Friday, September 22, 2023

Brooks on Books: Starsky and Hutch in a Golden Book?

Starsky and Hutch, a poster show for excessive violence in television at one point in the Seventies, does not seem an ideal candidate for merchandising aimed at kids. Or does it? Apparently someone thought the younger set would be enchanted by a fictional world of violence, narcotics, prostitution, and other assorted social ills and general coptastic mayhem. We talked on the podcast about this, but here is one of my favorite examples: Western Publishing's illustrated look at our favorite Seventies buddy cop team.

William Blinn is credited as show creator, with comic book vets George Kashdan and Jack Sparling listed as writer and artist, respectively.

The book contains 3 short stories, each accompanied by a couple of big illustrations. 

I don't think these are adaptations of actual Starsky episodes, but, boy, they could be. Some of the themes explored in this book are: Police corruption, assault, organized crime, blackmail, adultery, assassination, and good old-fashioned murder.

The first story has a reference to "an assortment of nodding addicts and rocking winos." Prostitution, I will say, is the one thing not mentioned in this All-Star Golden Book.

One of my favorite moments comes when Starsk and Hutch confront a closed door and confirm that they need a warrant to search the premises, but if the door should happen to open accidentally...and Hutch kicks it down.

Later, a story begins with Hutch acting as a "big brother" type to a woman having relationship troubles, basically seducing her. When he and Starsky go out on some actual policework, he asks her to wait there a couple hours, then keeps checking the time while on the case because he is thinking about "the chick waiting in my pad."

I am not sure what the target audience was for this in 1977, but I love it in 2023. This is great stuff, and it really does feel like the TV show. There is even a scene with Dobey bemoaning his health food lunch and calling to order a veal parmagiana after a stressful moment,

Western, the publisher of Whitman comics as well as Gold Key and Little Golden Books, did other books in this line, like a Charlie's Angels one that I really want to see now. This is a great collectible for fans of the decade, the TV of the era, and especially those who enjoy Starsky and Hutch.

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