October 1981: Times SquareGreat TV Entertainment…?

Posted on 27th December 2018 in "Times Square"
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Cover of October 1981 TV listings magazine for Showtime and The Movie Channel



According to the October 1981 issue of Great TV Entertainment, the official schedule for Showtime and The Movie Channel, Times Square was shown six times on The Movie Channel, on October 25, 27, and 31. I could have sworn it was shown many times more than that; the showings must have continued into November, or perhaps it was also shown on HBO like everybody, including me, remembers.


October 1981 TV listings for Showtime and The Movie Channel Relevant text: SHOWTIME THE MOVIE CHANNEL TIMES SQUARE Two misfit teenagers become runaway rebels roaming the streets of New York City. They find fame--and disaster-as the rock ’n’ rolling Sleaze Sisters. Trina Alvarado and Robin Johnson co-star. Language. (R-1:51) Oct.25,27,31-M

Two misfit teenagers become runaway rebels roaming the streets of New York City. They find fame–and disaster-as the rock ’n’ rolling Sleaze Sisters. Trina Alvarado and Robin Johnson co-star. Language. (R-1:51) Oct.25,27,31-M



Times Square got a photo and a little blurb, which was more than Let It Be got. Maybe that’s why Let It Be is one of the few movies that’s now harder to see than Times Square. (… Nah.)

The photo, typically, isn’t a frame from the movie. It’s a publicity still shot on set that is making its first appearance in this magazine. The AFD/EMI/RSO promotion people had been sitting on this gem for a year. No wonder the movie flopped.

October 1981 TV listings for Showtime and The Movie Channel, contents page detail



Great TV Entertainment, October 1981 (monthly (publication) (AAT ID: 300311879))
20.75 x 13.5 cm. (work);
Great TV Entertainment 1981-10 p1_1080px.jpg
1080 px (H) x 69 px (W), 96 dpi, 552 kb
Great TV Entertainment 1981-10 p4_detail_800px.jpg
695 px (H) x 800 px (W), 96 dpi, 375 kb
Great TV Entertainment 1981-10 p3_1080px.jpg
1080 px (H) x 693 px (W), 96 dpi, 422 kb
Great TV Entertainment 1981-10 p4_1080px.jpg
1080 px (H) x 694 px (W), 96 dpi, 541 kb
Great TV Entertainment 1981-10 p11_1080px.jpg
1080 px (H) x 700 px (W), 96 dpi, 540 kb
Great TV Entertainment 1981-10 p15_1080px.jpg
1080 px (H) x 698 px (W), 96 dpi, 515 kb
Great TV Entertainment 1981-10 p2_detail_800px.jpg
302 px (H) x 800 px (W), 96 dpi, 126 kb
©1981 TVSM, INC.


Times Square ©1980 StudioCanal/Canal+


Times Square Hits US Cable TV, October 1981

Posted on 15th December 2018 in "Times Square"
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Robin Johnson's head shot for TIMES SQUARE, in costume as Nicky Marotta, photographed by Yoram Kahana, printed in 1981 for the film's showings on The Movie Channel. Text: THE MOVIE CHANNEL ROBIN JOHNSON is an uninhibited product of the streets who sets New York City on edge as a wild runaway from authority in "Times Square." See it in October on THE MOVIE CHANNEL.

ROBIN JOHNSON is an uninhibited product of the streets who sets New York City on edge as a wild runaway from authority in “Times Square.” See it in October on THE MOVIE CHANNEL.


A year after its brief run in theaters, Times Square made it to HBO, and I watched it every single time it ran. This was before my family had a VCR, but my dad had access to a Sony Porta-Pak open-reel video recorder, and I recorded the movie across four reels, during four broadcasts, in glorious black-and-white, and watched it many times over the next few years, until I went off to college and the Porta-Pak went back to wherever it came from. I do still have the reels, but nothing to play them them on, assuming there’s still a signal on them. There’s a slim possibility that the American trailer is also on one of those reels: it was used to promote the movie on HBO, and I remember poring over the movie every time I saw it wondering how I kept missing the scene where Nicky and Pammy were splashing each other in the river.

The only thing inaccurate about the above is, although I and everybody else I’ve spoken to who also watched those cable screenings remember vividly that it was on HBO, the only evidence I’ve ever found indicates that it was actually The Movie Channel. And so far, I’m also the only one willing to admit that my memory may be faulty on that one detail. Times Square fans can be obstinate.

This photo is TS-57-26/1 from the US Press Material folder, with The Movie Channel’s logo replacing AFD’s on the now slightly expanded white border. The caption is edited from the one supplied with that photo, over a year before. After all the variants and previously unseen promotional photos that came out as Times Square was released around the world, its television debut was promoted with one of the first shots ever released.



[TS-57-26 Movie Channel variant]
black-and-white photograph, AAT ID: 300128347
US, 1981 ; 8″ x 10″ (work)
1981-10 Head shot Movie Channel variant_1080px.jpg
1080 px (H) x 865 px (W), 96 dpi, 345 kb (image)


Times Square ©1980 StudioCanal/Canal+


Filmstar, Vol. 1 No. 6, Thailand, October 1981

Posted on 3rd December 2018 in "Times Square"
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Cover of a movie magazine from Thailand containing article on Robin Johnson  Text:  Fortnightly Friend of the Film Buff  FILMSTAR Volume 1 No. 6 / October 1, 1981  Special A new Bond girl FOR YOUR EYES ONLY  Free Color Poster  12.





I would think that by October of 1981, a year after its initial release in New York, and two or three months after its Thai release, Times Square would have long since closed in Thailand and become a distant memory. But that didn’t stop Filmstar magazine from running an article promoting Robin herself, very much like the interviews with Robin published during her publicity tour nine months previous.

A quick-witted likeable young lady

Do you still remember Nicky, a quick witted rebelliously likable young girl from Times Square? If you are also someone who fell in love with that Nicky, here is a tiny reminiscence that she is happy to share. Even though it is not going to be as exciting as in the film, I bet you wouldn’t mind learning from her.

Nicky is Robin Johnson, 17 year old teenager from Brooklyn. Her accent is clearly a unique and gravelly Brooklynese when she speaks. When we met her, Robin Johnson’s hair was still chopped in a shaggy cut. “It would be too expensive to go to a beauty shop and have it stripped out.” she says, “And it would take hours. I’ll just wait till it grows back in the real way.”

