Times Square Press Folder

Posted on 30th March 2015 in "Times Square"
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At least that’s what it was called when I got it. It’s only a folder though in the sense that it’s folded, not that it contained something else like the press kits which have pockets to hold papers and photos. This is just a big piece of heavy glossy stock, folded over.


It’s not really a “press” folder, either. It looks like promotion to theater owners, to get them to book the film. I’m not an authority on film publicity; if you know a technical term for this kind of object, please leave a comment!

One thing is for sure, though — this was created, like the articles in my last few posts, before the advertising campaign had been designed. The outside is an extremely cool yet rather anonymous collage of Times Square by night, and most of the photos inside are not the ones used later for publicity. The background image is a collage of the collage with a photo that will turn up in black and white in the press kit. The last image at the bottom right is a cropped version of the one I talked about here, which got used a lot. The shot of the concert in Times Square and the close-up of Nicky will both later appear in the Songbook, I think. The close-up of Tim Curry looks like it was taken a second before or after the photo that was printed in black and white in The Aquarian and Prevue. The other pictures may be unique to this folder.

Ironically, the image of the girls with the “Times Square-42nd St.” sign superimposed over them was, as we’ve seen, taken on the corner of 8th Avenue and 50th Street.

The text… well, judge for yourself. It misspells Nicky’s name “Nikki.” Lots of people do that, sure, but, but, no. She spells her first name “Nicky.” The film isn’t even out yet, and it looks like someone may be worried she’s not girly enough.

ROBERT STIGWOOD
PRESENTS
TIMES SQUARE

AFD
Associated
Film Distribution

Robert Stigwood, whose multimedia touch produced such movie-record super hits as “Grease”… “Tommy”… “Saturday Night Fever”… and “Jesus Christ Superstar”… will now usher in a new wave of youthful excitement:
TIMES SQUARE

Set in the neon nerve center of young New York. Crammed with colorful, careening characters. Ablaze with the light of a million midnight suns. Tuned to a furious rock beat… amps up… full power on. The new wave. It’s called:
TIMES SQUARE

It’s about the most rollicking runaways since Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn. Pammy Pearl… bright… pretty… shy of love… from a Fifth Avenue penthouse overlooking the park. Nikki Marotta… tough… funny… hooked on dreams… from the mean streets of the east Village.

They’ve ridden a wild river called 42nd Street. Now, they’re hiding on the exciting, eccentric, busy dizzy, dangerous island that’s Times Square.

Half the city is hunting for them. The other half is cheering for them… to stay “lost.” The only one who knows their whereabouts is all-night disc jockey Johnny La Guardia, perched in a skyscraper studio, playing their song. And he won’t tell.

Because any moment now… Pammy and Nikki will reappear as the spectacular “Sleaze Sisters”… to stop traffic… live their dreams… and turn on the whole town.
TIMES SQUARE

It’s a dazzling youth-market-musical that will pack theatres this October… like TIMES SQUARE on New Year’s Eve.
Get in on the action…
TIMES SQUARE

©1980 Associated
Film Distribution

By popular demand (meaning Deb asked), here are close-ups of the inside pictures. Their actual size is pretty close to the thumbnails below, so the gallery will give a good view of the individual pixels.

 

 

“Robert Stigwood presents Times Square”
12 in (H) x 18 in (W) (folded) (work);
1080 px (W) x 718 px (H), 96 dpi, 525 kb (outside image)
1080 px (W) x 721 px (H), 96 dpi, 647 kb (inside image)

 

Times Square ©1980 StudioCanal/Canal+

 

Post edited on 4 April 2015 to add the detail image gallery.

