Leader, Winter 1980

Posted on 29th August 2016 in "Times Square"
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"The Magazine published by Columbia-EMI-Warner Distributors"

Leader was a vehicle by which Columbia-EMI-Warner film distributors promoted all their new films to UK theater owners. As Times Square was set to open in mid-January, it had a few mentions and an advertisement in the Winter edition, although it looks like the distributors were betting their big money on Flash Gordon, which had already had its premiere.

"The Magazine published by Columbia-EMI-Warner Distributors", p. 2  Relevant text:  ROYAL   EMI Films makes industry history with it’s turn-of-the-year-releases. Three Royal Premieres in three consecutive months for films from the same company is no mean achievement. “FLASH GORDON” had the Royal treatment on December 10th with a  glittering Charity Premiere at the ABC Shaftesbury Avenue attended by TRH’s Prince and Princess Michael.    “THE JAZZ SINGER” starring Neil Diamond, Sir Laurence Olivier and Lucy Arnaz is premiered on January 29th and the evening  will be graced by the presence of HRH Princess Margaret. This too is a charity premiere.    On February 26th HM Queen Elizabeth and HRH Prince Phillip will attend the British Charity Premiere of Agatha Christie’s  “MIRROR CRACK’D” with its all star international cast.    In addition to these three films EMI will open the Robert Stigwood production “TIMES SQUARE” in the West End in mid-January. “FLASH GORDON” will open in major cities right across Britain over the Christmas period and is being supported by a huge  marketing campaign.    Meanwhile “THE ELEPHANT MAN” starring John Hurt and Anthony Hopkins continues to go from success to success. It quickly  established itself with West End audiences and has triumphed in city after city as it’s release has progressed around the  country.

ROYAL

EMI Films makes industry history with it’s turn-of-the-year-releases. Three Royal Premieres in three consecutive months for films from the same company is no mean achievement. “FLASH GORDON” had the Royal treatment on December 10th with a glittering Charity Premiere at the ABC Shaftesbury Avenue attended by TRH’s Prince and Princess Michael.

“THE JAZZ SINGER” starring Neil Diamond, Sir Laurence Olivier and Lucy Arnaz is premiered on January 29th and the evening will be graced by the presence of HRH Princess Margaret. This too is a charity premiere.

On February 26th HM Queen Elizabeth and HRH Prince Phillip will attend the British Charity Premiere of Agatha Christie’s “MIRROR CRACK’D” with its all star international cast.

In addition to these three films EMI will open the Robert Stigwood production “TIMES SQUARE” in the West End in mid-January.

“FLASH GORDON” will open in major cities right across Britain over the Christmas period and is being supported by a huge marketing campaign.

Times Square was apparently the only winter 1980-81 EMI premiere not to get the royal treatment.

Two-page center spread promoting all the Columbia-Warner-EMI movies opening in the beginning of 1981. Relevant text: THE LINE-UP THAT ENSURES YOUR PROSPEROUS NEW YEAR No company can ever have started a year off in the fashion that EMI Films will start 1981. “THE JAZZ SINGER”, “TIMES SQUARE” and “MIRROR CRACK’D” all bow before British audiences before the year is hardly out of rompers, and whilst “FLASH GORDON” is delighting audiences from north to south and east to west. [photo caption:] "TIMES SQUARE" Two of the young stars featured in the Robert Stigwood production. Another tremendous musical score!

 

The center spread publicized all the films of the season, and again mentioned Times Square along with the the other three EMI films while giving a special shout-out to Flash Gordon.

From the two-page center spread promoting all the Columbia-Warner-EMI movies opening in the beginning of 1981. Text: No company can ever have started a year off in the fashion that EMI Films will start 1981. “THE JAZZ SINGER”, “TIMES SQUARE” and “MIRROR CRACK’D” all bow before British audiences before the year is hardly out of rompers, and whilst “FLASH GORDON” is delighting audiences from north to south and east to west. musical score!

No company can ever have started a year off in the fashion that EMI Films will start 1981. “THE JAZZ SINGER”, “TIMES SQUARE” and “MIRROR CRACK’D” all bow before British audiences before the year is hardly out of rompers, and whilst “FLASH GORDON” is delighting audiences from north to south and east to west.

At least Times Square got a picture… the image used was a cropped version of TS-72-8A/14, also seen in the AFD Campaign Pressbook, on the cover of the UK soundtrack sampler, as the cover of the Japanese soundtrack sampler, and cropped even further in the December 23 US magazine. The caption was a sneaky plug for the soundtrack album.