Robin still remembers the role of Nicky so well even though a year has passed by. She and Trini Alvarado are friends on and off screen. Trini wants to be a song-writer. Robin, a rock singer — finally, she does give a street concert in Times Square.

“I love rock.” Robin says. “Van Halen. Led Zeppelin. Music makes you feel good — and sometimes sad. I remember the song called Damn Dog so well. It’s not punk. I hate punk music, the real punk that comes from England—The Clash. Sex Pistols. They’re maniacs: they want to die. I don’t mind New Wave so much. It has the same kind of roots, but it’s mellower.”

Robin starts to giggle when she thinks about one scene in the movie. “I’m really very wild-looking. I wear a mask like the Lone Ranger and a blue turtleneck sweater with blue glitter tights and a plastic-garbage-bag belt!”

Acting in the film was the first job Robin ever had. “That matures you. learning how to work and deal with people. Being street-smart helps in making a movie. There are certain rules you pick up— when to keep your mouth shut, when to do certain things. It’s like being in a different neighborhood — some people might give you a hassle, but if they do. you should keep your mouth shut, even if you get mad, and just walk the other way and get out of there. I learned responsibility. You become more considerate. I liked everybody I worked with except two out of a hundred. One woman really gave me a fit — she was such a big complainer. she must have gotten a B.A. in complaining! After a while. I just avoided her except when I absolutely had to work with her. ‘What am I going to get upset for?’ I asked myself. ‘I’m the one you see on the screen.’”

Robin goes to Brooklyn Tech high school. “I never get along with my teachers,” she says. “I’m rebellious. I don’t like people in authority.”

Robin remembered a casting scout, who arranged for Robin to go to an audition in Manhattan. That audition feels like it wrecks her brains. Back then, in her head she thought “I just wanted to go home to sleep but my friend Cindi was with me, and she says. ‘No. no. no. you’ve got to go. “I had to fill out a sheet with height, weight, eye color, hair color—stuff like that. Then, they’re putting me on tape, inside the studio room I was sitting there like a dummy and read the script. I don’t know why they have chosen me but I got a part in Times Square.”

“It’s a nice feeling to be picked out of so many.” Robin says. “People call me a natural talent, but what I say to that is that the character I play is very close to me so that my actions are natural. It’s easy to play someone like yourself.”

Around her neck, she wears a couple of gold chains. One has her birth sign. Gemini, dangling from it; the other, a tiny round gold circle, contains a diamond chip. “Trini and I were given diamonds by the crew at a party when the movie was finished,” Robin explains, her eyes wide. “When I saw the Tiffany bag it came in. I said. ‘My God!’ I put it on, and I haven’t taken it off since.”

I managed to have this article translated professionally by Joy Busai (whose website, www.thaienglishhq.com, unfortunately seems to be down at the moment), and she noticed that it seemed itself to be an almost word-for-word translation into Thai of Robin’s interview in Seventeen Magazine from October 1980. While it got me a discount on the translation, it was something of a disappointment to find that one of the last contemporary Times Square articles contained absolutely nothing new.

Photo roundup: Page 40 is cropped from the image used most prominently for a UK lobby card.

Bottom left on p. 41 is the shot published in Playboy, Vol. 28 No. 1, January 1981. Top to bottom at right: a shot of the final concert previously used on the UK soundtrack sampler; Nicky cutting Pammy’s hand, with a boom microphone front and center, as seen in the Japanese souvenir program book; a previously-unpublished, as far as I know, full frame from the film showing the extra empty space at the top; and a shot of Robin as Nicky that accompanied her October 1980 interview in Seventeen, which itself was translated into Thai in the issue of Filmstar three months before this one.

Page 41, top left, is the Yoram Kahana shot that first appeared, again as far as I know, in Movie 81 No. 2. Directly below is UK publicity still 21. Below that, captioned “ROBIN”, is TS-69-34A/4. To its right is a shot taken within seconds of the UK lobby card but itself seems to be making its first appearance here. To the right is TS-82-30/4, and finally at the bottom right is another frame from the film with extra space at the top and bottom.

See also:

U.K. Lobby Cards (post 1 of 3)
UK Promo Photos 4, 13, and 21, 1980-81
Times Square Press Material folder (post 4 of 5)
U.K. Lobby Cards (post 3 of 3)
Times Square Press Material folder (post 5 of 5)



Times Square (article, AAT ID: 300048715)
Filmstar Vol. 1 No. 6, 1 October 1981, pp. 40-42 (magazine (periodical), AAT ID: 300215389)
25.9 x 18.9 cm. (work);
Filmstar_v1_n6_19811001_p 01_layers_1080px.jpg
1080 px (H) x 795 px (W), 96 dpi, 490 kb
Filmstar_v1_n6_19811001_p 40_layers_1080px.jpg
235 px (H) x 776 px (W), 96 dpi, 458 kb
Filmstar_v1_n6_19811001_p 41_1080px.jpg
1080 px (H) x 782 px (W), 96 dpi, 515 kb
Filmstar_v1_n6_19811001_p 42_1080px.jpg
688 px (H) x 774 px (W), 96 dpi, 479 kb


Times Square ©1980 StudioCanal/Canal+


Times Square movie poster, Thailand, 1981

Posted on 21st November 2018 in "Times Square"
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TIMES SQUARE movie poster from Thailand, 1981. Possibly unauthorized.  Text (translated from Thai):  ONE GIRL GROWS TOUGH, ANOTHER BECOMES COURAGEOUS THESE TWO JOIN TOGETHER TO MAKE THE MOST OUT OF THEIR REBELLIOUS LIVES         Presented by  Oriental Artist Treasury of Entertainment  ROBIN JOHNSON TRINI ALVARADO TIM CURRY  TIMES SQUARE ‘TWO’  NOW BEING SHOWN AT                                      ON  (Flyer inserts in the newspaper today) Printed in Thailand by The Siam Offset Co., Ltd. Tel 2860359 By Surat Pukkavesh, Printer/Advertiser               2864074




Movie posters in Thailand are an art form unto themselves. Google “Thai movie posters” and you will go down a rabbit hole you may take days to emerge from. Thai film distributors discard the authorized promotional materials and commission original painted montages in glorious colors. Some of the pages I looked at seemed to say that this practice ended in the 1990s… if so, we are all the poorer for it. But luckily for us, Times Square got the Thai treatment in 1981. The artist went a little heavy on Nicky’s eye shadow, but I can forgive this since the overall poster is so spectacular.



