The Purple Pages

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Fanfiction
Title: The Purple Pages
Author(s): unknown (anonymous)
Date(s): 1975-to about 1982
Length:
Genre: fan fiction
Fandom: Starsky & Hutch, RPS, Starsky & Hutch RPF
External Links:

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The Purple Pages is a collection of over 20 Starsky & Hutch RPS stories written in the mid to late 1970s and early 1980s and privately circulated amongst fans.

The Purple Pages may be the first known and confirmed examples of RPS fan fiction in media fandom. For more examples, see Starsky & Hutch RPF.

The name comes from the fact that the stories were typed onto purple paper.

Most of the history of The Purple Pages is still unknown. Some of the stories were written while Starsky & Hutch was still on the air (1975-1979). The show became a hit and was widely popular among the mainstream press and Paul Michael Glaser and David Soul were prominently featured in just about every movie magazine and tabloid of the era. Their extremely close friendship, unusual for two leading actors, was often discussed in articles at the time. It was common for talk shows to make jokes about Starsky and Hutch's relationship, and whether the two characters were gay was written about in some of the popular media of the day.

The Purple Pages started out as privately written stories intended for a select audience of participants. At the time the stories were written fan fiction was still being typed on typewriters. Photocopiers were not widely available so most fans copied stories by retyping them which was a time consuming process. The creators of The Purple Pages knew this, but also wanted to prevent those few fans who might have access to photocopiers from reproducing them. Thus the stories were typed on purple colored paper specifically in order to make photocopying impossible. In the 1970s, photocopying technology was still in its infancy and photocopying purple pages would result in black or grey unreadable sheets.

The authors never put their names on the stories for future anonymity and originally only sent the stories to one another through the mail. Of course, some writers shared the stories with close friends sworn to secrecy who then shared with others under equally strict secrecy. Some copies were included in the envelopes of the Starsky & Hutch letterzine S and H of those who had expressed interest. For decades, recipients of The Purple Pages were enjoined to never discuss them or to acknowledge that Starsky & Hutch RPS existed. The secrecy was necessary as many fans of the time were very much opposed to RPS. Feelings about it often ran high, with some fans almost violently against the concept and those fans who wrote and read it. While that may have made it all the more interesting to the participants, it also meant that Starsky & Hutch's contribution to the RPS genre went unrecognized for decades.

The Purple Pages were never published or compiled into any collection and were distributed much like the early circuit stories in the Professionals fandom. In 1982, a few fans compiled a small subset of the stories into a packet called the Purple Banana Underground Stories.

Titles

Here is a list of some of the known stories:

  • Call Me
  • Mid-Continent Morality
  • Onstage, Offstage
  • Territorial
  • Pain and Joy, C.O.D.
  • Soulmate
  • Jelly Beans and Coors
  • Anything, Lover . . . Almost
  • Abstinence is Good for the Soul
  • After the Party
  • Ma Bell
  • Memories
  • Breakfast in Bed
  • A Calm Place
  • Cab Stand
  • Birthday Boy
  • And for Dessert
  • Lo Siento Mi Vida
  • Valentine's Eve
  • Christmas Call
  • Untitled Story

Some Fan Comments

2015

The sexually explicit stuff (both Het and Slash) was kept underground – or the writers attempted to keep it underground. Unfortunately, the instant you circulate something reasonably widely people show it to their friends... the Purple Pages (Soul/Glaser slash) ripped Starsky and Hutch fandom apart at one point. Perhaps circulating it with the S&H Letterzine was not the best idea anyone had had. [1]

2018

I started out at the archives by looking up the Purple Pages and some people on Facebook had mentioned that they were very curious about the Purple Pages because it's very difficult to find copies these days. And it was RPF, which is real person fiction written about the Starsky and Hutch actors, David Soul and Paul Michael Glaser. And it was being written while the show was still on and then shortly afterwards. So these are stories from the late seventies and early eighties. And, uh, that makes it one of the earliest western RPF fandoms by modern standards. Um, and so I, I read the entire collection and the one I was reading..... this, this wasn't a zine, it was just stories collected in, handed around from fan to fan. They didn't put out as a traditional zine because this was so undercover. You had to know someone who knew that you'd be cool with this topic and then they would mail it to you. And my understanding was that there was a letterzine where some copies of the Purple Pages has got sent out with a letter zine and that caused a huge fandom ruckus. Um, so I read these and they were, it was very interesting to see what was being written when the show was still so fresh. And uh, I admit, like I, I typically don't read RPF. I totally believe people have the right to write it. Like I don't have a problem with that existing, but I really like the divide of fictional characters. And I understand that when you write RPS, you are writing fictionalized versions of the characters. I understand there is that divide there, but I really like characters that exist in their own fictional universe where you know, what you're dealing with. It's, it just feels simpler and cleaner to me that.... real human beings are so messy and you know what I think I know kind of back away from that topic actually.

..... I went in kind of thinking that it would mostly be sexy hi-jinks on the side to stuff like that, but they actually included family members. Um, and there was a lot of angst, a lot of like downer stories and uh, I, I was glad to have read them just to know what kind of things were being written, but it wasn't really my big [thing]. [2]

References

  1. Fandom Past - A Talk Given at Nine Worlds 2015
  2. From a transcript of a 2018 podcast where three Starsky & Hutch fans discussed a roadtrip to the University of Iowa Fanzine Archives -- MeAndTheeAndThree #2.