“I’m not dancing topless.”
12-year-old Trini Alvarado enacts 13-year-old Pamela Pearl making her debut as an exotic dancer, thankfully not topless. There are other images of this scene that were taken at the same time and differ only slightly, but I only have them published in magazines, on lobby cards, or in promotional packages. This one is an unmarked 8 X 10 like the last few and next few photos. All the promotional shots of this scene have in common is, again, that they’re not the shot as it appears in the film.
Or, it’s left over from another theme in the screenplay that’s almost gone from the finished film, in which it’s shown that there’s an underground community in Times Square that knows Nicky and is looking out for the runaways behind the scenes, like a surrogate family. Roberto is determined to hire Pammy no matter what, in order to help her and Nicky, and needs to come up with an excuse that will fool a desperate 13-year-old girl. This still ignores the potential legal jeopardy he’s putting himself into, so… we’re back in dream-world again.
Whatever you think of the film’s rationalization for Pammy stripping without taking off her clothes, in the long run at the very least it’s kept the movie from potentially becoming illegal to own or view in the United States. So I’m happy with it.
It also helps keep the film from devolving into just another exploitation flick. I personally believe that most (not all, but most) of the material that was cut from the film, that everyone is so sad about, would actually weaken the film were we to see it presented explicitly.
There’s a much richer and wittier look at the situation at DefeatedandGifted’s Times Square Fandom blog.
“Foxy Miss Pearl”
8 in (H) x 10 in (W) (work) [w/o border 6.5 in x 9.625 in];
862 px (H) x 1080 px (W), 96 dpi, 407 kb (image)
inscription: [on reverse:] [stamped:] THIS PAPER / MANUFACTURED / BY KODAK
853 px (W) x 480 px (H), 72 dpi (images)
screen captures from Times Square (1980)