Image of Trini Alvarado and Robin Johnson from the two-page center spread promoting all the Columbia-Warner-EMI movies opening in the beginning of 1981. [photo caption:] "TIMES SQUARE" Two of the young stars featured in the Robert Stigwood production. Another tremendous musical score!

 

“TIMES SQUARE” Two of the young stars featured in the Robert Stigwood production. Another tremendous musical score!

 

 

1/2 page ad for "Times Square" from p. 10 of "Leader", Winter 1980

 

Finally, on page 10, was a half-page ad. After all the work that went into the logo on the cover of the UK Press Kit, it was tossed aside in favor of what you see here. Nearly all the UK advertising materials used this logo and the painted image of a frighteningly skinny Nicky. I’ll gripe more about that when I get to the movie poster.

 

 

Leader, Winter 1980
house organ, AAT ID: 300026662
12 pp., 8.4 ” (W) x 11″ (H) (work)
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Times Square UK Press Kit (post 4 of 4)

Posted on 19th August 2016 in "Times Square"
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Here are the last photos from my copy of the UK Press Kit. They don’t have numbers that would match them up with the enclosed caption sheet, so I have doubts as to whether they were actually a part of it.

Trini Alvarado and Robin Johnson, in an unnumbered print from the "Times Square" UK press kit.  At first glance this looks like a collage but lightening the image gives the appearance that it is actually the two of them together.  Other photos of Robin in that outfit were taken by Mick Rock, so it's almost certain that this is a Mick Rock photo.  None of the captions on the caption sheet match up with the image.  The caption list omits numbers 9 and 10; however, there are three unidentified photos in this copy of the press kit.

 

This is the Mick Rock photo of Robin that appeared on the contents page of Film Review, Vol. 30 No. 10, October 1980. At first I thought that it was a collage of that and a photo of Trini, but I tried lightening up the background and it does indeed appear that they’re standing in the same room, on the same floor. Also, if you crop the photo to remove Trini, you lose a bit of Robin’s elbow, and that’s exactly how the Film Review version appears. What I’m getting at is, this is apparently a photograph of Trini Alvarado taken by Mick Rock.

 

 

Trini Alvarado and Robin Johnson atop the Times Square Theater marquee at the climax of the film, in an unnumbered print from the "Times Square" UK press kit. None of the captions on the caption sheet match up with the image. The caption list omits numbers 9 and 10; however, there are three unidentified photos in this copy of the press kit.

 

 

Trini and Robin atop the Times Square Theater marquee. This photo is labelled TS-22-32 in the style of the US publicity photos.

 

 

Trini Alvarado, Robin Johnson, and Tim Curry in a rare glamor shot, outside on or near Pier 56, in an unnumbered print from the "Times Square" UK press kit. The photo is identified by a code that matches the US publicity photos style, TS-88-29A. None of the captions on the caption sheet match up with the image. The caption list omits numbers 9 and 10; however, there are three unidentified photos in this copy of the press kit. Two of them (including this one) have US-style code numbers.

TS-88-29A, another of those rare publicity photos that doesn’t try to depict a scene from the film, although it obviously comes from the day they shot the scene where Johnny gets Pammy kicked out of the “hideout”. There was at least one other shot taken that day of these three smiling for the camera, which was printed in color in an Australian magazine in 1981, and later on the sleeve of the Japanese laserdisc in 1986.

UK "Times Square" publicity photo stamp (back of UK Press Kit Photo #7)

Back of UK Press Kit photo #7


The backs of these three photos are blank. The rest of the photos in the UK Press Kit are stamped “TIMES SQUARE” on the back.

An identical stamp is on the back of this photo I posted about previously, which just happens to have a tiny UK Press Kit-style “34” printed into it. It would seem there was a series of UK photos that numbered at least up to 34, and which were stamped on the back with the movie title. This doesn’t mean, however, that they were all used… there’s probably at least a 2 and a 6 floating around somewhere, to match up with the caption sheet, but there’s no reason to think there was ever a 9, 10, or anything between 11 and 34. I can hope, though… it’s been quiet lately but “new” items still turn up from time to time.

One problem with the stamp, though, is that it also appears on the back of the second copy of Photo #1, the one with the US-style number on it. It seems as though it, and the smaller pasted-in number are good indicators that a given print was made and used in the UK, but I don’t think we can conclude anything else from it.

To finish things off, here are the two versions of the shorter profile of Robin. Again, the version on “Times Square” letterhead appears to have been “translated” into British English, “there’s an ad” into “there was an advert” and so on. I doubt Robin has ever said “advert” in her life. (The text below is the “British” version.)