Unlike the Japanese materials I posted earlier, I hired a translator for the Thai items: Joy Busai at Thai English Headquarters — I can’t recommend her highly enough. (Although, her website seems to be down now, and my attempts to contact her to translate the article in my previous post went unanswered.) Here’s what the poster says in English:



Presented by
Oriental Artist
Treasury of Entertainment



NOW SHOWING AT _____ ON _____

(Flyer inserts in the newspaper today)
Printed in Thailand by The Siam Offset Co., Ltd. Tel 2860359
By Surat Pukkavesh, Printer/Advertiser 2864074

The only thing missing is the artist’s name. I think that’s a signature there in the lower right, but I’m not sure.

As in Mexico, Robin again gets top billing, and Tim Curry third. The Thai promoters may have been the first to have the insight that led them to give Times Square the secondary title, “Two”.



Times Square : “Two”
Thailand : poster : AAT ID: 300027221 : 77.9 x 55.7 cm : 1981 (work);
773 x 1080 px, 96 dpi, 555 kb (image)


Times Square ©1980 StudioCanal/Canal+


Filmstar, Vol 1 No. 3, Thailand, August 1981

Posted on 9th November 2018 in "Times Square"
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Cover of movie magazine from Thailand with article about TIMES SQUARE (1980)




By August 1981, Robin might already have figured out that neither she nor Andy Gibb were going to get a call telling them when to report to the Grease 2 set. Most of the world had already forgotten about Times Square. But it wasn’t quite over yet.


Thailand’s Filmstar magazine devoted four pages and the back cover to the upcoming release of Times Square. I tried and failed to get a professional translation of the article. Google Translate makes nearly as bad a hash of Thai as it does Japanese, but from what I can make out, this is a purely promotional article summarizing the plot, like the articles in Sonido No. 56 and Film Review Vol. 31 No. 2.


The caption and drawing on page 63, the first page of the article, are from the European movie poster, and the photo of Pammy and Nicky is TS-72-8A/14, the most-used photo of the girls together.

The image from the poster also appears on page 64, above UK Press Kit photo #4 of Tim Curry. The large photo of Robin, as far as I know, made its first appearance here. As she’s looking directly into the camera, I suspect it was taken at the same time as this pre-take shot, but since the background is cut out there’s just as good a chance it was taken at Pier 56.

The large image of Trini on page 65 looks to be from the same origin as that photo of Robin. Based on what I can make out of the lighting, I tend to think it’s from the outside location. It’s the only photo I’ve seen of Trini in that costume where she isn’t holding the boom box. The inset of the cops pushing Nicky into the back seat is another previously, and as far as I know, otherwise unpublished publicity still. The only matching shots in the film are from the opposite side of the car, and the film camera’s setup from this reverse angle is several feet to the left.

The shot of Robin as Nicky as Aggie Doone singing “Damn Dog” in the Cleo Club is yet another photo making its first appearance. But not its last… there’s a slightly better version yet to come.

So, amazingly, the Times Square publicity campaign was nearing its end, yet the places it was being published were being furnished with new material, despite it being highly unlikely that the local audiences would have seen any of the already-used photos. Unless, perhaps, the EMI/AFD publicity departments had decided that what they’d been doing was failing, and if they could only find the right photos, they could turn Times Square into a hit in the next country…

The back cover of Filmstar was a reproduction of the collage first published in Screen International No. 246 in June 1980 and used in February 1981 as the Australian movie poster, with the addition of Robin’s name in English. If there’s one thing all the local contemporary film publicity outlets agreed on, it’s that Robin herself was the most marketable aspect of the movie.

TIMES SQUARE Robin Johnson poster on the back cover of a movie magazine from Thailand

Posts mentioned above but not linked to:

Times Square Press Material folder (post 4 of 5)
Times Square UK Press Kit (post 2 of 4)
On Location
Times Square Program Book, Japan, June 1981, pages 20-24 (post 4 of 5)
Times Square Australian Daybill



Times Square (article, AAT ID: 300048715)
Filmstar Vol. 1 No. 3, 15 August 1981, pp. 63-66 (magazine (periodical), AAT ID: 300215389)
25.9 x 18.9 cm. (work);
Filmstar Vol 1 No 3_front_cover_1080px.jpg
1080 px (H) x 789 px (W), 96 dpi, 553 kb
Filmstar Vol 1 No 3_p63_1080px_2.jpg
235 px (H) x 787 px (W), 96 dpi, 474 kb
Filmstar Vol 1 No 3_p64_1080px.jpg
1080 px (H) x 774 px (W), 96 dpi, 428 kb
Filmstar Vol 1 No 3_p66_1080px.jpg
688 px (H) x 771 px (W), 96 dpi, 514 kb
Filmstar Vol 1 No 3_back_cover_1080px.jpg
1080 px (H) x 777 px (W), 96 dpi, 679 kb


Times Square ©1980 StudioCanal/Canal+


More stills from the UK series

Posted on 28th October 2018 in "Times Square"
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TIMES SQUARE (1980) publicity still, black and white 8"x10", #41 from the UK series  Text:  [on front:] 41  [on back:] [stamp:]  TIMES SQUARE  [in Hebrew and English] STILLER FILM LTD. L.A. [illegible] PHONES [illegible] TEL-AVIV  [handwritten]  [Times Square) [in Hebrew]  41  (41?) [in Hebrew?]


I nearly passed over this lot of five black and white stills, except it had one photo I’d never seen. Rather than try to haggle for just the one photo, I bought the lot, and I’m glad I did, because they’re all from the UK series, three of them were new numbers, and the others are slightly different again from the previous copies I have.


This shot is number 41, and the highest number I’ve yet found. (I have 18 of them.) It’s the one I thought I’d never seen, but I was wrong: it was published on the back of the “Times Square Trailer” UK soundtrack sampler record sleeve.


The other four are numbers 20, 23, 34, and 40.



