Fotogramas No. 1650, March 25, 1981

Posted on 14th January 2021 in "Times Square"

Cover of Fotogramas no. 1650; March 25, 1981; Periodical; 30.2 x 21.5 cm; a Spanish film magazine containing an article on TIMES SQUARE (1980)

 

 

Two months before Times Square opened in Spain, the film magazine Fotogramas ran the same kind of promotional article we’ve seen in Mexico, Thailand, and Germany. The article contains nothing new, but four of the six stills from the film never appeared anywhere else as far as I know, including an almost unrecognizable close-up of Robin. It’s a shame they weren’t printed better.

TIMES SQUARE

EL MUSICAL DE LAS “TEEN-AGERS”

«Times Square» es el corazón de Manhattan, la isla donde se asienta parte de la fantástica urbe neoyorkina. También es el nombre del último musical producido por Robert Stigwood, en cuyo currículum profesional hay títulos teatrales como «Hair», «Jesús Christ Superstar», «Pippin», «Oh! Calcuttal», «Evita» y «Sweeney Todd», y cinematográficos como «Jesús Christ Superstar», «Tommy», «Fiebre del sábado noche», «Grease» y «Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band». Toda una garantía a la hora de presentar este último musical «Times Square».

La historia de la película puede reducirse a unas líneas: Nicky Marotta (Robín Johnson) y Pamela Pearl (Trini Alvarado) son dos adolescentes rebeldes, la primera un producto de la calle y la segunda de una familia influyente. Juntas escapan de sus habitaciones en un hospital psiquiátrico, se hacen con una ambulancia y comienzan una serie de aventuras salvajes en el corazón de Nueva York. Estas tienen su eco en la información que a través de toda una noche va dando el disc jockey Johnny Laguardia (Tim Curry), quien a través de las ondas las va animando convirtiéndolas en pequeñas celebridades de la noche a la mañana. Su escapada tiene una conclusión dramática en la fachada de un cine de Times Square, mientras desde la calle cientos de sus seguidores les rinden, identificados, su tributo.

En estos tiempos en que los «soundtracks» de películas se encuentran entre los discos más populares del mercado, el doble álbum de «Times Square» destaca como una antología de canciones interpretadas por algunos de los mejores artistas del «rock» de nuestros días: Suzi Quatro, The Pretenders, Roxy Music, Gary Numan, The Talkin Heads, Joe Jackson, Patti Smith, Lou Reed, The Ramones, Robín Gibb, etcétera.

A destacar también la presencia en el reparto del film de Trini Alvarado y Tim Curry. La primera, uno de los talentos juveniles a tener en cuenta del cine americano, debutó en «Rich Kids», un film producido por Robert Altman que dirigió Robert M. Young, el autor de «Short Eyes» y «Alambrista». Desgraciadamente y pese a lo interesante de su trabajo, nadie se ha acordado aún de distribuir este largo-metraje de Young en nuestro país. Volviendo a Trini, la chica es de origen portorriqueño, aunque de padre español. Profesionalmente se inició junto a sus padres, él guitarrista y ella bailarina, en una troupe flamenca antes de rebelarse como actriz en la obra «Runaways».

Tim Curry es más conocido entre nosotros. De su breve filmografía nos ha llegado al menos «The Rocky Horror Picture Show», donde interpretaba al protagonista, el loco y travestido «doctor».

Robín Johnson, 16 años, la coprotagonista femenina junto a Trini Alvarado, es una cara totalmente nueva que debuta en este film de Alan Moyle. Fue descubierta por un cazatalentos de la productora de Stigwood en las escalinatas de la Brooklyn Technological High School. Hasta entonces nunca había pasado por su cabeza la idea de dedicarse al cine.

TIMES SQUARE

THE MUSICAL OF THE “TEENAGERS”

“Times Square” is the heart of Manhattan, the island where part of the fantastic New York City sits. It is also the name of the latest musical produced by Robert Stigwood, in whose professional curriculum are theatrical titles such as “Hair”, “Jesus Christ Superstar”, “Pippin”, “Oh! Calcutta!”, “Evita” and “Sweeney Todd”, and movies such as “Jesus Christ Superstar”, “Tommy”, “Saturday Night Fever”, “Grease” and “Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band”. A guarantee when presenting this latest musical “Times Square”.

