Allan Moyle at work

Posted on 28th January 2017 in "Times Square"
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Allan Moyle directs Robin Johnson and Trini Alvarado on 42nd Street

Way back in October 2014, I posted a photo of Robin and Trini getting ready to shoot a scene that was later cut from the film, and complained that although the vast majority of Times Square publicity stills don’t actually come from shots of takes used in the film, there was a dearth of genuine behind-the-scenes images.

Frame grab from "Times Square"Well, that dearth is slightly less dearthy now. Here’s Allan Moyle directing the girls on 42nd Street. Judging from the neon sign at the left, it’s just as they duck into and get kicked out of the adult novelties shop. That shot was made from the street, not the sidewalk, so the movie camera is likely directly to our right.

Handwritten on the back is “45/35”. I have no idea what that might mean, or when it was written.

And that’s about all I have to say about this, despite the fact that it’s one of the things I’ve been most excited to find. Except maybe to note that Moyle seems to be wearing the same sweater we saw half of in the other photo. I’m sure, though, that quite a few comments will be inspired by the expressions on Robin and Trini’s faces.

 

 

[Allan Moyle directs Robin Johnson and Trini Alvarado on 42nd Street]
black-and-white photograph : AAT ID: 300128347 : 20.8 x 25.4 cm : 1979 (work);
45,35 auto_1080px.jpg
878 x 1080 px, 96 dpi, 378 kb (image)

 

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frame grab from Times Square
480 x 853 px, 96dpi, 522 kb

 

Times Square ©1980 StudioCanal/Canal+

 

The Last Word

Posted on 3rd March 2015 in "Times Square"
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The May 1980 issue of Photoplay mentioned Times Square’s production in Ken Johns’ Last Word column.

Edit from Photoplay's Last Word, Photoplay Vol. 31 No. 5, May 19
The image of Nicky singing “Damn Dog” in the Cleo Club was later published in at least one more magazine after the film’s release, but I haven’t yet seen it anywhere else, or in color.

This was the version of Photoplay published in the U.K. Times Square wouldn’t open there until the following January.

For the benefit of all the search spiders out there, here’s the relevant text:

Newcomer Robin Johnson stars in Times Square

The beautiful Trini Alvarado (from Rich Kids) gets the star role in Times Square, produced by Robert Stigwood and Jacob Brackman. Said Stigwood: “The film reflects the tragedy of grown-ups who cannot relate to kids, who view the world very differently. It is a tough raw film, but with lots of humour.” The film features a rock score written and played by many talented stars. Tim Curry stars in the movie as a dee-jay. The story concerns two young girls (Trini, and newcomer Robin Johnson) who meet in the ward of a psychiatric hospital and decide that the shrinks are crazier than they are and so go on the run. The DJ (Tim Curry) carries their exploits to the world via his all-night radio show…

Robert Stigwood is quoted. Allan Moyle isn’t mentioned. Hmm.

 

 

Photoplay Vol. 31 No. 5, May 1980, cover
8.5 in (W) x 11 in (H) (work)
800 px (H) x 627 px (W), 96 dpi, 435 kb (image)

 

Johns, Ken; “Photoplay’s LAST WORD Column”
Photoplay Vol. 31 No. 5, May 1980, p. 62
8.5 in (W) x 11 in (H) (work)
800 px (H) x 622 px (H), 96 dpi, 372 kb (image)

 

Edit of Photoplay Vol. 31 No. 5, May 1980, p. 62
(Johns, Ken; “Photoplay’s LAST WORD Column”)
1080 px (W) x 728 px (H), 96 dpi, 488 kb (image)

 

Photoplay ©1980 The Illustrated Publications Company Limited

 

Times Square ©1980 StudioCanal/Canal+

 

“The Trend Settles in New York”

Posted on 13th February 2015 in "Times Square"
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I confess I don’t quite understand what that title means. Am I missing something clever?

