“OKAY, so that’s one big ugly mushroom on a brown
bread bun for you, and a bacon double chili cheeseburger for me!”
Hutch glanced up from his book as Starsky thumped gracelessly down into the
driver's seat of the battered LTD. This was an old argument, and it had been a long night on an unrewarding stakeout for both
of them. When Hutch corrected his partner, there was weary resignation in his voice.
"It's a whole grilled Portobello mushroom on a twelve grain bun with sun-dried
tomatoes, avocado and feta cheese, assuming Ricky got the order right this time, and someday when your arteries decide
to curl up and die... Hey!"
Having successfully extracted both burgers from the bag, Starsky had just
crumpled up the greasy brown paper and tossed it into the back seat of Hutch's car.
"My car is not your garbage can!" snapped Hutch.
Starsky glanced over his shoulder at the cluttered rear seat, and then back
at his irritable companion with innocently wide eyes. "Gee, I dunno how I could have made that mistake."
Scowling, Hutch noted his page and closed his book. He reached for his burger.
"You know, I didn't have to let you drive today. It isn't my fault that temperamental tomato you call a car decided
to spew her guts all over the freeway yesterday."
"Let me drive? I'll have you know, I'm doing you a favor! You've had
your nose in that crummy book all week..." Starsky stopped abruptly, his head swiveling as a flash of bright orange on the
road caught his eye.
The car was a '69 Dodge Charger with the number 01 painted on the side door
and as it came over the top of the hill it took to the air in a spectacular manner, the engine revving up to a smooth, even
purr. The driver hit his horn at the top of the leap, and the first few bars of Dixie rang out over the early dawn streets.
Open mouthed, Starsky watched the smoke kick up from the rear wheels as they grabbed the road once more. He was almost certain
he heard someone scream, "Yee-haw!" He had only enough time to absorb the sight of a confederate flag painted on the
roof, and then the car was gone, taking a corner on two wheels and barreling down an alley.
Immediately behind it came a black sedan. It made the same jump, but unlike
the Charger it landed heavily on its front end, crumpling its nose and bouncing its hood. It skidded on the turn and its rear
end slammed into a brick wall. Undaunted, the black car continued its pursuit, now trailing steam.
Now y'all are probably wondering just what a couple of country boys from
Hazzard County are doing way over here on the west coast. You're right if you're thinkin' that Bay City sure ain't their usual
hollerin' grounds. It looks like them cousins have done got themselves into a heapin' mess o'trouble. More than is usual,
even for them, and that's sayin' a lot!
Luke Duke stared at the CB radio with a puzzled frown. "Bo, did you hear
"What?" His cousin was focused on driving.
"I could'a sworn..." Luke shook his head. For a moment there he thought he'd
heard Waylon Jennings, but that wasn't possible. For one thing, the words he'd heard weren't anything at all like regular
CB chatter, and for another, what would Waylon be doing way out here in Bay City anyway?
Dismissing the notion, he turned around in his seat to get a good look at
the mobsters chasing them. Bo swerved around a corner, tossing him against the door. The change in angle allowed him to spot
several black and white cars closing in behind the black sedan. The unmistakable wail of a siren confirmed his suspicions.
"Hey, Bo, we got us some company!"
The younger of the two cousins glanced briefly in the rearview mirror, catching
the flash of blue and red lights. He grinned. "Aw, it's just the Law. Why with them tailin' us, I can't help but feel right
"You didn't have to throw my burger out the window!" groused Hutch, bracing
himself against the dashboard as Starsky headed for another corner at speed. It didn't work. His shoulder hit the door with
a bruising force that did nothing for his temper.
"Why not?" asked Starsky. "You ditched mine first!" They were stuck bringing
up the rear of the chase. He tried to jockey for a better position, but the squad cars ahead were hogging the road. Short
of driving right up onto the sidewalk there was no way he was getting ahead. Though, to be truthful, he hadn't entirely ruled
that approach out yet.
"Because you can't drive and eat at the same time!" bellowed Hutch, outraged.
"Yeah, well, turnabout is fair play. If I don't get my dinner, then you shouldn't
get yours either," said Starsky. "It's not like it was real food anyway. 'Probably would'a poisoned yourself with that
funky mushroom and I'd be out a partner."
