The Australian Women’s Weekly, Vol. 48 No. 45, April 15, 1981

Posted on 13th December 2017 in "Times Square"
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Australian entertainment magazine featuring article on Robin Johnson.

 

The April 15, 1981 Australian Women’s Weekly featured Larry Hagman on the cover, a pin-up poster of Adam and the Ants on the inside back cover, and an interview with Robin on page 119. The interview goes over much the same ground as most of the previous interviews she gave: her discovery on the steps of Brooklyn Tech, her working relationships with Trini Alvarado and Tim Curry, her outspoken behavior towards all and sundry while her mom waits in the next room… This interview is maybe most notable for mentioning a television appearance on The Don Lane Show in Melbourne. I don’t suppose anyone managed to record it, back in 1981…?

 

Australian Women's Weekly, Vol 48 No. 45, April 15, 1981, p. 119 Text: Good times for Robin She’s brash, talks non-stop, chain-smokes and is the most unlikely 15-year-old movie star. Robin Johnson, who shot to stardom in the movie Times Square, is New York-born and lives not far from Times Square. Like most teenagers of the area, she’s worldly-wise and a little over-powering. “Discovered” on the steps of her school, Brooklyn High, by a talent scout who gave her the usual line about looking for someone just like her for a movie, Robin wrinkled her nose in disgust. “He gave me a number to call and it led to a screen test. I really don’t know why I rang. At the time I’d thought he was such a jerk,” Robin says. But Robert Stigwood was impressed with Robin’s personality and signed her to star in a total of three movies during the next 18 months. “There is a sequel to Grease which I’ll be doing with Andy Gibb, but it definitely won’t be a Son Of Grease or anything. It’s a sequel, but with entirely new characters, and I won’t be an Olivia Newton-John clone,” she says. The third movie is “still being shopped for” but Robin is happy to sit back and wait for it. After all, promoting her first film has taken her all over the world and she contentedly talks and talks, with her mum tactfully sitting in the next room safely out of earshot. Raising a daughter as outgoing as Robin hasn’t been easy — her mother has no say over the cigarettes or the hours Robin keeps. When she appeared on The Don Lane Show in Melbourne, even Don sat stunned while Robin alternately flicked her hair back and made outrageous remarks about the film industry or her life in general. And then there was the time she had dinner with a group of business executives to promote her movie. Promote she did — Robin talked louder and faster than anyone else. “My sister is a lot quieter than I am,” she giggles. “She doesn’t hang around the streets as much as I and some of my friends do, but we get along really well. “The movie Times Square is a little unrealistic in that Trini Alvarado (who plays Pamela Purl in the movie) and I are never approached, assaulted or mugged in any of the scenes where we walk the streets,” Robin says. “But at home, we really have to protect ourselves. You’ve got to at least have a knife on you, to use if need be.” Tim Curry, one of Britain’s top actors, who recently starred in the ABC-TV series Will Shakespeare, played the crazed disc jockey Johnny La Guardia in Times Square. How did Robin enjoy working with the classically-trained actor? It seems an uncomfortable question, and Robin paused. “He was terrific you know. Tim’s a method actor and, whereas Trini and I would clown around between takes, he’d keep to himself. “I sometimes got the impression he thought we were real silly through the movie and he’d snap at us, but that was usually before a difficult scene. Afterwards, he’d be nice and friendly and we got on fine. “The kids at school were fascinated by him because he’s something of a cult figure because of his role in the Rocky Horror Picture Show. “But he’s a real straight guy, you know, and I consider him a real friend,” Robin says. Life for Robin will not really change even if she is recognized every time she gets a bus or catches the subway in New York. She is happy to work in films, but will finish her education because “it’s important. Our school is pretty rough — racism is a terrible problem — but I’ve always kept my head down and done my work. I’m conscientious and I like to do well.” - FIONA MANNING Above left: The reflection of a misunderstood rebel, Nicky Marotta (played by Robin Johnson) in Times Square. Above: Robin is almost as brash off-screen as she is on. THE AUSTRALIAN WOMEN’S WEEKLY - TV WORLD - APRIL 15, 1981 119

Good times for Robin

She’s brash, talks non-stop, chain-smokes and is the most unlikely 15-year-old movie star. Robin Johnson, who shot to stardom in the movie Times Square, is New York-born and lives not far from Times Square. Like most teenagers of the area, she’s worldly-wise and a little over-powering.

“Discovered” on the steps of her school, Brooklyn High, by a talent scout who gave her the usual line about looking for someone just like her for a movie, Robin wrinkled her nose in disgust.

“He gave me a number to call and it led to a screen test. I really don’t know why I rang. At the time I’d thought he was such a jerk,” Robin says.
But Robert Stigwood was impressed with Robin’s personality and signed her to star in a total of three movies during the next 18 months.

“There is a sequel to Grease which I’ll be doing with Andy Gibb, but it definitely won’t be a Son Of Grease or anything. It’s a sequel, but with entirely new characters, and I won’t be an Olivia Newton-John clone,” she says.

The third movie is “still being shopped for” but Robin is happy to sit back and wait for it.