The story of the film can be reduced to a few lines: Nicky Marotta (Robín Johnson) and Pamela Pearl (Trini Alvarado) are two rebellious teenagers, the first a product of the street and the second from an influential family. Together they escape from their rooms in a psychiatric hospital, steal an ambulance and begin a series of wild adventures in the heart of New York. These are echoed in the information that through the entire night is given by the disc jockey Johnny Laguardia (Tim Curry), who through the airwaves is cheering them on, turning them into little celebrities overnight. Their escape has a dramatic conclusion on the marquee of a cinema in Times Square, while from the street hundreds of their followers pay them, now identified, their tribute.

In these times when the “soundtracks” of movies are among the most popular albums on the market, the double album of “Times Square” stands out as an anthology of songs interpreted by some of the best artists of current rock: Suzi Quatro, The Pretenders, Roxy Music, Gary Numan, The Talking Heads, Joe Jackson, Patti Smith, Lou Reed, The Ramones, Robin Gibb, and so on.

The cast also includes Trini Alvarado and Tim Curry. The first, one of the young talents to take into account of American cinema, debuted in “Rich Kids, a film produced by Robert Altman, directed by Robert M. Young, the author of “Short Eyes” and “Alambrista”. Unfortunately and despite the interest of his work, no one has yet agreed to distribute this full-length film of youth in our country. Returning to Trini, the girl is of Puerto Rican origin, although with a Spanish father. Professionally she started with her parents, he a guitarist and she a dancer, in a flamenco troupe before breaking out as an actress in the play “Runaways”.

Tim Curry is better known to us. From his brief filmography we have at least “The Rocky Horror Picture Show”, where he played the protagonist, the crazy transvestite “doctor”.

Robín Johnson, 16, the female co-star with Trini Alvarado, is a totally new face who debuts in this film by Alan Moyle. She was discovered by a scout from the Stigwood production company on the steps of Brooklyn Technological High School. Until then, the idea of working in films had never crossed her mind.

 

 

Times Square : el musical de las “teen-agers” (article (AAT ID: 300048715));
Fotogramas No. 1650, March 25, 1981, Spain (monthly (publication) (AAT ID: 300311879))
30 x 21.5 cm; 64 p. (work);
Fotogramas no 1650 1981-03-25 cover 1080px.jpg
1080 px (H) x 770 px (W), 96 dpi, 569 kb
Fotogramas no 1650 1981-03-25 p56-57_1080px.jpg
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Fotogramas no 1650 1981-03-25 p58_1080px.jpg
1080 px (H) x 760 px (W), 96 dpi, 521 kb
Fotogramas no 1650 1981-03-25 p56_photo_1_of_6_800px.jpg
610 px (H) x 800 px (W), 96 dpi, 411 kb
Fotogramas no 1650 1981-03-25 p56_photo_2_of_6_800px.jpg
800 px (H) x 499 px (W), 96 dpi, 332 kb
Fotogramas no 1650 1981-03-25 p56_photo_3_of_6_800px.jpg
800 px (H) x 504 px (W), 96 dpi, 328 kb
Fotogramas no 1650 1981-03-25 p56_photo_4_of_6_800px.jpg
414 px (H) x 800 px (W), 96 dpi, 302 kb
Fotogramas no 1650 1981-03-25 p56_photo_5_of_6_800px.jpg
661 px (H) x 800 px (W), 96 dpi, 483 kb
Fotogramas no 1650 1981-03-25 p56-57_800px.jpg
528 px (H) x 800 px (W), 96 dpi, 310 kb
(images)
 

 

©1981 FOTOGRAMAS
Times Square ©1980 StudioCanal/Canal+

 

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Times Square promotional t-shirt, c. October 1980

Posted on 5th December 2020 in "Times Square"

TIMES SQUARE promotional t-shirtTIMES SQUARE promotional t-shirt, back

 

 

 

Never sold at retail, as far as I can determine, this t-shirt would have been distributed to radio stations and theater owners to be given away as prizes along with free tickets and passes like the buttons were, or perhaps just as gifts for the DJs to make them a bit more inclined to play songs from the soundtrack and maybe mention there was a movie involved, like the mirror had been.