Times Square isn’t a punk picture”

Posted on 21st March 2015 in "Times Square"
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Cover of Mediascene Prevue 42, Vol 2 No 2, Sep-Oct 1980
 
Magazines are dated ahead by their publishers to try to keep them on the stands longer than their competitors. The date on a magazine usually refers to when it is supposed to be replaced by the next issue, not when it actually comes out. Anyway, although this issue of Prevue was probably still current when Times Square opened in October 1980, “Musicals” by Jim Burns is another case of an article having been written months before publication, before Associated Film Distributors and RSO has designed their marketing plan.

The two photos accompanying the article are the same ones that had been used by The Aquarian back in April, although they’re cropped differently: there’s more of Robin and Trini, and a bit less of Tim. Along with the shot of Nicky with microphone in the Cleo Club, these were the first images released to the press, but they weren’t included later in the official press kit.Photo of  Pammy and Nicky in the WJAD studio From: Mediascene Prevue Vol No 2, Sep/Oct 1980, p 16

The article describes Times Square as a product of Robert Stigwood’s media powerhouse, but also features Allan Moyle defending what remained of his original vision for perhaps the last time in the press: “Times Square isn’t a punk picture,” he says. “The girls’ particular rebellion or societal anger has to do with their own little heads. They’re not making any statement; they’re just two runaways.”

That much is certainly true: Times Square was not conceived as a story that takes place within an environment where New Wave rock is actively being created, as opposed to films like Breaking Glass (1980) and Ladies and Gentlemen, the Fabulous Stains (1982) (but shot mostly in 1980), where the main characters deliberately set out to start bands and are surrounded by other bands. If it had been, the location would probably have been moved to CBGBs and the title changed to The Bowery. Nicky’s spirit and determination to do everything herself at whatever cost, however, fit in perfectly with punk’s DIY ethos.

Mediascene Prevue Vol No 2, Sep/Oct 1980, p 17
 
But he then goes on to say, “New Wave music was in our script from the very beginning, before we had had any contact with the Stigwood Organization. The music is keyed to the texture of the screenplay.” Although we don’t know exactly when the soundtrack became a vehicle for New Wave music, we do know that in the original script the soundtrack was Classic Rock, Adult Contemporary, Disco, and Oldies. The closest thing to New Wave was “Sweet Jane” by the Velvet Underground. While it is entirely possible that Moyle and Jacob Brackman had started changing the music before Stigwood got his hands on the script, I believe that changing the focus of the soundtrack was Stigwood’s idea. It was a deliberate attempt to cater to a new segment of the market; as much of the publicity material says, to make a New Wave Saturday Night Fever. It may have been a cynical business-driven move, but it improved the film no end. Although it does create the strange situation of New Wave music being everywhere while there are almost no visible signs of the city’s vibrant punk scene that hadn’t yet started to fade.

Mediascene Prevue Vol No 2, Sep/Oct 1980, p 19

Finally, the article states, “Despite Moyle’s claim that Times Square isn’t a ‘punk picture,’ the film’s soundtrack will offer seven New Wave songs, including Desmond Child and Rouge’s ‘The Night is Not,’ Tom Petty’s ‘Refugee’ and Talking Heads’ ‘Life During Wartime.'” That one sentence contains three facts proving how long before publication it was written. First: Allan Moyle had not yet been fired for refusing to cut scenes in order to accommodate more music. Second: seven New Wave songs? The final soundtrack album contains 20 songs, at least 12 of which are New Wave (depending on how much of a pedant you are over the definition of “New Wave”), plus one more song that didn’t make the album. So, this was also before Stigwood had the idea to produce a double-album, thus necessitating the cuts to add more music. And third: Tom Petty? Again with the Tom Petty? Now I dimly remember that when “Refugee” first came out, Tom Petty was marketed as being something of a New Wave act (although of course he wasn’t), and “Refugee” does seem to be a good thematic fit for Times Square, but why were they so insistent for so long that it was going to feature in the soundtrack? Might it have had something to do with Robert Stigwood putting Bill Oakes and Jimmy Iovine in charge of assembling the soundtrack? Jimmy Iovine, who in 1979 co-produced Tom Petty’s Damn the Torpedoes album? That album came out as Times Square started shooting. The single reached #15 in January 1980. It probably seemed like an obvious and easy choice for Iovine to shepherd a cross-promotion deal with a major motion picture whose soundtrack he was putting together. Luckily for all of us, though, the deal fell through. I like “Refugee” but it belongs on the Times Square soundtrack even less than “Help Me!”

tl;dr: “Does Times Square merely use New Wave in the same way that Stigwood highlighted disco in Saturday Night Fever?” the article asks. The answer at the time: Not yet, but just you wait.

