The Official Website of Paul Michael Glaser
"Our ability to love is our truest power, our greatest power as human beings." PMG
October 24, 2007
"Word on the Street'"
British Documentary, UK reunion, 1999
DAVID: I got a call from my agent saying they want you for "Starsky & Hutch". I said "What? What is that?"
PAUL MICHAEL GLASER: I never expected it to become a series, ever.
(Gail, a UK TV Presenter simulates playing the theme on guitar and then says": "Too much coffee)
ANTONIO: What was happening, what people were wearing on the street, we wore.
(Fans comment on the show about why the show was and still is so popular, a comedian paints a white strip on his car while commenting)
DAVID: There were some kind of pot shots taken at us. One time they called us two prime time homo's.
PAUL: I know for a fact that we pissed off a lot of people. But we really wanted to try to make the show better.
Antonio and Bernie: at Bernie's home
Antonio: (to Bernie) Your character didn't like me.
BERNIE: My character was legitimate, that's why he never had anything to do with Huggy Bear (laughter)
(Clips from Gillian; Las Vegas Strangler and fan comments are played)
DAVID: Arron Spelling, the producer had seen a film I'd done with, um, Clint Eastwood called "Magnum Force" and, um, offered me the role.
I said "Well, great, can I read the script?" I read the script and my first response, um, I don't want to play Hutch, I wanna play the other guy, the curly headed one.
(a clip from the pilot is shown "Look, I'm Starsky, he's Hutch!")
He said "No, we want you for the white guy." Which is exactly what I thought of the part. I, you know, was not very excited about it, you know, and um, a lot of people were auditioning for Starsky and I must have read with 150 guys and all of a sudden this guy walks in the room by the name of Paul Glaser.
PAUL: I had known David,.. our paths had crossed over the years. I thought that's, that would be interesting. When we saw each other again, there was a...you know, there was an affinity, a chemistry. I think between David's and my chemistry and the notion of a buddy show, which I think, if I'm not mistaken, was the first of its kind on television...we had "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid" as a feature, but we hadn't seen that kind of pairing,... male bonding,.. whatever you want to call it in television. So this was kind of a first.
(Clips from "Iron Mike" and the pilot "I'm Hutch, he's Starsky")
DAVID: Paul and I decided early on that this show was not gonna be what the network and the producers said it was gonna be about. They said it was gonna be two hard hitting street wise bachelor cops. At the time, formulated television was the way for success and certainly the best purveyor of that was Arron Spelling. But, this is the way we decided to approach it. We start with ordinary days, ordinary guys who really happened to like each other a lot who happened to be cops and we took off from there. And that's really where, how, how the show really gained its, its sort of, um, singular signature.
PAUL: If this thing was going to work at all, it was going to rise above its genre, then our chemistry, our cooperation, our relationship, our timing, had to really work well. And we were very fortunate because we had very complimentary timing.
(Clip with Fireball chase scene and Fans demonstrate their knowledge of S&H trivia .)
DAVID: They let the bad guy go if they got good information from him. That's how they applied the law on the street, anyway. This was different from cop shows, they looked the other way. It was, it was also very important that people like Bernie Hamilton ,um, who was Captain Dobey, and, and Antonio Fargas who was Huggy Bear represented , one represented the law and the other represented the word on the street. the law on the street. They had a relationship with both.
(clip from Gillian shown)
ANTONIO: They had to,.. when they were putting together a series at that time, in the early seventies, mid seventies, they had to have a racial mix in the series and your black men were sort of getting those roles at the time. So I had no idea that this was going to be part of the format of the series, but certainly the relationship between "Starsky and Hutch" and the characters Huggy Bear worked very well. (clip from Snow Storm). I think part of the mystery of Huggy was, maybe, where did he come from, you know, he was a survivor and that was easy for me to adjust to myself because I was a survivor in a hostile land in terms of this business, in terms of this country, in terms of being an African American. ah, so those kind of qualities were easy for me to bring to the character. I think what I brought to i,t (clip from The Psychic shown), in retrospect was fun, I mean the whole jiveyness which black people have to have in terms of survival (clip from Psychic and Las Vegas Strangler,Gillian and stills from 110th St; Shaft are shown)
We had just been dove tailing the end of this thing, black sportation, in the end of the early seventies and the fact that black people were marketable producers saw that as a chance to solve that formula problem with the fact that they were coming to a black man, an informer to get information about things that were going on sort of, on the word on the street, so to speak, (clip from Gillian) and I fulfilled that role. They also saw with Bernie Hamilton, whom played the Captain, having a black Captain in charge of two white cops. (Clip of Dobey on the phone).
