinn's past: Starsky was the name of a high school friend, and Huggy Bear was a local disc jockey.
Series creator William Blinn first used the name Huggy Bear on-screen for a character, also a confidential informant, in an episode penned by Blinn for the TV series "The Rookies", during the 1973 second season, "Prayers Unanswered Prayers Unheard", there played by actor Johnny Brown.
A theatrical film produced by Weed Road Pictures and Red Hour Productions and distributed by Warner Bros. and Dimension Films was released in theatres on March 5, 2004.
The film stars Ben Stiller as Starsky, Owen Wilson as Hutch and Snoop Dogg as Huggy Bear, as they attempt to stop a drug kingpin played by Vince Vaughn.
The film grossed $170,268,750 worldwide.