 
"The Trend Settles In New York," by Tony DeSena, "The Aquarian," April 23-30, 1980, p. 22 (10-A)

This article was published at the end of April 1980, from an interview done when there were two weeks left of principal photography, and is chock full of things to raise an eyebrow at. To start with, director Allan Moyle starts off saying that the lab ruined the footage of the crane shot of the crowd at the concert in Times Square. Evidently enough survived to edit into the film, since the movie closes with a shot exactly as he describes, but more interestingly, that was one of the first things shot, and he’s only now finding out that the footage was destroyed? Wasn’t it shot in November of 1979? How long was the shooting schedule anyway? I’m guessing the interview was probably done in December 1979, and then held until the timing was better for advance publicity. (On the Anchor Bay Times Square DVD commentary track, Moyle describes all sorts of things going wrong during the concert shoot, and footage being destroyed during production isn’t one of them.)
 

Moyle is described as “optimistic,” and Robert Stigwood

has been described as “very supportive,” which usually translates into, “He’s not breathing down our necks — he’s letting us work.”

Stop laughing. Oh, you’re crying? I’m sorry.

Regarding the soundtrack, the first artist mentioned is Tom Petty, who isn’t on the soundtrack. This announcement is later repeated in other pre-release articles.

On the day I spoke with him, Allan Moyle was shooting inside the old San Juan Theatre, on 165th Street on Upper Manhattan’s West Side. The scene being shot was a tender reconciliation between father and daughter, near the end of the film.

No such scene appears in the film, or in the early draft of the screenplay we have. This theater must have been doubling for another location, or perhaps had a set built inside it, or the article’s author was describing the scene incorrectly… we may never know. Maybe it was a wrong description of Mr. Pearl’s speech that sets Pammy off?

Also, unlike the movie, the article spells Allan Moyle’s first name correctly.

The article concludes saying the production is “aiming for a late summer release date next year,” which would be 1981. Times Square opened October 17, 1980; assuming the article was written in 1979 and not re-edited when it was published five months later, it’s correct.

I can’t say with 100% certainty, but so far it looks like the two images that accompany this article were published in other magazine articles, but didn’t appear in any of the publicity packages released by AFD or EMI. If I find them, though, you’ll be the first to know.

One last thing: although I may very likely have been reading The Aquarian in April 1980, I never saved any of them, and this article at the time wouldn’t have meant anything to me anyway. This item is a photocopy I came across while going through my Robin Johnson stuff for this project, and I don’t know where it came from.

 

 

“The Trend Settles In New York”
DeSena, Tony; “The Aquarian,” April 23-April 30 1980, p. 22 (10-A) [photocopy of article]
8.5 in (H) x 11 in (W) (work)
839 px (H) x 1080 px (H), 96 dpi, 685 KB (image [jpg])

 

 

The Concert in Times Square

Posted on 26th January 2015 in "Times Square"
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I’m breaking my rule of one picture per post again, but these are so similar to each other it seemed silly to stretch them out over three posts. These are the last of the Kodak 8 x 10’s: three shots of Robin atop the Times Square Theater marquee. In the first one, you can see not only Robin’s safety cable, but Trini’s as well, along with a couple crew members keeping an eye on them. You might think it’s JoJo and Simon from WJAD, but in the film they can be clearly seen sitting on the Apollo Theater’s marquee with the Blondells. These guys are production safety deputies.
 

The Times Square Theater seems to be cursed. It’s the one property on New 42nd Street that no one has been able to do anything with. Plans are continually being made, a tenant is announced, and then nothing happens. At least the facade is visible now; for years it was completely hidden behind a canvas shroud announcing the opening of a Marc Ecko store, which needless to say never opened. At the heart of Times Square is the plan by Pammy’s father to clean up Times Square, and that actually happened less than ten years later… now, every property in Times Square is actively serving a thriving tourist trade… except the Times Square Theater, which remains empty.