(One last piece of evidence of how early the article was written: RSO hadn’t yet removed one of the L’s from Allan Moyle’s first name.)

Here’s the Times Square material from the article, so you don’t have to strain your eyes:

Some upcoming features which offer new artists include Heading for Broadway (starring Rex Smith and co-scripted, directed and produced by Joseph Brooks (You Light Up My Life)), Idolmaker (based on the life of Bob Marcucci, the rock entrepreneur who discovered Fabian and Frankie Avalon, with music by Jeff Barry and Hall and Oates), Rude Boy (starring The Clash), The Apple (a science-fiction musical set in 1994), Running Hot (a Smokey and the Bandit-type film about a female rock trio heading cross-country to Los Angeles where they hope to find success, starring Hot), and the Robert Stigwood Organization’s (Saturday Night Fever, Grease) Times Square.

The latter relates the adventures of two teenage runaways — Pamela, a shy, inhibited girl whose wealthy father, a city commissioner, is directing a Times Square rehabilitation program, and Nicky, a rebellious street delinquent — who evolve into singing stars on their adopted home of Manhattan’s 42nd Street. The film showcases the actresses portraying the runaways: Trini Alvarado (Pamela), who debuted in Robert Altman’s Rich Kids, and newcomer Robin Johnson (Nicky). But just how important could Times Square be to their careers?

“Trini Alvarado is already very well established. Somebody looking for her type would find out about her within a matter of phone calls in the feature film world,” says Times Square’s director, Allan Moyle (Montreal Main, The Rubber Gun). “But Robin Johnson, a complete unknown, has the more glamorous role. I mean, she’s Jimmy Dean. It was a potential problem to give such a heavy role to a novice. Robert Stigwood and I did not see eye-to-eye on that decision at all. He didn’t want to send the picture down the tubes with an unknown. I wanted to take the chance, because Robin’s a natural with a great, gruff singing voice. Robert now agrees that when Times Square is released, Robin Johnson is going to explode.”

As Times Square progresses, the runaways’ story is promoted by Johnny Laguardia, a DJ who “eggs Pamela and Nicky on, turning them into minor media celebrities.” Laguardia is portrayed by Tim Curry, famous for his role as the transsexual alien, Dr. Frank N. Furter, in The Rocky Horror Picture Show.

Towards Times Square’s finale, Pamela and Nicky give an illegal concert above a 42nd Street theater marquee as “The Sleaze Sisters,” a high-style version of bag ladies. Inspiring others to “reject the plastic culture and go sleaze,” hundreds of teen-age girls arrive at the concert dressed as “Sleaze Sisters.” Undoubtedly, critics will perceive them as a parody of New Wave culture.

Times Square isn’t a punk picture,” Moyle counters. “The girls’ particular rebellion or societal anger has to do with their own little heads. They’re not making any statement; they’re just two runaways. We don’t spoof New Wave either. Pamela and Nicky are dead serious about their trip.”

Despite Moyle’s claim that Times Square isn’t a “punk picture,” the film’s soundtrack will offer seven New Wave songs, including Desmond Child and Rouge’s The Night is Not, Tom Petty’s Refugee and Talking Heads’ Life During Wartime. The movie’s score indicates Hollywood’s apparent desire to popularize New Wave music.

