15 or 16 UK Promo Photos

Posted on 6th June 2018 in "Times Square"
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As promised, here are all I have so far from the series of 8×10 black and white publicity stills from the UK, whose only true common denominator is that they have a small one- or two-digit number on a tiny inset square as part of the print. The typical still from the US has a handwritten string of letters and numbers. Some of these have captions pasted to their backs, some have “TIMES SQUARE” stamped on their backs, the ones that came with the UK Press Kit matched up with numbers on an enclosed caption sheet, although I don’t think my copy of that Press Kit was complete.

I’m not sure if I have fifteen or sixteen of these because there are two #4s. The highest number I have is 36, implying that there are twenty or twenty-one more out there somewhere.

In preparing this post, I noticed something. I have two copies of number 20, and they’re not identical.

The second copy is darker and cropped differently. I thought perhaps it was something I might have done when digitizing them, but the number is in a different place. It’s possible I made one look a little darker than the other, but I’m sure I didn’t crop away that much of the first one, and, well, the number is part of the print. It seems there may have been multiple printings of these stills. Perhaps the #4 of Pammy and her father is a reprint of a photo that’s supposed to have a different number, and whoever stuck the number on and printed it made a mistake.

The photos above previously appeared in these posts, except for the second copy of #20:

Times Square UK Press Kit (post 2 of 4)
Times Square UK Press Kit (post 3 of 4)
“6”
UK Promo Photos 4, 13, and 21, 1980-81
UK Promo Photos 20 and 26, 1980-81
UK Promo Photo #29
“34”
Nicky Marotta, 1980

 

 

Times Square publicity stills 1, 3, 4, 4 [2nd version], 5, 6, 7, 8, 11, 13, 20, 20 [2nd version], 21, 26, 29, 34, 36
black-and-white photographs, AAT ID: 300128347
UK ; 20.3 x 25.4 cm. (works)

 

Times Square ©1980 StudioCanal/Canal+

 

Record World, Vol. 37 No. 1729, September 13, 1980

Posted on 1st May 2018 in "Times Square"
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Back cover of Record World Vol. 37 No. 1729, September 13, 1980, p. 126.  Text:  JUST RELEASED The Original Soundtrack from the Motion Picture TIMES  SQUARE A Robert Stigwood Production A 2-RECORD SET Featuring Music by... SUZI QUATRO, THE PRETENDERS, ROXY MUSIC, GARY NUMAN, MARCY LEVY & ROBIN GIBB, TALKING HEADS, JOE JACKSON, XTC, THE RAMONES, ROBIN JOHNSON & TRINI ALVARADO, THE RUTS, D.L. BYRON, LOU REED, DESMOND CHILD & ROUGE, GARLAND JEFFREYS, THE CURE, PATTI SMITH GROUP, DAVID JOHANSEN RS-4-4203 INCLUDES THE FIRST SINGLE: "Rock Hard" by Suzi Quatro DL-104 RSO Records, Inc. ® ©1980 RSO Records, Inc.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Most of the “new” items that turn up now are variations of things we’ve already seen. This Times Square soundtrack ad is identical to the ones shown here, but unlike those two it’s still attached to the magazine it was published in. It’s page 126, the back cover, of Record World Vol. 37 No. 1729 from September 13, 1980, a recording industry trade publication, which also has an announcement of the soundtrack on the front cover…

 

 

… and coverage of the soundtrack’s announcement at 1980’s RSO Convention, featuring an appearance by Suzi Quatro.

The most intriguing thing in the article, however, is this:

A forty-minute video presentation highlighting key scenes and music from the motion picture was shown.

There was a promotional video nearly half the length of the entire film!

This was published a month before the movie’s premiere, and only says the event happened “recently.” The five-and-a-half minute in-store soundtrack promo video contains many brief tantalizing clips of footage not in the movie… who knows what lost footage might have appeared in the RSO Convention promo video!

 

 

“Hits of the Week -Albums – “TIMES SQUARE” (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack).” (article, AAT ID: 300048715)
“‘Times Square,’ ‘Shogun’ Soundtracks Previewed at RSO National Convention” (article, AAT ID: 300048715)
[Just released – the original soundtrack from the motion picture Times Square] (advertisement, AAT ID: 300193993)
Record World, Vol. 37, No. 1729, September 13, 1980, pp. 1, 9, 118, 126 (magazine (periodical), AAT ID: 300215389)
32.4 x 24.3 cm., 126 pp (work);
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Record World ©1980 RECORD WORLD PUBLISHING CO., INC.
Times Square ©1980 StudioCanal/Canal+

 

Times Square Program Book, Japan, June 1981, pages 20-24 (post 4 of 5)

Posted on 26th March 2018 in "Times Square"
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“Let’s get together at … Hippy Power” (?)

1981 Japanese program book for TIMES SQUARE (1980), p. 21

 

 

 

Here at the end of the Japanese program book, we get the movie’s credits, an ad for the soundtrack album, and… the Times Square Top Ten? I can only imagine what’s being said, in relation to the film, about Make-Up, Music, Fashion, Life Style, Play, Foods, Dream, Sports, Sex, and Friendship. Okay, Music and Friendship I get, but Sports?