All five have borders, where most of the series are printed full-bleed, all the way to the edges. Number 20 is the third copy and the third variant I’ve found. The first had the number printed to the right, against the grey background. The second was cropped more generously at the bottom, and had the number against the black of Nicky’s coat, but cut off at the bottom.. This one is cropped like that second version, and has the number in almost the same place, but up a few millimeters so it can be seen clearly. It also looks like it’s the exact same number stuck on the print – the handwriting looks identical in all three. I suppose this is obvious to anyone who works in movie promotion, but I am not one of those people — it would seem that whenever they needed more copies of an image, they dug out the negative, stuck on the number, and ran off a few prints, and every run ended up slightly different from every other.


Number 23 is TS-82-30/4, but cropped more generously at the top and bottom and more narrowly on the left and right. Number 34 is a second copy of the first photo I ever found from this series, but it’s printed much lighter, washing out Pammy’s face, and the number has moved from just to the left of the neon “Q” in “TIMES SQUARE” to inside the curve at the right. And number 40 is TS-42-11A/2, printed lighter with higher contrast, and cropped more generously at the left and bottom. Although it seems obvious now, seeing this is the first time I’ve realized that this shot, along with this one and this one, were taken as Robin was kneeling on top of the theater marquee, and the blurred lights behind her are the street below.

TIMES SQUARE (1980) publicity still, black and white 8"x10", from the UK series  Text:  [on front:] 23  [on back:] [stamp:]  TIMES SQUARE  [in Hebrew and English] STILLER FILM LTD. L.A. [illegible] PHONES [illegible] TEL-AVIV  [handwritten]  [Times Square) [in Hebrew]  (photo number?)


These prints were distributed in Israel by Stiller Film Ltd., whose partially visible stamp on their backs indicates that they had a local office in Tel Aviv. The prints also have the TIMES SQUARE stamp found on the backs of many, but not all, of the UK series, and what I believe is Times Square in handwritten Hebrew.


Pages referred to but not linked directly above:

Times Square Press Material folder (post 5 of 5)
Blast from the Past
Times Square Blue
Times Square UK Press Kit (post 4 of 4)
UK Promo Photo #29



black-and-white photograph, AAT ID: 300128347
UK ; 8″ x 10″ (work)
UK still 20_1080px.jpg
863 px (H) x 1080 px (W), 96 dpi, 362 kb (image)

black-and-white photograph, AAT ID: 300128347
UK ; 8″ x 10″ (work)
UK still 23_1080px.jpg
867 px (H) x 1080 px (W), 96 dpi, 353 kb (image)

UK still 23 back b_1080px.jpg
860 px (H) x 1080 px (W), 96 dpi, 169 kb (image)

black-and-white photograph, AAT ID: 300128347
UK ; 8″ x 10″ (work)
UK still 34_1080px.jpg
865 px (H) x 1080 px (W), 96 dpi, 374 kb (image)

black-and-white photograph, AAT ID: 300128347
UK ; 10″ x 8″ (work)
UK still 40_1080px.jpg
1080 px (H) x 864 px (W), 96 dpi, 309 kb (image)

black-and-white photograph, AAT ID: 300128347
UK ; 8″ x 10″ (work)
UK still 41_1080px.jpg
868 px (H) x 1080 px (W), 96 dpi, 331 kb (image)


Times Square ©1980 StudioCanal/Canal+


JUKE, No. 302, February 7, 1981

Posted on 16th October 2018 in "Times Square"
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Cover of an Australian music newspaper weekly containing several stories relating to TIMES SQUARE (1980)  Text:  JUKE  FEBRUARY 7, 1981  Issue No. 302  70 CENTS  "Registered for posting as Publication Category B"  TIMES SQUARE TO  CITY SQUARE  PLUS ROXY MUSIC SPECIALS  WILLIE NELSON  XTC TAYLOR/MANNING  SURFING  RUTS WILLIE NILE  IN CONCERT  Australian Crawl, Flowers, Midnight Oil, Jo Jo Zep & The Falcons, Mondo Rock

The soundtrack album cover image on the cover of Australia’s Juke no. 302 is the only Robin content in the issue, but it’s still a remarkable piece of Times Square history. In Melbourne at least, PolyGram Records promoted the heck out of the film’s premiere for an entire weekend, and the magazine gave away posters and copies of the soundtrack. If there’s anybody reading this who remembers any of this happening, I’d be very interested in hearing about it.

Photo of Tim Curry in an Australian music newspaper weekly containing several stories relating to TIMES SQUARE (1980).  Caption:  In the “Times Square” movie, Tim Curry plays an all night disc jockey who gives his listeners a  running account of the two runaway girls’ progress.

By Brian Jones

To promote the opening of the Times Square movie in Melbourne this week, PolyGram Records have come up with a unique idea.

To take Time Square to the city square. Over the weekend they hired out the huge video screen at the Melbourne city square where excerpts of the movie were flashed with lots of plugs for the double soundtrack LP and other PolyGram product. If you caught the screening, you’d have noticed that JUKE Magazine got its whack of plugging as well.

To celebrate the release of the movie, not to mention Roxy Music coming into Melbourne (certainly a big plus in their promotion as Roxy are featured on the soundtrack as well!) JUKE is this week giving away 12 copies of the soundtrack LP. Write to “Times Square” competition, care of this magazine, and tell us three of the artists on the LP, with your name and address on the back of the envelope.

And for Melbourne readers, the first 20 to waltz up to the Juke offices during business hours and ask for it gets a special colour poster.

The movie, which premiers on Feb 5, is about two runaways who end up at Times Square in New York, and is produced by Robert Stigwood.

In the “Times Square” movie, Tim Curry plays an all night disc jockey who gives his listeners a running account of the two runaway girls’ progress.

Pages 6, 7, and 13 contained articles on three of the bands with songs on the soundtrack, one of whom (Roxy Music) was playing in Melbourne that week — although the interview with Phil Manzanera had been conducted a week previous, while the band was still in England. The articles are all branded with a big Times Square logo (unique to this magazine), but make absolutely no references to the movie. I’m reproducing the text below because they’re a bit of a window into the world the movie was being released into, but they have nothing to do with Times Square, and even less to do with Robin Johnson.

And note that one of the articles in the magazine was written by “Betty Page,” and another by “Brian Jones.” I don’t know what to make of that.

Betty Page finds them slaving for the Yankee dollar

Once big in trousers, now big in the States? Five minutes into New York and the taxi driver (always good for copy, dese guys) wants to know in his best Brooklynese “are dey like da Beatles?”

