Hutch, live and uncut

Fresh from a whistle-stop tour to promote Starsky & Hutch in America, David Soul, the original Detective Ken Hutchinson, has something to say. Are you listening Detroit?
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The Independent Culture

David Soul on Breakfast with Manny (6:30am slot): "Good morning, Detroit! blah, blah, blah... great box-office, blah, blah... Seventies, blah, blah, blah... red Torino, blah, blah, blah... cardigan, blah, blah... bad guys, blah, blah... great lookin' women, blah, blah... Huggy Bear, blah... but right now, in studio with me this morning, I've got... You guessed it... the 'original' Hutch, David Soul. Hey, good to see ya, 'Hutch'!"

David Soul on Breakfast with Manny (6:30am slot): "Good morning, Detroit! blah, blah, blah... great box-office, blah, blah... Seventies, blah, blah, blah... red Torino, blah, blah, blah... cardigan, blah, blah... bad guys, blah, blah... great lookin' women, blah, blah... Huggy Bear, blah... but right now, in studio with me this morning, I've got... You guessed it... the 'original' Hutch, David Soul. Hey, good to see ya, 'Hutch'!"

"David. Nice to be here."

"... and looking pretty good too."

"Thanks."

"How old are you now, anyway? You gotta be pushin' it..."

"Sixty. Paul and I are both 60."

" Sixty?!? Boy, you are up there, aren't you?"

"Well, Manny, what can I say? Time flies when it's all about youth."

"What a trip, man. I saw the film last night. Forty-million-dollar movie starring Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson driving around in that red car with a white stripe... doin' their shtick. Doesn't get much better than that, huh, Dave? What do you think?"

"At this hour of the morning, not much, but, given the innovative film fare coming out of Hollywood these days..."

"Yeah, like Charlie's Angels, S.W.A.T., The Hulk, The Avengers, X-Files, Mission Impossible, The Brady Bunch and..."

" Dukes of Hazzard."

"Whoa, yes! I can't wait for that one."

"Right... Anyway, I guess it was only a matter of time before Starsky and Hutch was brought to the big screen and the trademark exploited for all it was worth."

"Too right! And not only in the US, but in England, too, I hear. Am I right?"

"All over."

"I mean, this S&H film is going to go gonzo at the box office. By the way, how does it feel to be remembered for something you did more than 25 years ago? Must feel great, huh, Dave... or should I say, 'original' Hutch, ha, ha?"

"Well, yeah, but..."

"Did you have anything to do with the making of the movie?"

"No."

"But you had a cameo, right?"

"Yeah."

"Sorry to say, I missed it."

"That's OK, it was quick."

"You're tellin' me. I dropped my car keys under the seat in front of me, ha, ha... Don't worry folks, I found them... and by the time I got up off the floor, Stiller was squealing outta there in a new red Torino. I guess I must have missed your scene. What happened?"

"Well, it's a scene where we sort of pass the torch. Stiller's Starsky loses his car in the bay. It sinks to the bottom. Did you catch that part?"

"Yeah, flying through the air, trying to nail the bad guys and missed the boat - funny scene."

"Well Starsky, I mean Paul and I show up then and give Ben's Starsky our car... or rather, Paul's Starsky's car."

"You mean the 'original' car?"

"No, no, no... He gives Starsky, I mean Ben, a different... uh, yeah, something like that."

"Well, thanks for clearing that up for me, Dave. Now I won't have to go back and see the film again. But I gotta tell you that red Torino is a regular monster, isn't it? A real star. An original."

"I hated it."

"Uh, oh, I'm smelling sour grapes here, Dave. Get more fan mail than you, maybe?"

"More than both of us. Can you imagine a couple of undercover cops cruising the streets in a red tomato? Sort of gives it away to the bad guys, don't you think?"

"But it sold the show, Dave, admit it."

"Probably."

"So, what'd it feel like to walk on the set and see these two new guys in your gear?"

"A little strange, I suppose. But the cast and crew were terrific. We walked on the set and they gave us a real warm welcome. After 30 years of being identified as Starsky and Hutch, I guess our being there probably added a little credibility to the film."

"So, how did you like Owen Wilson?"

"Great. I thought he did a real good..."

"I mean, is this guy cool or what? So cool. And how about that song, huh?"

"Which one was that?"

"'Don't Give Up On Us, Baby'. The one Hutch sings in the movie. A big hit for you back in the Seventies, right?"

"Yeah."

"I didn't know Hutch recorded that."

"He didn't."

"I thought he had a big hit with it?"

"No, I did."

"You're playing with me now, Dave, ha, ha... And how about Ben Stiller?"

"What about him?"

"Had all Starsky's moves down to a T, didn't he?"

"Yeah. Ben liked the Starsky character a lot. He really worked hard on it. I thought he was great."

"Funny, funny man, Ben Stiller."

"Yeah."

"I saw the movie... I told you that?"

"Yeah, you did."

"Well, let me tell you something else I noticed. I mean, let's talk chemistry for a minute. These two guys had g-r-e-a-t chemistry! Am I right?"

"Yeah, they were great together."

"I mean, they played off each other so well. For a while there, I actually wondered if they had something goin' on."

"What do you mean?"

"Come on, you know what I mean. By the way, how is the old Starsky these days?"

"Paul?"

"Yeah, what's he doing?"

"Paul's doing fine. He's living in LA, writing and directing and doing the occasional television and movie role."

"How about yourself?"

"Me? Well, not much, I got a bedsit in west London... and that's about it."