ROBIN JOHNSON (Nicky Marotta)

Before spending twelve weeks in front of the “Times Square” cameras, the closest Robin Johnson ever came to a film set was when “The Wanderers” shot a scene in her Brooklyn neighbourhood. In fact, 15 year-old Robin had had no previous acting experience when, as a result of a five-month nationwide search, she was discovered by a talent scout outside Brooklyn High School. “He told me there was an advert in the paper for a girl about l6, slenderish, blonde hair and street—tough,” Robin recalls. “So he gave me a number to call. I just did it for a kick. I didn’t expect nothin’ out of it.”

A native of Brooklyn, Robin is blessed with an incredible amount of energy, awareness and photogenic appeal – as well as a very distinctive voice. Her “street toughness” is no surprise, since she describes her own Brooklyn neighbourhood as “not rough rough – like you gotta carry a knife on you. You just got to watch out for yourself.”

1.65m (five-feet five inches) and 52kg (115 pounds), Robin has green eyes and naturally blonde hair which was dyed several shades of red for the role. Like her screen counterpart, she is a devout rock enthusiast whose favourites include Led Zeppelin, The Wh0 and The Rolling Stones.

Before filming ”TIMES SQUARE”, Robin’s ambition was to become a commercial artist, but now she is already a seasoned performer and will be featured singing on the soundtrack album released by RSO Records.

TIMES SQUARE is an EMI Films presentation distributed in the United Kingdom by Columbia-EMI-Warner, in North America by AFD (Associated Film Distribution) and throughout the rest of the world by EMI Films Limited.

 

 

TIMES SQUARE UK Press Kit photo_a
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TIMES SQUARE UK Press Kit photo_b_TS-22-32
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TIMES SQUARE UK Press Kit photo_c_TS-88-29A
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black and white photographic prints, 8 in (H) x 10 in (W) (works);

1980
inscriptions: [none]; TS-22-32; TS-88-29A
TIMES SQUARE UK Press Kit photo_7 back
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ROBIN JOHNSON (Nicky Marotta) p. 1
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ROBIN JOHNSON (Nicky Marotta) p. 1-2
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Times Square ©1980 StudioCanal/Canal+

 

Times Square UK Press Kit (post 3 of 4)

Posted on 9th August 2016 in "Times Square"
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First, some pictures.

Tim Curry as Johnny LaGuardia on the roof outside the WJAD studio, in the UK press kit photograph numbered 5.  This photo was taken a second before or after the photo numbered TS-79-28/8 in the US press kit.  The text from the press kit's photo captions page:  5. TIM CURRY stars as an all-night disc jockey, who, perched in his studio high above Times Square follows and encourages the progress of the runaway girls, who thanks to his efforts become minor media celebrities.

5. TIM CURRY stars as an all-night disc jockey, who, perched in his studio high above Times Square follows and encourages the progress of the runaway girls, who thanks to his efforts become minor media celebrities.

 

 

UK Press Kit photo #5 is another headshot of Tim Curry, this time as Johnny appears at the end of the film as he’s watching the concert though his telescope on the deck outside WJAD. The most interesting thing about this photo is, at first glance it looks like TS-79-28/8 from the US press kit, but it isn’t. It’s not just cropped differently; Tim’s head is tilted up slightly and he hasn’t got the beginnings of a smile he sports in the US photo. It’s a different photo, taken just before or just after.

Photos 6, 7, and 8 are pictures of Robin. Unfortunately I don’t have Photo 6, and none of the photos without the little number are of Robin alone.

Robin Johnson as Nicky Marotta atop the Times Square Theater marquee, in the UK press kit photograph numbered 7. The text from the press kit's photo captions page: 6/7/8. 15-year-old screen newcomer ROBIN JOHNSON stars as Nicky Marotta, a street-wise young runaway who, thanks to a radio DJ's patronage, is able to fulfil her fantasies of becoming a star of the "new wave".

6/7/8. 15-year-old screen newcomer ROBIN JOHNSON stars as Nicky Marotta, a street-wise young runaway who, thanks to a radio DJ’s patronage, is able to fulfil her fantasies of becoming a star of the “new wave”.


