Rolling Stone No. 329, October 30 1980

Posted on 21st April 2016 in "Times Square"

TIMES SQUARE movie ad on page 29 of Rolling Stone No. 329, October 30, 1980

 

 

 


Sorry to jump back in time a few weeks, but I only just got this one. It’s another full-page movie teaser ad, this one from page 29 of the the October 30 Rolling Stone. It’s the same as the others, only bigger. Well, that and the colors behind the tagline and the strip at the bottom, which have changed from blue and black, respectively, to green.

Cover of Rolling Stone No. 329, October 30, 1980, featuring The Cars

The Cars were the cover story in this issue. Other films that had full-page ads were Bad Timing and Motel Hell. Bad Timing was also the main topic of an interview with Art Garfunkel, while Paul Simon gave an interview about his movie One Trick Pony.

The big news was the death of John Bonham.

None of which has anything to do with Robin Johnson or Times Square, except maybe as a partial illustration of the world in which the movie was being released, and the 1980 Rolling Stone audience to whom the filmmakers were trying to market it here.

 

“Times Square” Rolling Stone 30 Oct. 1980: 29. Print.
 
©1980 Straight Arrow Publishers Inc.
 
Times Square ©1980 StudioCanal/Canal+

 

“Crude cliches clutter up ‘Times Square’”

Posted on 11th April 2016 in "Times Square"

Review of "Times Square" from the Montreal Gazette, October 25, 1980.  Text:  The GAZETTE, Montreal, Saturday, October 25,1980 107 FILM Crude cliches clutter up 'Times Square’ TIMES SQUARE Atwater A Robert Stigwood production; directed by Alan Moyle; screenplay by Jacob Brackman from a story by Alan Moyle and Leanne Unger; starring Robin Johnson, Trini Alvarado and Tim Curry. By BRUCE BAILEY of The Gazette The plot of Times Square is so full of holes it looks like it was smashed by a jackhammer. This story of two runaway teenage girls and their exploits on New York’s sin strip is also covered with about as many crude cliches as the wall of a public washroom. On the other hand, Times Square is sometimes driven by a refreshing energy, much of it generated by the tough-talking Robin Johnson — a 16-year-old making her acting debut. And Quebec- born Alan Moyle has directed this American-produced film with some of the appealing, down-to-earth style that he brought to his low-budget independent movies (The Rubber Gun Show and Montreal Main). This will probably not add up to enough to satisfy most adult movie-goers, but the film may go over big with teenyboppers anyway. They’re likely to try to sneak around the age restrictions — just as they did successfully with Saturday Night Fever —> drawn in this time by star Tim Curry (the lead in the cultish  Rocky Horror Picture Show) and by the film’s double-album soundtrack of contemporary rock’n’roll. The mandatory teenage rebellion is there, too. In this case, the upstarts are street-wise Nicky Marotta (Johnson) and Pamela Pearl (Trini Alvarado), naive daughter of a knee-jerk liberal politician. Lonely Pamela, attracted by Nicky’s piz-zaz, is lured out of the hospital where the two shared a room for neurological tests. It’s assumed at first that this is a kidnapping, but the  two actually develop a friendship as they set up housekeeping in an abandoned warehouse. The two become cult figures (calling themselves the Sleez Sisters), thanks to a late-night radio disc jockey (Curry). He resorts to a string of worn-out catch-phrases to hold the runaways up as symbols of freedom. Nicky’s new-found talent as a “writer” and performer of “punk” lyrics makes the girls even more famous — but the road to glory, naturally, is littered with a few rocky conflicts. Certain incidents are either inexplicable or unbelievable. As a trademark of their protests against the establishment, for example, the girls start throwing television sets off buildings. (Where did these TVs come from? Why is nobody hit on such crowded streets?) At another point, Pam gets a job dancing with her top on at a topless bar, because the manager thinks it will give the place “class.” (Yeah. Right.) It’s also not likely that the two could hang around Times Square so long and not get hassled by the street people. And it’s even less likely that Pam could elude the police so long — particularly when she makes a practise of standing around in public and in front of a large “wanted” poster with her picture on it. The list goes on. But, well, it’s still fun. Take two boppers and call me in the morning. Robin Johnson wants to become a rock star in ‘Times Square’

 

Mr. Bailey wants to like the movie, he really does, but he just can’t see it appealing to adults, because gosh darn it it just doesn’t make any sense. It may appeal to the Tiger Beat audience though, because as he admits, “it’s still fun.” He also sees the key to why anybody is still talking about it so many years later: it’s “driven by a refreshing energy, much of it generated by the tough-talking Robin Johnson…”