 

 

 

Either way, this was the extent of the Times Square clothing line. I used to have two more of these, both size “small” (and thus impossible for me to even consider wearing), one without the “I’m a damn dog!” on the back. One I gave to a friend, I think, and the other just disappeared over the years. Another friend once told me that she’d found a sweatshirt with these same decorations, but I never saw it for myself.

 

This one is a “large”, and I don’t know if it’s shrunk over the years, or if t-shirt sizes are just more generous than they used to be, but I generally wear a “medium” nowadays and this “large” shirt fits me like a spandex superhero costume. Not completely unflattering, as long as I don’t breathe in or sit down, but bloody difficult to take off without stretching it out of shape.

 

The eagle-eyed among you may have noticed there’s no Robin content in this post. I am 100% certain she never owned one of these, and would never have been caught dead wearing one.

 

 

[TIMES SQUARE promotional t-shirt] (T-shirt AAT ID: 300209903)
black ; cotton ; size Large ; 65 cm long x 42 cm wide
text on front: TIMES SQUARE™ | AFD | ©1980 Associated Film Distribution
text on back: “I’M A DAMN DOg!”
934 px (W) x 1080 px (H), 96 dpi, 235 KB (image of front)
960 px (W) x 1080 px (H), 96 dpi, 268 KB (image of back)

 

Times Square ©1980 StudioCanal/Canal+

 

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Times Square trailer, U.S. version

Posted on 17th October 2020 in "Times Square"
“Words cannot express the sheer unbelievability of this …”

 

I’m nowhere near ready to post this. I wanted to have the best possible picture, and a post that had something a little more weighty to say about it… but it’s the 40th anniversary of Times Square’s general release today, and the 4K Blu-ray we were told was coming hasn’t appeared… so, happy anniversary.

As far as I know, with the exception of a select few people (myself not among them), this hasn’t been seen since Times Square’s initial run on cable TV. Starting about a minute in, it’s a very different edit from the later UK trailer that appeared on the Anchor Bay DVD in 2000. The most important difference is, this one contains the only surviving bit of the legendary lost footage, a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it second of Nicky and Pammy splashing in the Hudson River on the Jersey side, with the George Washington Bridge in the background. I vividly remember watching every showing of Times Square on HBO, wondering how I kept missing that scene… it took years to figure out.

This also doesn’t quite match up to my memory of the trailer as I saw it on HBO, so it’s possible there was a special cable edit too… but it’s more likely that my memory of 39 years ago isn’t entirely trustworthy, especially since I’ve established that Times Square wasn’t shown on HBO in 1981. It was on The Movie Channel.

I may upload an improved version of this at some point, with some actual discussion about it. But for now, I give you the American trailer for Times Square:

 

 

Times Square ©1980 StudioCanal/Canal+

 

comments: 1 » tags: , , ,

A face of the 80’s

Posted on 16th August 2020 in "Times Square"

UK poster advertising Robin Johnson as the star of TIMES SQUARE, using the artwork from the UK poster. Most of the Times Square posters have some identifying information on them — a copyright notice, the film’s local distributor, a code number — but not this one, so we have to go on what’s on it.

The logo and the artwork are from the UK movie poster, which was also (the artwork at least) used across Europe. The text is in English, and the AA is a now-replaced British Board of Film Censors rating. (Also, I got this item from a seller in England. Back in April. Current events kept me from doing anything with it until recently.) So I think I’m safe saying that what we have here is a piece of British Times Square promotion, probably produced by EMI Films, almost certainly in early 1981, basically pushing Robin Johnson’s status as Robert Stigwood’s “female Travolta.” As we’ve seen, starting from almost the second the film was released, the promotion tactics became focused ever more closely on its third-billed star, a situation that would continue around the world for the next two years. And in my opinion, an unfortunate victim of this strategy was Robin herself, as the unflichingly honest criticisms she gave of the movie in her interviews caused RSO to reappraise her value, ultimately deciding that her willingness to trash their product in public outweighed her talents as an actress in that product, causing RSO never to cast her in anything again, while simultaneously keeping her under contract so she couldn’t use her obvious abilities in the service of some other film company to compete against Robin-less RSO projects. Again, in my opinion.

