Aggie Doon

Posted on 16th December 2014 in "Times Square"
“Words cannot express the sheer unbelievability of this performer and her material.”1980 slide of a promotional photograph from "Times Sqyare" (1980): Robin Johnson as Nicky Marotta as Aggie Doon performs "Damn Dog" Slide mount is inscribed 61-27

"Times Square" Screenplay by Jacob Brackman, 1979, P. 78Here we have Robin on set at the Cleo Club, in the full Aggie Doon getup. Her hair is now slicked back, and the cheap Kent has been replaced with an expensive Rickenbacker 360 (funny how both guitars she uses in the film have the nameplates removed from their headstocks — was that to imply they were stolen, or… or what?) . The screenplay features a scene in which she obtains the guitar from a member of the Times Square underground community; I don’t think it was ever shot.
 

(Incidentally, I’ve been thinking about the screenplay, and I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s not "Times Square" Screenplay by Jacob Brackman, 1979, p. 79the shooting script: it’s dated May 1979, Robin was cast in August, and principal photography happened in October and November. I think this may have been the version that sold the property to Robert Stigwood, but I don’t know how reliable it is as a guide to what was intended to end up on screen when the cameras started rolling. It is, however, all we’ve got at the moment.)

This image isn’t from a print, it’s from a slide. Apparently some of these promotional images were distributed as slides to magazines. It’s still one or two generations away from the original, but it’s closer than a print would be. I know of the existence of four of these slides. I have three of them. The fourth is the color Yoram Kahana picture in this post, and is in the hands of DefeatedandGifted.

 

Brian Jones in Rome (April 1967) with Rickenbacker Model 360/12 Fireglo

Brian Jones in Rome (April 1967)
with Rickenbacker Model 360/12 Fireglo

When I see a Rickenbacker, I think The Jam, but that’s just me… Paul Weller chose to play a Rick because it’s so firmly identified with the British Invasion of the 1960s. Pete Townshend, John Lennon, George Harrison, Gerry Marsden… all played Rickenbackers, although generally they played the 330 model (or 325 in Lennon’s case); when they played 360s it was usually the 12-string version. You know who else played a 12-string Rickenbacker 360? Brian Jones. Yeah, the filmmakers gave Nicky a Rickenbacker for a very specific reason: as a callback to all the dinosaurs they were trying to celebrate even as Stigwood was trying to drag the film into the then-present. The tension between these two creative impulses is one of the film’s great strengths… and, it duplicated what was going on in the real world too (see: The Jam).

 

Robin Johnson as Nicky Marotta as Aggie Doon - frame capture from "Times Square" (1980)

I probably don’t need to mention at this point that the image in the slide doesn’t actually appear in the film. There is no point at which both Robin’s hands are off the guitar while she’s still wearing it. This is the closest frame I can find in the film, and they’re not alike at all. First of all, the slide is portrait-style and the movie is landscape, as movies generally were before smartphones.
 

Andy's big moment - enhanced frame capture from "Times Square" (1980)
 

 
The scene where the girls trade their stuff to Andy for the guitar is entirely missing from the film, but we do see someone who fits Andy’s description and delivers his line “Where you been?” in a bit of business not in the screenplay. Could that be Andy? It’s not like there’s a character named Andy in the cast list —

Tiger Haynes is Andy in "Times Square" (1980)
 

Oh… Tiger Haynes, huh? What do you suppose he looked —
George "Tiger" Haynes

Hm. Well, the guy in the film is only in two shots, we never really get a good look at —Frame capture from "Times Square" (1980) with Andy enlarged

Yeah… that’s him all right.

According to Wikipedia, George “Tiger” Haynes was an actor and jazz musician most famous for originating the role of the Tin Man in the Broadway production of The Wiz. He died in 1994. His big scene, such as it was, was cut from Times Square, but by god at least Andy is in the movie, unlike Nicky’s deadbeat dad.
 