If New Wave rock does become the next multi-million-dollar music trend, won’t that automatically make punk rockers hypocrites, since the underlying core of the so-called “New Wave mores” is anti-establishment?

“It’s an unfortunate cycle,” [Lech] Kowalski agrees. “That’s essentially what happened to the Sex Pistols. They couldn’t handle the potential monster they created both financially and artistically. There are a lot of producers looking for the next massive cultural phenomenon they can exploit. For the moment, it’s New Wave. It’s a self-destruct situation. That’s why my film’s called D.O.A.—Dead on Arrival.”

Kowalski’s attack on exploitative producers could be directed at the moguls behind any film featuring New Wave music. Most suspect, however, is Robert Stigwood’s and Allan Moyle’s Times Square. Does Times Square merely use New Wave in the same way that Stigwood highlighted disco in Saturday Night Fever, or does the film remain true to New Wave ethics?

“Look, American New Wave politics are a hoot, because it’s all art students slumming,” says Allan Moyle, “but the music does have that special new feeling. New Wave music was in our script from the very beginning, before we had had any contact with the Stigwood Organization. The music is keyed to the texture of the screenplay.”

 

 

Burns, Jim. “Musicals.” Mediascene Prevue Vol. 2 No. 2, Sept.-Oct. 1980: 12-19. Print.

 

Mediascene_Prevue_42_Vol_2_No_2_Sep-Oct_1980_p1_auto_crop_1080.jpg (cover)
9 in (W) x 12 in (H), 72 pp (work);
1080 px (H) x 811 px (W), 96 dpi, 575 kb (image)

 

Prevue2-2p16_1080px.jpg (detail from p. 16)
1080 px (H) x 880 px (W), 96 dpi, 556 kb (image)

 

Prevue2-2p17_1080px.jpg (p. 17)
9 in (W) x 12 in (H) (work);
1080 px (H) x 806 px (W), 96 dpi, 608 kb (image)

 

Prevue2-2p19_1080px.jpg (p. 19)
9 in (W) x 12 in (H) (work);
1080 px (H) x 806 px (W), 96 dpi, 628 kb (image)

 

Mediascene Prevue ©1980 James Steranko

 

“TIMES SQUARE ‘package’ due shortly”

Posted on 12th March 2015 in "Times Square"
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Scene Vol 11 No 32, Aug. 21-27, 1980
 
Even the culturally barren industrial wasteland of Northeast Ohio was receiving word of the impending great event. I’m kidding, of course; Cleveland, Akron, Youngstown… this area birthed Pere Ubu, the Dead Boys, and Devo, so it seems right that not only did the August 21 1980 Scene make the release of Times Square in two months front-page news, but it gave the story a title that seems a bit cynically bored with the obvious commercialism. The focus is already on pitching the music before the film. In fact, the movie seems to be an afterthought — this article is promoting a media assault on all fronts by the Robert Stigwood Organization, not a neat little film by Allan Moyle.

This may be the only pre-release article that describes the soundtrack by only listing artists who are actually on it, with no mention of Tom Petty or David Bowie. I wonder if it’s possible this was written after the soundtrack had been completely finished, but published before… well, there’s at least one more article that promotes Tom Petty. This article also calls the soundtrack “long-awaited” — was there that much pre-release buzz about the music? I’d be very interested to see mentions of it before this in the music press.

Sadly, although Times Square was front-page news, it didn’t rate a photograph.

TIMES SQUARE "package" due shortly

So, I’ll stretch this post by including the text of the article:

Soundtrack LP, singles and films:

TIMES SQUARE “package” due shortly

Everyone is aware that movie soundtracks are now selling extraordinarily well. Well, you may not have seen nothin’ yet. Soon to be released is the long-awaited soundtrack to TIMES SQUARE, the first in-house movie / music marriage produced by the Robert Stigwood Organization (RSO) since its phenomenally successful projects, SATURDAY NIGHT FEVER and GREASE. The latter LPs are the two biggest selling soundtrack albums in history.

