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: The Purple Pages [individual stories written 1975 to ca. 1985] [CZ], 1985, special collection at The University of Iowa

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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. Their name is a reference to the fact that the stories were printed on purple paper (for context, see The Purple Paper Element).

They are one of the first known, confirmed examples of RPS fan fiction in media fandom.

For decades, recipients of "The Purple Pages" were told 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; some fans were violently against the concept and other fans supported it by writing and reading it. While this anonymity and discourse likely made it more exciting and interesting to the participants, it also meant that the Starsky & Hutch contribution to the RPS genre went unrecognized for decades.

For more examples, see Starsky & Hutch RPF.

The Purple Paper Element

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 as the photocopy machines of that time would create copies that were black or grey unreadable sheets.

Distribution

"The Purple Pages" were never published or compiled into any collection and were distributed much like the early circuit stories in the Professionals fandom.

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.

In 1982, a few fans compiled a small subset of the stories into a packet called the Purple Banana Underground Stories.

Some Media Context

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. The actors' 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.

Titles

Here is a list of some of the known stories:

Some Fan Comments

1985

Paula Smith referenced a "secret letterzine" in Starsky & Hutch fandom in The Paul Muni Special program book, possibly referring to "The Purple Pages":

Not til The Professionals emerged was there a fandom with as many unpublished or downright subterranean stories about. There were secret series, secret round-robins, even a secret letterzine for a while in 1981. Most of this underground stuff was S/H, and the reason that it was so encrypted was the fear and occasional paranoia that Spelling-Goldberg would sue the writers.

1994

Yes, the Purple Pages were the first S/H letterzine. It was printed separately from the regular white paged one by Kendra and Diana and enclosed in the envelopes of those of us interested. [1]

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. [2]

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]. [3]

References

  1. ^ comments by Ruth Kurz, Virgule-L quoted with permission (Jul 17, 1994)
  2. ^ Fandom Past - A Talk Given at Nine Worlds 2015
  3. ^ From a transcript of a 2018 podcast where three Starsky & Hutch fans discussed a roadtrip to the University of Iowa Fanzine Archives -- MeAndTheeAndThree #2.
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