Crude cliches clutter up ‘Times Square’
TIMES SQUARE
Atwater
A Robert Stigwood production; directed by Alan Moyle; screenplay by Jacob Brackman from a story by Alan Moyle and Leanne Unger; starring Robin Johnson, Trini Alvarado and Tim Curry.
By BRUCE BAILEY
of The Gazette
The plot of Times Square is so full of holes it looks like it was smashed by a jackhammer.
This story of two runaway teenage girls and their exploits on New York’s sin strip is also covered with about as many crude cliches as the wall of a public washroom.
On the other hand, Times Square is sometimes driven by a refreshing energy, much of it generated by the tough-talking Robin Johnson — a 16-year-old making her acting debut. And Quebec-born Alan Moyle has directed this American-produced film with some of the appealing, down-to-earth style that he brought to his low-budget independent movies (The Rubber Gun Show and Montreal Main).
This will probably not add up to enough to satisfy most adult movie-goers, but the film may go over big with teenyboppers anyway.
They’re likely to try to sneak around the age restrictions — just as they did successfully with Saturday Night Fever — drawn in this time by star Tim Curry (the lead in the cultish Rocky Horror Picture Show) and by the film’s double-album soundtrack of contemporary rock’n’roll.
The mandatory teenage rebellion is there, too. In this case, the upstarts are street-wise Nicky Marotta (Johnson) and Pamela Pearl (Trini Alvarado), naive daughter of a knee-jerk liberal politician.
Lonely Pamela, attracted by Nicky’s pizzaz, is lured out of the hospital where the two shared a room for neurological tests. It’s assumed at first that this is a kidnapping, but the two actually develop a friendship as they set up housekeeping in an abandoned warehouse.
The two become cult figures (calling themselves the Sleez Sisters), thanks to a late-night radio disc jockey (Curry). He resorts to a string of worn-out catch-phrases to hold the runaways up as symbols of freedom.
Nicky’s new-found talent as a “writer” and performer of “punk” lyrics makes the girls even more famous — but the road to glory, naturally, is littered with a few rocky conflicts.
Certain incidents are either inexplicable or unbelievable. As a trademark of their protests against the establishment, for example, the girls start throwing television sets off buildings. (Where did these TVs come from? Why is nobody hit on such crowded streets?)
At another point, Pam gets a job dancing with her top on at a topless bar, because the manager thinks it will give the place “class.” (Yeah. Right.) It’s also not likely that the two could hang around Times Square so long and not get hassled by the street people.
And it’s even less likely that Pam could elude the police so long — particularly when she makes a practise of standing around in public and in front of a large “wanted” poster with her picture on it.
The list goes on. But, well, it’s still fun. Take two boppers and call me in the morning.

 

 

Bailey, Bruce. “Crude Cliches Clutter up ‘Times Square'” Rev. of Times Square. Gazette [Montreal] 25 Oct. 1980: 107. (work);
Gazette, Montreal, October 25 1980 p 107_1080px.jpg, 1080 px (H) x 7518 px (W), 96 dpi, 573 KB (image)

 

Times Square ©1980 StudioCanal/Canal+

 

Movie ad from the Trenton Times, October 19, 1980

Posted on 1st April 2016 in "Times Square"

Times Square movie ad, Sunday Times Magazine, October 19 1980, p.12; Trenton, NJ

 

 

Well.

This was in the local paper Sunday, October 19, and since I wouldn’t have clipped it before I’d seen the movie, Kurt and I must have seen it either opening night or Saturday. I remember we’d been looking forward to the New Tim Curry movie, and I guess now we’d been REALLY looking forward to it. There aren’t times listed for Friday or Saturday so I can’t be certain what showing it was, but I seem to recall wandering around the record stores in the mall after while waiting for whichever of our parents was coming to pick us up, so the 6:30 is a good bet.

I also saw it once again on my own after that, and made another round of the record stores, but I don’t remember what day that might have been. I do know that, though I may have gone the first time for Tim, I went back for Robin.

The Quaker Bridge 4 was the only area theater it was in. I think it ran for two weeks.