 

Page 21, bearing a “Hippy Power” button and the unfinished caption, “Let’s get together at,” features two shots that are neither frames from the film, nor are publicity stills I’ve yet come across. The shot atop the marquee bears a strong resemblance to this color still, and is probably another still shot at that same time, and the shot of the girls entering the abandoned pier is from an entirely different angle than the scene in the film. Also, neither Nicky nor especially Pammy smiles during that sequence in the film. The point being, this is the only place these pictures appear, as far I know.

 

 

I don’t know if the street photo that is the background of page 20 has anything to do the film, other than being New York City. The inset photo of Nicky is from the shot used on one of the Italian lobby posters. Accompanying the credits on page 22, the shot of Pammy and Nicky erupting onto the street after the chase through the Adonis Theater is I believe making its first appearance here; it will later be a press photo distributed in Germany. The other two photos are frames from the film but with more image visible at the tops and bottoms, which as I mentioned last time lead me to believe that these were taken from a full-frame exposure that was matted for release, and may still exist as a TV print.

Page 23 features the soundtrack album cover, the Japanese “Same Old Scene” single picture sleeve, and, clockwise from top right: a shot of Robin and Trini between takes that had previously appeared in Movie 81 No. 2; the image from the cover of the “Same Old Scene” single, which had also appeared in the soundtrack gatefold, the songbook, and the aforementioned Movie 81 No. 2; a shot of Johnny that had been a UK lobby card and an illustration in Movie 81 No.2; and guess where the shot of Robin had appeared previously? Of course! It was in Film Review Vol. 31 No. 1.

And that perfect image on the back cover is a detail from another publicity still that will appear later as a German lobby card.

 

 

Times Square program book, pp. 20-24
Japan : souvenir program : AAT ID: 300253341 : 29.4 x 20.5 cm. : 1981 (work);

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©1980 Butterfly Valley N. V.
 
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Times Square ©1980 StudioCanal/Canal+

 

Times Square Program Book, Japan, June 1981, pages 14-19 (post 3 of 5)

Posted on 14th March 2018 in "Times Square"
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As before, I have no clue as to the text, but the image on page 14 of the Japanese souvenir program for Times Square is another frame from the movie. The photo of Pammy and Nicky on page 15 is the promotional shot which was used for the cover of the Italian “Help Me!” single, and as the illustrations on the soundtrack album’s paper sleeves. The color shot of Johnny and Pammy on page 15, accompanied for some reason by a button featuring black and white hands cradling a dove, looks like a frame from the film, but isn’t. It will turn up later as a lobby card in Germany. For some reason, it’s reversed.

Both photos on page 17 are frames from the film. The photo of the Sleez Girls on page 18, featuring coulda-been-Nicky Zoe Lund, is a frame from the film, but the shot of Nicky just below is a promotional photo that previously appeared in Joepie No. 365. And Pammy and Nicky dancing at each other in the Cleo Club on page 19 is a shot that had been used as a UK lobby card. Whether they were really “honoring America” is a question only they, and perhaps the Japanese, could answer.

Look again at the photo on page 14, and compare it to the frame capture below. There’s a bit more at the bottom, and lot more at the top, of the photo in the program book. This is the first evidence I’ve seen that Times Square was shot “full-frame;” the entire frame of the 35mm film was exposed with a normal lens, and its widescreen aspect ratio achieved by matting the top and bottom when the prints were made. If it was shot so the extra space was clean of production detritus, a film shot that way could be shown on television using that full frame instead of making a pan-and-scan version and losing the sides of the image. It’s been decades since I’ve seen a television-formatted version of Times Square. Does anyone know if the TV/video print was full frame or pan-and-scan? Because if it was full frame, that would be worthy of preservation in its own right.

Closest frame from <strong>Times Square</strong> to the photo on page 16 of the Japanese program book.

Closest frame from Times Square to the photo on page 16 of the Japanese program book.

 

 

Times Square program book, pp. 14-19
Japan : souvenir program : AAT ID: 300253341 : 29.4 x 20.5 cm. : 1981 (work);

Press Book Japan 1981_14_1080px.jpg
Press Book Japan 1981_15_1080px.jpg
Press Book Japan 1981_16_1080px.jpg
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Press Book Japan 1981_19_1080px.jpg
96 dpi (images)

©1980 Butterfly Valley N. V.
 
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Times Square©1980 StudioCanal/Canal+

 

Times Square Program Book, Japan, June 1981, pages 8-11 (post 2 of 5)

Posted on 2nd March 2018 in "Times Square"
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Here are the next four pages from the Japanese souvenir program for Time Square. These pages apparently have everything you need to know about the producer, director, and stars. Again, if anyone wants to contribute a translation, or donate to a fund for hiring a professional translator, you will have my thanks and the thanks of a grateful nation.