BERNIE: It was a progressive move for the TV industry. It more or less set a precedent for, ah, all the other shows that came after "Starsky and Hutch" in which there was a police captain in this situation, or ah, you'll find maybe they were black after that because of Capt. Dobey. But "Starsky and Hutch" was, ah, different kind of police officers, ah, you might not want them to come into your home, but once they identified themselves (clip from Gillian) and asked for permission, you'd find them looking in the kitchen not so much for the criminal or the situation, but to open the fridge and get a beer out. An officer drinking beer? You know, ah, is unusual but at the same time, the client or person in trouble identifies with them because that's what they would do.
(Fan Facts Section: Judy Hoffman is interviewed, Viv interviewed about Dolls, bloopers shown and talked about)
PAUL: We were always allowing ourselves to do spontaneous things. You know, we...the tags...a lot of the tags on the shows were, um, you know, kind of humorous tags. And we'd take what they'd written and reinvent things.
(Excerpts are shown from some of the softer, funnier moments of the show. Clips from Iron Mike, Velvet Jungle and Gillian are shown)
DAVID: The point is that there were moments of tenderness, moments of concern, ah, as much as there were frivolous moments, and moments of fun too, there were fights, there were punch outs,there were misunderstandings. It was about friendships. That's what the show was about. It was about friendship, we just happened to be cops.
(Clips are shown, featuring David's album, "Silver Lady" plays with clips of David and facts. Gail P. comments on David and Hutch)
Fame is something hoisted on you, that you're not prepared for. Fame is what other people say you are, and sometimes, you like to believe it and then sometimes on the inside you question it. Ah, it was not, it was not an easy thing to deal with. For a long time though, for the first, I suppose a year, year and a half of "Starsky & Hutch', we really didn't know how the impact of a show because we were locked in a studio. We were working 16, 18 hours a day and we didn't get out there and then, I think at the end of the first year, just before the second year, we started to go out and do PA's and do some travel. By that time, the UK had picked it up (still of British magazines with S&H on the covers). I remember coming over here and being totally shocked (screaming fans can be heard in the background), I mean, I arrived at Heathrow and there was 10,000 girls out there screaming!
PAUL: The celebrity for me, on one hand, was kind of frightening because I didn't really think that what I was doing warranted that much attention. And. ah, then, on the other hand, it's kind of a kick. And then, on the other hand, it's an invasion of your privacy. It's a mixed bag. It's all kinds of things.
DAVID: It's a rush. It goes right to your head. It's a high. I don't know quite how to deal with it. On the other hand, it's, um, terrifying and a combination of being terrified and high. It's not a great place to make decisions from, you know, so, there's a lot of , you know, mistakes, a lot of learning, a lot of stuff happened that I was not prepared for.
ANTONIO: I cope with the fame and the success of the show and let's face it, David and Paul had the brunt of all that and I think I had to cope with that after the show was over, um, the fact that I had to deal with the concept of being type cast, ah, you know, of being so famous in television for one role when you're trying to do your job, ah, on a day to day basis,um, you don't really have time to deal with that. And anywhere I go in the world, people sort of recognize me from that show. I think this whole seventies 'surgence' or retrospect, music wise and television wise and fashion wise is quite interesting. And it keeps me in the public eye because of that, I don't push it away, you know, I embrace it.
(clip is of the Starsky & Hutch nightclub in Britain is shown. Video clips of fans talking about the attraction and influence that the show had in their lives. A fan comments that".. guys like it cause it's trendy and the car. Girls like it cause the guys are pin ups!)
ANTONIO: Television and film is something that has, you know, you've sort of been captured in time.