Funny he should say that! Here’s the city mourning not only a death but the fact that any Beatles reunion of any sort is over, and you have XTC who have similar characters — Terry Chambers like Ringo (whacky/moody), Colin Moulding is a Paul (pretty bassist), Andy Patridge is a John with pebble specs and aggressive humour and Dave Gregory is George, the strong silent type with a schoolboy’s face.

Four individuals, churning out pop song after commercial pop song, yet experiencing the ultimate frustration of being denied enormous popular acclaim, after so much hard grafting.

Due to some particular warped business logic, XTC have been touring constantly for 20 weeks (although Andy reckons they haven’t stopped since 1977!) the last half of which has been spent in the USA. This tour’s had its peaks and troughs but, with the backing of the big guns at RSO, Black Sea has launched into the Top 100 and a prestigious support for the Cars at Madison Square Gardens.

I arrived to find the boys a bit ruffled (they’d just seen the sleeve of their next single ‘‘Sgt. Rock” botched by the art department into a variation of Corporal Clot) and homesick for home in Swindon. They’d just been to New Orleans and recounted the constant sun, desert and cacti of Arizona, “we’d only seen them drawn in the Beano (a British comic book — ed) and I made up some cactus jokes especially. What’s the difference between a Scotsman and a cactus? At least you can get a drink out of a cactus!”

The show on Long Island was lacklustre. Their superb soundman Steve Warren had quit after an argument with their manager, and it showed. So too did tour exhaustion. There was so much cussing that even the groupies held back! Groupies haven’t been a XTC forte but, for a band that virtually celebrates its ase-xuality, they now attract a particular brand of predatory females.

Andy: “It’s getting worse. Some of them are real elephant dogs! Others just want to show you their portfolios. I’d rather take to my bed with my plastic tanks”.

XTC are clearly very tired. Despite that, they had to fly back to Britain in a few days to start another tour, and they angrily knocked back offers to do a visit to Scandinavia.

“It’s just piled up since ’77” Andy explained. “I refuse to do anything for at least a couple of months. I want to work on some singles, concentrate on that before the next album.”

The next day was concentrated on doing interviews — and the American press still seem preoccupied with Barry Andrews, who left two years ago, and refer to Dave Gregory as “the newcomer”.

Dave takes it all in good humour. He talks about his dreams and nightmare. His nightmare is to come out on stage on day, plug in and “sound like Ted Nugent”. The dream is to own as many perfectly formed guitars as possible — maybe form his own guitar harem with all of them wearing veils! He tells of the time when they did a tour with Police, and manager Copeland ticked off XTC for not giving everything onstage. The talk made them think; now they gyrate onstage.

Andy was lambasted for “not wearing a decent shirt”. Couldn’t he afford one?

“To be frank, no!”

Not even Sting’s cast-offs?

“No! (recoils in horror) I’m living in that man’s shadow. Been in a bloody coach with him for eight weeks. He nicked all my ideas in the first place. All three of the Police used to come down the Fulham Greyhound (pub) and watch us. He said his favourite song was ‘All Along The Watchtower’ so you can see where they’re coming from!”

The Police spectre looms large. When Police travel the world and play exotic places like Bombay and Cairo, they’re huge. When XTC play the same places then they’re just working hard. Could XTC have such a superhero? Men in backrooms have toyed with the idea of making a sex symbol out of Colin Mulding, trundling him forward more often and pinching some limelight from Andy.

But isn’t Colin too passive, isn’t it too late for a change of image into some sort of double-fronted Cheap Trick style combo?

According to Andy, it’s already started to happen. “I think he’s got a lot more teen appeal than I’ll ever have. I always thought I looked like a tortoise who’d just had his shell ripped off! He comes forward already; he sings the singles, it’s him on Top Of The Pops, not me. I think people associate Colin with singing the singles. A lot of people think he’s our lead singer, those that know our singles. There’s a split identity.”

XTC are having a series of hit singles including “General And Majors”, “Living Through Another Cuba” and “Towers Of London” continually increasing their hit records. In England they have a passionate following but really no image except for Patridge’s cynical persona. In America, they can be easily manipulated; in fact, because all five have such strong personalities, a TV series of films could catapault them into the big time. As yet, America hasn’t decided if they’re clever, banal or intriguing; so they just love them!

First night at Madison Square Gardens. Patridge is nervous and limits his onstage patter. But they go down well. “The next band on is the Cars — don’t be too hard on them”. After a record company guy comes over and ticks them off, in case the Cars feel insulted. Wha-a-t! Come on, oh well, tough shit.

So the struggle goes on. They’re confident that they’ll break through, it takes a bit of time. But at the moment they’re all very tired and very homesick.

Andy: “I just want to re-evaluate our whole position. It may turn out that we may never tour again, hahaha, what a scoop! We’ve been whoring our arses up and down the world too much, it’s obviously, not the way to do it.

“We want to try and be a little bit more exclusive. We were rather lukewarmly received at home last time. We’ll be even more knackered this time. We do need to recharge our batteries, new ideas, new approaches, this really is the end-of-a-long-piece-of-knotted-string tour, the frayed end …”

Roxy Music’s Phil Manzanera Speaks to Vince Lovegrove

“If it weren’t for the Beatles I wouldn’t be playing music”, Phil Manzanera told me by phone one week before Roxy Music arrived in Australia.

“They were a great influence on all of us. You know, when you’re a certain age you really get excited by certain groups. But it’s a bummer about Lennon. A great tragedy. We’ve started doing a tribute to him. Sometimes we do “Jealous Guy”.

Manzanera had just rushed back to his hotel after a sellout concert in Manchester, England. The reason for the rush from the concert hall wasn’t to take my pre-arranged phone call, but to order some food before the hotel kitchen closed.

“It’s the typical rock scenario. Most hotel kitchens close early and then you can only order sandwiches. We have to get back from the gig in a hurry so that we can have a decent meal.

“New York’s different, of course. It’s a twenty four hour city. It’s a bit dangerous, but exciting and stimulating-for a short time”.

Phil Manzanera is an articulate, quietly spoken man … on a Manchester to Sydney telephone call, at least. Although I’m not a diehard Roxyite, I quite like the band, and found myself locked into Manzanera. In fact, as Bert Newton once said to Mohommad Ali, “I like the boy!”