 

 

Times Square movie ad; clipping from Sunday Times Magazine, October 19 1980, p.12; Trenton, NJ (work);
1980-10-19 RJ TS Advertisement Sunday Times Magazine p 12 (Trenton)_layers_1080px.jpg, 1080 px (H) x 398 px (W), 96 dpi, 283 KB;
(image)

 

Times Square ©1980 StudioCanal/Canal+

 

Times Square Premiere, 14 October 1980

Posted on 22nd March 2016 in "Times Square"

Times Square had its premiere at the Ziegfeld Theater at 141 West 54th Street (which was still there when I first wrote this entry, but joined most of the locations in the movie when it closed its doors for the final time on January 29, and was gutted the next day. It had been, hands down, the best place to see a movie in New York City), followed by a party at Tavern on the Green in Central Park at West 66th Street (which closed in 2009, but reopened under new ownership in 2014, so it still exists) (Tavern on the Green, not Central Park) (I mean, Central Park does still exist, but it wasn’t closed for a five year stretch) (let’s get back to the subject, shall we?).

In attendance were a slew of celebrities with more or less tenuous ties to the production, such as Robert Stigwood, Lou Reed, Carly Simon, Irene Cara, Meat Loaf, Rick Derringer, Lorna Luft, Andy Warhol, and Abbie Hoffman. Allan Moyle gave the event a miss, but Trini Alvarado and Robin Johnson were there.

Trini Alvarado and Robin Johnson at the "Times Square" Premiere Party, Oct. 14, 1980

I believe copies of the white label soundtrack sampler were handed out at this event, but I can’t find my reference for that. It’s possible that there was another premiere and party in Brooklyn at which the records were given out, between this one and the official opening of the film the next week; my notes on this are not clear because I frankly didn’t realize I’d be writing about this, ever.

The image above is an edit of a digitization made by me from a 35mm slide I purchased in 2013 from an eBay seller of movie memorabilia who no longer has an account. I have notes indicating I believed the photographer to be Ed Geller, but I didn’t note down why I thought that. It’s very similar to the photos of the event taken by Ron Galella and licensed (for more money than I can spare) through Getty Images, which join the full screenplay, the complete sheet music, and the complete movie among the items I won’t be sharing here. The picture above is an image I made of a physical object in my possession, and doesn’t appear among Getty’s photos of the premiere, which you can see here.

 

 

Times Square Premiere, 14 October 1980 (color slide, AAT ID: 300128366), Trini Alvarado and Robin Johnson; 2 in (H) x 2 in (W) (incl. mount) (work);
1080 px (W) x 917 px (H), 96 dpi, 248 KB (image)

 

 

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Another Full-Page Times Square Teaser Ad

Posted on 12th March 2016 in "Times Square"

"Times Square" teaser ad from Circus, No. 248, October 28 1980, p. 2
The same ad as last time, this one appearing on the inside front cover of Circus No. 248, dated October 28, 1980. As the ad is for a movie opening October 17, the magazine must have come out before then. Either that, or it came out bursting with hope as Times Square was closing in theaters across America. (But no, it’s the former; as I’ve noted before, a magazine’s cover date is the date it’s to be taken off sale and replaced by the next issue.)Circus, No. 248, October 28 1980, p. 1 (cover)

 

Unlike Tiger Beat, Circus was too cool to mention Times Square anywhere in the editorial content.

 

 

Circus, No. 248, October 28, 1980, pp. 1-2 (work);
Circus-No-248-p-2_1080px.jpg, 1080 px (H) x 803 px (W), 96 dpi, 563 KB;
Circus-No-248-p-1_1080px.jpg, 1080 px (H) x 816 px (W), 96 dpi, 568 KB;
(images)

 

Circus ©1980 Circus Enterprises Corporation

 

Times Square ©1980 StudioCanal/Canal+

 

Tiger Beat Vol. 17 No. 2, November 1980

Posted on 2nd March 2016 in "Times Square"

Tiger Beat Vol 17 No 2 Nov 1980 coverFull page "Times Square" ad from Tiger Beat Vol 17 No 2 Nov 1980 p 29

 

 

 

The November Tiger Beat also came out before Times Square’s October release, judging by the full-page teaser ad that ran on page 29.

 

"Times Square" soundtrack review from Tiger Beat Vol. 17 No. 2, Nov. 1980, p. 59. Text: Various Artists: “TIMES SQUARE” SOUNDTRACK. AFD’s new movie, “Times Square,” is perfect for a soundtrack, since it’s about three people trying to make it in show business! The music is New Wave and artists include Suzi Quatro, The Pretenders, Gary Numan, Joe Jackson, The Ramones, Desmond Child and Rouge, and many more. One single, “Rock Hard” by Suzi Quatro, has already come from this album, with “Help Me!” (from Marcy Levy and Robin Gibb) another one due out soon. There are too many good songs to name outstanding ones—hear them for yourself! (RSO)

 

In fact we can narrow down the date it came out to sometime between the releases of the first two singles from the soundtrack, as that’s stated explicitly in the scarily enthusiastic soundtrack review found on page 59, which was apparently written by someone with a third-hand synopsis of the movie that had come from someone who’d given the film’s publicity materials the most cursory of glances.
 