 

“Aggie Doon, 61-27”
color slide, 2 in (H) x 2 in (W) (including mount) (work);
731 px (W) x 1080 px (H), 96 dpi, 766 kb (image)

1979/1980
inscription: [on mount:] [handwritten:] 61-27

 

TIMES SQUARE, pp. 78-79
Screenplay by Jacob Brackman
1979

 

jonesromeapr67.jpg
retrieved on 2014-11-30 from McCormack, Peter. “Brian Jones: Part Two.” Rolling Stones: Brian Jones Part Two. Rickresource, 14 Sept. 2010.

 

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853 px (W) x 480 px (H), 72 dpi, 689 kb (image)
frame capture from Times Square (1980)
captured 2014-11-30

 

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vlcsnap-2014-12-01-20h58m55s97_edit.jpg

853 px (W) x 480 px (H), 72 dpi (images)
frame captures from Times Square (1980)
captured and enhanced/edited 2014-11-30

 

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911 px (W) x 480 px (H), 72 dpi, 207 kb (image)
frame capture from Times Square (1980)
captured 2014-11-30; enhanced/edited 2014-12-1

 

TigerH.jpg
retrieved on 2014-12-01 from Fournier, Tony. “THE VOCAL GROUP HARMONY WEB SITE.” THE VOCAL GROUP HARMONY WEB SITE. N.p., 31 Aug. 2002. “… photo provided by Bill Proctor.”

 

Times Square ©1980 StudioCanal/Canal+
 

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)

1979/1980
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
[stamped in black:] DEREK AND PAT EAST COLLECTION

 
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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+

Foxy Miss Pearl

Posted on 30th November 2014 in "Times Square"

Color production photo from "Times Square" replicating but not duplicating the scene in which Pammy makes her debut as an exotic dancer. Inscription: on back: repeated stamp THIS PAPER / MANUFACTURED / BY KODAK, which was printed on Kodak photo paper between 1972 and 1989

“I’m not dancing topless.”

 

12-year-old Trini Alvarado enacts 13-year-old Pamela Pearl making her debut as an exotic dancer, thankfully not topless. There are other images of this scene that were taken at the same time and differ only slightly, but I only have them published in magazines, on lobby cards, or in promotional packages. This one is an unmarked 8 X 10 like the last few and next few photos. All the promotional shots of this scene have in common is, again, that they’re not the shot as it appears in the film.

Pammy dances for Nicky, not topless, in a frame captured from "Times Square" (1980)

 

 

 

This is the closest image from the film. (I hope I’m not boring you with this.)

Pammy, not topless dances for Nicky, in a frame captured from "Times Square" (1980)

 

 

 

It’s possible that the stills were shot while the movie camera was taking this reverse angle.

The screenplay is adamant that Pammy dances topless, and has her appear topless in a few other short scenes before and after. I think everybody is glad that Trini and her parents refused to let her do it. The change was probably a very late one, but even though it never fails to get a laugh when Roberto hires her anyway because “I like that. Class. Respect. That’s good for the club. Good for business,” it’s also the point where the film takes its deepest plunge into the dream-logic that permeates it, making it so emotionally affecting in ways that defy rational analysis. After all, no sense makes sense.

Or, it’s left over from another theme in the screenplay that’s almost gone from the finished film, in which it’s shown that there’s an underground community in Times Square that knows Nicky and is looking out for the runaways behind the scenes, like a surrogate family. Roberto is determined to hire Pammy no matter what, in order to help her and Nicky, and needs to come up with an excuse that will fool a desperate 13-year-old girl. This still ignores the potential legal jeopardy he’s putting himself into, so… we’re back in dream-world again.

Whatever you think of the film’s rationalization for Pammy stripping without taking off her clothes, in the long run at the very least it’s kept the movie from potentially becoming illegal to own or view in the United States. So I’m happy with it.