So much for a face of the 80s. But even more to the point… that’s an illustration. It isn’t really her face. Obviously the illustration by poster artist Cummins was used so people would make the connection between this poster and the movie poster, but still… Maybe if I find the time I’ll doctor up a version of what I think this poster should have looked like.

If anyone cares, the image here isn’t really an accurate representation of what the actual physical object looks like, because I’ve cleaned it up so much. It is a good representation of what you’d see if you were looking at the poster, though.

 

Would you like to know more?

Times Square U.K. Movie Poster
Times Square Movie Poster, Belgium
Locandina Times Square (Movie Poster, Italy)
“Toda la Basca!” … a Times Square – Times Square movie poster, Spain

 

 

Robin Johnson – a face of the 80’s
poster, AAT ID: 300027221
30″ (H) x 40″ (W)
Inscription:
ROBIN JOHNSON
a face of the 80’s
starring in
TIMES SQUARE
AA
(work)

Robin_Johnson_UK_promo_poster_1981_1080px.jpg
1442 px (W) x 1080 px (H), 96 dpi, 359 kb (image)

 

Times Square ©1980 StudioCanal/Canal+

 

Mick Rock

Posted on 1st August 2020 in "Times Square"

On June 1, 2016, Mick Rock did a signing for the “unlimited” edition of his book, The Rise of David Bowie, at Taschen in New York City, and I went.

Of course I got an autographed book, but I also took the opportunity to ask him about the photos of Robin I’ve been theorizing he took at the same time as the back cover of the soundtrack album.
 

I showed him a page with the four photos printed on it, and there ensued a conversation that went more or less like this:

Q: Could I ask you a quick question?

A: Yeah. I don’t know that I can answer it…

Q: I know you took the first photo here. Did you take the other three as well? I know this is yours.

A: How do you know that? But it is mine.

Q: Because on the back of the album, it says, “Photo by Mick Rock.”

A: Oh, yeah, yeah, not many people now even know about the film Times Square.

Q: I’m the one.

A: No, I did take that one. Very good, I haven’t had it come up in years.

Q: Did you take these others?

A: No…

Q: Because these are the only ones where she’s got that guitar. And it is —

A: I could have… no, I shot them both together. That was a long time ago… They paid me a lot of money…

ASSISTANT: Just take the credit!

SECOND ASSISTANT: Take the credit for it!

ASSISTANT: Yes.

A: [laughs] Anyway.

ASSISTANT: “Is it rubbish? It’s good? It’s mine!”

A: [laughs]

Q: Thank you very much.

So I guess we still don’t have a definitive answer, and won’t unless someone else manages to get one from him, or he finds and releases the originals from his archive. But he certainly seemed to be leaning in that direction, and so I feel more certain than ever that these shots, and any more that might possibly turn up, of Robin in her “Aggie Doon’s debut” outfit, and with that Kent guitar, and any shots that may surface of Trini in the poncho she wears during the final sequence that aren’t obviously shot during filming, were all shot by Mick Rock in a session that yielded the back cover of the soundtrack album, and for which he was paid a lot of money.

Me and Mick Rock

Your humble narrator with the man himself. If he had taken the photo, I might have looked cool too.

 

Would you like to know more?

From The Original Motion Picture Soundtrack TIMES SQUARE (songbook)
Times Square UK Press Kit (post 4 of 4)
Nicky Marotta in Limbo
Filmstar, Vol 1 No. 3, Thailand, August 1981

 
 

From The Original Motion Picture Soundtrack TIMES SQUARE [detail, back cover]
0049_01_detail_800px-1.jpg
564px (W) × 800px (H), 96dpi, 239 kb (image)
Photo by Mick Rock
©1980 Chappell & Co.