Previously.

 

 

Tiger Beat, Vol. 17 No. 2, November 1980, pp. 1, 29, 59 (detail) (work);
Tiger Beat Vol 17 No 2 Nov 1980 cover crop 1080.jpg, 1080 px (H) x 806 px (W), 96 dpi, 609 KB;
Tiger Beat Vol 17 No 2 Nov 1980 p 29 manual crop 1080.jpg, 1080 px (H) x 784 px (W), 96 dpi, 568 KB;
Tiger Beat Vol 17 No 2 Nov 1980 p 59 crop 1080.jpg, 1080 px (W) x 536 px (H), 96 dpi, 475 KB (images)

Tiger Beat ©1980 The Laufer Company

Times Square ©1980 StudioCanal/Canal+

 

Canadian Movie Poster

Posted on 21st February 2016 in "Times Square"

The Canadian movie poster for "Times Square" is an American poster with white stickers over the American ratings. Text: In the heart of Times Square a poor girl becomes famous, a rich girl becomes courageous and both become friends. TIMES SQUARE ROBERT STIGWOOD Presents "TIMES SQUARE" Starring TIM CURRY ● TRINI ALVARADO And Introducing ROBIN JOHNSON Also Starring PETER COFFIELD ● HERBERT BERGHOF ● DAVID MARGULIES ● ANNA MARIA HORSFORD Executive Producers KEVIN McCORMICK ● JOHN NICOLELLA Directed by ALAN MOYLE Screenplay by JACOB BRACKMAN Story by ALAN MOYLE and LEANNE UNGER Produced by ROBERT STIGWOOD and JACOB BRACKMAN Associate Producer BILL OAKES An EMI Release Distributed in the U.S. and Canada By AFD (Associated Film Distribution) Soundtrack available on RSO Records and Tapes AFD RSO ADMITTANCE RESTRICTED TO PERSONS 18 YEARS OF AGE OR OVER 262 GAU GRAPHIC ARTS INTERNATIONAL UNION OFFICIAL UNION LABEL 796 PRINTED IN U.S.A. Property of National Screen Service Corporation. Licensed for use only in connection with the exhibition of this picture at the theatre licensing this material. Licensee agrees not to trade, sell or give it away, or permit others to use it, nor shall licensee be entitled to any credit upon return of this material. This material either must be returned or destroyed immediately after use. 800099

The movie poster for Times Square in Canada is almost identical to the U.S. poster. In fact, it is a U.S. poster, with two white stickers affixed to the bottom, one covering the American “R” rating barring under-17’s without a parent or guardian, and the other adding the Canadian “R” rating barring under-18’s entirely. Sorry, Canadian kids.

Part of the back of the Canadian "Times Square" movie poster.  Text:  [stamped]  PROPERTY OF CONSOLIDATED THEATRE SERVICES DON MILLS, ONTARIO  CALGARY, ALBERTA  80-99  [handwritten:]  Times Square

 

The back proudly bears stamps reading “PROPERTY OF CONSOLIDATED THEATRE SERVICES DON MILLS, ONTARIO | CALGARY, ALBERTA” and “80-99”. In the USA, 80-99-9 was the number assigned to Times Square by National Screen Service, and the poster itself has the number 800099 on the front. I believe the handwritten “Times Square” to have been added later, by a movie memorabilia dealer through whose hands the poster passed on its way to me.

 

 

“Times Square” Full Color One-Sheet Poster 800099, Canadian version, 1980;
color, 27 in (W) x 41 in (H) (work);
706 px (W) x 1080 px (H), 96 dpi, 432 kb (image)

