The Pits (Starsky and Hutch zine)

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See also Pit (disambiguation).

Zine
Title: The Pits
Publisher:
Editor(s): Melanie R.
Date(s): 1979-1980
Series?:
Medium: print
Size:
Genre:
Fandom: Starsky and Hutch
Language: English
External Links:
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The Pits is a gen Starsky and Hutch fanzine.

Issue 1

front cover of issue #1

The Pits 1 was published in 1979 and has 112 pages. It has art by Signe Landon, Gordon Carleton, Connie Faddis, Paulie Gilmore, Kathy Wigley and Karen Stewart.

From the editor in a letterzine:
I would like to apologize for the cost of the thing. I would like to, but I really can't. The artwork needs special attention, and the contents really deserve a good print job, so I'm going to photo-offset with it. Plus I think my neighbor and printer for the first issue would have cardiac arrest if presented with 200-plus names to run off -- remind me to tell you sometime about what his garage looked like after he got through printing the silkscreen cover for issue #1. [1]
From the editorial in the zine:
Putting out a zine was way more of a hassle than I'd expected -- as will be evidenced by the finished product. Still, I've learned much in the process, and been given generous assistance by many good people. The result of our various efforts is now, finally, in your hands. I am truly sorry for the delay but I offer no bogus excuses. I'm just late, folks. That's all there is to it. The Pits didn't turn out to be quite the half-humorous, half-serious mix I'd originally envisioned. More like 75% grim, 20% grin, and 5% unidentifiable nonsense. Any response, criticisms, comments, suggestions, and especially strokes are more than welcome and will be passed on to the contributors. If the mail is interesting enough, I may do a LoC column nextish.
  • Life in the Fast Lane (editorial) (1)
  • The Second Time Around by Melanie R (a tongue-in-cheek look at Starsky's search for a new car after the Torino is blown up in the episode "The Set Up.") (2)
  • Gilligan by Roy Smith (a parody, what is Scrodsky to do when his buddy, Wretch, falls for a girl who is a Trekkie? -- includes the characters Gilligan Ingrahamcrackers, Al Grossout... Illustrated by Gordon Carleton) (8)
  • The Truly Twitty Trivia Test (12)
  • Death Dance by Katherine Robertson (a scary dream sequence that happens during the episode "Sweet Revenge") (14)
  • numbers-runner by Jane Aumerle (poem) (26)
  • The Lease by Katherine Robertson (a copy of Hutch's lease with Starsky Clauses against Starsky's messes.) (29)
  • Life in the Fast Lane, part two by Melanie R (A humorous article about driving in Los Angeles: "Anyone with no interest whatsoever in Los Angeles will be bored to distraction by this article. We are about to discuss one of our favorite subjects, our beloved hometown, El Pueblo de Nuestra Senora la Reina Los Angeles de Porciuncula, a.k.a. The Big Orange, a.k.a. El Lay.) (31)
  • Sins of the Father by Lorraine Bartlett (a classic get'em story), illustrated by Signe Landon, later reprinted as a standalone) (34)
  • Zine Ads (105)
  • Lamebrain Game by Me. Rauch (106)
  • Fifth Season Preview by Cool Hand Luke (parodies of possible episodes) (109)
  • You Got This Zine Because (112)