BERNIE: It doesn't make any difference how old I get, whenever I'm greeted by Captain Dobey and somebody tells me their a fan, I thank them for it and tell them to continue to be a fan. There's a surprise coming for you next week. Watch the next show. That's how good it makes me feel (big smile)
(Fans comment; 2 bike police officers tell which one of them is Starsky; clips from the pilot "It's a toilet bowl....)
Viv G; fanzine editor, talks about how good the show was: Gail P. talks about Hutch's landing on the hood of his car in the pilot and about the friendship. Judy Hoffman talks about the caring attitude they had for people and victims, for each other and just for everyone. "I wanted to be a cop like S&H and that's the direction I took". Fan Steve H. talks about his S&H collection.
(clips from the gym locker room in the pilot. Steve talks about his collections)
DAVID: I'm ambivalent about "fandom", um, I think that S&H could be the incite to incite people somehow or inspire people to do something's for themselves. I think it's great, but anytime that you raise someone up and hold them for 20, 25 years and not move on with your own life, the first thing I want to say is get a life.
(More collectibles with Steve is shown; Clip from Gillian and more fan comments. Steve comments: " There's been no show before or after that's been like that. Viv comments on the chemistry of Paul and David. "A love relationship, ... they are really good friends. everybody wants a friend to rely on, that would actually take a bullet for them."; Judy H. comments on police partnerships)
( Viv talks about the reference to homosexuality "Paul and David were aware of that")
PAUL: I never really was aware of that. (Paul rolls his eyes at that one!)
DAVID: Well, when people really don't know what to do with strong male relationships, they call them gay. which is stupid you know. I think when you have a friend that's a male and a really good friend, there's no bond that's stronger. Through history in the strongest relationships have been male.
DAVID: Some of the subjects we covered in S&H were also in the kind of forefront of television of that, um, S&H was not afraid to touch areas that often shows had not touched before and I suppose because the relationship itself was so strong, we could do that.
(Viv talks about the controversy surrounding the episode "The Fix" which wasn't shown in the UK until just recently. Steve shows more of his collection of "Starsky & Hutch" memorabilia. Fashion and music is discussed by Gail P. James Taylor of the UK's James Taylor Quartet discusses the popularity of the show's theme song and the "lovability" of Huggy Bear is discussed. Scenes from Gillian and Iron Mike are shown )
ANTONIO: There was a point where there was a lot of pressure about the violence in the show and we sort of got to acquiesce to some of that which created more stories and some of them a little fantastical (clip from the Psychic shown:
I'm pickles, he's onions!" ) but it got more into relationships and it got more into us having to deal with each other and Huggy was included in that.
PART 3 (Of course, talk about the Car begins here.)
(clip of garage door opening with two torino's in it)
DAVID: (laughs) That stupid car!
(Fans comment on the car)
PAUL: The car!
DAVID: More famous than any one of us!
BERNIE: (laughing) The tomato! The striped tomato!
PAUL: Aaron Spelling put his arm around my shoulder and walked David and I outside of his office into the parking lot and said, "Have I got a surprise for you," and pointed at this red and white car. To which I replied, "It looks like a striped tomato." And then later I vowed secretly to David that I was going to do everything in my power to destroy that car.
( Torino owner Doug talks about his car and the series)
PAUL: I mean, it looked great and people really loved it, and a lot of people still really do like it. And we had a lot of fun with it. But it really was the worst of all American cars. It had a terrible suspension system. It took us a year to get them to put bucket seats in it so David wouldn't slide all over the place whenever I took a corner. We had to finally get a new rear end put in it so that at zero to 60 it had some pop. It was a real workhorse, you know. And the doors were big and heavy, so that's why I ended up jumping through the windows a lot. And the crew used to take bets where I'd end up when I had to make a sudden stop someplace.
( Doug talks about his cars;British comedian, Phil Kay, talks about running across the car's bonnet)
PAUL: If you ever look at the original cars, you want to be sure to look at how much cement or reinforcement they put on the inside. Because we smacked that car up a fair amount.