inscription:
In the heart of Times Square
a poor girl becomes famous,
a rich girl becomes courageous
and both become friends.
TIMES SQUARE
ROBERT STIGWOOD Presents “TIMES SQUARE”
Starring TIM CURRY ● TRINI ALVARADO
And Introducing ROBIN JOHNSON
Also Starring PETER COFFIELD ● HERBERT BERGHOF ● DAVID MARGULIES ● ANNA MARIA HORSFORD
Executive Producers KEVIN McCORMICK ● JOHN NICOLELLA
Directed by ALAN MOYLE
Screenplay by JACOB BRACKMAN
Story by ALAN MOYLE and LEANNE UNGER
Produced by ROBERT STIGWOOD and JACOB BRACKMAN
Associate Producer BILL OAKES
An EMI Release Distributed in the U.S. and Canada
By AFD (Associated Film Distribution)
Soundtrack available on RSO Records and Tapes
AFD
RSO
ADMITTANCE
RESTRICTED
TO PERSONS
18 YEARS OF AGE OR OVER
262 GAU GRAPHIC ARTS INTERNATIONAL UNION OFFICIAL UNION LABEL 796
PRINTED IN U.S.A.
Property of National Screen Service Corporation. Licensed for use only in connection with the exhibition of this picture at the theatre licensing this material. Licensee agrees not to trade, sell or give it away, or permit others to use it, nor shall licensee be entitled to any credit upon return of this material. This material either must be returned or destroyed immediately after use.
800099
“Times Square” Full Color One-Sheet Poster 800099, Canadian version, reverse (detail), 1980 (work);
612 px (W) x 800 px (H), 96 dpi, 64.7 kb (image)

inscription:
IPROPERTY OF
CONSOLIDATED THEATRE SERVICES
DON MILLS, ONTARIO CALGARY, ALBERTA
80-99
Times Square

 

Times Square ©1980 StudioCanal/Canal+

 

Seventeen Magazine, Vol. 39 No. 10, October 1980

Posted on 11th February 2016 in "Times Square"

Cover of Seventeen Magazine, Vol. 39 No. 10, October 1980

 

 

 

 

 

 

Again presuming that any magazine dated October probably came out in September before the movie opened, here’s an interview with Robin that appeared as two pages of Edwin Miller’s “Spotlight: Movies, records, personalities” column.

 

Edwin Miller's "Spotlight" column featured a "Close-up" on Robin Johnson on pages 98 and 100. Text: Spotlight Close-up Brooklyn teen-ager Robin Johnson shakes up “Times Square” Robin Johnson's hair, chopped in a shaggy cut. is still bright henna-red. even though she has finished making the movie it was dyed for. Times Square—her first- in which she plays a teen-age runaway. "It would be too expensive to go to a beauty shop and have it stripped out." she says, her words tumbling out in a blue streak of throaty Brooklynese. "And it would take hours. I'll just wait till it grows back in the real way—dirty blonde." In the movie, she and Trini Alvarado, as another teen runaway, arc befriended by actor-singer Tim Curry as an all-night disk jockey. 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 used to like Black Sabbath. All their songs are doom. Now I only listen to them if I'm in a certain kind of mood—destructive. The song I sing is called Damn Dog [Ed. note:Recorded on the RSO sound-track album]. 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." In the movie, her backup band, the Blondells, is called "a criminal band." "I v/ear a mask like the Lone Ranger and a blue turtleneck sweater with blue glitter tights and a plastic-garbage- bag belt! I'm really wild-looking.” Robin concludes v/ith satisfaction, "but the movie's larger than life. Some things in it are unbelievable—but who would want to see an everyday, routine, normal life in a movie? I wouldn't." 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.'" Born in Brooklyn sixteen years ago, 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. One day after class. I was hanging outside with my friends, and a skinny-looking guy comes up the block and says. 'Are you sixteen?' I asked, What do you want to know for?' He turned out to be a casting scout, who arranged for Robin to go to an audition in Manhattan the following week. "I went after taking a three-hour geometry test, where you rack your brains. I just wanted to go home to sleep (continued on page 100) Spotlight continued from page 98 but my friend Cindi was with me. and she says. ‘No. no. no. you've got to go. and I'll go with you.' So we went. I had to fill out a sheet with height, weight, eye color, hair color—stuff like that. Then a blond girl came out of the studio where they were videotaping, and I pulled her aside. 'What did they make you do?' I asked, and she said. 'They make you improvise.' I remembered we did that in school a couple of times. You read a scene from a play and then do it your way. Inside, sitting there like a dummy, at first I had nothing to say. and they're putting me on tape, but finally they gave me a situation. I was supposed to be sixteen, having been picked up in Times Square after leaving reform school and taken for observation to a small room in a hospital, where there's a two-way mirror. Then I get teed off." They liked Robin’s improvisation. There were three thousand girls interviewed for the part; Robin won it. "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. "Trimi 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."