The Facade of the Times Square Theater, April 20 2014

The facade of the Times Square Theater, April 20 2014

In my opinion, its best use would be as an Alamo Drafthouse, screening the kind of repertory films that used be in small theaters all over the city until the little cinemas that showed them closed one by one. But odds are there’s no way to make such a venture sufficiently profitable in that space, since it apparently isn’t sufficiently profitable in no end of less desirable properties. Part of the problem is that apparently the Times Square Theater has no back entrance; directly behind it, along 43rd Street, was the auditorium of the Apollo Theater (now the Lyric), whose entrance ironically ran through the front of the Times Square Theater (confused yet?). What this means is, the only way to load in and out is through the front on 42nd Street, making it very difficult to work with, especially as a performance venue. (All this information comes from the Wikipedia pages for the Times Square and Apollo Theaters, and the sources linked there as references.)
 

With that in mind… towards the end of the film, Pammy drags Nicky out of the radio station (to the faint strains of “Help Me!”), and around the block to the rear entrance to her father’s offices. This is quite clearly on 43rd Street, where it should be;Nicky and Pammy head west on 43rd St between Broadway and 8th - frame capture from "Times Square" (1980) behind them we can see the sign of the Strand HotelThe Concert in Times Square - frame capture from "Times Square" (1980) which was located at 206 West 43rd Street. Later we get a clear shot establishing that the “Times Square Renaissance” project has taken over the Apollo Theater, so the door Pammy and Nicky go in does indeed lead into the Apollo. The Blondells and the WJAD people load in the Blondells’ equipment through a pair of large theater doors that are not the door Pammy got in through, and are not on 42nd Street, so it’s safe to assume they’re the main theater exit from the Apollo (the kind of doors the Times Square Theater does not have), and they go through the Pearl offices and up to the Apollo’s marquee. But how did Nicky and Pammy get into the Times Square theater next door, unseen by the growing crowd in the street,Apollo Theater's back doors - frame capture from "Times Square" (1980) and at what point did JoJo or Simon… well, Paul Blondell and JoJo carry equipment through the Times Square Renaissance offices - frame capture from "Times Square" (1980)there was room for a great little shot where someone setting up equipment on the Apollo marquee tosses a wired microphone over to the Times Square marquee.

No, despite the Apollo’s lobby running through the Times Square’s facade, these are two separate buildings, only one of which opens onto 43rd Street. While there may possibly be some emergency door between the two, really the only way Pammy and Nicky could get to the Times Square Theater’s marquee is with the magic powers they used during their escape through the Adonis Theater, materializing from roof to roof and walking through buildings that are next to each other but not actually connected.
 

Or, maybe I should “just repeat to yourself ‘It’s just a show, I should really just relax.'” But where’s the fun in that?
 

And now, the closest frames from the film.


 

One last thought… Nicky first appears out of a crowd of people, walking west on 42nd Street, right in front of the Times Square Theater and past the entrance to the Apollo. At the end of the film, she leaps from the marquee of the Times Square Theater, heads west on 42nd, and disappears into a crowd of people just past the entrance to the Apollo. This is of course because Nicky doesn’t really exist: she’s a spirit of the city, a personification of the visceral life in 42nd Street Johnny is always talking about, called into being to help Pammy, and when her job is done vanishing back into the street until she’s needed again. I need more sleep.

 

 

[Pammy Watches Nicky Sing Atop the Times Square Theater Marquee]
color photographic print, 8 in (H) x 10 in (W) (work) [w/o border 6.5 in x 9.5 in];
857 px (H) x 1080 px (W), 96 dpi, 628 kb (image)

1979/1980
inscription: [on back:] [photo paper stamped] THIS PAPER / MANUFACTURED / BY KODAK

 

[Nicky Marotta on the Times Square Theater Marquee]
color photographic print, 8 in (H) x 10 in (W) (work) [w/o border 6.5 in x 9.5 in];
866 px (H) x 1080 px (W), 96 dpi, 624 kb (image)

1979/1980
inscription: [on back:] [photo paper stamped] THIS PAPER / MANUFACTURED / BY KODAK

 

[Nicky on the Times Square Theater Marquee]
color photographic print, 8 in (H) x 10 in (W) (work) [w/o border 6.5 in x 9.5 in];
862 px (H) x 1080 px (W), 96 dpi, 631 kb (image)