The radio suddenly crackled to life. "We have a report of shots fired from
the black sedan..."
"Jez'um Crow! They're shootin' at us!" Bo twisted around in his seat. Never
mind the rearview mirror; he needed to see this with his own eyes. Temporarily bereft of his guiding hand, the General Lee
leapt a corner, colliding with a newspaper stand. A short balding man threw himself out of the way as his livelihood exploded
into kindling. He popped back up onto his feet, gaping at the orange car as it sped away, newspapers flying behind it. Before
he could fully appreciate the scope of the disaster, a black sedan came screaming around the bend, further disintegrating
his stall and missing him by less than a foot.
The shop proprietor decided that discretion was the better part of valor
after all and quickly made himself discrete via the nearest doorway. It was a timely move on his part. The third cop
car to follow the General Lee up onto the sidewalk scraped a fair bit of paint off onto the stucco of the corner building,
and the fourth ended its part in the pursuit prematurely when it impacted with a delivery truck parked across the street.
Only the battered brown LTD following in the rear took that corner with anything approaching grace.
"Bo, will you watch where you're drivin'?" yelped Luke, as he scrambled into
the back seat, searching for what he knew had to be back there somewhere. He winced as a shot punched a spider webbed hole
in the back window, perilously close to the seat of his pants. "If Uncle Jesse could hear you cussin' like that, he'd have
you out to the woodshed so fast your hind end wouldn't know what hit it."
"But, they're shootin' at us!" Bo sounded panicked. "What're we gonna do,
Behind them, the black sedan had sprouted dark-suited mobsters out of its
windows, like bristles on a razorback hog, each one wielding a frighteningly large gun with seemingly endless ammunition.
And every one of them determined to stop the General Lee in its tracks, even if that meant blowing it to kingdom come.
It looks like the boys are in a tight spot! Hang loose y'all, because
the action is just starting to heat up. And I mean that in the most literal sense of the word.
Hutch gave the radio a puzzled glance. "Starsky, did you hear something?"
"What?" His partner was focused on driving.
"I could have sworn..." Hutch shook his head. For a moment there he thought
he'd heard the resonantly deep voice of Waylon Jennings, but that was impossible. Sure, he had occasionally tuned the
car radio to the country channel, but the only thing on right now was the police scanner. And what would Waylon be doing on
the BCPD's frequency, anyway?
Hutch dismissed the notion. He had bigger things to worry about at the moment,
and foremost among them was the look of astonished wonder currently plastered all over his partner's face.
The sound of trumpets in multi-note harmony floated back towards them, intercut
with horns and squealing tires, as the lead car in the chase charged through an intersection against the light.
"Hutch! Did'ya hear that? I want a horn like that!" A patrol car approaching
from the right broadsided another car as it tried to dodge around a stalled station wagon. Starsky wrenched the wheel to the
side, the rear of the LTD fishtailing as he narrowly avoided adding Hutch's car to the pileup.
Hutch yelped, "That's the first twelve notes of Dixie!" Fear entirely unrelated
to the argument leant a sharp edge to his voice.
Starsky thought he saw an opening in the cars ahead, but just as he was about
to accelerate through it, someone in a parked car opened his door directly into the traffic. The leading patrol car was unable
to avoid colliding with the door. The momentum of the car ripped the door from its hinges sending it flying back down the
road towards Starsky. He swerved to avoid the bouncing hunk of metal, and his opportunity to pass disappeared. He had the
briefest glimpse of an open-mouthed face inside the vehicle as they rocketed past.
He pretended to ignore the fact that Hutch's knuckles were turning white
clutching the dash, and forged ahead with the argument. "So? What's wrong with me having a neat horn like that?"
Could he really not know? Could he be that dense? Hutch began to splutter,
almost dumbstruck by the horrifying thought of driving around Bay City in the ultimate hick-mobile. "You're a Jewish guy from
New York!" He cringed at the thought of what Captain Dobey would have to say about it, the first time he heard Starsky honk
"Okay," said Starsky, amiably. "I'll get a horn with my own song." He reflected
that it was a very good thing the streets were quiet this early in the morning. Another patrol car had wiped out on the last
corner, in a spectacular roll that left the car belly up and smoking. That left just the last two patrol cars and himself.
