“Trini Alvarado and Robin Johnson, the teenage stars of Times Square, show us their offscreen style.”
This article is another of the few things I collected at the time of the movie, since there was (and still is) no official merchandise, and none of the surplus publicity materials had yet filtered out to the public… not that I would have had any idea where to look. A movie ad, I cut from the local paper. This… I’m not proud of it, but, it wasn’t my copy of the magazine. In fact, I have no idea why I was looking at it. I must have found out the article was there, although I have no idea how. Anyway, I cleverly opened the staples, removed these pages, and reassembled the magazine (a talent I’ve since developed into an art form in the service of good, not evil). I still don’t have a full copy of the magazine — that’s why I’m not reproducing the cover or the contents page (which is where the quote above comes from), and why the pictures on the second page are a little messed up: these pages lived inside my copy of the soundtrack album, and aged badly over the years. They’re actually very yellow now. Who knew I’d still have them and would want to scan them thirty-odd years later?
Trini Alvarado is thirteen. She neither smokes nor drinks nor swears. Robin Johnson is sixteen. She has, on occasion, been known to do all of these things. Trini is a familiar face. We’ve seen her on Broadway in Runaways and onscreen in Rich Kids. Robin has never acted before. She was “discovered” by a casting scout on the steps of Brooklyn Tech.
An unlikely pair? Perhaps. But the two, who become fast friends in Robert Stigwood’s 42nd Street fantasy Times Square, have also become friends in real life.
The characters they portray—Pamela Pearl, the shy, sheltered, vulnerable daughter of a New York City official, and Nicky Marotta, an angry, outrageous, vulnerable street kid— survive by their wits in the shadowy world of Times Square, eventually becoming minor celebrities as the singing “Sleaze Sisters.” “The story is ridiculous,” says Trini, “yet so full of great human friendship and warm feelings!”
As these pages show, each girl has a personal sense of style. But their taste is tame compared with the hot couture they wear onscreen—a surreal New York-bag lady-goes-to-Disneyland amalgam of thrift-shop rejects, torn doilies, long johns, even belted plastic garbage bags, all designed by Bob DeMora. “I would never step out in Woodside looking like that,” says Trini.
During the filming, the stars’ outré outfits often provoked remarks from prostitutes. But the worst thing, they say, was having to keep up with their schoolwork. Between shots, they studied with a tutor, in a trailer on Times Square. Did their nerves ever wear thin? “Me and Trini,” says Robin, “we got pissed off at each other very little.” —Caterine Milinaire
Such good friends: Facing page, Trini Alvarado (top, and bottom left) wears a mauve cotton jumpsuit ($84) and a crocheted mauve vest trimmed with matching fur ($185). Robin Johnson sports a hand-knitted beige wool sweater flecked with colors and balls of fur ($185) over beige wool knickers dotted with pink and brown ($140). All from Nancy & Co. (986 Madison Avenue, near 77th Street).
The entertainers: Above left, Domingo Alvarado, the flamenco guitarist at Torremolinos Restaurant, serenades his daughter, who is wearing a pale-gold, soft leather camisole ($250) with blond lace-over-georgette mid-calf pants ($150), both by Adri; by special order at Bergdorf Goodman. Crocheted necklace by Susan Stevens is $15 at Serendipity 3 (225 East 60th Street). “My mother was a flamenco dancer,”
Trini says, “and from her costumes I learned to appreciate the posture a close-fitted torso can give you.” Star and stripes: Above right, for dancing, exercising, or winter layering, a black Danskin leotard; $25 at Lee Baumann (38 East 8th Street).
Test pattern: Center left, Robin dresses up a sweatshirt with clear silicone arrowheads that can be arranged in any configuration, then pinned in place ($9 a dozen). Black-and-gold pyramid earrings are $30. Both by Two Ten Design, at Sharon Bovaird (927 Madison Avenue, near 73rd).
Red, red Robin: Left, this red union suit, similar to one she wore in Times Square, is $25.95 at Kreeger & Sons (16 West 46th Street). Sheepskin slippers, $25 at Berek (265 West 37th). “I am definitely a street kid,” says husky-voiced Robin, “a weekend street kid.”
Caterine Millinaire’s article couldn’t do a better job of promoting the girls and the movie. Ironically, on the back of the sheet containing page 78 is page 84, which has on it the last part of David Denby’s film review column, in which he totally eviscerates Times Square. While his criticism was not entirely unwarranted, he was one of the few reviewers to not acknowledge Robin’s performance.
A cleaner, clearer digital version of the entire issue is here.
Denby, David. “Movies.” Rev. of Times Square. New York 3 Nov. 1980: 84. (works);
New York 198011030002_p78_1080px.jpg, 1080 px (H) x 806 px (W), 96 dpi, 449 KB;
New York 198011030002_p79_1080px.jpg, 1080 px (H) x 807 px (W), 96 dpi, 448 KB;
New York 198011030004_layers_1080px_detail.jpg, 481 px (H) x 260 px (W), 96 dpi, 111 KB (images)
Times Square ©1980 StudioCanal/Canal+