(Gail: more talk about the car and toys. British comedian, Phil Kay, bounces off the top of his car and talks about munching in his car like S&H. Steve H. talks about his S&H car collectibles. Talk about Hutch's car begins)
PAUL: That's a cute story, actually. David kept saying, "I want a car to drive. Why is Starsky driving all the time? I want to drive a car." So they said, "Fine. What kind of car would you like to drive?" He said, "I want an old beat...up brown Chevy. Something plain...all beat up." So they said, "OK." So they wrote a show in which we drive in David's car... Hutch's car. They delivered the car to the sound stage, and I hear a big commotion. I walk out there and David's standing there and he's fuming. He said, "Look at this! This isn't all beat up." And it was a plain brown Chevy, but it was new. And he's standing there and he's ticked off. He said, "This isn't beat...up. That's a...I want a...Hutch wouldn't have a new car." So I walked over and I picked up a sledgehammer or an axe or something like that, and I handed something like a crowbar to him. And we both jumped up on the car and beat the crap out of it. (Laughs) And that's how his car got to look the way it looked.
(A scene is shown from "Starsky & Hutch" featuring Hutch's car. "A customized job like this takes hours")
PAUL: By the end of the first season, I realized that the mentality of the people I was working for and with was one where they didn't really want to rock the boat. They didn't want to try anything new, they didn't want to stretch or grow. They wanted it to be safe and right down the middle of the pike. And that, along with a few legal issues that I...were uncovered, in terms of their behavior, I decided that I was going to try to sue to get out. And when it became evident that that wasn't going to work, then I decided to return to the series, making my mind up that I would use the next three years to ah, ah, learn as much as I could about directing.
DAVID: We started out as actors and eventually became directors as well. This meant that we were, you know, taught on the job, pretty neat to be taught on the job, you know, to have a crew supportive and you go out and we directed, each of us,you know, several of the Starsky and Hutch episodes. Paul, of course, has gone on to write and direct on his own. I have done s little amount of it. I have more of a documentary filmmaker which is my passion. When Starsky and Hutch finished, that's what I did, ended up doing, documentaries.
DAVID: I've maintained fairly close ties with Paul over the years. Antonio, I haven't seen for sometime, but all of a sudden he pops up and it's like we never left. We just finished doing a show down at the Fridge in Brixton. First time in twenty years that we've worked together.
ANTONIO: David asked Paul if he would like to come over and come to the opening and sort of have a reunion, all of us together in one place. Only the person we were missing was Bernie, but he was there in spirit.
(A film clip is shown of Paul, Antonio and David reuniting on stage at "The Fridge" during David and Antonio's play "The Dead Monkey.")
DAVID: Paul walked out on stage at the Fridge and it was the first time, like a rush I mean, it was a real genuine rush. There is a great deal of love there among us.
PAUL: (Sitting with Antonio and David) There is something very special here that's happened, you know. And it's all been done by David. And I think it has to be really underlined. I mean, not just your doing your passion…
PAUL: …which is your play. And, Tony, you participating in that. But David has brought us together. We've communicated through the years, but he's brought us together and in a way...the term that came up was to bring closure…
DAVID: Mm, yeah.
PAUL: …to something that we had that has been really important for all of us in our individual ways to acknowledge... that we had something extremely special. That's what people responded to. That's why a four .year show went into reruns and traveled to 67 countries around the world.
Antonio: I mean, when you push, you know, something from the seventies and know with all these retrospective and stuff and then, you know, you add computer age and websites and music of the time, the fashion of the times and ah, just the who;e re-merchandising, everything that was, you know, sacred or wonderful about a period of time....
DAVID: I'm just...the cover is ill...fell well...met, and underneath I'm...it's like I can't believe these two guys are here.
PAUL: He's just like a big old soft Golden Retriever. That's all he is. He's a mush...a mush ball.
DAVID: I'm just so thrilled at seeing these guys together...to be together. I pinch myself and him all the time...just to be, you know, working together.
PAUL: Well, I think that on our 50th birthday, we ought to do it again. (Laughs)
DAVID: (Laughs) Talking about the future, talking about the past.
PAUL: Thank you.
DAVID: Thank you.
PAUL: Thank you very much.
(Clip of the final scene of "The Fix" is shown "You ok?.. Wanna drive my car?")
Transcription by Pam
This is a great interview. I hope you have had the opportunity to watch it...Pam
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