With luck, he'd be able to get by them soon, and find out what on earth was so critical about that orange car that the goons
in the black sedan were willing to stage a high speed chase right through the middle of town, guns blazing.
Hutch groaned. "Like what?" I'm going to die. I'm going to end up smeared
all over this road and that'll be the end of me.
"Well, I don't know yet, but I'm sure I'll think of something." Starsky paused,
thoughtfully. "Maybe the William Tell Overture."
Something exploded on the road ahead of them. Hutch ducked, one arm shielding
his face as Starsky shouted, "Hi, Ho, Silver and Away!" and drove the LTD directly through the wall of flame that had suddenly
erupted in front of the car.
"Dang it, Luke! You missed 'em!"
Luke Duke was hanging out the side of the wildly swerving car, trying to
light the arrow clenched in his teeth. In his other hand he gripped a compound bow. As the dynamite lashed to the end of the
projectile began to sizzle, he fitted it to the bowstring and took aim.
"Well, I wouldn't be havin' so much trouble, if'n you'd jest quit weavin'
like an ol' black crow gone stone drunk on fermented blackberries!"
Judging the moment right, Luke released the arrow directly at the mobster's
engine. At the last moment however the black sedan lurched to the right and the arrow, rather than lodging in the grill, bounced
off the cracked headlight and landed in the road, where it exploded directly in front of the lead cop car. It skidded
off to the side as the driver frantically tried to dodge the detonation. A customer having coffee in the small cafe across
the street had only enough time to throw himself out of the way before the black and white crashed through the pane glass
window and into the counter at the far end.
"I'm only doin' as you told me, cousin! I'm conductin' evasive maneuvers!
But if you'd prefer, I can always just let them shoot us full of holes instead."
As the General Lee squealed around the next corner, Bo spotted an orange
sign propped up in some sandbags in the road just ahead of a set of sawhorses. Beyond that he could see workmen in yellow
hats, and an enormous hole directly across the street. It looked as if they were digging up the road and laying new pipe.
A truck was backing up to a pile of dirt, recently excavated by a backhoe.
"Luke, grab that sign!"
Hutch had slumped low in the passenger seat, both of his hands over his face,
though Starsky could see that he was still watching their progress through his fingers. In a muffled voice, he said, "The
car has become the carapace, the protective and aggressive shell of urban and suburban man."
"What are you talking about?" asked Starsky, flinching as another of those
projectiles exploded on the road ahead of him. What were those guys tossing? Grenades?
Squinting through the smoke he thought he saw someone leaning out of the
window of the orange car and it looked a hell of a lot like he was holding a bow, but that couldn't be right! This was the
modern era, not the old west. No one uses bows and arrows anymore.
Hutch's reply was strangled. "It's from this book I'm reading; Understanding
Media, by Marshall McLuhan. I think it's kind of apropos, don't you?"
"Appo-what?" He hit the button for the window blades, trying to clear some
of the brown smoke crud from the windshield. The blue fluid squirted upward with entirely too much force, almost completely
by passing the front windshield, and only one of the blades actually worked. Fortunately, however, it was the one directly
in front of the driver, or Starsky would have had to resort to hanging out the driver's side window in order to see where
he was going. The LTD went into a slide as he dragged it around the corner.
"Apropos. Meaning, it fits! This car; it protects us and it's also kind of
like a weapon." Hutch cringed as Starsky crowded the patrol car ahead of him to the side, pushing directly up behind the back
sedan. "Okay, a lot like a weapon!" He straightened abruptly and his voice shot up several registers. "Starsky, what're
you doing? Don't run over the good guys!"
"He's in my way!" Starsky leaned out of the window to shout at the puzzled
uniform next to him. "Where'd you learn to drive? Duluth?"
"You know, that really hurts," said Hutch, quietly. He wondered what temporary
insanity had possessed him to allow Starsky to drive his car in the first place.
"Well, anyway, I could'a told you all that stuff about cars. You don't need
some book to tell ya what's perfectly obvious." Starsky cut himself off, suddenly needing to give his entire attention to
the events unfolding in front of him.
The first thing Hutch saw was the orange car taking off right up into the
sky, in defiance of all the laws of gravity. That damned horn trumpeted again at the top of its arc. Construction workers
dove for cover as broken sawhorses spun off on either side.