In Photo 7, Nicky kneels at the edge of the Times Square Theater marquee, deciding if she wants to perform or not. She never looks up in the film like she’s doing here, though, not without turning to look at Pammy or the Blondells. Perhaps she’s waiting here for a cue from Allan Moyle.
Robin Johnson as Nicky Marotta in the Cleo Club, in the UK press kit photograph numbered 8. The text from the press kit's photo captions page: 6/7/8. 15-year-old screen newcomer ROBIN JOHNSON stars as Nicky Marotta, a street-wise young runaway who, thanks to a radio DJ's patronage, is able to fulfil her fantasies of becoming a star of the "new wave".

6/7/8. 15-year-old screen newcomer ROBIN JOHNSON stars as Nicky Marotta, a street-wise young runaway who, thanks to a radio DJ’s patronage, is able to fulfil her fantasies of becoming a star of the “new wave”.

 

Photo 8 has Nicky scoping out the Cleo Club for Pammy, before revealing her attempt at poetry to her. This one is really close to the shot as it appears in the film, but it isn’t. The POV is slightly to the left of the movie camera, and although Robin is doing the same nervous finger-pulling, her hands are never in that exact position. This is the same almost-but-not-quite situation we saw with the shots of Trini from the later scene in the club where Mr. Pearl confronts Pammy.

I don’t have any photos numbered 9 or 10, and the caption sheet has no entries for them.

Trini Alvarado as Pamela Pearl, in the UK press kit photograph numbered 11. The text from the press kit's photo captions page: 11. TRINI ALVARADO, 12-year-old star of Robert Altman's RICH KIDS, is Pamela Pearl, daughter of a well-to-do New York family who runs away to find a new and exciting life in the city’s streets.

11. TRINI ALVARADO, 12-year-old star of Robert Altman’s RICH KIDS, is Pamela Pearl, daughter of a well-to-do New York family who runs away to find a new and exciting life in the city’s streets.

 

 

Photo 11 is a shot of Trini from the end of the same scene in the Cleo Club as Photo 8. In the film she never looks in thIS direction while smiling. Also, this photo has been lit in such a way as to make the background disappear entirely. The photographer took the opportunity to make this a true glamor portrait, not just an on-set publicity still. The glass on the table by her elbow shows that it was taken on the set, though.

Most of the photos in the UK Press Kit are very grainy and dusty compared to the US photos, as if they were printed from copies themselves. I’ve cleaned up the dust and scratches that were on the physical copy of the prints, but I’ve left most of the ones that were in the print itself, except the ones that were so huge I couldn’t stand to leave them.

There are two sets of text pages, and two profiles of Robin in each. The longer profile is almost the same as the one from the US press kit. Almost… but not quite. Aside from the slight rewording of nearly every sentence, this UK version spells Allan Moyle’s name correctly, where the US press kit and the film itself spell it “Alan”. The UK version describes Robin’s “discovery” on the steps of Brooklyn Tech in 1979 when she was 15 (which is accurate), and the US version has it happening in 1980 and gives her age as 16. I’m starting to wonder if the UK Press Kit wasn’t made up first, and the US version derived from it. (The photo captions also state Robin’s age as 15, which she was during the making of the film; she was 16 during its marketing.)

The only difference between the two sets in the UK Press Kit is that the text on the pages without the Times Square letterhead contain American spellings of words, and the pages with Times Square letterhead contain British spellings (“centers”/”centres”, etc.).

“TIMES SQUARE” STAR ROBIN JOHNSON IS A NATURAL

One day Brooklyn’s Technological High School’s front steps may be legendary as the spot where a star was “born”, a ’79 equivalent to Hollywood’s Schwab’s Drug Store, On those steps, smoking a cigarette while waiting for classes to begin, 15 —year—old ROBIN JOHNSON was discovered by a casting scout on the lookout for possible candidates for the lead in TIMES SQUARE.

“He gave me this card and said to call this number if I was interested in being in a movie,” Robin recalls in her inimitible Brooklyn-accented speech. “I thought ‘Oh! Another wise guy’, but gave it a try.”

What Robin didn’t know at the time was that director Allan Moyle, who had written the original story for TIMES SQUARE with Leanne Unger, was determined to cast only the young actress who would be precisely right for the crucial central role of Nicky Marotta, a gusty teenager, loose and without adult super- vision and determined to be a rock star.

The talent search had already bypassed many of the traditional avenues and gone to youth centres, punk clubs, and placed ads in papers like the Village Voice, Soho News, Aquarian. “We were looking for someone who WAS Nicky,” Moyle admits. “Robin’s definitely not that doomed child. Luckily for the picture, Robin’s brought a lot more humour to the character than I had originally envisioned.”