After all, promoting her first film has taken her all over the world and she contentedly talks and talks, with her mum tactfully sitting in the next room safely out of earshot.

Raising a daughter as outgoing as Robin hasn’t been easy — her mother has no say over the cigarettes or the hours Robin keeps.

When she appeared on The Don Lane Show in Melbourne, even Don sat stunned while Robin alternately flicked her hair back and made outrageous remarks about the film industry or her life in general.

And then there was the time she had dinner with a group of business executives to promote her movie. Promote she did — Robin talked louder and faster than anyone else.

“My sister is a lot quieter than I am,” she giggles. “She doesn’t hang around the streets as much as I and some of my friends do, but we get along really well.

“The movie Times Square is a little unrealistic in that Trini Alvarado (who plays Pamela Purl in the movie) and I are never approached, assaulted or mugged in any of the scenes where we walk the streets,” Robin says.

“But at home, we really have to protect ourselves. You’ve got to at least have a knife on you, to use if need be.”

Tim Curry, one of Britain’s top actors, who recently starred in the ABC-TV series Will Shakespeare, played the crazed disc jockey Johnny La Guardia in Times Square. How did Robin enjoy working with the classically-trained actor? It seems an uncomfortable question, and Robin paused. “He was terrific you know. Tim’s a method actor and, whereas Trini and I would clown around between takes, he’d keep to himself.

“I sometimes got the impression he thought we were real silly through the movie and he’d snap at us, but that was usually before a difficult scene. Afterwards, he’d be nice and friendly and we got on fine.

“The kids at school were fascinated by him because he’s something of a cult figure because of his role in the Rocky Horror Picture Show.

“But he’s a real straight guy, you know, and I consider him a real friend,” Robin says.

Life for Robin will not really change even if she is recognized every time she gets a bus or catches the subway in New York. She is happy to work in films, but will finish her education because “it’s important. Our school is pretty rough — racism is a terrible problem — but I’ve always kept my head down and done my work. I’m conscientious and I like to do well.”

– FIONA MANNING

Photo of Robin Johnson from Australian Women's Weekly, Vol 48 No. 45, April 15, 1981, p. 119.  Caption:  Robin is almost as brash off-screen as she is on..

 

 

 

The other notable thing about this article are the accompanying photos. There are very few promo photos from Times Square where the subject is looking directly at the camera, but these are two of them. One is a close-up of Robin in costume for the chase-through-the-Adonis-Theatre scene, which as far as I know was never published anywhere else. (I would love to see it uncropped; it wouldn’t surprise me if Trini was standing right next to her.)

 

Photo of Robin Johnson from Australian Women's Weekly, Vol 48 No. 45, April 15, 1981, p. 119, possibly from a deleted scene from TIMES SQUARE. Caption: The reflection of a misunderstood rebel, Nicky Marotta (played by Robin Johnson) in Times Square.

 

 

 

The other will appear later in the Japanese program book, cropped and in black and white. While it may simply be a publicity photo, I suspect it’s evidence of another sequence shot and cut from the film: the 1979 screenplay includes a scene of Nicky in a holding room, performing in front of an observation window that could easily have been redressed as a one-way mirror. Robin had described improvising a scene in front of a one-way mirror as being part of her audition, in an interview in Seventeen magazine.

I think the similarity in the titles between this and the Paul Wilson column segment in the April 1981 photoplay is a coincidence.

 

 

Fiona Manning, “Good times for Robin” (article), AAT ID: 300048715)
Australian Women’s Weekly, Vol. 48 No. 45, April 15 1981, p. 119 (magazine (periodical), AAT ID: 300215389)
28.3 cm (H) x 21.5 cm (W) (work);
1981-04-15 Australian Women’s Weekly Vol 48 No 45 cover_1080px.jpg (cover)
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1981-04-15 Australian Women’s Weekly Vol 48 No 45 p 119_1080px.jpg
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1981-04-15 Australian Women’s Weekly Vol 48 No 45 p 119_detail_2_800px.jpg (large photo)
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1981-04-15 Australian Women’s Weekly Vol 48 No 45 p 119_detail_1_800px.jpg (inset photo)
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The Australian Women’s Weekly ©1981 Australian Consolidated Press Ltd

 

Times Square ©1980 StudioCanal/Canal+

 

photoplay, Vol. 32 No. 4, April 1981

Posted on 2nd December 2017 in "Times Square"
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Cover of British movie magazine featuring brief article on Robin Johnson.

 

The Paul Wilson Column (“The man you want to read every month…”) in the April 1981 photoplay contained a brief bit of publicity that was typical of the coverage Robin and Times Square was getting by now in Great Britain (where the movie had long since closed) and Australia: it admitted the movie was “not particularly good,” but crowed about her “remarkable” performance, while retelling the legend of her discovery and pushing her three-picture deal and upcoming starring role in Grease 2.