The black sedan followed the orange car part way up the heap of sand and
gravel that had served as such an effective ramp, but the driver had hit it at the wrong angle. He lost control. Instead of
rising into the air in a graceful arc, the sedan slid sideways off the pile and plummeted nose first into a pit that appeared
to have opened up in the road in front of them for the express purpose of swallowing unwary vehicles.
The patrol car missed the pile altogether, instead coming to a screeching
halt as it slammed into the rear of the sedan, shoving it further into the hole in the ground.
Hutch honestly thought the nightmare was over then. It should have been over.
All Starsky had to do was put out an APB on the orange Dodge, and they could arrest the gunmen in the sedan. Nice, simple,
and perfectly safe, except that he now realized with horror that his partner was not stopping.
"Geronimo!" hollered Starsky as he angled the LTD right at the heap of rubble.
Gotta get this just right... Distantly he was aware that Hutch was screaming at him, but it was only a minor irritation.
His focus was complete.
The car took to the air beautifully. The arc off of the improvised ramp was
perfect. As the LTD's nose tipped forward and the road on the other side came into sight, Starsky suddenly realized that the
orange Dodge Charger had turned sideways and stopped in exactly the spot in which he needed to land. A pair of extremely startled
blue eyes under a mop of unruly blond hair stared up at him from the driver's window.
I might need a better carapace, thought Starsky, dismayed.
I can't look! Y'all just watch the rest of this and let me know how it
turns out. I'm out'a here.
Gravity pressed Hutch back into his seat, and his mind shrieked at him, gonna
die gonna die gonna die. Then without warning the ground leapt up to slam into the bottom of the car with kidney crushing
force. He heard Starsky's whoop over the metal crunching scream of the LTD as it skimmed the roof of the Dodge to land on
the road beyond.
"Did'ya see that, cousin? Some of them city slickers DO know how to drive!"
Luke straightened from his instinctive crouch and stared at the ugly brown
car that was now sliding into a bootleg turn further down the road, the dented nose coming back around to zero in on the two
of them. "Yeah, and they just about took the General's flag with them. Let's get out of here!"
Bo hit the gas, pulling straight forward down an alley, knocking over a neatly
stacked pile of boxes near the entrance. Brown cardboard bounced up onto the hood and then over the roof of the General Lee.
Luke glanced back and wasn't surprised to find the brown car following them. A box snagged on a wheel and was dragged
under. The driver controlled the resulting skid with expert precision, losing no speed.
"Bo, I think that there's a law enforcement officer!"
Bo glanced back over his shoulder, incidentally knocking over a trash can
in the process. "Ya sure? That don't look like no cop car to me."
"Well, what d'ya think they got that pretty flashing light up on top for,
if they ain't the law?" Luke gripped his bow tighter. There was no way he could shoot at a cop, at least not unless they shot
first. If he and his cousin were going to get out of this mess, they'd simply have to do it the old fashioned way, by outrunning
The alley opened up onto a roundabout in front of a large park. There were
more cars on the road here, and Bo decided he'd had enough of the demolition derby and headed for the open green space.
"You know what I think," said Luke, as Bo hit a curb with his left front
wheel and popped the General up onto the two right hand wheels for a brief time. "I think that's one of them there unmarked
Bo glanced back again, a dubious expression on his face. "Pretty ugly for
an undercover vehicle."
"Well, that's the point, ain't it? There's no one gonna look at that car
and think it's a cop car, now are they?" Luke paused as the General bounced back down onto all four wheels again. "What
d'ya say we show 'em what folks in Hazzard County consider real drivin'?"
"Did you see that, Hutch! Those guys really know how to drive!" Starsky
was agog over the distance the orange car had traveled on two wheels, and the smooth manner in which the driver had maintained
control the entire time.
"You're not doing that with my car!"
"Don't worry," said Starsky, sourly. "This junk heap of yours would probably
roll over on its back, show its belly, and die if I ever did."
What he wouldn't have given to be driving his own car right at that moment!