Three of the four pictures on page 8 are more cases of actual frames from the film being used as publicity stills: the shots of the Sleez Girls, Pammy in the phone booth, and Nicky blacking out Pammy’s eyes on the bus poster. Nicky looking directly at us is part of the shot of her in front of the mirror, which previously appeared in Australian Women’s Weekly Vol. 48 No. 5.

Page 9 is two shots that aren’t frames from the movie, and that were distributed for publication as 35mm slides, Pammy and Nicky. The “I ♥ NY” button… well… okay…

Page 10 features some old AFD publicity stills, finally! Trini is cropped from TS-61-14/10, and Robin is TS-57-26/1, the shot used for the album cover and North American poster. Tim Curry’s photo was previously published in color as a UK lobby card and in Movie 81 No 2.

Page 11 is TS-82-30[/4], also used in the AFD campaign pressbook, on the UK soundtrack sampler, and as the basis for a line drawing in a soundtrack ad published in Record Mirror, January 24 1981.

I am not a student of theology. Was Jesus a dropout?

The above-mentioned frames from the movie:

Sleez Girls; Frame from TIMES SQUARE (1980)
Pammy calls her father; frame from TIMES SQUARE (1980)
Nicky blacks out Pammy's eyes; Frame from TIMES SQUARE (1980)

Further reading:

Times Square Press Material folder (post 1 of 5)
Times Square Press Material folder (post 3 of 5)
Times Square Press Material folder (post 5 of 5)
U.K. Lobby Cards (post 1 of 3)
Movie 81 No. 2, February 1981
AFD Campaign Pressbook (pages 1-4)
TIMES SQUARE Trailer
Record Mirror, January 24, 1981

 

 

Times Square program book, pp. 8-11
Japan : souvenir program : AAT ID: 300253341 : 29.4 x 20.5 cm. : 1981 (work);

Press Book Japan 1981_8_1080px.jpg
Press Book Japan 1981_9_1080px.jpg
Press Book Japan 1981_10_1080px.jpg
Press Book Japan 1981_11_1080px.jpg
96 dpi (images)

©1980 Butterfly Valley N. V.
 
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Times Square©1980 StudioCanal/Canal+

 

Times Square Program Book, Japan, June 1981 (post 1 of 5)

Posted on 18th February 2018 in "Times Square"
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1981 Japanese program book for TIMES SQUARE (1980), p.1 (cover)

This was almost certainly aimed at theatergoers and not the press, but I can’t be 100% certain, since as I’ve noted before, Google Translate makes a total hash of Japanese, and I don’t have the funds to have it professionally translated. (If anyone wants to help on that score, by donating some dough or a homemade translation, I’d be too happy to accept.)

 

It’s a very slick publication and gives the impression that EMI and Towa expected the movie to do well in Japan. I don’t know if it was any more successful there than in the rest of the world, though. It’s most impressive due to the many photos in it that were published nowhere else (as far as I know, as of this writing [and even as I’m writing this, I’m finding previously published examples]), and its use of misapplied pseudo-Americanisms, also present on the Japanese movie poster and promotional flyer.

 

The cover features the image most prominently seen on the picture sleeve for Roxy Music’s “Same Old Scene” Japanese single, released as a Times Square tie-in. The image also appeared in the press folder, on the inside of the soundtrack album, in the songbook, and in Movie 81 No. 2. The other shot, of Nicky and Pammy atop the Times Square Theatre marquee, previously appeared also in Movie 81 No. 2, and as a UK lobby card. The logo is a redesign of the US one, now incorporating a pair of portable headphones.

 

The inside front cover features a photo that had previously appeared, cropped differently and much smaller, in photoplay Vol. 32, No. 1.

The first small photo on the title page appeared, cropped much differently and in color, in the previously mentioned Movie 81 No. 2. The other led off the “interview” with Robin in Joepie No. 365, also in color.

Page 4 is a photo that had been a UK lobby card.

The small inset on page 5 had appeared in color in both Film Review Vol. 31 No. 1 and Movie 81 No 2. The larger photo is a first, I think: an actual frame from the movie (shown below). All the previously published photos had been stills taken at the time of shooting, or during pre-take run-throughs, none of which match up precisely with any similar images from the movie. The Yankees logo was probably there as a token of American and New York authenticity, and I’d bet appeared without the payment of any applicable license fees.

On page 6, the shot with Jay Acovone as the plainclothes cop, and the large photo of Mr. Pearl watching Pammy in the Cleo Club, are making their first, and possibly only, appearances here. The shot of Nicky with her guitar in the hideout is making its first appearance, but will turn up later in color. And the inset of Nicky singing Damn Dog had seen print in color in Joepie No. 365.

On page 7, the shot from the concert in Times Square had appeared on the sleeve for the UK soundtrack sampler. Nicky kneeling on the theater marquee with Pammy standing behind her, is similar to others that had already seen print but is making its first appearance here. The shot of Nicky and Pammy squeegeeing windshields is another frame from the film (!). And the “Burn Pot Not People” button probably signaled “American subculture” to a Japanese audience, but the most generous I could be is that it might be an unfortunate leftover from an early draft of the script, which I doubt anyone involved in making this program book had any knowledge of.