I found his casual thoughts on rock’n’roll and life in general very honest and realistic. Not at all like rock’n’rollers whose conversations begins and ends with the ‘virtues’ of rock music.

In fact, from his early 1970 experimental days in Quiet Sun to his 1976 ‘one off’ album band 801, Manzanera has always seemed to me to be the one who has taken Roxy Music into the provocative areas of rock music. Obviously, Brian Eno added his eccentricity, but he has never really stayed within the confines of Roxy Music like Manzanera.

And it was Manzanera’s honesty that first told us about dissatisfaction within the group after their fourth album, Country Life.

And while it was Ferry who announced in 1976, that Roxy Music were about to enjoy a trial separation, it was Phil Manzanera who immediately rushed headlong into producing 801, ensuring that the genius of Brian Eno would finally be recognised outside the confines of Roxy Music.

“Actually, that was an incredible period. It made me realise just how much the business side of rock’n’roll can ruin the very essence of the music itself.

“It was the business side of it that stopped Roxy moving for three years.

“You get caught on this incredible momentum, that just doesn’t stop. You have to deliver an album, then go on tour to promote it, and by the time you’ve finished you’ve go to deliver another album. Consequently, you don’t get time to write any material.

“You get locked into a cocoon, getting transported around in an unreal world and just don’t get time to develop as a human being.

“We just had to stop the merry-go-round, get off and become human beings again”.

It was during that re-kindling period that Johnny Rotten spearheaded the movement that saved rock’n’roll from a pathetic, self indulgent, financially bloated, slow agonising death. And one of its staunchest supporters was Phil Manzanera.

“I think Johnny Rotten is a very interesting character. He has a great sense of humour. I admire him greatly.

“The entire punk movement was fantastic. It gave rock music a much needed kick in the arse. It provided heaps of enthusiasm, inspired amateurs and showed that anyone could start a group”.

In total contrast, it was the pure jazz/classical influences of English contemporary band Sky that smashed the snob inspired anti rock music feeling that once existed amongst highly trained, technical musicians.

“Rock isn’t about technical prowess, it’s about feel, “Manzanera enthused.

“Sky are great musos, and they smashed that anti rock snobbery”.

Did he know two members of Sky, Kevin Peak and John Williams were Australian?

“No, I didn’t”.

Roxy Music, during their ‘rest periods’ are quite a sporting bunch of fellas, and super whizz kid guitarist Phil Manzanera is no exception. He plays a lot of golf, tennis, and water skis when he can. That is, when he’s not spending time with his two dogs, two cats, several horses, or simply lounging around home with his pregnant wife listening to music.

And what sort of music would Phil Manzanera listen to?

“Well, I love UB40’s. They have great feel, fantastic lyrics, and memorable melodies. Then there’s Steely Dan — I love their new album. Bowie I like, Dire Straits, a band called Black Uhuru, and of course Talking Heads.

“But I think their latest album is more of an Eno album that a Heads set. They seem to have lost some of themselves, and given way to more of Brian”.

Well, I don’t know who’s going to pay for this bloody phone call. Maybe I should finish off.

After all, the group will be in Australia by the time I get off my backside and get it into Juke. And you can bet your last pair of safety pins that Roxy’s record company won’t pay for it. And I just KNOW the promoter won’t pay for it. I better finish. I’ll probably end up footing the bill again.

One last question, Phil. Is there anything special in Roxy Music’s staging this time around?

“As a matter of fact, there is. We have a very interesting stage set… not like anything else around at the moment. It’s electric in a mechanial sort of way. I won’t give it away, let me say that I still like looking at it after six months”.

with Jillian Hughes

Very few bands are willing to carry on when their focal point leaves. When that person dies suddenly in an accident — or a heroin overdose as in the case of Malcolm Owen the lead singer of the Ruts — then it takes awhile to get over the shock.

But the Ruts, one of the original punk bands, came up trumps. Renaming themselves Ruts DC (DC stands for Da Capo which is Latin for “a new beginning”) they went back to their original audiences, tore them apart, and are now off to America to try their luck there. Meantime there’s also a new LP of old material called Grin and Bear It.

“Last summer was probably the worst time for us” says bassist Vince Segs, who has stepped in as their main vocalist. ‘‘We’ve always known that Malcolm was doing heroin. He also had problems with his throat, which just went on him. It was very frustrating for us, because we couldn’t work a lot of the time, and it was very frustrating for Malcolm, which is probably why he went back on the hard stuff again.

“The pressure was on us — everyone was aware that the kids out there wanted to hear us, but we were being held up. We started to drift apart.”

Right after Owen died, the Ruts came up with one of their best singles yet, ‘‘West One (Shine On Me)”. But partly because it was such a change from their rock-reggae, and partly because they made no appearances to promote it, the disc died. Then the Damned stepped in and took the three — the other two are drummer Dave Ruffy and guitarist Paul Fox — on tour with them, just to give them a helping hand. The Ruts re-discovered their audience, and found enough confidence to write new songs.

Grin and Bear It is seen by some as a shoddy cashing in on Malcolm’s death by their record company Virgin, well known for Sid Vicious/-Pistols re-issues.

“It is an album we put together for Malcolm’s memory, that’s all. We wanted it out, not the record company. We didn’t have enough studio material with Malcolm to make up an LP so we put in some live things. Some people say it’s a con because Ruts fans would have all the tracks.

“That’s not so. Fans wouldn’t have the live version of ‘Babylon’s Burning’ or the John Peel (radio) session recording of ‘Demolition Dancing’ — the LP’s not intended to tear about the charts, it’s just there for anyone who wants it. The album we aim for the charts is the one we start work on soon. If anything, we wanted to bring ‘Love in Vein’ back — it was hidden on the b-side of ‘Staring at the Rude Boys’ the first time.”

Ruts DC are touring and recording with a sessions sax/keyboards player called Garry Barnacle who was on their first LP The Crack as well as Grin and Bear It.



Juke No. 302, February 7, 1981 (weekly (publication) (AAT ID: 300312030))
44 x 28 cm.;
Brian Jones, Big push on ‘Times Square’; p. 5
Betty Page, XTC in New York; p. 6
Vince Lovegrove, I’ve got Roxy in my head; p. 7
Jillian Hughes, No Ruts about it; p. 13 (works);
Juke No 302 p1_1080px.jpg
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Juke No 302 p3_1080px.jpg
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Juke No 302 p13_1080px.jpg
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©1981 Newspress Pty. Ltd.