1979/1980
inscription: [on back:] [photo paper stamped] THIS PAPER / MANUFACTURED / BY KODAK

 

The Facade of the Times Square Theater, April 20 2014
1000 px (W) x 599 px (H), 72 dpi, 386 kb (image)
Photo by Sean Rockoff

 

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853 px (W) x 480 px (H), 72 dpi (images)
frame captures from Times Square (1980)
captured 2015-01-04

 

vlcsnap-2014-11-04-20h17m48s255.png
853 px (W) x 480 px (H), 72 dpi, 882 kb (image)
frame capture from Times Square (1980)
captured 2014-11-04

 

Times Square ©1980 StudioCanal/Canal+

 

“34”

Posted on 17th January 2015 in "Times Square"
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Here we have an 8″x10″ black and white print showing Nicky leaping into the air at the start of the concert in Times Square (as opposed to her leaping into the air at the end of the concert). Robin Johnson as Nicky Marotta leaps into the the air, beginning her performance at the conclusion of "Times Square" (1980). It has a tiny number “34” printed onto its front. The back bears a stamp reading “TIMES SQUARE,” a handwritten “34” in black ink, and in blue ink a different hand has written “Robin Johnson, Trini Alvarez.” It’s probably safe to say the last was added by a memorabilia dealer who wasn’t too familiar with the movie.

 

This moment in the film is comprised of two shots: one of her kneeling and starting the jump, the other of her in the air and landing. In the frame that would Nicky leaps into the air - the closest frame from the film to B&W still 34match this exact moment, her head is facing the other way and mostly out of the shot. Don’t believe me? Here it is:

 

This photo is in black and white. An almost identical shot that looks like it was taken a fraction of a second later was published in color in a German magazine in 1982. This leads me to speculate (as I may have before, but I can’t be bothered to check now) that all these photos were taken in color, and some were distributed in black and white… for newspaper reproduction? To save money on printing costs? — or that some of them at least are edited movie frames from unused takes. I doubt this though because there’d be a lot more motion blur in them. You can see the blur in the frame capture above, while the still is sharp.

 
And that’s really all I have to say about this. Sorry to disappoint you. But I will leave you with one question… Take a look at that frame capture from the movie, and tell me: what color is Nicky’s sweater? Whatever your answer, we’ll continue to ask that question for a couple more weeks at least.

 
What’s that? You want to see the picture in the German magazine? I told you, that was published in 1982. It’s barely 1980 here. Hold your horses.

 

Times Square Production Still 34
black and white photographic print, 8 in (H) x 10 in (W) (work);
863 px (H) x 1080 px (W), 96 dpi, 451 kb (image)

1979/1980
inscription: 34 at bottom right
[On back:] [stamped, black:] TIMES SQUARE
[handwritten, black:] 34
[handwritten, blue:] Robin Johnson, Trini Alvarez

 

vlcsnap-2014-05-04-17h40m40s228.png
853 px (W) x 480 px (H), 72 dpi, 848 kb (images)
frame capture from Times Square (1980)
captured 2014-05-04

 

Times Square ©1980 StudioCanal/Canal+

 

“Damn Dog”

Posted on 24th December 2014 in "Times Square"
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8"x10" color print of Robin Johnson performing "Damn Dog" - shot not as it appears in the film

Left to right: Trini Alvarado, Robin Johnson, Artie Weinstein, Paul Sass. Just beyond the periphery: Billy Mernit


Back to the 8 x 10 Kodak prints… here’s another shot of Robin as Nicky dressed up as Aggie playing “Damn Dog” in the Cleo Club, and as always, there’s no frame in the film that matches up. The frame I’ve chosen is the only one where Robin has both hands on her guitar, is singing into the mic, and most importantly Artie has his hand up spinning his drum stick. But, not only is the shot framed entirely differently and from a different position, Robin isn’t even facing the same direction, and may not be singing the same word.Aggie Doon (Nicky Marotta [Robin Johnson]) perfoms "Damn Dog" - Frame capture from "Times Square" (1980)

 

“Aggie Doon.” In the commentary audio track on the 2000 Anchor Bay DVD, Robin asks director Allan Moyle why they went with that name, and he doesn’t remember. I seem to remember hearing something about Nicky using a pseudonym because, after all, she’s wanted by the police, but I don’t remember where it was I came across that idea. That doesn’t really make sense, though, since Pammy is dancing under her own real name. The screenplay doesn’t explain it either.

 

"Times Square" Screenplay by Jacob Brackman, 1979, p. 77
 

Also on the commentary track, in the previous scene where Nicky reads her poem to Pammy, Moyle claims that Robin wrote part of it, and she’s gobsmacked because although she was writing and performing poetry at the time of the commentary’s recording, she has no recollection of contributing to “Damn Dog.” The reason for that is simple: she didn’t. The poem she recites in the film is almost word-for-word the poem Jacob Brackman wrote in the early draft of the screenplay, months before she was discovered; and unless she changed her name to Norman Ross, she didn’t contribute any of the changes made when it was turned into the song."Damn Dog, by Billy Mernit, Jacob Brackman, and Norman Ross"

What’s my point? I guess it’s that Allan Moyle, bless ‘im, is something of an unreliable narrator when it comes to the making of Times Square.

 

More importantly, though… if Robin isn’t Norman Ross, then who is?
 Norman Ross (left), co-writer of "Damn Dog" and "Your Daughter is One," playing guitar. Photo provided by Billy Mernit.


“Norman was one of my closest friends and was the backbone of my band for many years – a stellar guitarist. He was the soul of rock’n’roll incarnate. He died a number of years ago due to a lifetime of wretched excess.

“Specific to ‘Damn Dog,’ he’s responsible for the guitar phrasing of its signature lick – that ‘Dat-DAT-dut! Da-DAH-da-da-da…’ figure, which was in a sense Norman channeling Keith Richards. (The lyrics are Jacob’s with some revisions/additions of mine, and the melody and chord structure is me.)”

— Billy Mernit

 

If you’re here reading this odds are the chords that kick off “Damn Dog” are burned permanently into your brain. If you play guitar you’ve had a bash at them more than once. They mean something to you in a visceral way. Can you imagine “Damn Dog” without that lick? Can you imagine “Times Square” without a song featuring that lick? Norman Ross created this specific thing without which the effect and the affect of the movie would have been immeasurably diminished. There’d be something missing from your life and you’d never know it.
 

It’s a shame he’s not around so we could express our appreciation directly, but at least we can now keep his name alive whenever we hear “Damn Dog” start up.
 

I dedicate this to Norman Ross, and all the other dinosaurs that got kicked outta the band.

 

 

“Damn Dog, 60-6A”
color photographic print, 8 in (H) x 10 in (W) (work);
866 px (W) x 1080 px (H), 96 dpi, 491 kb (image)

1979/1980
inscription: [on back:] [handwritten:] 60-6A

 

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853 px (W) x 480 px (H), 72 dpi, 737 kb (image)
frame capture from Times Square (1980)
captured 2014-12-07

 

TIMES SQUARE, p. 77
Screenplay by Jacob Brackman
1979

 

“TIMES SQUARE” Songbook, p. 47 (detail)
800 px (W) x 194 px (H) (image)

 

Norman Ross in Action
329 px (W) x 632 px (H), 72 dpi, 100 kb (image)
Photo courtesy Billy Mernit
provided 2014-12-15, edited 2014-12-21

 

Times Square ©1980 StudioCanal/Canal+

Aggie Doon

Posted on 16th December 2014 in "Times Square"
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“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.

 

vlcsnap-2014-11-30-15h00m21s77.png
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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853 px (W) x 480 px (H), 72 dpi (images)
frame captures from Times Square (1980)
captured and enhanced/edited 2014-11-30

 

vlcsnap-2014-12-01-23h08m32s82_edit2.jpg
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"
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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"
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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"
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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.

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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+