Two singles — “Rock Hard” (written by Nicky Chinn and Mike Chapman) sung by Suzi Quatro and “Help Me!” performed by Robin Gibb and Marcy Levy — are to be released prior to the album’s release date. The LP is expected to follow the initial singles’ release by about three weeks; TIMES SQUARE, the film, will open nationally in the Fall.

The film has been called something of a SATURDAY NIGHT FEVER with the exception of its musical focus. TIMES SQUARE is paced by a new wave beat. Certainly the soundtrack seems to support that claim. Listed among the talent line-up are: Quatro, The Pretenders, Roxy Music, Gary Numan, The Talking Heads, Joe Jackson, Patti Smith, XTC, Garland Jeffreys, The Cure, Lou Reed, The Ramones, The Ruts, Desmond Child and Rouge, Levy and Gibb, D.L. Byron and David Johansen. Whew…

TIMES SQUARE is the first of several major features to be filmed by Robert Stigwood in New York City. It’s an original story about two teenage girls (Robin Johnson and Trini Alvarado) who run away to Times Square. Tim Curry (of singing and THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW fame) plays the role of the all-night disc jockey who sympathizes with the girls.

 

 

“TIMES SQUARE ‘package’ due shortly”
“Scene,” Vol 11 No 32, August 21-27 1980, p.1
(“Scene:”) 17.5 in (H) x 11.5 in (W), 20 pp. (work);
1080 px (H) x 690 px (W), 96 dpi, 601 kb (image)
(article:) 1080 px (W) x 570 px (H), 96 dpi, 519 kb (image)

 

Scene ©1980 Northeast Scene, Inc

 

The Last Word

Posted on 3rd March 2015 in "Times Square"
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The May 1980 issue of Photoplay mentioned Times Square’s production in Ken Johns’ Last Word column.

Edit from Photoplay's Last Word, Photoplay Vol. 31 No. 5, May 19
The image of Nicky singing “Damn Dog” in the Cleo Club was later published in at least one more magazine after the film’s release, but I haven’t yet seen it anywhere else, or in color.

This was the version of Photoplay published in the U.K. Times Square wouldn’t open there until the following January.

For the benefit of all the search spiders out there, here’s the relevant text:

Newcomer Robin Johnson stars in Times Square

The beautiful Trini Alvarado (from Rich Kids) gets the star role in Times Square, produced by Robert Stigwood and Jacob Brackman. Said Stigwood: “The film reflects the tragedy of grown-ups who cannot relate to kids, who view the world very differently. It is a tough raw film, but with lots of humour.” The film features a rock score written and played by many talented stars. Tim Curry stars in the movie as a dee-jay. The story concerns two young girls (Trini, and newcomer Robin Johnson) who meet in the ward of a psychiatric hospital and decide that the shrinks are crazier than they are and so go on the run. The DJ (Tim Curry) carries their exploits to the world via his all-night radio show…

Robert Stigwood is quoted. Allan Moyle isn’t mentioned. Hmm.

 

 

Photoplay Vol. 31 No. 5, May 1980, cover
8.5 in (W) x 11 in (H) (work)
800 px (H) x 627 px (W), 96 dpi, 435 kb (image)

 

Johns, Ken; “Photoplay’s LAST WORD Column”
Photoplay Vol. 31 No. 5, May 1980, p. 62
8.5 in (W) x 11 in (H) (work)
800 px (H) x 622 px (H), 96 dpi, 372 kb (image)

 

Edit of Photoplay Vol. 31 No. 5, May 1980, p. 62
(Johns, Ken; “Photoplay’s LAST WORD Column”)
1080 px (W) x 728 px (H), 96 dpi, 488 kb (image)

 

Photoplay ©1980 The Illustrated Publications Company Limited

 

Times Square ©1980 StudioCanal/Canal+