Without any previous experience – “I had sung in a choir when I was 12” – Robin won the role over literally thousands of other candidates. After being cast, she entered an intensive programme of coaching in singing and dance/movement. Making the film meant that the novice was quickly transformed into a seasoned professional. Robin worked seven days a week for three months, for as a minor, the new star had to continue her studies with a tutor on the set and more lessons on Saturday. On Sunday, recording or dancing demands would take up the day. The veteran members of the New York crew were impressed with the professionalism of both Robin and her even younger co-star, 13-year-old TRINI ALVARADO. Both exhibited an almost non-stop flow of dedication, energy, high spirits and raucous good humour.

Robin lives with her older sister Cindy and her mother, in- Brooklyn. Born on May 29th, 1964, Robin never gave any thought to becoming an actress until TIMES SQUARE.

Her inclination previously ran toward sketching (I’m not into landscapes; give me cartoons with some people in there “) and, whenever the opportunity arose, banging on drums. And although she first started dating when she was 11, she’s not worried about permanent relationships at this point in her life. “I’m closest with my sister Cindy, who’s a year older. We’re both Geminis and I like to argue, especially in a friendly way.”

Like many young women her age, Robin can identify with Nicky’s rebelliousness and non-conformity, traits which land Nicky in trouble with the law and into the arms of Rosie (ANNA MARIE HORSFORD), a concerned social worker. “Nicky can’t put things over on Rosie like she does with others,” Robin figures, “and that’s the reason she admires her. I have trouble with authority figures, too, which means anybody with the upper hand – like my mother or my teachers.” But for director Allan Moyle, who might be considered the supreme authority figure, Robin has only praise: “We’re alike in certain ways and that made it easier to relate. Allan’s absolutely brilliant for inspiration, for giving you energy for a scene. When he wants you to do a scene better, he gets you to think, not bullying or intimidating, I want to work with him again.”

Robin sees Nicky as a teenager who masks what she really feels and tried to make her real, “She was bitter about being abandoned. Her Dad’s a loser. All she can do is pity him, not be mad at him now. Nicky has a lot of gutsiness that I really admired. Her philosophy always was, ‘When you’re mad, show it’.”

Gutsiness is a trait Robin and Nicky have in common. Robin, besides being bright, witty and talented, is seemingly fearless, whether performing atop a 42nd Street theatre marquee or being dunked into the icy December water of the polluted Hudson River. “Nerves don’t get you anywhere,” she says.

Robin was coached for TIMES SQUARE by veteran Sue Seaton, who has worked with Katharine Hepburn and Gilda Radner, But that throaty timbre is unmistakably her own, perhaps a result of the ”Kool” cigarettes she smokes incessantly.

The closest Robin had ever been to a movie set before TIMES SQUARE was when a scene for “The Wanderers” was shot in her neighbourhood. Now, the world of movies is opening for her.

“Let me tell you about this movie business,” she says seriously. “There’s no right for anyone to get an attitude just because so many people are aware of your job. What I say is, it’s entertainment and it’s a job. I hope TIMES SQUARE does well, but it’s not the answer to my life. Most, I loved meeting and working with so many wonderful people.”

There is one confession she’ll make when prodded about the rigors of working in the realm of make-believe: “Oh yeah,” she says with a grimace, “chewing roses was pretty disgusting. I’d never tasted flowers before.”

Two things of interest, both in the credits as listed in the letterhead: first, the order of the cast. The film’s credits are “Starring TIM CURRY, TRINI ALVARADO, and introducing ROBIN JOHNSON as Nicky.” This letterhead’s credits read “Starring ROBIN JOHNSON, TRINI ALVARADO and TIM CURRY.” So, for a brief moment, Robin had top billing.

Second, I just noticed… all the promotional materials, as well as the film itself, misspell Leanne Ungar’s name “Unger”. Of course, in Moyle’s earlier film The Rubber Gun (1977), she had a music engineering credit that spelled her name “Lianne Ungen,” so I suppose this was a step up.

 

 

TIMES SQUARE UK Press Kit photo_5
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TIMES SQUARE UK Press Kit photo_7
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TIMES SQUARE UK Press Kit photo_8
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TIMES SQUARE UK Press Kit photo_11
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black and white photographic prints, 8 in (H) x 10 in (W) (works);

1980
inscriptions: [on photos] 5; 7; 8; 11;
[on reverse] TIMES SQUARE

 

“TIMES SQUARE” STAR ROBIN JOHNSON IS A NATURAL, pp. 1-4
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“TIMES SQUARE” STAR ROBIN JOHNSON IS A NATURAL, pp. 1-3
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Times Square ©1980 StudioCanal/Canal+