It also helps keep the film from devolving into just another exploitation flick. I personally believe that most (not all, but most) of the material that was cut from the film, that everyone is so sad about, would actually weaken the film were we to see it presented explicitly.

There’s a much richer and wittier look at the situation at DefeatedandGifted’s Times Square Fandom blog.

 

“Foxy Miss Pearl”
8 in (H) x 10 in (W) (work) [w/o border 6.5 in x 9.625 in];
862 px (H) x 1080 px (W), 96 dpi, 407 kb (image)

1979/1980
inscription: [on reverse:] [stamped:] THIS PAPER / MANUFACTURED / BY KODAK
 
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853 px (W) x 480 px (H), 72 dpi (images)
screen captures from Times Square (1980)
captured 2014-10-19
 
Times Square ©1980 StudioCanal/Canal+

Pammy and Nicky Escape (again)

Posted on 22nd November 2014 in "Times Square"

Pammy and Nicky, running from a cop, burst out onto the street in this production photo replicating, but not duplicating, a shot from "Times Square" (1980).
 
Another 8×10 color print marked as Kodak paper from the 1970s-80s on the back. Normally when printing an 8×10 the image would be enlarged to fill the 8-inch dimension, cropping out about 2 inches of the longer dimension, but these photos are printed to show the entire exposure. I would say that was to emulate the aspect ratio of the movie, except that as we’ll see some of the photos were shot portrait style and not landscape.

This one has 9-34A written in dark marker on the back. Many of these photos have numbers in a similar format written on them, and most if not all the distributed publicity stills have numbers like that printed on them, so I’m assuming it’s an official designation from the production, although what exactly it means, I don’t know. If you know, please, tell me!

A frame from "Times Square" (1980)

If you’re familiar with Times Square, you know this shot instantly. Except, as I’ve been pointing out, it isn’t. The shot in the film is framed differently — the still camera is a few feet to the right of the movie camera — and the girls are never quite in those positions relative to the door opening. This is the closest frame I can find. Comparing the two, my completely unsubstantiated guess is that the photo was shot during a rehearsal or an early take, and the shot used in the film came after Trini and Robin were given the direction to be a little more wild and really fling themselves out of the door. They look rather calm in the photograph.

So the next question is, where are they? You know what, why don’t I take this opportunity to try retrace their steps for the entire sequence?

Nicky and Pammy try the 3-card monte hustle - frame grab from "Times Square" (1980)Nicky and Pammy try the 3-card monte hustle - frame grab from "Times Square" (1980)
 

The three-card monte game is on the west side of Broadway just south of 47th Street. In several shots, we can see the Castro Convertibles showroom on the ground floor of 2 Times Square, and the 47th St. street sign, so this part is unquestionably one of the few sequences that actually takes place within the Square and not on the Deuce.

Nicky and Pammy run from a plainclothes detective - frame grab from "Times Square" (1980)

When the cop identifies himself, the girls take off north and sprint left around the corner, so they’re now on the south side of 47th headed west towards 8th Avenue.

Nicky and Pammy run from a plainclothes detective - frame grab from "Times Square" (1980)
Now things get a little fuzzy. There are two problems with identifying locations here: the first is that the camera is moving so fast most potentially identifiable objects are blurred, and the second is that not only have all the businesses changed in the last 34 years, but many buildings in the area have been razed to the sub-basement level and entirely new structures now stand in their places. So with that in mind… they come around another corner, turn left again and cross the street. Assuming they were still on 47th, they’re now heading south. But, the next block west of Broadway is 8th Avenue which runs north, and they’re running with the traffic, not against it. They must have run two blocks on 47th, turned onto 9th Ave., and are now headed towards 46th Street. (It doesn’t look like either avenue to me, though.)

On the other hand… perhaps instead of jumping into the future the amount of time it would have taken them to run the length of the block, we’ve jumped back in time about five seconds, and this is the girls coming around the corner we just saw them disappear behind. That would put them back on 47th headed for 8th. Yeah, let’s go with that.
 

