“TIMES SQUARE. It’s a movie. It’s a musical. It’s a way of life.”
The photos on Page 6 of the AFD Campaign Pressbook are a cropped version of TS-104-17A/7, and TS-28-28/7. There, now that’s out of the way…
Pages 5 and 6 breathlessly present all sorts of fantastic ideas for events you can host at your theater and in your town to promote Times Square and make it the unforgettable standing-room-only box office blockbuster it’s destined to become! None of this has anything to do with Robin, but I can’t help it, I have to present the full text of these articles. Did any theater actually do any of these things?
The “Sound Investment” article mentions “special TIMES SQUARE posters, mobiles, racks and bins” for record store promotion. I’ve only seen posters. Did any of the other items survive… did they even really exist in the first place?
Also, “Trash With Flash” mentions “a layout for a herald” and “Wildpost With Pizzazz” describes “the form of cartoon speech bubble as shown below.” Neither actually appear in the Pressbook. The articles on the previous pages were taken largely from the Press Materials folder; it’s possible that these two pages were similarly adapted from material in another promotional package that contained those illustrations. If there was such a promotional package, however, I have not yet come across it.
AFD Campaign Pressbook p. 5
AFD Campaign Pressbook p. 6
A SOUND INVESTMENT
TIMES SQUARE. It sparkles. It sizzles. And it rocks with the hottest music around today!
From the defiant rhythms of The Pretenders, The Talking Heads and The Ramones — to the slick sound of Lou Reed — the picture is packed with tunes to turn-on young America. But that’s not all!
RSO Records is releasing the TIMES SQUARE soundtrack — as a special double album. That means powerhouse promotional support for every engagement from record stores and radio stations nationwide.
To spotlight the TIMES SQUARE soundtrack RSO has created special TIMES SQUARE posters, mobiles, racks and bins which will be supplied to major record stores for eye-popping album displays that say one thing: TIMES SQUARE is today’s most dazzling entertainment event!
Your regional RSO Records publicity representative is as determined to send the TIMES SQUARE soundtrack to the top of the charts as you are to pack every performance. So contact your market’s RSO rep and begin a double-barreled effort to spread the sparkle of TIMES SQUARE everywhere.
Let him know your promotion plans. Find out what he’s doing with radio stations and record stores. Then join forces to make sure that every dee jay and music programmer who reaches the youth market is included in your screening plan —and to implement the record related promotions you’ll find in this pressbook.
TRASH WITH FLASH
There are as many ways to wear garbage bags as there are lights on TIMES SQUARE!
You start, of course, by slashing the plastic to accommodate your head and arms. But from that point, you’re on your own!
Add glitter. Add studs. Wrap silver links or thonged leather belts around the waist. Combine the bags with bandanas, scarves, ribbons or leotards. All it takes is a little imagination…and a 16¢ trash bag.
Below is a layout for a herald which illustrates some of the approaches to this funky fashion. Reprint this layout — spotlighting your playdate information on the reverse — and distribute it all over town, to introduce moviegoers to your engagement and the trash bag “look” in one fell swoop!
Ideally, plan to have the herald given out by people wearing garbage bag fashions. It’s certain to spur a lot of excitement, and start a wave of word-of-mouth that’ll make a big splash at your box office!
AN INSANELY INSPIRED PARTY
There comes a time in everyone’s life when you gotta bust out! And when Nicky and Pammy make their move in TIMES SQUARE, they do it in style!
They “liberate” a New York psychiatric hospital ambulance, and drive like crazy until they’re out of reach and have made their getaway.
That explosive scene is the thought behind this radio promotion which will rev up word-of-mouth about your engagement while it “tries the patients” of your community. Here’s how it works.
Invite a leading rock station to salute your opening by sponsoring an on-air contest — using a format from this manual or the station’s favorite contest gimmick. The unusual aspect of this promotion is the prize: The winners will be taken to an opening night performance of TIMES SQUARE…by ambulance!
The idea is to have an ambulance —driven by a team of the station’s most popular dee jays in hospital orderly uniforms — pick up each winner at their door, and whisk them to your theatre to see the picture.
As each of the lucky listeners boards the ambulance, they are presented with a basic black garbage bag — suitable for wearing — as well as a TIMES SQUARE button, tee shirt and the two-fisted soundtrack album. Then, as the vehicle cruises toward your theatre, serve soft drinks and hors d’oeuvres to your guests, and blast their eardrums with an 8-track recording of The Pretenders, The Ramones, The Talking Heads and Robin Johnson’s gravelly rendition of “Damn Dog!”
Unlike the wild ride the girls take in the picture, however, your ambulance should obey all speed limits and should not utilize its emergency privileges. At least not until it pulls into your parking lot, when the flashing red light and whooping siren will cause quite a commotion. Especially when the “doctors” open the doors and a half-dozen happy “patients” wearing garbage bags walk into your theatre! And that’s part of the fun!
It’s a perfectly outrageous introduction to a perfectly outrageous motion picture. But even the dazed winners are bound to agree — getting there is only half the fun. The other half is experiencing TIMES SQUARE’S energy exploding on your screen!
WILDPOST WITH PIZZAZZ
TIMES SQUARE. It’s a movie. It’s a musical. It’s a way of life. And it’s packed with catch-phrases that could become a rallying cry for an entire generation.
Take advantage of these phrases with this approach to a wildposting teaser campaign.
The idea is to create a selection of self-adhesive stickers imprinted with some of the outrageous quotes from the “Sleaze Sisters” in the picture. For example:
“No Sense Makes Sense!” or
“I’m A Damn Dog!” or
“Your Daughter Is One!”
Slap these pearls of wisdom anywhere and everywhere a youthful audience is likely to see them. That includes record stores, stereo shops, youth hangouts, nightclubs and boutiques catering to the wild fashions of the new generation —as well as traditional targets like lampposts, fences, construction sites and public telephone booths.
For an extra kick, arrange for your printer to die-cut the stickers in the form of cartoon speech bubble as shown below.
It’s a plan that’s certain to build spirited interest in your engagement, with a message that’ll stick in everyone’s mind!
A STYLISH PROMOTION IS IN THE BAG
“If they treat you like garbage…wear a garbage bag.
If they treat you like a criminal…wear a mask.”
Those defiant sentiments are from the notorious “Sleaze Sisters” — the two young rockers in TIMES SQUARE who refuse to be treated like refuse. And to make their point, they slip into black plastic bags and paint dark masks across their eyes!
It’s a fashionable display of youthful exuberance — which explodes at the film’s climax when thousands of kids flood TIMES SQUARE, wearing garbage bags to celebrate the Sleaze Sisters’ farewell performance.
Use this funky fashion as the inspiration for a rainbow of terrific promotions for the picture! Start by stocking up on trash bags. Then duplicate the dress-up all over town. For example:
•Arrange displays of made-up mannequins at prominent record stores to show customers all the different ways to wear garbage bags — accenting the basic black plastic with glitter, studs, leather straps and sequins! Invite the store’s sales personnel in the rock and new wave departments to “hop in the sack” to get the message across to shoppers, boppers and TIMES SQUARE soundtrack buyers.
•Likewise, a rock station participating in your TIMES SQUARE promotions could create a display of mannequins in garbage bags at the station. Then dee jays can invite listeners to come down to the studio to see the style and their favorite dee jay — perhaps offering garbage bags or TIMES SQUARE bumper stickers as an incentive.
•Put the personnel at your theatre in big black bags, reflecting the film’s spirited demonstration of unity in your lobby.
•Turn your radio sponsored screening of TIMES SQUARE into a “Garbage Bag Gala” by asking the preview audience to arrive in the unusual fashion.
•Finally, grab attention all over town by organizing a team of young people in bags to pass out heralds announcing your engagement. Then send them to record stores, stereo equipment shops, youth hangouts, nightclubs, concerts and shopping malls.
TIMES SQUARE takes an ordinary household object and transforms it into a message from the new generation. So boost this avant-garde aspect of the film, and you’ll bag a winner!
DO IT ALL NIGHT LONG
In TIMES SQUARE, the glow of the neon and the pulse of the music are an all-day/all-night affair — spurred by the spirit of Johnny LaGuardia, midnight to dawn dee jay at WJAD. Reflect this non-stop energy with a TIMES SQUARE marathon to kick-off your engagement!
Celebrate the first day of your run by showing continuous performances of TIMES SQUARE non-stop for twenty-four hours. That’s something special all by itself. But here’s the twist.
Contact the all-night dee jay at the leading rock station in town and ask him to join you in hosting the event, and live-cast his (or her) all-night program direct from your theatre lobby! After all, there are scores of people who take their entertainment in the wee hours. And like Johnny LaGuardia in TIMES SQUARE, your all-night dee jay is plugged into their unique lifestyle.
Invite the air personality to plan a playlist for the livecast which spotlights the hits from the film’s soundtrack. Then, between the double disc’s dynamite cuts, the dee jay can give live coverage to the action in your lobby — interviewing late-night moviegoers, and getting their enthusiastic comments about the film.
The participating station will appreciate the extra pizzazz this stunt will pump into their all-night show. And there couldn’t be a more energetic opening for TIMES SQUARE than this nonstop celebration in your lobby!
TURN ON YOUR THEATRE
In TIMES SQUARE, the faint glow of the stars is outdone by the dazzle of a million winking bulbs …the fluorescent glow of neon…and the hard, brilliant shine of glitter. Reflect the light show that is TIMES SQUARE in your lobby decor, and make every display a beacon for explosive entertainment!
Start with your marquee. Reproduce the TIMES SQUARE title treatment in giant, glittery letters. Then point a pair of powerful floodlights at the marquee and let the sparkle grab the eye of every passerby.
Inside your lobby, pick up the theme by accenting the box office and concession stand with sequins and strips of glittered ribbon. Mount an enormous plywood panel near your entrance with the provocative message:
“No Sense Makes Sense!”
— Nicky and Pammy,
The Sleaze Sisters.
Then surround the slogan with colorful stills from the film and blow-ups of the TIMES SQUARE ad look.
Include your employees under the heading of theatre decor. Have your ushers and usherettes wear big, black plastic garbage bags as featured in the film. But, to distinguish your employees from the moviegoers who may arrive in similar costume, print a message in white ink on every “staff bag,” along the lines of: “I’m Great In The Sack.” or “Official Drastic Plastic Put-On!”
(This is one occasion when your employees won’t mind getting the sack!)
In keeping with the picture’s exciting locale, contact your community’s city fathers and arrange to temporarily rename the street your theatre fronts to: “42nd Street.” Better yet, if your theatre is in a shopping mall or similar enclosed location, rename the entire complex TIMES SQUARE. Then invite the media to be on hand for a gala re-christening ceremony. There’s nothing like the sight of a pretty girl in fetching “Sleaze Sister” fashion, climbing a ladder to change a sign, to grab the interest of news and feature reporters!
Finally, don’t forget that one of your most important theatre decor items will be AFD’s spectacular TIMES SQUARE trailer! Book it now, and order extra prints for every screen in your circuit. There’s no better way of turning on your current patrons than exposing them to this radiant pre-sell sensation!
THE ‘DINOSAURS OF ROCK’ QUIZ
In TIMES SQUARE, Sleaze Sister Nicky Marotta dedicates her music to the spirit of Brian Jones — a man she refers to as a “dinosaur” of rock ‘n’ roll.
What are rock ‘n’ roll dinasaurs? Nicky defines them as the people who found the sound. They are the heavy talents… the cornerstones of rock… part of the explosive process that made the music come alive. And though many of these “dinosaurs” left their mark, then faded away or died young, their music lives on.
They had a special genius that couldn’t be contained.
They were a lot like Nicky.
And that’s the inspiration behind this quiz, which spotlights the wild sound and youthful spirit of TIMES SQUARE by recalling those real-life “dinosaurs” who shaped today’s music.
Use this quiz as a newspaper or radio contest, and offer passes to your engagement to those musically-minded people who remember these rock ‘n’ roll relics….
1. While the Beatles chirped about holding your hand, the Rolling Stones suggested a lot more. A key member of the group in the early days — who charmed teeny boppers with his blonde Prince Valiant pageboy, and shocked mothers with his seductive snarls — drowned in his own success at the height of his career. Remember? (BRIAN JONES)
2. The first time many people heard rock ‘n’ roll, they heard it from this bespectacled singer/ songwriter from Texas. Along with his band — The Crickets — he destroyed the “color barrier” to bring a black R&B influence to mainstream pop music. When he was lost in a tragic plane accident, it was referred to as “the day the music died.” (BUDDY HOLLY)
3. Known as “The Lizard King,” he wore black leather pants onstage while he mixed the erotic and the violent into rock’s most compelling theatre. Fans expected a violent end for this performer — but he disappeared gently in a Parisian hotel suite. (JIM MORRISON)
4. To this ratty-haired, raspy-wailing chick from Port Arthur, Texas, rock ‘n’ roll was a ball and chain. A fifth of bourbon and performing were the only things that made her life meaningful — but in the end it took a piece of her heart. (JANIS JOPLIN)
5. Known as “The King of Rock ‘n’ Roll,” his undulating hips caused as much of a sensation as his “rock-a-billy” rhythms. The first rock artist to cross-over into a successful movie career as well, his records sell faster today than before his untimely death…over three years ago! (ELVIS PRESLEY)
6. For this Englishman, a performance wasn’t complete until he demolished his drums and set them ablaze onstage. His parties on the road ended with crushed hotel walls and Cadillacs in swimming pools. But the pace of his madness took its toll, and this manic percussionist went out with a bang. (KEITH MOON)
7. One of the hottest musicians ever to make the “Fillmores” sizzle, he was experienced when it came to turning on audiences with acid guitar riffs, he first came to public attention in the legendary Monterey Jazz Festival, but he is probably best remembered for his explosive version of “The Star Spangled Banner” at the birth of the Woodstock Nation. (JIMI HENDRIX)
8. They were the bad boys of Britain’s late seventies punk movement. Both members of the notorious band — The Sex Pistols — they rarely performed without causing riots. As part of their musical ritual, they adopted violent nicknames. Remember?
(SID VICIOUS & JOHNNY ROTTEN)
AFD. “Times Square” Campaign Pressbook. Los Angeles: Associated Film Distribution, 1980, pp. 5,6;
black and white, 14.75 in (H) x 10.5 in (W), 20 pp (work)
Times Square ©1980 StudioCanal/Canal+