Reactions and Reviews: Issue 1

[zine]: The first thing you notice about THE PITS, right down there in the corner of the Table of Contents page, is that the print run is extremely small, only 150 copies. If you are smugly clutch ing your own copy at the time, this is no cause for personal alarm. If, however, this review is the first you've heard, and you enjoy Starsky & Hutch. PUT THIS MAGAZINE DOWN, GO DIRECTLY TO THE NEAREST POST OFFICE AND SEND MELANIE SOME MONEY (ed. note—$4.00 and a SASE should reserve you a copy 'til you find out how much more you need to send). [3] You'll be glad you did. (Or wish you had, if you're still sitting there like a lump. Don't say I didn't warn you. I tried.) The second thing you notice is the paper. THE PITS is printed on a heavy hard-surface white bond that not only limits bulk (readi mailing costs) but will not disintegrate like mummy cloth if inadvertantly breathed upon. This is a fortunate circumstance, as the contents are eminently worth preserving. For openers, there's [Melanie R's] own "The Second Time Around", in which Hutch finally learns to stop bitching and love the Torino. Not surprising; so would anybody but Andy Warhol, given the alternative. Melanie has a light, affectionate touch with this type of material; it's delightful. She's also the most probable, if understandably uncredited, perpetrator of the wittiest, twittiest trivia test yet. The issue takes a sharp turn toward the serious with Marian Kelly's "Death Dance". A vengeance-tripping psycho critically wounds Starsky, and Hutch must come to terms with both a precautionary separation from his friend and the feeling that he has lost control of his own life. He never really does deal with the first problem satisfactorily—perhaps because the con flict is entirely externalized—and the resolution of the second is therefore less than it might have been. Still, Kelly has a gift for language that occasionally borders on revelation and suffices to keep the reader turning pages. Despite its flaws, "Death Dance" bears promise of fine things to come. It's followed by "The Lease", purporting to be Hutch's agreement with his landlord. If one's college experience had not conditioned one to loathe the entire class and species of rentors, one might find it in one's heart to feel sorry for the poor devil. Ah, sadism. Next is "Life in the Fast Lane, Part 2: A Brief Guide to the Los Angeles Freeway System and Some Rules for Driving Thereon". I am told that every word in this piece is true; de-canonizing St. Christopher was a mistake. Downshifting again, we come to the zine's really heavy story, Lori Bartlett's "Sins of the Father", The first forty pages or so consist of a fairly conventional get-'em, wherein an aspiring Torquemada groupie works S&H over in great and explicit detail. While Costanzo doesn't quite manage "death", he has the "horrible maims" part down pat. He is also, unfortunately, on much the same religion-and-revenge kick as Louis Mitchell in Teri White's Copkiller. (This sort of near-duplication is probably inevitable as long as fan writers adhere to the series' format, which allows only two kinds of villain: the button-down Establishment pillar and Ye Compleat Gonzo. How about some compos mentis baddies who don't get invited to tea and crumpets in the Oval Office? Please? See "Join Me in LA" for how-to.) All of which is admittedly not very remarkable. What is different and refreshing about "Sins" is the psychological working- through that takes up almost half the story. The fear, anger, and self-doubt that are the documented residum of this type of experience are all there. And while some of the answers Lori's S&H find for themselves strike me as a shade easy, I'm glad to see the questions receiving the attention they require. Don't let the first part fool you; this one is a ground-breaker. Coming full circle, THE PITS winds up with two humorous shorts, both right on target and deadly funny. M. Raunch's "Lamebrain Game" does unto the obvious episode according to its transgressions. It also contains two absolutely godawful puns, either of which could be considered a hanging offense. Cool Han Luke's "Fifth Season Preview" offers such stimulating fare as "The Clap" (synopsis unavailable) and "The Dippy Girl Photographer/Hitman/etc.", none of whom seems to know that polite people either go to sleep or talk quietly afterwards. (What do you mean, after what? Don't be crude.) The zine's only sour note occurs in Roy Smith's "Gilligan", which is marred by the same undertone of cruelty as "The Fax". Chacun a son gout—and this is definitely somebody else's goo. THE PITS' artwork is sparse but uniformly excellent. Highly recommended. [4]

Issue 2

cover of issue #2

The Pits 2 was published in 1980 and has 138 pages. It is offset with some screened art. Cost in 1980 was $7.75 first class.