This booklet is 24 pages in total. Another batch of pages next time.

 

 

Times Square program book, p. 1-7
Japan : souvenir program : AAT ID: 300253341 : 29.4 x 20.5 cm. : 1981 (work);

Press Book Japan 1981_1_1080px.jpg
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©1980 Butterfly Valley N. V.
 
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Times Square ©1980 StudioCanal/Canal+

 

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Times Square promotional flyer, Japan, 1981

Posted on 6th February 2018 in "Times Square"
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"Times Square" promotional flyer from Japan, 1981 "Times Square" promotional flyer from Japan, 1981, p 2

 

The front side of this approximately 7.5 by 10.5 inch sheet reproduces the Japanese movie poster, the only difference being the absence of the credit for EMI at the lower right.

 

The back is breathlessly loaded with more information about the film, the girls, and the soundtrack than you’d think could possibly exist, and if anyone wants to translate it or help pay for a professional translation, I’d be happy to provide all the details hidden therein.

 

 

 

Times Square
Japan : handbill : AAT ID: 300027033 : 26.9 x 19 cm. : 1981 (work);
Japanese Times Square promotional flyer, front auto crop 1080.jpg
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Times Square ©1980 StudioCanal/Canal+

 

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“… a culture of ‘Rag-Dolls’…” 1981 Press Kit, Denmark

Posted on 4th January 2018 in "Times Square"
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This was sold to me as a Press Kit, but it looks to me more like the AFD Campaign Pressbook in intent, as it has a list of available promotional materials on the back. Theater owners might have a use for that, the press wouldn’t.

The Danish publicity for Times Square surprisingly abandoned the Cummins painting used in most of the rest of Europe, and instead went all the way back to the original promotional design by Seiniger & Associates that had only appeared on a promotional piece for American theater owners and record stores, which had inspired simplified versions for the US movie poster and the soundtrack album cover.

The artwork, unfortunately, in black and white. I assume the actual posters were in color, but as of this writing I haven’t seen one. They are essentially the double-sided poster poster art with the English text replaced by Danish.

ROBERT STIGWOOD præsenterer “TIMES SQUARE”
Med TIM CURRY TRINI ALVARADO og ROBIN JOHNSON
Med PETER COFFIELD • HERBERT BERGHOF • DAVID MARGUUES • ANNA MARIA HORSFORD
Executive Producers KEVIN McCORMICK • JOHN NICOLELLA
Instruktion ALAN MOYLE
Produceret af ROBERT STIGWOOD og JACOB BRACKMAN
Drejebog JACOB BRACKMAN
Manuskript af ALAN MOYiE og LEANNE UNGER
Associate Producer Bill OAKES
En EMI-ITC Produktion

Soundtrack forefindes på plade og kassette

RSO

And, here’s the text from the promotional side, with my attempt at a translation. I welcome any corrections. I’d also be interested in copies of the actual publications/reviews the pull quotes came from.

Annonce-kliché nr. 1

Tekst-kliché nr. 2

Annonce-kliché nr. 2

TO PIGER GØR OPRØR MOD DERES FORÆLDRE, MYNDIGHEDERNE, SAMFUNDET – DET HELE!

FILMENS LÆNGDE:
3025 meter
CENSUR-FARVE:
RØD
WIDESCREEN

TRAILER:
35 m/RØD

UDLEJNING:

Udlejning: A/S Nordisk Film Udlejning

2 sp. annonce-kliché nr. 5

I 1955 blev »ungdomsoprør« personificeret i James Dean’s portræt afen rebelsk teenager i filmen »Vildt blod«. I 1969 skildrede Peter Fonda og Dennis Hopper 60-ungdommen i »Easy Rider«. 70’erne producerede en ny helt for de unge, da John Travolta blev berømt på »Saturday Night Fever«, og det er den samme producent, Robert Stigwood, der står bag filmen
TIMES SQUARE
der til tonerne af new wave-musik skildrer et par unge piger i New York i 1980.
Robin Johnson og Trini Alvarado har hovedrollerne som to teenagere, der løber hjemmefra og vender sig mod det bestående samfund ved bl.a. at gå i outreret tøj, dyrke new wave-musik og smadre TV-apparater. En nat-discjockey fatter interesse for dem og opmuntrer dem i sine radioprogrammer, og inden længe har der dannet sig en hel kult af »Klude-dukker« – et begreb, de to piger har skabt. Det går naturligvis ikke i længden, og de to sætteret festligt punktum for deres virksomhed ved at afholde en ulovlig midnatskoncert for deres fans på Times Square.
TIMES SQUARE er instrueret af canadieren Alan Moyle, der er meget kendt i sit hjemland som både skuespiller og instruktør. Robin Johnson debuterer i denne film, og Trini Alvarado har optrådt siden hun var 7. Sin filmdebut fik hun i Robert Altman’s »Rich Kids«. Alan Moyle har skrevet manuskriptet sammen med Leanne Unger. (Moyle fik ideen, da han fandt en ung piges dagbog gemt i en gammel sofa), og drejebogen skyldes Jacob Brackman, der har produceret filmen sammen med Robert Stigwood. Musikken i filmen synges, foruden af Robin Johnson, af en lang række kendte navne, bl.a. Roxy Music, Susi Quatro og Lou Reed.