Nicky and Pammy run from a plainclothes detective - frame grab from "Times Square" (1980)
 
Still running in the direction of the traffic, on the right side of what I’m still assuming is 47th street, and there’s a sign behind them that sure looks like it says “Seventh Ave.” That would be a ways behind them, on the other side of Broadway, so it makes sense that we’re now looking east on 47th.

Nicky and Pammy run from a plainclothes detective - frame grab from "Times Square" (1980)
 
Still running with the traffic, but now on the left side of the street, with a police car in pursuit as well as the plainclothes cop. And we know they’re about to run into the Adonis Theater, so they’re on 8th Avenue and in this frame about to cross 50th Street, headed north. One street block and three avenue blocks have been edited out, but after all “Innocent, Not Guilty” is only two minutes and 18 seconds long.
Nicky and Pammy run from a plainclothes detective - frame grab from "Times Square" (1980)
 

And things get a little weird again: they run through the theater, up into the balcony, manage to get up to the roof, climb down a fire escape that looks like it’s on an outside wall, then down one on an inside-of-the-block wall from the roof of a different building than the one the cop who was directly behind them is on (whew), and then we’re back at the top of this post as they burst out of the big doors back onto the street.

Nicky and Pammy run from a plainclothes detective - frame grab from "Times Square" (1980)Nicky and Pammy run from a plainclothes detective - frame grab from "Times Square" (1980)

And they’re almost exactly where they were in the last post! They go to the corner and down into the 8th Avenue subway, which puts them at the same intersection they ran past on their way to the theater. They’re now around the corner from where they were, on 50th Street with 8th Avenue behind them. Those are the gated windows of O’Brien’s Corner on the left, and we can see the tail end of one of the parked yellow cabs they’d run past a moment before. Luckily, the cops in the car that followed them to the theater seem to have lost interest in the chase, to be replaced by a guy in a beret staring directly into the camera.

vlcsnap-2014-11-08-20h42m28s202

 
If I stop to think about it though, it doesn’t seem likely they’d be able to go into the third or fourth building on a block and find their way out a service entrance of an entirely different building around the corner. There must have been a lot of unlocked doors in their path, which would be ironic since the emergency fire exits from the theater itself were locked. This isn’t the only time we see people get in and out of a building through an entrance that’s geographically close but not actually attached to it. With any luck I’ll remember to tell you about the other one.

The sequence works, though. It feels right. It makes perfect sense if you don’t study it too closely; then you start to see things that could not possibly happen, except maybe in a dream. Which is also true of the film as a whole.

Map of Nicky and Pammy's escape route

 

9-34A (“Pammy and Nicky Escape Again”)
8 in (H) x 10 in (W) (work) [w/o border 6.5 in x 9.625 in];
867 px (H) x 1080 px (W), 96 dpi, 445 kb (image)

1979/1980
inscription: [on reverse:] [handwritten in black marker:] 9-34A
[stamped:] THIS PAPER / MANUFACTURED / BY KODAK

 
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853 px (W) x 480 px (H), 72 dpi (images)
screen captures from Times Square (1980)
captured 2014-11-08
 
Times Square ©1980 StudioCanal/Canal+

Pammy and Nicky On the Run

Posted on 15th November 2014 in "Times Square"
Production still of Pammy and Nicky running from the police

“Oh, we ran all day long.” — Robin

 

 

 

This is an 8×10 print, showing the full 35mm frame, of Nicky and Pammy running from the plainclothes detective, about to turn left and duck into the adult theater. The paper it’s printed on, as are most of the next batch of photos I’ll be posting, is stamped “THIS PAPER MANUFACTURED BY KODAK,” which was used on Kodak paper from about 1972 to 1989, leading me to believe it was printed at the time of the film’s production.