The Torino would have had no trouble catching these guys. It was sturdy and reliable and fast. Hutch's LTD on the other hand
was even now sending disturbing little shudders and gasps up through the floorboards. It clearly hadn't appreciated the leap
over the excavation in the street, and it was even unhappier to find itself being driven over the uneven grassy ground of
the park. Just hold it together a little longer, ya big ugly hunk of tin. We've almost got them.
Hutch flinched away from the open window as a branch whipped past, the tip
of it stinging his cheek. "Starsky, watch the trees!"
"Relax, buddy. A tree never hits an automobile, except in self-defense."
Now where were those guys headed? It looked like they were going straight towards the central pond, but that didn't make sense,
The orange car hit the smooth grassy knoll just in front of the pond and
gracefully flew over the water. Mallard ducks rose up from the clear blue water around it, their wings beating the air
so that it seemed for one shining moment as if the Dodge Charger had actually gained the power of flight. It was a beautiful
Much less attractive was the fate of the brown LTD, which had suffered entirely
enough abuse that day and decided to quit the race right at the top of the hill. It retained only enough momentum to send
it nose first directly into the pond.
A fountain of mud splashed up in all directions, and then settled. There
was silence in the car, as the two detectives stared dumbly at the vanishing orange car. Distantly they heard someone yell,
"Yeee-haw!" and then that horn victoriously played Dixie one final time.
Hutch was still sitting open mouthed and stunned, when Starsky suddenly kicked
the door open and bailed out. Shaking the water out of his hair, he sloshed through the knee high muck until he was standing
directly in front of the smoking, muddy, remains of the LTD. He paused a moment and then very deliberately he reached under
his arm, withdrew his pistol and pointed it at the crumpled hood of the car.
Abruptly back in the present, Hutch scrambled out on his side. "Starsky,
what do you think you're doing?"
"I hate your car!" shouted Starsky, his aim never wavering.
Hutch held his hands up, palms out, trying to placate his fuming partner.
"Look, just calm down..."
"If it weren't for this crap-brown coyote-ugly hunk of junk, I would of caught
them! I'm putting this piece of garbage out of its misery, right here and now!" Starsky chambered a round, the metallic sound
emphasizing the finality of his decision.
Hutch squeezed his eyes shut, braced in horrified anticipation of what had
to follow. But the shot never came. After a moment he slowly opened one eye followed shortly by the other as he realized that
Starsky had lowered his hand. He was now staring past Hutch with a look of intent curiosity on his face.
Hutch turned to see a blue and yellow-green panel van pull up and stop in
front of a run-down old mansion across the street from the park. There were garish red flowers painted on the sides, and bold
letters on the side of the vehicle announced it as the "Mystery Machine".
As they watched, a tall blond teenager hopped out of the van on the
driver's side, followed by an attractive redhead, and a somewhat short, plump brunette. A scruffy looking boy exited from
the back with a very large and gangly dog trailing behind him. They went into the house, the first three eagerly, the boy
and his dog bringing up the rear with obvious reluctance.
"What do you suppose they're doing in the old Miller house?" asked Starsky,
frowning. "That place has been abandoned for years."
"Look, let's just call a tow truck," said Hutch. All he wanted to do was
get back to the precinct and dry off. He gave his car a sympathetic pat on the roof. The poor thing... Blinking he spotted
something under the dash and realized that it was his book, floating in the water that had seeped into the car. He leaned
into the window to retrieve it.
Starsky could not be distracted. "I'll bet there're going to smoke up in
there. Did you see that shaggy kid? If I ever saw a dope fiend..."
"I don't know, and I don't care!" snapped Hutch, as he opened his book on
the roof of his car, gently spreading the pages so that they could dry in the sun.
It was no use. When he looked up again he saw that Starsky was already slogging
out of the pond, headed in the direction of the old Miller place. Resignedly, Hutch surrendered to the inevitable and followed
I once heard a wise man say; it takes more'n 1000 bolts to assemble an
automobile, but when you're done assemblin' it, it'll take just one nut to scatter that there vehicle all over the road. Or
to sink it to the bottom of a duck pond, for that matter. Them Duke boys evaded the law this time, but y'all can rest assured
this won't be the last time their paths will cross!
Hutch shook his head, and then slapped a hand against his ear. A little water
loosened, running down his neck. Hearing voices. He was definitely hearing voices. It had to be the stress...
~Cut to Credits~