»NEW YORKS SVAR PÅ STORKESPRINGVANDET…
Der er en masse god new-wave-musik i filmen«. Kaj Gosvig, Aktuelt

»TEENAGE-FILM MED MASSER AF MUSIK…
byder på spænding, dramatik, komik – og masser af musik!«
Peder Lyng, Ung Nu

»Robin Johnson er klart nyt fund som pigen, der er grim som arve-
synden, men har en sjæl, der er smukkere end forårets første blomster
…godt i tråd med de nye toner, der er slået an hos ungdommen«.
★★★★ Vi’unge

TWO GIRLS MAKE REBELLION AGAINST THEIR PARENTS, AUTHORITIES, SOCIETY – ALL OF IT!

FILM LENGTH:
3025 meters
RATED:
RED
WIDESCREEN

TRAILER: 35 m/RED

RENTAL: A/S Nordisk Film Rental

In 1955, ‘youth rebellion’ was personified in James Dean’s portrait of rebel teenager in the movie ‘Wild Blood’. In 1969, Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper depicted the 60’s youth in ‘Easy Rider’. The 70s produced a new hero for the young when John Travolta became famous in ‘Saturday Night Fever’, and it is the same producer, Robert Stigwood, who is behind the movie
TIMES SQUARE
that to the sound of new wave music portrays a couple of young girls in New York in 1980.

Robin Johnson and Trini Alvarado have the main roles as two teenagers who run from home and turn against the establishment to wear bizarre clothes, play new wave music and smash TVs. A night-disc jockey becomes interested in them and encourages them on his radio programs, and soon creates a culture of “Rag-Dolls” – a concept that the two girls have created. Of course, it does not last long and the two bring their enterprise to a celebratory end by holding an illegal midnight concert for their fans in Times Square.

TIMES SQUARE is directed by Canadian Alan Moyle, who is widely known in his native country as both actor and director. Robin Johnson is debuting in this movie and Trini Alvarado has performed since she was 7. Her film debut had her in Robert Altman’s ‘Rich Kids’. Alan Moyle wrote the original story together with Leanne Unger. (Moyle got the idea when he found a young girl’s diary tucked in an old sofa), and the script is by Jacob Brackman, who produced the film together with Robert Stigwood. The music in the film is performed, besides Robin Johnson, by a number of well-known names, including Roxy Music, Susi Quatro and Lou Reed.

“NEW YORK’S ANSWER TO THE STORK FOUNTAIN … There is a lot of good new wave music in the movie.” Kaj Gosvig, Current

“TEENAGE FILM WITH MASSES OF MUSIC …
Offers excitement, drama, comedy – and lots of music!” Peder Lyng, Young Now

“Robin Johnson is clearly a new find as the girl who is ugly as original sin, but has a soul that is more beautiful than the first flowers of the spring … well in line with the new sounds that have caught on with the youth.” ★★★★ We Young Ones

Rebel Without A Cause was apparently retitled Wild Blood in Denmark. Sleez Sisters were renamed Rag Dolls. The Stork Fountain is a monument in the center of Copenhagen which has been the focus of numerous Danish protest movements. And “We Young Ones” certainly pulled no punches in their assessment of Robin.

Times Square opened in Denmark on May 8, 1981.

 

 

Times Square press kit
Denmark : promotional material : AAT ID: 300249572 : 32.2 x 23.1 cm. : 1981 (work);

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Times Square ©1980 StudioCanal/Canal+

 

Time Out No. 567, February 25, 1981

Posted on 14th August 2017 in "Times Square"
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Time Out No. 567, February 25, 1981 -  Cover illustration of Robin Johnson by Su Huntley Time Out No. 567, February 25, 1981, p. 3 (contents)

“Of course Robert [Stigwood] wants to make money. Money is the bottom line. But I don’t think he is using me for that prime reason … I hope not, God.”

 

Robin made the cover of London’s Time Out, sort of, to illustrate their cover story, an in-depth analysis of the exploitation of young actors and actresses in Hollywood, and the rough lives of young runaways in the heart of London, the two parts being tied together with an interview with Robin herself. The cover and interior illustrations were by Su Huntley.