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The most interesting thing about that shot is that, like the rest of these Kodak paper stills, it doesn’t actually appear in the film. The shot in the film is from in front of them, not from across the street, and even taking that into account, there’s no point in the film where the girls are in quite those positions relative to each other. This screencap is the closest image in the film. These pictures (and nearly all the other promotional photos as well) are from either rehearsals or unused takes, and I find it hard to believe that with their relatively low budget and tight schedule, and the problems involved in filming on a New York City street, they would have done a full run-through like that without rolling film, just in case.
 

In the commentary track on the 2000 Anchor Bay DVD, Allan Moyle identifies the theater as the Victory, and remembers it being the one Robin performs on the marquee of at the end of the film. He asks Robin to confirm it, but she has no memory of it. This was the first time he’d seen the film in 20 years, and he might not ever have seen the released version until then, so he can be forgiven for being wrong on every point there.
 

The Victory was on 42nd Street just east of the Times Square Theater, atop the marquee of which Nicky sings “Damn Dog.” The girls here have run from their 3-Card Monte hustle on 47th Street and Broadway, and have just passed 50th Street, heading north on 8th Avenue. The theater they run into is the Adonis, which was the largest gay theater in the city until it closed in 1989. Fortunately for we students and historians of cinema, this theater had been immortalized two years earlier in the porn film A Night at the Adonis, so we can compare:

The lobby of the unnamed Times Square porn theater in "Times Square" (1980)

“Times Square” (1980)

The lobby of the Adonis Theater in "A Night at the Adonis" (1978)

“A Night at the Adonis” (1978)

The box office in "A Night at the Adonis" (1978)

“A Night at the Adonis” (1978)

Chelly Wilson in the Adonis ticket booth - screencap from "Times Square"

“Times Square” (1980)


Looking up at the balcony of the unnamed porn theater in "Times Square" (1980)

Looking up at the balcony – “Times Square” (1980)

The balcony of the Adonis Theater in "A Night at the Adonis" (1978)

Looking across the balcony – “A Night at the Adonis” (1978)

Unfortunately, the theater interior isn’t lit quite as well in A Night at
the Adonis
, but all that seems to have changed in the two intervening
years are the flowers.
Photo of Chelly Wilson c. 1968
 

To top it off, the unflappable woman in the box office booth who watches Nicky and Pammy and the cop jump the turnstile is either Chelly Wilson, owner of the Adonis (as well as most if not all of the other gay theaters in the city), given a closeup in return for the use of the theater through a deal with location manager Ron Stigwood; or an extra carefully made up to look exactly like Chelly Wilson, because someone thought it was funny…? My money’s on the first option.

Here is your essay topic: The largest gay male theater in the city was redressed as a straight porn theater for this scene in Times Square. Discuss this in terms of (1) the portrayal of the city in general in the film, and (2) what we know about changes made to the film during its production. For extra credit, discuss the significance, intended or unintended, in part of the set redressing taking the form of a “Coming Attractions” poster for A Woman’s Torment.
Nicky and Pammy duck under the theater turnstile and run past a poster for "A Woman's Torment" (1977)

 

“Nicky and Pammy on the Run”
8 in (H) x 10 in (W) (work) [w/o border 6.5 in x 9.625 in];
857 px (H) x 1080 px (W), 96 dpi, 622 kb (image)

1979/1980
inscription: [on reverse:] [stamped:] THIS PAPER / MANUFACTURED / BY KODAK
 
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853 px (W) x 480 px (H), 72 dpi, 925 KB (image)
frame capture from Times Square (1980)
captured 2014-10-19
 
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853 px (W) x 480 px (H), 72 dpi, 922 KB (image)
frame capture from Times Square (1980)
captured 2014-11-02

 

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853 px (W) x 480 px (H), 72 dpi (images)
frame captures from Times Square (1980)
captured 2014-11-11

 

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853 px (W) x 480 px (H), 72 dpi (images)
frame captures from A Night at the Adonis (1978)
captured 2014-11-11
 
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853 px (W) x 480 px (H), 72 dpi, 850 kb (image)
frame capture from Times Square (1980)
captured 2014-11-13

 

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1280 px (W) x 1531 px (H), 72 dpi, 946 KB (image)
retrieved on 2014-11-02 from Timessquareblue. “Chelly Wilson, Owner of the Adonis, Eros, Venus,…” Times Square Blue. N.p., 8 Aug. 2014. Photo Source: New York Times
 
Times Square ©1980 StudioCanal/Canal+

42nd & 6th

Posted on 6th November 2014 in "Times Square"

Nicky and Pammy walk the streets in this black and white print of a color publicity photo for "Times Square," which depicts a scene not actually in the film.

 

 

So: the girls are east of Times Square and headed for it. They’ve already traded clothes, and are on foot. In the film, this happens after they’ve been on the subway in those outfits, except they’re on their way to “the hideout” (as it’s called in the script). The hideout is described in the script as being a pier on the Hudson River near 42nd Street, but Pier 56 as it appears in the film is actually closer to 14th Street, and the walking we see in the film looks to have been shot there in the meatpacking district back when meat was actually packed there. We never see Nicky and Pammy walking through a populated city street in those outfits.

o-TIMES-900

 

Wait… they’ve just come out of the subway, on their way to the hideout, and are now walking to 14th Street? That doesn’t make any sense; why get off the train when they still have 30 blocks south to go? The thing is, this is maybe the second most heavily edited part of the film, the first being the sequence immediately before this one, where they cut and dye each other’s hair on the Jersey side of the river, which was eliminated entirely. The shot in the film on the subway doesn’t happen in the subway in the script, it happens on the street. These photos are the beginning of the scene which was almost totally removed, in which Nicky goes to her father for help.

"Times Square" Screenplay p. 49

All of these pictures which were ultimately only used for publicity purposes were originally shot from this page, in which the girls emerge from the subway and go to a Nedick’s, looking for someone who might know where Roger Marotta is, and then continue on their way. The scene in the film on the subway originally happened out on the street after Nicky realizes her dad won’t be able to help them find a place to stay. In the script, her saying to Pammy “We are going to do everything ourselves” is a direct reaction to her father’s inability to help. In the film, it’s a statement of general opposition to the world, and in my opinion, it may be less realistic, but it’s more powerful. Take that, original cinematic vision! The scene on the subway is all that remains of the sequence, and as I said, it wasn’t written as happening on the subway.

If you looked real closely, and I’m sure you did, you noticed that in this script Pammy christens them The Sleaze Sisters. (Nicky comes up with the phrase “Sleaze Sister” on the previous page.) There’s no dialogue written in the script when they find the junk-filled trunks in the pier. This would seem to indicate that either the excised riverside scene was heavily rewritten before it was shot — sadly since it’s long lost there’s no way to compare it with the pages — or that the “exploring the pier” scene was rewritten after the riverside scene had been shot and cut.

My main purpose on this site is to show pictures of Robin Johnson and place them in some sort of context, not to analyze Times Square to hell and back. There are others who can do that much better than I. But I will throw in a little here and there, just to get you talking amongst yourselves, hopefully. With that in mind, here’s a tiny peek into the mindset of the film’s creators: note that at the top of the screenplay page, our two protagonists, having abandoned civilization, achieve “an effect of … savage beauty” by darkening their skin. Make of that what you will. At least the beta carotene pills seem to have been dropped from the script before filming, otherwise we’d have all been wondering for years not only what happened to their hair, but where’d they get the tans.

