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Starsky & Hutch Stuff
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My friend Mortmere [links to tumblr] [M's LJ here] and I have been wondering about (and researching) some of the stuff on the sets of Starsky & Hutch.
Like, what's this weird dog?



I rummaged around and discovered it’s a carnival prize, a bulldog made out of “chalkware”. They were usually handpainted (with water-soluble paint), so each one’s a little different.
Like this one:



From Collector’s Weekly:
“Made out of plaster of Paris, chalkware was used to create inexpensive versions of decorative objects such as animal figurines—so many small figurines were given away as prizes at carnivals, the pieces became known as “carnival chalk.”
“The heyday of the material was the early 19th to mid-20th centuries…”


So, OK, but what it is doing in-universe?


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Hey, so I was right in thinking the dog could be from the 40s! Nice to learn about this "carnival chalk".

One of the things I really love about S&H (besides the main characters, of course) is how it's not really trying to present a polished, fashionable image of its own era but shows the world as it is (even today): a jumble of material from the last few decades, and everyone either delapidates along with it, makes do with it or makes it their purpose to replace it with more modern stuff (and that might apply to ideas and values and attitudes, too - so much "past" in this show that it's trying to shake off, sometimes successfully, sometimes not!).

As far as I can remember, this nightmarishly ugly dog figurine (which could still be a happy memento for someone not present anymore, in-universe) sat on a bureau in some dockyard office or some small-time crook's messy rooms in "Terror on the Docks". It is fun to wonder if it was placed there intentionally, to add some surreal menace to this shot of Starsky - who, I think, was at this point of the story suggesting the murderer they're looking for could be the fiancé of Hutch's childhood friend - Hutch didn't like that idea at all. Maybe there's an episode-wide discussion of nostalgia vs. reality going on in there, and this carnival memento turned into a menace adds to it in its own creepy way. (Ha, I've clearly been reading too much of "The Ollie Report". The people contributing to that blog really turn the show into a thing of beauty and wisdom, though never forgetting that it's still "just" a cheap 70's cop show.)

Hey, Mortmere--
Your instincts about the dog being from the '40s were spot on!
To give credit where it's due, my (our!) friend Lucinda suggested it was carnival prize.

WHat you say here is so exciting to me:
S&H is "not really trying to present a polished, fashionable image of its own era but shows the world as it is (even today): a jumble of material from the last few decades".

You've nailed what I was trying to say about movies (like 2016's "The Nice Guy") set in the 70s---they make it ALL 1970s design, and it feels fake, because that's not how we live--
we live with our grandmother's Tupperware and our neighbor's old brass lamp we got at a garage sale, etc., as well as the modern things of our era.

And yes---we ourselves, individually and culturall, are a mashup of earlier influences--ideas and emotions and relationships that shaped us aren't so easy to shake off, as you say, even if we want to.
Star Trek TOS is such a great example of that--even trying its hardest to show a future of equality, unconscious biases of course kept turning up.

Same for us now---I wonder what I will cringe at when I look back in twenty years (godwilling)...


Edited at 2016-08-25 03:42 pm (UTC)

Wow, you have amazing powers of observation. I've read posts about the little overall wearing piggy bank on their desk, but never noticed that doggy.

I love looking at the props in the background, and the costumes/clothing because I was in theatre.

One of my favorite props is the Picasso sketch of a hand holding flowers hung over Starsky's bed in second or third season. I've seen that poster in real life, too. ;-)

Credit to Mortmere for spotting the dog statue. She's been posting on Tumblr but says she might come back over here too, which would be great. I like Tumblr, but there's no way to have these sorts of chats. And it's fun when fans get thinking and wondering along the same lines, eh?

I've wondered about that piggy!
And there's an owl too...
I must look them up.

Theater! How great to bring that to S&H. Have you posted about the Picasso sketch?


Yes I did, on my own LJ page. Hmm, how to get it here?

Ah---there's somethign Tumblr is good for--reblogging.
Can you just send me the link to that post---or even just tell me the date and I'll look it up.
Thanks! Fun!

I LOVE posts like this!! Keep it up!! You notice everything and it is fascinating. Thank you!!

I'm so glad you enjoy this sort of post--I sure do too! Wasn't sure if others would.
More to come, for sure!


Edited at 2016-08-25 03:41 pm (UTC)

Here's a link to my page with Starsky's picture prominently displayed from a B&B I stayed in.

http://dawnebeth.livejournal.com/66988.html

Edited at 2016-08-25 06:28 pm (UTC)

Thanks! I seem to recall that Picasso poster being very popular when I was in high school in the 1970s!
I'm going to see if I can find a picture of it in Starsky's apt (you don't have one, do you?).

No, if you look in the comments, Nancy'ssoul posted part of the picture, but I'm really no good at screen caps.

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