Times Square ©1980 StudioCanal/Canal+


Times Square UK Pressbook, 1980-81, pages 6-7

Posted on 4th October 2018 in "Times Square"
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UK Press Book for TIMES SQUARE, pages 6-7: photo montage center spread.  Text:  TIMES SQUARE

This is the center spread of the glossy UK pressbook for Times Square. Of the seven images circling the European logo, four are cropped from photos used on UK lobby cards (clockwise from top left, that would be One, Two, Five, and Seven). Of the three remaining: Four is a more complete version of a shot that would later be printed in Joepie No. 365, March 15, 1981; and Six may be making its first appearance here. It looks like it was taken a fraction of a second after UK black-and-white publicity still #34. That shot looks to me like she’s jumping up, and this looks like she’s coming down. I’m fairly certain this color shot was used elsewhere later on, but as I’ve complained abut other items recently… I can’t seem to find it.

That leaves image Three, which I thought was the gorgeously lit shot from the center of the Japanese souvenir program book but with the microphone cropped out, until a second look made it obvious that it’s from a completely different angle. I think it may be making its only appearance here, unless, as above, I’ve just mislaid it. It does seem to be from the same vantage point as US publicity still TS-109-16/12 from the AFD Press Material folder.


If we’re keeping score of appearances, in the collage above the film’s stars rank: Robin Johnson 6, Trini Alvarado 3, Tim Curry 1.


Pages referred to but not linked directly above:

U.K. Lobby Cards (post 1 of 3)
U.K. Lobby Cards (post 2 of 3)
U.K. Lobby Cards (post 3 of 3)
Times Square Program Book, Japan, June 1981, pages 12-13 (post 5 of 5)



Times Square pressbook, pp. 6-7
UK : pressbook (theatre manual) : AAT ID: 300213184 : 35.7 x 27.8 cm. : 1980 (work);
1080 x 1703 px, 96 dpi, 819 kb (image)

Times Square©1980 StudioCanal/Canal+


Times Square UK Pressbook, 1980-81, pages 8-12

Posted on 22nd September 2018 in "Times Square"
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UK Press Book for TIMES SQUARE, p. 8, with additional articles on the cast, part 1.  Text:  TIM CURRY ACTING RARITY -- SKILLED IN MODERN AND CLASSIC      The performances of Tim Curry have displayed a remarkable range and dazzling versatility. A cult hero for his portrayal of the outrageous rock star in “The Rocky Horror Picture Show", Curry is'a classically trained actor with an impressive list of stage and screen credits.     Curry now is starred in a contemporary role, playing an opportunistic, hyper-kinetic Mew York disc jockey who gives his all-night listeners a running account of the adventures of two runaways, in “Times Square”.     Bom in Cheshire, England, Curry studied classical drama at Birmingham University before winning his first professional job to sing and dance in the original London cast of “Hair”. Shortly thereafter, he appeared in three Royal Shakespeare Company productions - “Titus Andronicus”, David Mercer’s “After Haggerty”, and as Puck in Benjamin Britten’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”. In 1976, Curry was featured on Broadway in Tom Stoppard’s Tony Award-winning “Travesties”.     Tim Curry’s film roles also include Jerzy Skolimowski’s “The Shout”, which won the 1978 Grand Jury Prize at the Cannes Film Festival and was featured that year in the New York Film Festival.      For the BBC-TV, Curry played the title role in a six-part series, “The Life of Shakespeare", and appeared in "Three Men in a Boat", Stoppard's adaptation of a Victorian comedy classic.      Curry is an accomplished singer and songwriter with two successful rock albums, “Read My Lips" and “Fearless”, to his credit His third album is to be released later this year.   “TIMES SQUARE” STAR ROBIN JOHNSON IS A NATURAL IN SCREEN BOW       At some time in the future Brooklyn’s Technological High School steps may become legendary as the spot where a star was “born", the 1980 equivalent to Hollywood's Schwab’s Drugstore. On those steps and waiting for classes to begin, 15-year-old Robin Johnson was discovered by an (unknown) casting scout on the lookout for possible candidates for the leading role 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 inimitable Brooklyn-accented speech. “I thought: Wow! Another wise guy. But I gave it a shot."      What Robin didn’t know at the time was that the film's director, Alan 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 spunky teenager loose and without adult supervision, determined to become a rock star. The talent search already had bypassed many of the traditional avenues and scoured youth centres, punk rock clubs, and placed ads in papers such as the Village Voice, Soho News, and Aquarian.      “We are looking for someone who WAS Nicky", Moyle admits. “Robin is definitely not that doomed child. Luckily for the film, Robin brought a lot more humour to the character than what I had originally envisioned. Her youthful innocence and energy boost what might have been played as too much of a downer.”      Without any previous experience (“I had sung in a choir when I was 12"), Robin won the role over literally hundreds of other candidates. Upon winning the role, she entered an intensive programme of singing lessons and a dance and movement regimen. Making this film meant that the novice had to be transformed quickly into a seasoned professional. Robin worked seven days straight for 12 weeks. As a minor, the new “star" had to continue her studies with a tutor on the set and more learning sessions on Saturdays. On Sundays, recording or dancing demands took up the day. Veteran members of the New York film crew were dazzled by the professionalism of both Robin and her even younger co-star, 12-year-old Trini Alvarado. Both exhibited an almost non-stop flow of dedication, energy, high spirits and raucous good humour.      Robin Johnson lives with her older sister Cindy and their mother in the Park Slope area of Brooklyn, New York. Born May 29, 1964, Robin never gave any thought to becoming an actress until “Times Square". Her inclination previously ran to 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.”      As do 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 a concerned social worker. “Nicky can’t put things over on her like she does with others", Robin   TRINI ALVARADO-SHOW BUSINESS “PRO” AT 13       Most 13-year-old girls spend their waking hours contemplating that cute boy in school, the newest Andy Gibb record or when they’ll wear their first pair of high heels. But not Trini Alvarado, who has been deep into the psyche of runaway Pamela Pearl, the girl she portrays in "Times Square”, an October release from AFD (Associated Film Distribution).      Sitting on an abandoned Manhattan waterfront pier -- one of the many diverse “Times Square” locations -- Trini concentrated on her scenes for one of the most challenging roles she will experience in her still-young screen career.      Following a sensational film debut in Robert Altman’s “Rich Kids", Trini was cast as a teenage runaway in “Times Square". Her character, Pamela Pearl, is the only child of a widower-father whose career as a rising young politician makes him insensitive to his daughter’s growing pains. Pamela is withdrawn, inhibited, convinced that she is awkward, ugly and unable to express herself verbally. The role is beautifully realised, but the actress herself is hardly the image of that withdrawn, rebellious teenager.      Trini was a “show biz” baby. Her father, who came to this country from Spain, is a classical singer and guitarist, and her mother is a flamenco dancer. Trini’s earliest memories include performing songs and dancing in nightclubs with the entire family. “It was always like a party”, she recalls.      Trini first appeared on Broadway in the Tony-nominated musical “Runaways", and then in the film “Rich Kids”, for which she also sang the theme song. Now, in “Times Square", Trini encores her singing and dancing.      “She’s so good”, one of the film’s creative personnel observed, “that we held to work hard to make Trini look a little awkward. After all, her character of Pamela is at that stage where she feels disconnected with her body. We had to disguise the fact that Trini’s a trained dancer."      An added bonus for Trini on “Times Square” was the friendship she formed with co-star Robin Johnson.      “Casting is a risky business", commented director Alan Moyle, "and we certainly looked everywhere before going with Trini and Robin. But you can’t predict how two people will relate on the screen, until you see it. The chemistry that we have up there is larger-than-life, but truly a reflection of how well the two girls got along during