 

The full column led off on page 93 with a look at Breaking Glass and a picture of Hazel O’Connor, but that’s where the similarities with the Film Review article end. Where that article was edited from various pages of the Press Kit, this one looks to have been the product of a genuine one-on-one interview with Robin. She explains how she hates punk rock, the story of her “discovery” has a few details that I don’t think are repeated anywhere else, she describes her audition… but how reliable these details are is a little questionable, since she mentions encouragement from her friend Cindi, and I’m fairly certain that’s actually a reference to her sister Cindy.

The photo of Robin Johnson from page 98 of Seventeen Magazine Vol 39 No. 10, October 1980, that accompanied Edwin Miller's interview of her.
I also don’t think the accompanying picture ever appeared anywhere else.

 

Here’s the text:

Spotlight Close-up

Brooklyn teen-ager Robin Johnson shakes up “Times Square”

Robin Johnson’s hair, chopped in a shaggy cut. is still bright henna-red. even though she has finished making the movie it was dyed for. Times Square—her first- in which she plays a teen-age runaway. “It would be too expensive to go to a beauty shop and have it stripped out.” she says, her words tumbling out in a blue streak of throaty Brooklynese. “And it would take hours. I’ll just wait till it grows back in the real way—dirty blonde.”

In the movie, she and Trini Alvarado, as another teen runaway, arc befriended by actor-singer Tim Curry as an all-night disk jockey. 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 used to like Black Sabbath. All their songs are doom. Now I only listen to them if I’m in a certain kind of mood — destructive. The song I sing is called Damn Dog [Ed. note: Recorded on the RSO sound-track album]. 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.” In the movie, her backup band, the Blondells, is called “a criminal band.” “I wear a mask like the Lone Ranger and a blue turtleneck sweater with blue glitter tights and a plastic-garbage- bag belt! I’m really wild-looking.” Robin concludes with satisfaction, “but the movie’s larger than life. Some things in it are unbelievable — but who would want to see an everyday, routine, normal life in a movie? I wouldn’t.”

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.'”

Born in Brooklyn sixteen years ago, 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. One day after class. I was hanging outside with my friends, and a skinny-looking guy comes up the block and says. ‘Are you sixteen?’ I asked, What do you want to know for?’ He turned out to be a casting scout, who arranged for Robin to go to an audition in Manhattan the following week. “I went after taking a three-hour geometry test, where you rack your brains. 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. and I’ll go with you.’ So we went. I had to fill out a sheet with height, weight, eye color, hair color—stuff like that. Then a blond girl came out of the studio where they were videotaping, and I pulled her aside. ‘What did they make you do?’ I asked, and she said. ‘They make you improvise.’ I remembered we did that in school a couple of times. You read a scene from a play and then do it your way. Inside, sitting there like a dummy, at first I had nothing to say. and they’re putting me on tape, but finally they gave me a situation. I was supposed to be sixteen, having been picked up in Times Square after leaving reform school and taken for observation to a small room in a hospital, where there’s a two-way mirror. Then I get teed off.” They liked Robin’s improvisation. There were three thousand girls interviewed for the part; Robin won it.

“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.”

"Times Square" Screenplay by Jacob Brackman, 1979, 129 pp, p. 10  Text:  10 CONTINUED PEARL You're still nervous about sitting up on the podium with me . . . Is that it? PAMELA looks away. Because if it makes you too anxious, you can just sit in the audience . . Decide once we're there. Now how about some shut eye? We'll talk tomorrow. He exits. Pamela turns out her light. EXT THE HOPKINS DETENTION CENTER, THE BRONX DAWN Establishing shot of a minimum security compound. In¬ stitutional buildings surrounded by playing fields, gardens and a frost fence. INT HOPKINS CENTER: A QUIET-ROOM DAWN A lightly padded quiet-room. NICKY's radio-cassette rests on the unslept-in cot. NICKY seems to be rehearsing something in front of the observation window on the door. A light brightens behind the window. We can see a figure there. NICKY pantomines crawling up the walls, partly to charm the observer. She ends up clawing at the glass. ROSIE HAUSE enters, wearing a bathrobe. She is a 40 year old staffer, a social worker of resilient humor. Tough and street smart, she comes from the same side of the tracks as most of her clients. She double locks the door behind her and smiles. ROSIE What were you trying to prove, Nicky? CONTINUED
The scene she says she was given to improvise for her audition, in the room with the two-way mirror, is in the script and may even have been shot (there’s a photo that looks like it, published in an article I haven’t got to yet), but doesn’t appear in the film.