M8DTISQ EC001
The first shot above is a black-and-white print. The photo was taken in color, as it was published that way many times, but I haven’t found a primary source image for it. And it bugs me, because as you can see this color version I found on the Web actually shows more of the image. Why it was printed in black-and-white, I don’t know. It’s one of a number of prints I believe to be contemporary with the film, as they all bear the stamp on the back “THIS PAPER MANUFACTURED BY KODAK,” which was used on Kodak photo paper from 1972 to about 1989. Some have numbers written on the back, but nothing to give a clue as to what they were for originally. Some are in black-in-white, some are color. The one thing they have in common is that they depict a shot from the film without actually being from that shot. Even when you take into account that the photographer wasn’t standing in the same spot as the movie camera, the things and people in the frame are in different positions. “What exactly do you mean?” I hear you ask. Well, since this particular photo is an exception, as it’s a shot not in the film at all, you’ll have to wait till next time for a demonstration.
Nicky and Pammy walk to the pier - frame capture from 'Times Square' DVD

 

 

 

But, here’s the closest shot in the film. It’s several blocks west and a long way south.

 

 

“Nicky and Pammy on the Street”
8 in (H) x 10 in (W) (work);
863 px (H) x 1080 px (W), 96 dpi, 535 kb (image)

1979/1980
inscription: [on reverse:] [handwritten:] Times Square
[stamped:] THIS PAPER MANUFACTURED BY KODAK

 
o-TIMES-900-300×199.jpg
900 px (W) x 598 px (H), 300 dpi, 140 KB (image)
1979/1980
retrieved on 2014-05-01 from Brooks, Katherine. “12 Films That Pay Homage To Punk Rock Girls.” The Huffington Post. TheHuffingtonPost.com, Inc., 1 May 2014. Web.
 
TIMES SQUARE, p. 49
Screenplay by Jacob Brackman
1979

 
TIMES SQUARE, from left, Robin Johnson, Trini Alvarado, 1980, ©Associated Film .
1000 px (W) x 685 px (H), 300 dpi, 113 KB (image)
1979/1980
retrieved on 2014-10-22 from “Times Square.” Cineplex. Cineplex Entertainment LP, n.d. Web.
 
vlcsnap-2014-10-18-18h53m27s204-300×168.png
853 px (W) x 480 px (H), 72 dpi, 922 KB (image)
screen capture from Times Square (1980)
captured 2014-10-18
 
Times Square ©1980 StudioCanal/Canal+

Nicky Marotta, 1980

Posted on 17th October 2014 in "Times Square"

Robin Johnson is Nicky Marotta
And this, of course, is the look they settled on for Nicky, ultimately using this photo on nearly all the American publicity materials. As this is the outfit she wears when the girls escape from the hospital, it was likely taken near the end of production, so the shaggy hair cut of someone who hasn’t got time for finesse with scissors is the wig Robin wears during act one.

Someone noticed what was going on in New York City in 1979, dressing Nicky in a leather jacket festooned with pins a la the Ramones, but even here the film’s roots are showing. The Blondie pin is contemporary, but the “Rolling Stones In Concert” pin could date from any time in the previous ten years, the happy face button from the previous 15 years, and the “Stick It In Your Ear” and “I Am Anonymous – Help Me” pins date from the late ’60s-early ’70s. And here’s where we can start speculating about the costuming, and seeing how pieces that may be totally coincidental may actually fit together… The Blondie pin is by itself, separate from the others. Perhaps the jacket itself really belongs to Nicky’s dad, who (although excised from the film) in the script seems to be a burned-out product of the ’60s; all the pins were his, except the Blondie one, added by Nicky herself. On the other hand, leather doesn’t seem to be Roger’s style. He seems more the denim or military fatigue jacket type. Maybe the jacket belonged to Nicky’s mom. Chew on that one.

Yes, she’s wearing a button that says “HELP ME.” I have more to say about that, but not here.

The back of the jacket sports a large colorful butterfly applique. Nicky gives this jacket to Pammy. I have plenty to say about that too, but I’ll wait until I post a picture where the butterfly is visible.

