Everybody knows Starsky’s sweater – the bulky white one that Paul Michael Glaser bought in the Mexican market on Olvera Street, LA, some time before he auditioned for Starsky’s role in 1974. Let’s get the few episodes he actually wears it in out of the way, and then dwell on the details of this fluffy favorite!
Starsky wears it in:
00-00 The Pilot
01-12 Terror on the Docks
(+ a sighting of an early studio promo photo in Murder at Sea)
Many fans dream of a sweater exactly like Starsky’s. There are people who make and sell replicas. Some fans get lucky on eBay and the like. There’s a vintage Sirdar knitting pattern (not accurate copy, just similar style) for crafty people.
I’m not very good at knitting, so I won’t make any technical comments here. Those who know that stuff will probably see how the sweater is constructed simply by studying the details in the photos here (I do know it’s done as double knit, so that the inside looks the same as the outside, as you can just about see in the first photo below, by Starsky’s right hand). The colorwork pattern is easy enough to copy, and I have done that. Click on the image to view it larger. Feel free to use the pattern in any projects: don’t limit your imagination to a sweater (I made myself Starsky style socks with this pattern).
However, the above colorwork is a straightened, symmetrical version. If you want to be truly faithful to the original, pay attention! One important thing is that main decorative pattern with the black and grey Vs. In the replicas I’ve seen, it’s always reproduced in a logical, symmetrical way, but there are fun “mistakes” in the original sweater:
Firstly, look at those V-patterns on the sweater and the black and grey lines above and below them. The colors are not in the same order in all the pieces of the sweater. On the sleeves and the right front panel, they are arranged one way (the black line is on top and the upside-down Vs are grey), and on the back piece and the left front panel in another way (the grey line is on top and the upside-down Vs are black).
Secondly, if you really, really want a headache, start looking at the wavy patterns above and below the V’s. The Vs aren’t neatly centered with the waves, as you might assume, and it looks to me like on the sleeves the patterns are aligned differently than on the back and front pieces. To top this madness off, not even the top/bottom waves are aligned in any fixed way! Everything moves!
Once you see these quirks, you cannot unsee them, and even the finest replicas suddenly seem somehow tame… I’d love to see one that takes every little detail into account! Additionally, an authentic Starsky sweater should have numerous holes and snags in it. Look at the state of that poor thing!
P.S. The sweater had its own stunt double: