Forward Into The Past

Posted on 15th December 2015 in "Times Square"

Back issues of Screen International are surprisingly hard to come by. That’s why I’m posting this so far out of the chronological order I’ve been trying to adhere to… I didn’t have this until last week (as of this writing). And I don’t even have the entire issue; I just have the upper left corner of page 44, but that’s enough. This “People and Places” column comes from the 8-15 March 1980 issue, and so takes the place of the April 23 Aquarian article as the earliest published piece of Times Square publicity I know of (not counting the article from Radio and Records, for which I don’t know the actual date).

[EDIT, January 29, 2017: I now have a full copy of the issue, Screen International No. 231. Yay.]

Clipping from page 44 of Screen International, 8 March 1980, containing photo of Robin Johnson with caption.  Text:  ROBIN JOHNSON (left) makes her debut in producer Robert Stigwood’s new film “Times Square".  The 15-year-old New Yorker was literally discovered standing outside her school!

The photo is a cropped version of the one used in Photoplay’s “Last Word” column in May, although severely cropped. I find it interesting that the one fact used to try to generate interest in the film is not about the film itself, but is the earliest description of Robin’s “discovery” on the steps of Brooklyn Tech.

Robin would indeed be 15 for another month and a half after this article saw print.

A much more impressive piece of publicity from Screen International is the two-page center spread from the 21-28 June, 1980 issue, which I don’t have, but fortunately for all of us is in Karen Dean (DefeatedandGifted)’s collection and is on display at her Times Square Fandom blog:

Scan by Karen Dean - original file at

It was published squarely between the above-mentioned “Last Word” column and the Northeast Ohio Scene article, and as Karen notes, a full seven months before Times Square’s UK release.

This fully-realized piece of art, Nicky overlaid on a Times Square collage, was only ever used here and, nine months later, as the Australian movie poster. (That poster was reproduced on the inside insert of the 2000 Anchor Bay DVD, and the image is on the cover of the current UK DVD release.)

The photo of Robin came from the same session that produced this shot and the shot on the back cover of the soundtrack album. The Kent guitar — a cheap replacement for the cheap guitar used in the movie — is a dead giveaway.

The album photo is one of the few that has a credit.

Mick Rock.

I think it’s safe to assume Mick Rock took all the “Kent” photos. It’s tantalizing to think that there may exist one or several rolls of photographs of Robin, in that outfit, against a black background, taken by Mick Rock.



“People and places,” Screen International, 8-15 March 1980, p. 44, 1980; article (AAT ID: ID: 300048715), 7 5/8 in (H) x 6 3/4 in (H) [portion of page] (work); 800 px (H) x 606 px (W), 96 dpi, 191 kb (image)
ROBIN JOHNSON (left) makes her debut in producer Robert Stigwood’s new film “Times Square”.
The 15-year-old New Yorker was literally discovered standing outside her school!


ts_screeninternational_jun80_RJnet_shrunk_version.jpg (image): reduced-size version of ts_screeninternational_jun80.jpg (image), digital image of Screen International (London, UK, n. 246, pp 12-3) (work), from Dean, Karen. “Times Square / Robin Johnson Centrefold!” “Times Square” Fandom. N.p., 29 Jan. 2011. Web. 20 Nov. 2014.


Nicky Marotta in Limbo

Posted on 8th December 2014 in "Times Square"

Robin Johnson as Nicky Marotta, 1980 B&W publicity photograph

Black limbo, that is. This photo isn’t one of the “Kodak paper” series, but I’m going through these photos in the order they’d appear in the film (since I don’t know the order in which they were shot), and this one comes next. Except…

You know how I’ve been saying the pictures are from alternate takes that don’t actually appear in the film? This one doubles that. Triples. First, there’s no background. This is one of the very few shots taken only for publicity and not at a recognizable shooting location. Robin is wearing the Aggie Doon costume, so she’s dressed for the world premiere of “Damn Dog” at the Cleo Club, but she’s carrying her cheap Kent that she lost when she was arrested in the opening scene, and not the expensive Rickenbacker she plays with the Blondells. Also, her hair isn’t slicked back like Elvis like it is in the film. This is a glamor shot of Nicky, nothing more, nothing less.

This photo shoot produced at least four shots: this one; another which along with this one was published in Film Review in October 1980; the image that was used on the Australian movie poster and is currently on the UK DVD; and the picture on the back cover of the soundtrack album. (I’ll get to those in time.)

The back of this photo has crop measurement marks indicating the actual size of the picture. My guess is that was to help in laying out whatever page someone may have been planning to print it on, but I don’t really know.

Frame capture from "Times Square" (1980), brightened considerably to try to enhance detail in the guitar Nicky's playing

I’ve lightened all hell out of this dark alley to try to see the guitar better.

The most interesting thing to me about this picture is, that’s NOT Nicky’s guitar. In all the photos from this shoot, the Kent’s big K logo is plainly visible, it has one pickup in the lead position close to the bridge, and the fretboard has big rectangular inlays. The guitar she plays in the film, however, has no logo, has one pickup in the rhythm position closer to the neck, and the fretboard has little round dot inlays. The pickguard is also a vastly different shape, as is the body itself, and the tuning peg for the B string is missing. It’s a cheap beat-up guitar all right, but it might not even be a Kent. (If you can identify it, please chime in.)


“Nicky with Her Kent”
8 in (H) x 10 in (W) (work);
862 px (H) x 1080 px (W), 96 dpi, 338 kb (image)

inscription: [on reverse:] [handwritten in blue ink:] D+P. EAST 170 mm deep x 115 mm wide PA77
[handwritten in black ink:] ROBIN JOHNSON. 20

853 px (W) x 480 px (H), 72 dpi, 343kb(image)
frame capture from Times Square (1980)
captured and enhanced 2014-11-22
Times Square ©1980 StudioCanal/Canal+