"You know, I gotta ask you something, Dave - and you've probably heard this before. There was a lot of talk going around about you gays... sorry... about you two guys being homosexual. Am I right?"

"Yeah, we were all gay in the Seventies."

"You were?"

"Absolutely. We were happy."

"Seriously, Dave - and I don't want to get into this too heavy, this is a breakfast show..."

"It's all true."

"Really?"

"You got a problem with that?"

"No. Well I, uh... no... I was just... but you guys do stay in touch, right?"

"He's my best friend. For me, our ongoing friendship is the greatest legacy of the series. It's really what the series was all about, what kept it alive for 30 years."

"And tell me straight, now Dave - 'straight', get it? You guys must have made a fortune off that show."

"No, actually, we didn't."

"Oh, come on now, how is that possible?"

"We got screwed."

"Sorry Dave, I gotta cut in here. I'm getting signals from my producer... gotta go to commercial."

"Oh?"

"Gotta keep those lights burnin'... but thanks so much for stopping by."

"Sure thing. My pleasure."

"David Soul, everybody - a real, uh, gentleman. We'll be right back after these messages."

Cut to commercial. MANNY gets up and shakes DAVID's hand

"Hey, Dave. Really great of you to stop by. I mean that, man. Couldn't say it on air, but great to see you. One of my favourite shows. Grew up with you. Sorry we had to cut you off like that, but the sponsors... you understand. And God knows, I don't want any problems with Standards and Practices. They're on us like flies, these days."

"Oh yeah, why's that?"

"My producer, Flo - she's in the ladies right now - she's the cousin of a woman who works in the White House."

"Really."

"Yeah. And you know how Bush feels about this sort of thing."

"Not a problem. I understand."

"You know, it's just with this whole gay, same-sex marriage thing that's going round, I gotta be careful what I say."

"You got a phone I can use?"

"You know... it's a real sensitive issue for a lot of our listeners."

"The phone?"

"Oh sure... in here. This a local call?"

"Yeah. My mobile was stolen."

"But you're Hutch, man."

"Shit happens."

"Sorry to ask about the call. It's just that they charge me for anything out of the area code."

"No, no... I'm calling the publicist. Local."

"I'll leave you to it then. You be sure to give my regards to Paul."

"Sure thing."

"Oh, one more thing."

"What's that?"

"You can't smoke in here."

"Why not?"

"They'll fine us. Sorry."

"No problem."

MANNY leaves, DAVID lights up and dials a number

"Peaches? David... David who? David Soul. Right. Look Peaches, I can't do this shit anymore. Who is this guy? (pause) OK, OK, I know it's a big, important station... but look, it's not our movie and anyway, he thinks I'm gay... GAY, yeah. The questions are insipid, it's six-fuckin'-30 in the morning, I've done 437 interviews in three days and I'm not going to do it anymore, OK? (pause) Well, call Starsky... I mean, Paul. He hung up on you, huh? Can you blame him? (pause) Peaches, why should I be the one to make people think? What am I going to say? (pause) I know you're trying to reach that audience but who thinks at 6.30 in morning? You do. Well, I'm not going to woo some stupid intellectual with a comprehensive justification of how and why this movie is worth seeing. (pause) No! If they don't know Starsky & Hutch by now, fuck 'em... we're OLD MEN, for Christ's sake. Stiller and Wilson are box office! (pause) Why? Because they're young, that's why. (pause) No, no, no... the point is people want to be entertained so they don't have to think... and they want it fast. Stiller and Wilson have CHEMISTRY! OK, so what do I say that's going to make them want to go out and buy tickets to this film? (pause) To see me? The idiot drops his keys under a seat and misses my whole scene. (pause) Yeah, I know it's only 40 seconds long. (pause) But Peaches, PLEASE! Don't you see we're the whole reason this damn film is being made at all and it should really be about that... about the people we all grew up with. (pause) Why did I involve myself in the project? I'll tell you why. Because, like your audience, I'm scared to say 'no', that's why. And the fact is, I need the work. (pause) Frankly, I'd rather recycle garbage. Yeah, that's right... and separate the glass from the paper. The problem with that is the plastic keeps taking over."

A smoke alarm goes off

"Oh shit! Gimme the next one, Peaches? Quick. I gotta get outta here."

The ABC of Starsky and Hutch

* Starsky and Hutch premiered on the ABC network in September 1975 and ran until 1979, with 92 episodes. There was a shoot-out and a car chase in each episode.

* Guest stars included Lynda ( Wonder Woman) Carter, Kim ( Sex and the City) Cattrall, Joan Collins, Danny DeVito, Jeff Goldblum and Melanie Griffith.

* Paul Michael Glaser directed a few episodes and went on to direct the films The Running Man, Band of the Hand and Kazaam.

* Fewer than 1,500 1974 Ford Gran Torino "red tomato" cars were built, and they originally sold for $4,461, plus $150 for the custom paint-job. Fuel consumption was 18-19mpg, but only 13mpg the way they drove.

* Starsky carried a Smith & Wesson; Hutch used a Colt Python six-shot .357 Magnum with a royal blue finish.

* The city the boys worked for was never named, but you can see patches on uniformed officers reading BCPD, which people took to mean Bay City Police Department, although the outdoor shots were done around Los Angeles.

* There were only four characters who appeared more than a handful of times on the show - the two cops; Antonio Fargas (who went on to star in the blaxploitation classics Shaft and Car Wash) as the flamboyant Huggy Bear; and their boss, Captain Dobey, played by Bernie Hamilton.

Starsky & Hutch opens tomorrow

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