The second half of the US pressbook was entirely made up of variations of the movie poster for different sized newspaper ads. The UK version relegates the available promotional materials to the last three pages, and devotes pages 8, 9, and 10 to reprinting biographical articles from the US Press Material folder. It’s strange how some of this material was rewritten for the UK press kit, but those versions weren’t used for the UK pressbook. Perhaps the pressbook was prepared well in advance of the press kit. Although, the pressbook uses the finished art for the UK movie poster. So, it’s a mystery.


Another tantalizing mystery is exactly what may have been included in the sets of 50 black and white stills, 8 8×10″ color stills, and 16 11×14″ color stills. Is 50 the total number of shots from the series I’ve found about 16 of so far? There were 8 8×10″ color lobby cards… I haven’t come across any 11×14″ stills. And what transparencies were available? Are they the slides that turn up so rarely? And what were the “blow-ups, any size available”?



On page 10, the photo of Robin is TS-57-26/1, UK number 36, the photo by Yoram Kahana used for the North American movie poster and the soundtrack album cover. The photo of Tim Curry comes from the shooting of the twenty second scene where Johnny is informed that “the Zombie Girl is the daughter of the boy wonder at the mayor’s office, and she’s missing,” and may be making its only appearance here. The unusually sultry photo of Trini Alvarado is making its first appearance here, as far as I know, but was later printed in the February 1981 Film Review.

You can read the text of “‘Times Square’ Star Robin Johnson Is A Natural In Screen Bow” here. If anyone is desperate to read the read of the articles, let me know and I’ll post the text.



Times Square pressbook, pp. 8-12
UK : pressbook (theatre manual) : AAT ID: 300213184 : 35.7 x 27.8 cm. : 1980 (work);
1080 x 837 px, 96 dpi, 618 kb
1080 x 841 px, 96 dpi, 700 kb
1080 x 835 px, 96 dpi, 671 kb
1080 x 835 px, 96 dpi, 523 kb
1080 x 844 px, 96 dpi, 466 kb (images)

Times Square©1980 StudioCanal/Canal+


Times Square UK Pressbook, 1980-81, pages 1-5

Posted on 10th September 2018 in "Times Square"
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UK Press Book, cover  Text:  "GO SLEAZE!" ... IN TIMES SQUARE  TIMES SQUARE  EMI A Member of the THORN EMI Group.

I’d given up all hope of ever finding one of these when, bam, two of them turn up. It’s the EMI version of the pressbook issued in the USA by AFD. It’s shorter in page count, but larger in size, and printed in color on heavier, glossier paper.

It doesn’t include all the articles suggesting inventive ways to promote the movie at your theater, but does include the articles describing the cast and filmmakers. In fact, it includes more about the producers than the AFD pressbook did (which was nothing at all). Most of the text is directly from the US press kit.

The UK press kit didn’t include a synopsis of the movie, but there was a sheet distributed with the credits and a synopsis that was different from the one in the US press kit and pressbook. That sheet is essentially reproduced on pages 2 and 3 here, with translations of the synopsis into French and Spanish. This synopsis includes the scene of Nicky attacking “roadies” from the disco with her switchblade, which appeared in the May 1979 draft of the screenplay, but was never filmed as the scene and Nicky’s character had changed in the meantime.

On pages 4 and 5, the capsule bios of Robin, Trini, Tim Curry, Allan Moyle, Jacob Brackman, John Nicollela, and Bill Oakes, and the half-page on Robert Stigwood, all come word-for-word from the US press kit. The equivalent bios in the UK press kit are worded differently. None of the text so far, other than the film and music credits, appeared in the US pressbook.


The shot of Tim Curry on page 4 is cropped from TS-66-28/8 which was distributed in the US press kit and appeared on page 4 of the US pressbook. The shot of Robin as Nicky is not from the film, but was taken at the time of shooting, and as far as I know never appeared anywhere else. The shot of Trini as Pammy dancing in the Cleo Club looks damned familiar, but I only seem to have this unpublished shot that was taken seconds before or after. There are at least two other shots from this moment but neither are this one. I may have finally accumulated so much Times Square stuff that I just can’t keep track of it all despite my best efforts.

If there’s any huge outcry to read the text, I’ll edit this post to add it.



Times Square pressbook, pp. 1-5
UK : pressbook (theatre manual) : AAT ID: 300213184 : 35.7 x 27.8 cm. : 1980 (work);

1080 x 841 px, 96 dpi, 398 kb
1080 x 830 px, 96 dpi, 472 kb
1080 x 842 px, 96 dpi, 472 kb
1080 x 839 px, 96 dpi, 704 kb
1080 x 836 px, 96 dpi, 680 kb (images)

Times Square ©1980 StudioCanal/Canal+


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