Time Out No. 567, February 25, 1981, p. 14  text:  Part I Suffer The Little Children Can adolescent innocence cure adult anxiety? Ian Birch and Fiona Ferguson watch Hollywood line up the pretty maids (and pubescent boys) all in a row. ILLUSTRATIONS BY SU HUNTLEY Since the late ’70s Hollywood has spawned a new type of baby boom. Between 1978 and 1980 over a dozen titles appeared which dealt specifically with early adolescence and its traditional problems. Pre-pubescent stars (you’re an OAP at 16) variously wrestled with pre-teen traumas. Youth, it seemed, was back, and younger than ever. Not that it ever went all that far away. The child star has been an integral part of cinema iconography since the start. Remember ‘The Girl’ in early Chaplin? Shirley Temple as the perennial orphan during the ’30s? Leslie Caron in ‘Gigi’ and Hayley Mills twinned in ‘The Parent Trap’? But why is there such a profusion of such youthful pictures now? In part, they relate to a general resurgence of interest in teenybop. The recession has forced the high street to look for new markets and they’ve chosen the new pocket money generation as a prime target. Sometimes the campaign works. Smash Hits, the rock fortnightly for ‘younger teens’ started in the autumn of ’78 by Nick Logan, rocketed from zero to an immediate circulation of 123,000. It’s now the market leader, ironically beating Logan’s former paper, New Musical Express. It is successful because it identifies exactly with its audience, giving them what they want in a witty and intelligent way. The same tactic has meant similar acclaim for TV’s ‘Grange Hill’—a look at acned life in a suburban comprehensive— and ‘Twentieth Century Box’—a documentary series with a prescient awareness of today’s teens. The fashion industry presents a more complicated picture. It, too, has discovered the commerciality of ‘pretty babies’. New names like Kristine Oulman (12), Cathleen Ess (13), Lena Reid (15) and Phoebe Cates (16) can earn anything from $750 to $1,500 per session, but the undisputed star is Brooke Shields who can command a $1 million contract for modelling Calvin Klein jeans. The difference here is that these child-women cater for their elders rather than their contemporaries. They sell clothes that their mums want to wear and there is an unnerving logic to the device. The gamine look has always been crucial to both fashion and movieland, but traditionally it has been evoked by more mature models. Instead of getting older people to synthesise the look, why not use the genuine article? More importantly, the appeal of these child-women resembles that of soft pom. Shields is always tastefully presented in her photos and films (and with extraordinary propriety, a 35-year-old stand-in played the nude sequences in ‘The Blue Lagoon’). But the knowledge that she is so young makes the fantasy she projects so much more intense and risque. The American TV ad for the Klein jeans exploits just this hybrid illicit tease and upmarket sophistication. Shields purrs: ‘Wanna know what comes between me and my jeans? Nothing.’ Shields personifies the style of this new, would-be adult. Sex is underscored by a lot of innocence and a lack of experience. Shaky talent is partially camouflaged by the publicity of controversy. The cool distance of an icon is offset by the cosy warmth of youth. Malcolm McLaren, rock music’s supreme manipulator, has taken this to its logical conclusion with his latest proteges, Bow Wow Wow, fronted by 14-year-old Annabella. By making the band’s image outrageously explicit, he keeps all his options open. On the one hand, he mocks hidden sex and disguised lechery and, on the other, makes a lot of money out of it. But the key to the current baby bonanza in the movies lies in the mid-’70s. Louis Malle’s ‘Pretty Baby’ and Martin Scorsese’s ‘Taxi Driver’ made i overt use of two recognised child stars as 12-year-old prostitutes—Shields and Jodie Foster respectively. The furore created by showing children in unmistakably ‘corrupted’ roles contributed to the UK ‘Protection of Children Act’ becoming law in 1978. Designed to protect minors against exploitative labour, it also applies to finished work imported into this country. Under its auspices, ‘Taxi Driver’ was withdrawn after two years’ distribution and re-cut. The cumulative effect on movies was complex. Because the Act focussed attention on the commercial potential of micro-boppers, there was a spate of pre- teen pics. Because it reflected a growing conservatism within the media, it instigated a middle-aged backlash which frantically shied away from the previous ‘realism*. The themes of the new movies underline this again and again. Innocence and romance become the order of the day. In ‘A Little Romance’ a pair of 13-year-olds run away from Paris to Venice so that they can ‘kiss beneath the Bridge of Sighs at sunset as the bells of the Campanile toll’, and thus guarantee their eternal love. When two 12-year-olds get mildly drunk in ‘Rich Kids’, the extent of their transgression is an ingenuous romp in a bubble bath. This fairytale quality appears in home 14 TIME OUT 27 FEBRUARY 1981-5 MARCH 1981 Suffer the little children, part I (page 2), Time Out No. 567, February 25, 1981, p. 15  Text:  Cover Story   life. Siblings are unknown and parents are generally one-dimensional figures in the background. The rich kids are misunderstood because their parents are too busy and the poor kids are victims of social deprivation. Here worldly adults may kowtow to class distinctions, but children are as yet immune and choose their chums on an unaffected basis. Social opposites  attract rather than repel. In ‘Times Square’ Robin Johnson is the orphaned street punk while Trini Alvardo (also in ‘A Little Romance’) is the sheltered daughter of an ambitious politician. ‘My Bodyguard’ pairs wealthy hotelier’s son Chris Makepeace with Adam Baldwin, an alleged psychopath from the seedy end of town. Where sex does emerge, it’s embarrassed, confused and unreliable. When Kristy McNichol beats Tatum O’Neal in the race ‘to become a woman’ (‘Little Darlings’), we are treated to a shot of a lighted boathouse window where she and Matt Dillon (the male star most likely to) are dallying. ‘Womanhood’ only makes Kristy morose. She goes off Matt and can only regain her teenage appeal when she decides that sex is for adults and that Tatum is really her best ally. ‘The Blue Lagoon’ goes a few steps further with idiotic expositions of puberty (‘why are all these funny hairs growing on my face?’), masturbation (back view of boy on a rock, right arm jerking), copulation (legs intertwine, camera veers away) and birth (one small groan and a gleaming baby appears from somewhere off the bottom of the screen). The result of this idealising process is to push kids out of the picture altogether. By turning them into emblems—scapegoats, even, in some cases—the movies become vehicles for grown-ups to explore grown-up anxieties. Youth, they argue, has the candour and simplicity to cure adult cynicism and ambiguity. For instance, when faced with opposition, kids simply run away. The perils of New York’s 42nd Street in the early hours of the morning do not present a problem. The heroines of ‘Times Square’ simply dash about the sex shops and boogaloo with local pimps like it was an English country fair. The ‘realistic’ trappings are only present to set the scene which, in intention, is closer to Arcadia than Brooklyn. The extent of such fantasy also shows just how desperately parents need reassurance at the moment. As the period of childhood innocence seems to grow shorter with each successive generation, parents want to be convinced that, no matter what the outside temptations or opportunities, their little Adam or Eve is not going to bite the apple. And yet these parents are creating the situation just as much as they are trying to resolve it. As Sylvere Lotringer, a philosophy lecturer at Columbia University, told New York magazine recently: ‘The pretty babies are forbidden but they have already become cover girls. That’s what counts. The fact that they’re posing means they’re for sale. With the promotion of pretty babies as cover girls—which cannot occur without the active support of their parents—a new step is taken in the destruction of Western values, which are already shaky and obsolete in regard to the actual laws of the marketplace.’ The pre-teen pics are, effectively, a scream for help. They have to believe that innocence will shine through, that moral integrity must bring salvation. They’re pleading: ‘Suffer the little children to come unto me.’  'Nobody likes to think they’re being used’ One such child is Robin Johnson (age: 16, daily cigarette consumption: 70) whose fiery performance went some way to salvaging ‘Times Square’. Did you want to be an actress? I never seriously thought about acting. It never really crossed my mind. I was just going to school. I was a regular teenager. I would just hang out with my friends at Brooklyn Tech High School. I wanted to be a lawyer—my father is a compensation lawyer and that’s probably where I got the idea. My mother didn’t drag me around to auditions and I didn’t take drama at school. That’s why it’s a bit weird that it has all happened. I was in my sophomore year of high school (roughly equivalent to the fifth form) when this guy found me. He asked me ‘Are you 16?’ I looked at him—‘What the hell are you asking me this for? What do you want to know how old I am for?’ And that’s when he started telling me about the movie. Was the role that was offered to you very different from the one that actually turned up on the screen? No. I knew that Nicky was an incorrigible delinquent—a kind of outlandish character who doesn’t really have roots, someone who is always getting into trouble. Her character wasn’t changed. Was the final product very different from what had been originally intended? Were there many cuts? Didn’t you notice how quickly we changed our hair colour? The continuity is very jumpy. There’s one scene in particular: we are driving in the ambulance, and they play ‘I Need Love’, and the scene just cuts, and we are on a train and we have both got short red hair. They cut out scenes where they show us running out of a pharmacy in Manhattan. You obviously notice that Nicky has stolen something, and what she stole was henna. Pamela and Nicky then have this kind of ceremony. We are on the Jersey side of the Hudson river and we mix up this goo, put it in a hubcap and pour the gloppy stuff over our hair. It was very ceremonial you know. The lighting is very low, it’s very slow motion, very symbolic and over my head, but actually we were hysterical. Did you think that these symbolic devices were rather obscure? Like the TV- smashing campaign? The whole reason for us dropping TV sets off roofs is that Nicky wants what’s real. Nicky thinks that ‘real’ is the most exciting. That’s why she loves Times Square. It’s real seedy—it’s graunch you know—but it’s real, and Nicky thinks TV is plastic. But then that is never explained in the movie. It is cut rather badly. We refer to things later on in the movie that are cut out earlier. It is very confusing. When I first saw it I said people are definitely going to have to see this twice.  I had to see it twice and I made the damn thing.  Did the scenes that they cut have anything in common? Yeah. I think they mostly had weird kinda offbeat things in them. So they had to find a kind of medium: we can’t let it be too weird or it’s going to get too small an audience and maybe end up a cult like ‘The Rocky Horror Picture Show’. And we can’t be too commercial because then it’s going to be trash. Were you consulted at all about that? Oh no. Whatever goes on in the editing room we have nothing to do with. Were you pissed off about that? I was . . . When I first saw the movie it was with my immediate family and we were all a bit disjointed, a bit disoriented. I didn’t particularly like the film as a whole. I like the individual performances very much. I’m pleased with what I did. Trini is absolutely adorable and she’s gotten better with age.  Do you think the film works principally on a fairytale level or a realistic level, or both? I think all the kids watching the movie are going to realise that first of all the film skips over the practicalities of life. How do we eat? Who the hell wants to live in a pier anyway? I can’t worry about every single kid that is going to watch this film. I think that most are smart enough to realise that. . . look ... if they are going to try and run away, they are going to be back home in time for dinner. Where am I going to sleep? How am I gonna eat? I haven’t got my soft warm bed, I don’t have dinner which my mummy cooks for me.  Don’t you think that the film is absurdly romantic? To set it in Times Square and never mention drugs! About the drugs: Nicky, you figure, is definitely the type that’ll at least light up a joint. But see, a scene is cut when we are driving in the ambulance. Nicky steals some carroteen pills from the hospital and she says ‘Here, take some of these.’ And Pamela is thinking ‘What the fuck is she giving me?’ But she takes them and Nicky takes them. Then Nicky says ‘Oh don’t worry, they’re not drugs, not speed, especially not speed. I hate speed, my mother ODed.. It’s interesting that the film is bookended with a couple of black guys who’ve obviously ODed on something. We are just trying to show some of the life on the street around there. There were a lot of junkies, a lot of hookers, life is so crime-ridden. Like the subways, it’s the easiest place to get mugged. Over the last couple of years there has been an upsurge of pre-teen stars like Brooke Shields . . . God I hate her. She’s so boring. Do you feel you are being manipulated on account of your youth? Of course nobody likes to think they are being used by anybody. See, Robert (Stigwood) seems to be very interested in the kind of image I give off, but it’s not that kind of teenage image. He’s given me a great contract and flattering offers that aren’t heard of much now. I’m going to do two more films. The first is a sequel to ‘Grease’ with Andy Gibb. Of course Robert wants to make money. Money is the bottom line. But I don’t think he is using me for that prime reason ... I hope not, God.  Filmography   ‘Taxi Driver’ (X) directed by Martin Scorsese with Jodie Foster, 1976. ‘Pretty Baby’ (X) directed by Louis Malle with Brooke Shields, 1977. ‘Ice Castles’ (A) directed by Donald Wrye with Lynn-Holly Johnson and Robby Benson, 1978. ‘Tilt’ (A) directed by Rudy Durand with Brooke Shields, 1978. ‘Rich Kids’ (AA) directed by Robert M Young with Trini Alvarado and Jeremy Levy, 1979. ‘A Little Romance’ (A) directed by George Roy Hill with Diane Lane and Thelonious Bernard, 1979. ‘Cattle Annie and Little Britches’ (A) directed by Lamont Johnson with Diane Lane and Amanda Plummer, 1980. ‘Little Darlings’ (AA) directed by Ronald F Maxwell with Tatum O’Neal, Kristy McNichol and Matt Dillon, 1980. ‘The Blue Lagoon’ (AA) directed by Randal Kleiser with Brooke Shields and Christopher Atkins, 1980. ‘Times Square. (AA) directed by Alan Moyle with Robin Johnson and Trini Alvarado, 1980. ‘My Bodyguard’ (A) directed by Tony Bill with Matt Dillon, Chris Makepeace and Adam Baldwin, 1980.  TIMEOUT 15