 
[TIMES SQUARE UK Press Kit photo a]
TIMES-SQUARE-UK-Press-Kit-photo_a_1080px.jpg
1080 px (H) x 864 px (W), 96 dpi, 154 kb (image)

 
[Nicky with Her Kent]
8 in (H) x 10 in (W) (work);
862 px (H) x 1080 px (W), 96 dpi, 338 kb (image)

1979/1980
inscription: [on reverse:] [handwritten in blue ink:] D+P. EAST 170 mm deep x 115 mm wide PA77
[handwritten in black ink:] ROBIN JOHNSON. 20
[stamped in black:] DEREK AND PAT EAST COLLECTION

 
Filmstar Vol. 1 No. 3, 15 August 1981, back cover (magazine (periodical), AAT ID: 300215389)
25.9 x 18.9 cm. (work);
Filmstar Vol 1 No 3_back_cover_1080px.jpg
1080 px (H) x 777 px (W), 96 dpi, 679 kb
(image)

 

Times Square ©1980 StudioCanal/Canal+

 

[THE RISE OF DAVID BOWIE, front cover], [Mick Rock’s autograph], photographed by Sean Rockoff, July 26, 2020
 
[Me and Mick Rock], photographed by one of Mick Rock’s assistants, possibly an employee at Taschen Store New York… now permanently closed… thank you for your service…

 

tl;dr: Broken image links…?

Posted on 11th March 2020 in Administrivia

I don’t think anyone actually reads these, but just in case…

As I may have mentioned before, I’ve filled up all the storage space on this account with pictures. Actually, there seems to a periodic fluctuation between being slightly over my allotted quota and being at about 80%; I don’t know what accounts for that. I know it’s not saved logs because I tried deleting them and it made only a negligible difference.

Anyway, once I’m over quota, I can’t upload anything new. Even worse, I can’t update the WordPress software running the site. I can only take advantage of those few moments when the amount of storage used drops down by itself. I’ve tried deleting old jpegs from the archived Old Site and linking to the new versions in WordPress, but there aren’t enough of them to make a difference.

Worst, my webhost has a fixed set of tiered services that they can’t deviate from. To go from the plan I’m on now to next highest would be at least four times as expensive as what I’m on now. I could shop around for a new host, but I like these guys. They’re a small business and have been extremely responsive whenever I’ve had a problem, but unfortunately that smallness seems to come with a lack of flexibility in pricing.

So this current time my storage has dropped low enough for me to make changes to the site, I installed an add-on that lets me serve images from Google Cloud. I already know it works for new items because that’s where the photos from my last post are coming from. I’m going to try moving the jpegs from all the old posts there next, but I don’t know how well that will work, since I tend to link to images directly from the text of posts. So, like the title of this post says, a lot of image links may break. If that happens, please let me know, but don’t complain about it unless you’re willing to pay me to fix them.

Then I’ll see what the Google bill is. I may yet have to find another webhost.

comments: 2 » tags: , , ,

Star of Pacific, Thailand, September 1981

Posted on 8th March 2020 in "Times Square"

Star of Pacific, Thailand, Sept 1981 cover
Times Square opened in Thailand in August 1981, but here’s a Thai magazine celebrating Robin in September. This was followed by Filmstar Vol. 1 No. 6 that featured a Thai translation of an interview with Robin that had appeared in Seventeen Magazine in October 1980. Did Times Square play in Thailand for three months?
 

Star of Pacific has no article, but page 49 features Robin on one of a number of full-page color celebrity pin-ups.Robin Johnson poster on p. 49 of Thai celebrity magazine "Star of Pacific" Sept. 1981 The main image was used in the first set of UK lobby cards, as the Mexican lobby card, and in the Japanese souvenir program book. The inset was also used in the Japanese program book as well as on a promotional flyer, and was also a UK lobby card, printed in Film Review Vol 31 No 1, in January 1981, and was one of the shots used for the Mexican movie poster.
 

My copy would appear to have been printed at the same facility that produced my copy of the Australian movie poster, in that the color registration is off, producing an annoying out-of-focus effect. Most annoyingly, this is the only page suffering from this defect. Fortunately for us all, there’s been a properly printed copy at DefeatedandGifted’s Times Square Fandom for ten years.

 

Would you like to know more?