 

 

This image above of the interview looks almost identical to the one Bernadette McCallion gave me years ago, which I posted and which has been floating around the Web since, but it’s not – it’s a new scan made by me. Although, in comparing the two, I probably needn’t have bothered; hers is almost identical. It turns out pasting the parts of the two pages together like that is the best way to display them.

 

 

Miller, Edwin. “Spotlight Close-up: Brooklyn teen-ager Robin Johnson shakes up ‘Times Square'”. Seventeen Magazine, Vol. 39 No. 10, October 1980, pp. 98, 100, 14 October 1980 (work); 1080 px (W) x 746 px (H), 96 dpi, 429 KB (image)

 

Photo of Robin Johnson, detail from p. 98 of Seventeen Magazine, Vol. 39 No. 10 (work); 800 px (W) x 792 px (H), 96 dpi, 287 KB (image)

 

TIMES SQUARE, p. 10
Screenplay by Jacob Brackman
1979

 

Film Review, Vol. 30 No. 10, October 1980

Posted on 1st February 2016 in "Times Square"
“‘I’d sung in a choir when I was 12,’ Robin chirps…”

 

Film Review, Vol. 30 No. 10, October 1980 page 1

 

 

 

 

Assuming that any periodical dated October probably hit the stands in September, here’s a British magazine devoting an entire page to Robin, a month before Times Square’s premiere, and four months before it would open in the UK.
 

 

Film Review Vol 30 No 10 Oct 1980 p8, the first half of "Two New Arrivals on the New Wave of Music", dealing with Hazel O'Connor and <em>Breaking Glass</em>Full page advertisement for "Breaking Glass" (1980)
 

The article is the second half of a two-page spread entitled “Two New Arrivals on the New Wave of Music.” The first arrival is Hazel O’Connor, whose film Breaking Glass opens on September 21st according to an ad on page 41 (another reason to think the magazine was out before then).
 

 

The photo of Robin that accompanies the article is this one, which I believe to have been taken by Mick Rock at the same session that produced the shot appearing on the back cover of the soundtrack album. The photo on the magazine’s contents page is also from that same session. This may have been the only time they saw print.

The article isn’t attributed to any author. I can’t speak to the Hazel O’Connor portion, but the Robin half was composed entirely through clever editing of the press materials we’ve already seen, to make it look like an original interview. Here’s the text as it appears in the article; compare it with Robin’s bio in the Press Kit. (Robin doesn’t “chirp” in the Press Kit.)

THE NEW WAVE OF MUSIC

America’s ROBIN JOHNSON in ‘Times Square’

R08IN JOHNSON also plays a rock star in a film bursting with New Wave sounds, this time an American film — the forthcoming Times Square — but unlike Hazel O’Connor (see opposite) Robin is still only in her mid-teens.

Director Allan Moyle, formerly an actor in films like Joe, Outrageous! and Montreal Main, searched high and low for his young star. With the assistance of an army of talent scouts, Moyle went to youth centres and punk clubs and even placed advertisements in newspapers in the hope of finding his leading lady.

A prospector finally spotted 15-year-old Robin smoking a sly cigarette on the steps of Brooklyn’s Technological High School. Despite the absence of any formal theatrical training — “I’d sung in a choir when I was 12” Robin chirps — Moyle signed her up immediately for the demanding role of Nicky Marotta, a 15-year-old street “delinquent” who dreams of becoming a rock star.

“We were looking for someone who was Nicky,” Allan Moyle explains, “but Robin’s definitely not that doomed child. Luckily for the picture she’s brought a lot more humour to the character than I had originally envisioned. Robin’s youthful innocence and energy buoy what might have been too much of a downer.”

Times Square, the first of four New York-based, multi-million dollar films to be produced by Robert Stigwood — already laughing all the way to the bank with Grease and Saturday Night Fever — is a contemporary drama about two very opposite youngsters yearning for the same dream: success at the top of the rock ‘n’ roll ladder. With a strong musical soundtrack performed by the likes of Patti Smith, Talking Heads and Tom Petty, Times Square takes over where Fame left off. and with a budget of $5½ million is the first New Wave-influenced film backed by a major studio.