Reactions and Reviews: Issue 2

[Prelude]: It's a look at what happened before we saw them onscreen. Prudholm is one of the most hated bad guys in SH, but his anger all stemmed from the first undercover assignment Starsky and Hutch had. They went undercover at a local high school, which led to the death of Prudholm's son. This story tells about that case, day by day, and how it all unfolded. [5]
[Non Constans]: Dotty Barry's poem, "Non constans", a marvelous piece of writing. One might well vote it "best". I could never vote it "favourite". I'd find it hard even to read it again; it's so alien in its coldness and indifference, to the way I see SH. [6]
[Non Constans]: Plain dislike?... 'Non Constans' in 'L.A. Vespers [7] I read it once, more than a decade ago. Never want to re-read. It's well-written. You could say imaginative. Realistic - yes, if it were about two other people. But for me alien, untrue, a negation o£ SH. [8]
[zine]: The Pits’ opens with ‘Prelude,’ an account of S&H’s first undercover case and the busting of Vinnie Prudholm. White’s inherent strengths are clearly displayed here – clean, swift style, deft characterization, as well as a growing certainty with the mechanics of plot structure. The story develops through organic growth, not auctorial fiat… ‘Any Major Dude’… as is all of Melanie’s work, is technically excellent: the prose is lucid and fluent, the plot coherent, the viewpoint consistent and focused for maximum illumination of character... I am going to say loudly, categorically and with all the authoritarianism of which Scorpio is capable, that there is nothing in this story that is inconsistent with the aired series. Nothing. The reader who is convinced otherwise, and possibly outraged, needs to re-examine her own assumptions. It is the purpose of fiction to lead the reader toward truth, not away from it; not to allow escape but to prohibit it. If the experience is occasionally unsettling, that's how it should be. If (to crib from Spider Robinson), you believe that the separation between the varieties of human love is a barbed-wire border; that the sex of the person you sleep with determines your moral and ethical status and general fitness as a human being; if you cannot accept the worth of a character whom you cannot vicariously seduce; then this story will probably offend, disgust or seriously threaten you. In other words, you should read it, too. If you're lucky, it'll tell you something about yourself. Finally, Marian Kelly's "Ex Post Facto" is a brief "Targets" interlude, in which Starsky and Hutch examine the reasons for their job and for their abandonment of it, in the process confirming the bases of their own relationship. Marian has done some growing since "Death Dance", and it shows. The language now reveals its subject consistently, not just in brilliant flashes; and except for some extraneous theological matter, the tendency to externalize the characters' conflict is gone. This is a superb story, dark and rich and dense, the bitter and the sweet so intermingled that it's impossible to tell which is which. It's fiction that does what fiction is supposed to do, and I don't think it requires any more comment than that. There is also a generous amount of poetry, well-done and beautifully sequenced… Joy Mancinelli's calligraphy is elegant, as are those illustrations which are not flatly spectacular. Buy this zine. [9]
[zine]: This one is also in the RGZ category. Taking it in reverse order, ‘shadow-man’ and ‘Non Constans’ tied for best. The difference lies in presentation, not theme; ‘Constans’ is erosion, ‘shadow’ amputation, but both make the point; the price of great love is the risk of great loss, whether it’s loss of the loved one or the love itself. Next to those two, the other serious poetry had less of an impact, at least on me. ‘Life Too Late,’ ‘Kaddish,’ and 3 am’ were good enough, but not outstanding. And ‘Dialog for One’ – I recall some other zine carrying the same idea, Starsky Late and Hutch Fretting. It’s sort of like ‘My Partner’s Dead/Not Really’ theme that sprang up a few months back – like the man said, we’ve been this way before. The non-serious poetry is quite silly; I thoroughly enjoyed it. Fiction: ‘Prelude’ was well-done. I expected a little more closeness between S&H, after four years in uniform, at least enough for them to have dinner together, but that’s minor. The story is tight and the pacing good, up to the point where Starsky finds Hutch in the closet (no comment). The extra bit of jeopardy was completely unnecessary – instead of being aghast at how close Hutch came to Dying of an Upset Tummy, I was irked at the change in gears. Other than that, nice work. Gear switching is the only problem with ‘Ex Post Facto.’ That story ended – emotionally – with Dobey’s departure. What came after it was almost another story in itself, or at least a vignette. But the ideas handled, the feelings presented, are right on target. Dobey’s behavior was certainly more reasonable that what we saw in the aired show, where he sat around reminding them to get back on the force, boys. His anger at their – actually Hutch’s – thin-skinned sensitivity is appropriate for a black man of his age and experience, and Hutch’s intuitive apprehension is a good set-up for ‘Sweet Revenge.’ ‘Any Major Dude’ is excellent, and the best-handling of Huggy that I’ve seen since ‘Can’t Go Home.’ The speech is right, the scenes are real – the reference to Starsky’s Deep Dark Past that was something that should not have been thrown at a reader unless the author intended to explain, but that’s my only objection. Can’t comment on ‘Snowbound’ except to point out that J.J. Lindner is a colony creature, the other member is my sister Judi (Lindner) Hendicks. And any discrepancies between it and the aired S&H are due to the fact that it was written during the 2nd season, and we spent the next two trying unsuccessfully to find an agent. … The art work was generally loverly, my own favorites being the ‘shadow-man’ illo, the Black Knight, and Landon’s Huggy. [10]
[zine]: I have the feeling that Melanie sat on Teri White over ‘Prelude,’ for the style is quite a lot cleaner and to the point than White’s usually is. White has generally done very good dialogue – and does here, too – but her narrative passages were too often as sparkly as swampwater… Moreover [in the end], by making Hutch finally dependent on Starsky for sheer survival, this bit… conflicts with the theme of the story, that S&H are two halves of a whole, equals, partners who complement. The characterization is good. Our heroes behave believably enough. Vinny is solidly real, even the incidental characters are fleshed out well. White keeps point of view consistent within each section (except on the last page) which works very well… Teri should write like this all the time… or have Mel for an editor more often. ‘Snowbound’ was intended for submission to the S&H script department. It is sufficiently professional that it might have been used. Some technical details are missing – scene demarcation, more detailed camera angles – but otherwise it reads as well or better than the actual scripts used. The story is told in manner appropriate to its medium (the play). It is highly visual, it describes actions and reactions, not feelings, there is no dependence on narrative. Like the series, the authors don’t stop to recount background, but reveal it in the course of the story…. Excellent advice for all writers, ‘show, don’t tell.’ … On the whole, the plot’s accuracy is probably good enough for television specifications. I liked ‘Any Major Dude.’ About time we see this universe from some other viewpoint other than that of Damon and Pythias, and about time S&H start earning their psychic pay as outstanding good guys. Melanie made us see why the pair gets things done; they keep coming back and bugging their contact, just like real cops. More, the characterization of Huggy is full-bodied, real, and a subtle delight. Huggy is guarded on his first meeting with S&H – and on his second and third and fourth meetings, too. There is no way a ghetto-raised black man who eased himself out with every trick and scam and bluff on the counter would listen to sweet reason from two great hulking WHITE cops. Unless he had to… There is one clinker. Within the context of the story, Starsky’s going ape-shit and stomping Moss for no discernible reason – and no further reference later – is bad writing… As a further difficultly, it shows Huggy that he’s dealing with a vengeful maniac who can’t control himself sometimes… This hobbles the story. Marian Kelly tried to tell three stories in ‘Ex Post Facto.’ This first, why Hutch felt compelled to resign in ‘Targets Without a Badge’ and how S&H decide to return; second, why Dobey didn’t resign in 26 years; and third: why S&H had been distant throughout the 4th season. There are too many subplots going, they don’t support each other, and they don’t even interconnect. Plus, hopping from one story to another, Marian jerks the mood from camaraderie to guilt to humor to self-sacrifice to intimacy to angler to loneliness to the nigh obligatory ‘I love you’ at the end. There are very good, highly insightful passages in the piece, but they’re all jumbled together and not really resolved well enough to give coherence to the who… I wish this piece had worked, because there are good ideas in it…. In the portfolio, Connie’s one and de Gabriele’s two pieces are the only ones to show much life. ‘Black Knight’ is especially striking. Jan Linder’s best piece isn’t even in this section; it’s the illo for ‘One Life Too Late,’ where she’s done a good job in catching expression. It’s still plainly drawn from a photo, but the eyes are real. Trish’s spotty illos are not only traced, but they are badly traced. Signe Landon’s drawings are not spectacular, but they are competent. [11]

References

  1. from S and H, 1979
  2. Gavia Baker-Whitelaw and Aja Romano. A guide to fanfiction for people who can't stop getting it wrong. (Accessed 28 June 2014)
  3. This zine review had a handwritten note by the editor that "The Pits" was already sold out.
  4. from Jane Aumerle in Star Canticle #2
  5. a 2004 comment at Crack Van
  6. from Frienz #2
  7. She gets the zine wrong.
  8. from Frienz #26
  9. from S and H #9
  10. from S and H #9
  11. from S and H #9