Times Square UK Lobby Cards, 1st Set (post 3 of 4)
Times Square UK Lobby Cards, 1st Set (post 4 of 4)
Film Review, Vol. 31 No. 1, January 1981
Times Square Program Book, Japan, June 1981 (post 1 of 5)
Times Square Program Book, Japan, June 1981, pages 20-24 (post 4 of 5)
Times Square promotional flyer, Japan, 1981
Guerreras de Nueva York (Times Square lobby card, Mexico, 1981)
Guerreras de Nueva York (Times Square movie poster, Mexico, 1981)
Times Square movie poster, Australia, February 1981

 

 

Star of Pacific, September 1981, pp. 1 and 49 (magazine (periodical), AAT ID: 300215389)
29 x 21.5 cm. (work);
Star of Pacific Sept 1981 cover 1080px.jpg
1080 px (H) x 796 px (W), 96 dpi, 515 kb
Star of Pacific Sept 1981 poster scan7 1080px.jpg
778 px (H) x 1080 px (W), 96 dpi, 439 kb
(images)
 
Times Square ©1980 StudioCanal/Canal+

 

Robin Johnson, signing autographs, late 1980

Posted on 17th October 2019 in "Times Square"

Robin Johnson signing autographs, approximately late 1980

 

 

“I’m convinced that if I do this long enough, I’ll have to start laying low in public, to endure the intrusion of strangers asking for autographs. I deeply admire Bette Midler, but I would never dare to ask her for an autograph; I wouldn’t bother her with nonsense like that.”
     — Robin Johnson, August 1981

 

 

 

Okay, this is the last item I’ve yet found dating from Times Square’s theatrical run, which started 39 years ago today.

I’ve been unable to find out anything about the photographer David Loar.

 

 

 

 


[Robin Johnson signing autographs], [approximately October-December 1980] : color slide, AAT ID: 300128366 : 35mm
inscription: [on mount] [printed on screen side:] COLOR TRANSPARENCY
[stamped on view side:] © DAVID LOAR
HOLLYWOOD PHOTO
[handwritten in pen:] Robin Johnson
[3?] (work)
1980_35mm_slide_David_Loar_01_1080px_a.jpg
1080 px (H) x 749 px (W), 96 dpi, 216 kb (image)
 
© David Loar
Times Square ©1980 StudioCanal/Canal+

 

Times Square UK Lobby Cards, 1st Set (post 4 of 4)

Posted on 5th October 2019 in "Times Square"

The final cards from the first set of UK lobby cards. These are the last of the items I have that were released contemporaneously with Times Square’s original release, so I’m going to take a bit of a break after this before continuing with the rest of Robin’s brief acting career. It seems right anyway, doesn’t it? After all, she took an (unwilling) three year break after Times Square. I should be back well before that.

 

Card #13, the WJAD staff dragging Nicky away from the mic, was used in the second set of UK lobby cards, on an Italian lobby poster, and on a Yugoslavian lobby card poster.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pammy watching Nicky sing “Damn Dog” atop the Times Square Theatre marquee was similarly used in the second UK set of cards and on a Yugoslavian lobby card poster. It didn’t make to Italy though, apparently.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The crowd of Sleez Kidz blocking 42nd Street, looking at Nicky and Pammy, as Simon and JoJo watch from the marquee of the Apollo Theater with half a Blondell visible next to them, was later used on a German lobby card, with a wider crop revealing all of Billy Mernit.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And the final card made its only other appearance, as far as I know, on the Mexican poster for Guerreras de Nueva York.

 

 

[TIMES SQUARE UK lobby cards, set 1, 13-16 of 16]
UK : lobby cards : AAT ID: 300208593 : 28 x 36 cm. : 1981 (works);
Times_Square_UK_lobby_card_series_1_13_1080px.jpg
837 x 1080 px, 96 dpi, 499 kb
Times_Square_UK_lobby_card_series_1_14_1080px.jpg
841 x 1080 px, 96 dpi, 447 kb
Times_Square_UK_lobby_card_series_1_15_1080px.jpg
841 x 1080 px, 96 dpi, 507 kb
Times_Square_UK_lobby_card_series_1_16_1080px.jpg
839 x 1080 px, 96 dpi, 546 kb (images)

 

Times Square ©1980 StudioCanal/Canal+

 

New Times Square digital transfer

Posted on 22nd September 2019 in "Times Square"

Kino Lorber announced yesterday a new 4K digitization of Times Square for release in 2020. Rumors of an impending blu-ray release have abounded for years; this time, I believe it.