“I was standing on the stoop at Brooklyn’s Technological High,” Robin recalls, “when a man gave me this card and said to call the number if I was interested in being in a movie. Well I just thought ‘Oh. another wise guy’, but gave it a shot.” The part of Nicky, a rebellious and spunky runaway, turned out to be a tougher role than young Miss Johnson had envisaged, calling for an intensive programme of voice lessons, singing tutorial and dance and movement classes, as well as performing on the roof of a 42nd Street theatre marquee, getting dumped in the polluted waters of the Hudson River (in December!) and having to chew a mouthfull of roses. “That was pretty disgusting. I’d never tasted flowers before,” Robin scowls.

Robin Johnson is a pretty girl displaying a keen sense of fun, as well as being both witty and talented. She also took to the rigours of film-making like a true professional.

But films aren’t the beginning and end-all of Robin’s life. “I hope Times Square does well, but it’s not the answer to my life, though I loved meeting and working with so many wonderful people. And I’d like to work with Allan again.” Let’s hope for our sakes that Times Square is the success Robin deserves.

Times Square is an EMI film co-starring Tim Curry as an all-night disc jockey and Trini Alvarado (from Robert Altman’s Rich Kids) as the timid 12-year-old whom Robin befriends.

I think that was the final mention of Tom Petty’s association with the movie.

Film Review was published by EMI Cinemas Ltd. Times Square was an EMI film in the UK, so perhaps it’s not surprising that their magazine would create an article from their own publicity materials. That’s what they’re for, after all.

Finally, here’s a better look at the photo from the contents page:Detail of the Mick Rock photograph of Robin Johnson from page 3 of Film Review, Vol. 30 No. 10, October 1980

Karen (DefeatedandGifted) wrote about this article in October 2011.

 

 

Film Review, Vol. 30 No. 10, October 1980;
UK EMI Cinemas Ltd.; 29.8 cm (H) x 21.3 cm (W) (work);
Film Review Vol 30 No 10 Oct 1980 p1_1080px.jpg (cover)
Film Review Vol 30 No 10 Oct 1980 p3_1080px.jpg (contents)
Film Review Vol 30 No 10 Oct 1980 p3_detail2_1080px.jpg (detail of contents page)
Film Review Vol 30 No 10 Oct 1980 p8_1080px.jpg (“Two New Arrivals on the New Wave of Music”)
Film Review Vol 30 No 10 Oct 1980 p9_1080px.jpg (“Two New Arrivals on the New Wave of Music”)
Film Review Vol 30 No 10 Oct 1980 p41_1080px.jpg (ad for Breaking Glass)
1080 px (H), 96 dpi (images)

 

 

Times Square Soundtrack Promotional Video

Posted on 22nd January 2016 in "Times Square"

Apparently, in 1980, RSO sent this videotape to record retailers to play in-store to promote the soundtrack to Times Square. It features the two songs performed in the film, “Your Daughter Is One” and “Damn Dog.” The fact that the lyrics to “Your Daughter Is One” consist primarily of curse words and racial slurs guaranteed that it would never be played in any store for more than thirty seconds. The fact that nobody at RSO, from the tape’s conception to its distribution, realized that would happen, boggles the mind.
 

 

The middle portion of the tape is an edit of the dance the girls do along 42nd Street to “Life During Wartime” by Talking Heads. Much of this sequence is made up of shots that do not actually appear in the film; unfortunately here they’re only four or five frames long. Even more unfortunately, this digitization is at such low resolution that individual frames turn into pretty smears of color.
 

This video was originally digitized and uploaded on February 24 2012 by “PsychoticNorman”. I’ve offered to buy or borrow the tape to make a higher quality transfer, but have not received a reply. I have fixed the aspect ratio and brightened and sharpened the image a little. You can see PsychoticNorman’s original upload here. My file is technically at a higher resolution, but that’s an artifact of my editing software refusing to save at the small resolution of the original file. I’ve tried to make it easier to look at, but there isn’t really any more detail.

 

 

 

TIMES SQUARE soundtrack promotional video (trailer (motion picture) AAT ID: 300263866), videotape promoting the film and soundtrack for use in record stores, 5:29 (work); H264 – MPEG-4 AVC (part 10) (avc 1), 480 px (W) x 386 px (H), 19.4 MB (video); MPEG AAC (mp4a) stereo 48000 Hz (audio)
(video modified 25 December 2015 from the file digitized by PsychoticNorman at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S38UzHtkmeA)

 

RSO Promo Video Image4.png, RSO Promo Video Image5.png, RSO Promo Video Image15.png, RSO Promo Video Image17.png, RSO Promo Video Image21.png, RSO Promo Video Image22.png: frame captures from “TIMES SQUARE soundtrack promotional video”, 655 px (W) x 486 px (H), 72 dpi (images)