Photoplay, Vol 32 No. 4, 4 April 1981, p. 62. Part of the multi-page column by (and titled) Paul Wilson.  Text:  Good Times For Robin Johnson  • ROBIN JOHNSON was a 15-year-old standing on the steps of her school, Brooklyn High, when a mysterious stranger approached her.  “I know a part in a film you’d be ideal for,” he told her. Robin was unimpressed. But the man (to this day she doesn’t know who he was) persisted; gave her a number to call... and the rest, if it isn’t exactly history, is the stuff of teenage fiction.  Robin signed a three-film contract including the lead in Times Square, a not particularly good movie — which somehow made Robin’s performance seem all the more remarkable.  She’s 16 now, with the sense of a 30-year-old, and an astonishing gift of non-stop conversation that floods from her lips in a voice as husky as Katharine Hepburn’s.  “I do a lot of shouting in Brooklyn, maybe that’s why it’s so deep,” she says when we meet.  Brooklyn is unmistakably her home, and neither films nor wild horses will drag her away. “I love it there, and I don’t think I could take Los Angeles.”  Later this year she’ll be making the Crease sequel, with Andy Gibb as co-star. But for the time being, it’s back to school, where she’s heading for a degree, hopefully in law.  “I’m not sure I want to make acting, or singing, my full-time career. If this hadn’t happened I would have gone in for law, and I’d still like to have something to give me the choice.  “I don’t want to get locked into anything.”  Times Square star, Robin Johnson, says her husky voice is due to "a lot of shouting"

 

 

I don’t believe the quote that generated the photo caption appeared anywhere else, which implies that Wilson may have actually spoken with Robin. Other than that, however, there’s nothing new here: the publicity machine had abandoned Times Square and was focusing on Robin herself.

 

 

 

Photoplay, Vol 32 No. 4, 4 April 1981, p. 62. Part of the multi-page column by (and titled) Paul Wilson.  Text:  Good Times For Robin Johnson  • ROBIN JOHNSON was a 15-year-old standing on the steps of her school, Brooklyn High, when a mysterious stranger approached her.  “I know a part in a film you’d be ideal for,” he told her. Robin was unimpressed. But the man (to this day she doesn’t know who he was) persisted; gave her a number to call... and the rest, if it isn’t exactly history, is the stuff of teenage fiction.  Robin signed a three-film contract including the lead in Times Square, a not particularly good movie — which somehow made Robin’s performance seem all the more remarkable.  She’s 16 now, with the sense of a 30-year-old, and an astonishing gift of non-stop conversation that floods from her lips in a voice as husky as Katharine Hepburn’s.  “I do a lot of shouting in Brooklyn, maybe that’s why it’s so deep,” she says when we meet.  Brooklyn is unmistakably her home, and neither films nor wild horses will drag her away. “I love it there, and I don’t think I could take Los Angeles.”  Later this year she’ll be making the Crease sequel, with Andy Gibb as co-star. But for the time being, it’s back to school, where she’s heading for a degree, hopefully in law.  “I’m not sure I want to make acting, or singing, my full-time career. If this hadn’t happened I would have gone in for law, and I’d still like to have something to give me the choice.  “I don’t want to get locked into anything.”  Times Square star, Robin Johnson, says her husky voice is due to "a lot of shouting"

Good Times For Robin Johnson

• ROBIN JOHNSON was a 15-year-old standing on the steps of her school, Brooklyn High, when a mysterious stranger approached her.

“I know a part in a film you’d be ideal for,” he told her. Robin was unimpressed. But the man (to this day she doesn’t know who he was) persisted; gave her a number to call… and the rest, if it isn’t exactly history, is the stuff of teenage fiction.

Robin signed a three-film contract including the lead in Times Square, a not particularly good movie — which somehow made Robin’s performance seem all the more remarkable.

She’s 16 now, with the sense of a 30-year-old, and an astonishing gift of non-stop conversation that floods from her lips in a voice as husky as Katharine Hepburn’s.

“I do a lot of shouting in Brooklyn, maybe that’s why it’s so deep,” she says when we meet.

Brooklyn is unmistakably her home, and neither films nor wild horses will drag her away. “I love it there, and I don’t think I could take Los Angeles.”

Later this year she’ll be making the Grease sequel, with Andy Gibb as co-star. But for the time being, it’s back to school, where she’s heading for a degree, hopefully in law.

“I’m not sure I want to make acting, or singing, my full-time career. If this hadn’t happened I would have gone in for law, and I’d still like to have something to give me the choice.

“I don’t want to get locked into anything.”

 

 

Paul Wilson, “Good times for Robin Johnson” (excerpt from “The Paul Wilson column”) (article, AAT ID: 300048715)
photoplay, Vol. 32 No. 4, April 1981, p. 62 (magazine (periodical), AAT ID: 300215389)
29.8 cm (H) x 21.3 cm (W) (work);
Photoplay Vol 32 No 4 April 1981 p1_layers_1080px.jpg (cover)
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Photoplay Vol 32 No 4 April 1981 p62_layers_1080px.jpg
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Photoplay Vol 32 No 4 April 1981 p62_detail_1080px_rev.jpg (arranged detail)
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photoplay ©1981 The Illustrated Publications Company Limited

 

Times Square ©1980 StudioCanal/Canal+