Bits and Pieces

Posted on 12th January 2016 in "Times Square"

Take note: this post is mostly just me killing some time. It’s not really connected to Robin, and only technically connected to Times Square.

So, here are a few buttons I’ve managed to glom onto.

They’re not the actual ones used on Nicky’s jacket, but they were all real pins, and I’m hoping to find the others floating around, eventually.

Color photo of Robin Johnson as Nicky Marotta in "Times Square"

 

 

“Stick It In Your Ear” is the sole badge on her right lapel. “Rolling Stones In Concert” is near the top at the inner edge of her left lapel, and “I Am A Human Being” is at the bottom of her left lapel. The Stones pin may come from any time in the 1970s, and the others may even date back to the late 1960s. Of her other pins… her left collar wing sports a large cartoon image of Debbie Harry with the label “Blondie,” and I’ve never seen anything remotely like it. There was a promotional button of an ad for Ampex recording tapes featuring Blondie, and that’s the closest thing I’ve seen, but it’s not it.

 
Immediately below the Stones pin is a small button that looks all red. Out towards the tip of the lapel is another small button with a scallop or gear-like pattern around its edge. I’ve never been able to make out what’s on them.

 
There’s another button that isn’t always there, hanging off the edge of the lapel, a black and white face of a man with curly hair. I’d like to think it’s Johnny LaGuardia, but it doesn’t look quite like Tim Curry. I always thought it looked like Nigel Harrison of Blondie, but I’m pretty sure it’s not him. I’m not certain, but I think this button appears when Pammy gets the jacket.

At the top of the left lapel, just beside the Stones pin, is a red-on-white button reading “I Am Anonymous – Help Me.” This is another late ’60s- early ’70s counterculture/protest pin. I’ve only ever seen one of these, after it was sold, so I know they’re out there, but the problem with these buttons is they were made by anyone who thought they could sell them, and they don’t all have the same design. I’ve come across a few “Help Me” pins but none with the text laid out like Nicky’s, except for the one I was too late for.

I wonder which came first, “Help Me” the button, or “Help Me” the song. Was one the inspiration for the other, or was it just coincidence?

Except for the Blondie pin, these are all hippie, dinosaur pins, leading me (as I’ve mentioned before) to hypothesize that the jacket may have belonged to Nicky’s dad before he was cut from the film. The big butterfly applique on the back may have been put there by Nicky after she took possession of it… or, maybe, the jacket belonged to Nicky’s mom, and Nicky took it when she died.

More likely, though, it’s just a reflection of the late ’60s-early ’70s sensibilities of the film’s writer and director, clashing (or, merging?) with the punk/New Wave attitude the producer wanted the film to have.

There’s a “Stick It In Your Ear” button in the Labadie Collection of pinbacks at the University of Michigan.

Should the title of this post have been “Needles and Pins”?

 

 

STICK IT IN YOUR EAR button (button (information artifact) AAT ID: 300207332),
pin as used on Nicky’s jacket, 1 in (diameter) (work);
800 px (W) x 786 px (H), 96 dpi, 351 KB (image)

 

I AM A HUMAN BEING – do not fold, spindle or mutilate pin (button (information artifact) AAT ID: 300207332),
pin as used on Nicky’s jacket, 1.25 in (diameter) (work);
800 px (W) x 797 px (H), 96 dpi, 265 KB (image)

 

Rolling Stones IN CONCERT pin (button (information artifact) AAT ID: 300207332), pin as used on Nicky’s jacket, 2.5 in (diameter) (work);
800 px (W) x 789 px (H), 96 dpi, 327 KB (image)

 

STICK IT IN YOUR EAR button © BIG STORE NYC

 

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“I don’t have to show you any stinking badges!”

Posted on 2nd January 2016 in "Times Square"

But, I will anyway, ’cause that’s how I roll.

The first is a not-quite 1 1/2 inch button with the Times Square logo on a black background. As far as I know these were never for sale, and were most likely given to radio stations and theater owners to give out as publicity. I know there were also t-shirts and sweatshirts with this design — the logo on black — some of which had “I’m a Damn Dog” on the back, some of which had radio station call letters added. I had two t-shirts (not from the time, I found them sometime in the early 2000s); one I gave away, one hasn’t turned up yet after moving twice. As soon as it does you’ll be the first to see it.

The second button is a full 1 1/2 inches across, and features the logo without its yellow outline on a white background. Why this variant was made, I have no idea. However, where the black button has “TM ©1980 AFD/RSO FILMS” printed around the rim on its back, the white one has “F.A.M.E. HOLLYWOOD”. Maybe this was a separate run of pins made on the west coast because someone thought it was time to shake things up. Maybe the white one is a counterfeit, to rake in some of that big big Times Square dough, either at the time of film or any time later… Unfortunately there’s no date on it, and it’s neither in good nor bad enough condition to guess at its true age. And Googling “F.A.M.E. HOLLYWOOD” brings up lots of information about the Walk of Fame, but nothing I’ve found yet about a promotional products manufacturer.

The black buttons turn up on eBay every so often. The white one shown here is the only one I’ve seen to date.

No Robin in this post. Sorry. (Happy New Year!)

 

 

TIMES SQUARE button (button (information artifact) AAT ID: 300207332), TIMES SQUARE logo on black background, 1 3/8 in (diameter) (work); 800 px (W) x 794 px (H), 96 dpi, 237 KB (image)

 

TIMES SQUARE button (button (information artifact) AAT ID: 300207332), TIMES SQUARE logo on white background, 1 1/2 in (diameter) (work); 800 px (H) x 794 px (W), 96 dpi, 309 KB (image)

 

©1980 AFD/RSO FILMS