Color photo of Robin Johnson as Nicky Marotta in "Times Square"
With only one or two exceptions, all the production photos, including the ones like these that were only meant for promotional purposes, show the actors costumed and in a location indicating what scene they were shooting when the photo was taken. These photos feature the outfit Nicky is wearing when the girls escape the hospital, except for the cap, which Trini Alvarado wears in her photos from this shoot. But, the location… trees? I don’t recall the girls making a stop in Central Park… I believe these shots were taken just as they were starting to film the “lost” scene by and in the Hudson River, on a piece of undeveloped shoreline in New Jersey. That’s the only non-urban location in the script.
 

In the screenplay, Nicky buys (or steals) hair dye from Woolworth’s while wearing the ambulance driver’s coat and hat, so perhaps she put her jacket back on after they crossed the bridge. But in the film, she makes a huge point of changing her clothes while still in the ambulance, handing her jacket to Pammy; a bit of business not in the script. I wonder if perhaps the ambulance ride was shot after the river scene had already been cut, and was itself hastily rewritten to try to minimize what they could see was going to be a huge continuity problem. I know it was rewritten to improve Nicky’s dialog (or perhaps they left in some improvisation by Robin).

 

If all goes well, this post will go up on October 17, 2014, the 34th anniversary of Times Square’s general release in North America. (And it did! But I edited it, adding a picture and doubling the amount of text on October 29. So, always keep your eyes peeled for updates.)

 

[Added 18 June 2017: I posted this particular black-and-white photo because it’s the most complete version of the image I’ve come across, but I’ve come to realize that the item itself is number 36 in the main series of publicity stills from the UK, which were produced in late 1980 or early 1981, to promote the 15 January 1981 UK premiere. The image belongs here, but strictly speaking the item itself should probably have been the post after this one.]

 

Robin Johnson, “Times Square”
8 in (H) x 10 in (W) (work);
865 px (W) x 1080 px (H), 96 dpi, 557 KB (image)

1980
Photographer: Yoram Kahana
inscription: 36
[on back:] [handwritten:] D&P East
Robin Johnson
“Times Square”
30
[stamped:] DEREK AND PAT EAST COLLECTION”

 

robyn.jpg
600 px (W) x 975 px (H), 72 dpi, 187 KB (image)
1980
Photographer: Yoram Kahana
retrieved on 2010-11-16 from “Robin Johnson 1980, Photographed by Yoram Kahana.” Love is a Prelude to Sorrow. N.p., 7 Mar. 2010. Web.
Times Square ©1980 StudioCanal/Canal+

Nicky Marotta Hair/Make-up Test, 1979

Posted on 12th October 2014 in "Times Square"

Nicky Marotta hair/make-up test, 1979And the story continues… Allan Moyle wanted “real” girls, not professional actresses, to portray Nicky and Pammy, and searched high and low, even holding nation-wide open auditions, with no luck. Trini Alvarado was hired for Pammy on the strength of her performance in Rich Kids (1979), but Nicky eluded them.

Until, one day, an unidentified casting scout happened to spot Robin as she was cutting class and having a smoke on the steps of Brooklyn Tech. He gave her a card with the audition information and encouraged her to go as she would be perfect for the role. She put the card in her pocket and promptly forgot about it. Several days later, she found the card again, and thinking it might at least be a laugh, went to an audition. She didn’t get cast there on the spot, but she might as well have been; despite having no previous acting experience, she was perfect for the role, exactly what Moyle was looking for.

This picture, though… I’m not sure what look they thought they were going for, but thank god they didn’t stick with this. I think it’s a runaway-hippie-girl look that’s more evidence that the film originally had a late ’60s-early ’70s aesthetic. Although there’s a trace of this look remaining in Nicky’s tiny braids during the dancing-down-42nd-Street sequence, someone finally realized that Nicky would never spend that much time fussing with her hair.

Even Robin doesn’t look too happy about this look.

8 in (H) x 10 in (W) (work);
746 px (H) x 1080 px (W), 96 dpi, 461 kb (image)

1979
[handwritten on reverse:] 3-4