Part I of “Suffer the Little Children,” by Ian Birch and Fiona Ferguson, deals with the sexualization and exploitation of a then-new generation of young actors, with a brief passage regarding Times Square that doesn’t really seem to fit the theme. This is followed by an interview with Robin, in which she details many things she finds problematic with the film, the future of her three-picture deal with Robert Stigwood, and the offhand concern, astounding in hindsight, that produced the quote I’ve put at the top of this post.

Hilary Shore, "Suffer the little children part II", Time Out No. 567, February 25, 1981, p. 16  Text:  Part II Suffer The Little Children  Film fantasies draw the young to the bright lights of the capital, where they find . . . nothing much . No work, no housing, and precious little official aid. Hilary Shore investigates survival at street level for the kids who go sleaze in London. Go where there is work, said Mrs T brightly Flopped on a bed in a Clerkenwell hostel was a girl of five foot nothing with a cough that filled the room. She said she was 16 and she liked to be called Nipper. In May 1980 she left her Stockport school with an average absence of qualifications and the dream of a career. By which she meant a job in an office. Filing. By December, she had held three jobs, for a few weeks each. The final one paid £35 for a 37 hour week. Her Dad said get a job or get out. Anxious that staying on might mean another parental separation, Nipper, always close to her Mum, saw no choice but to leave. And visiting home was her sister, 18, call her Alison. Alison left home two years ago in similar circumstances, Nipper would stay in her London flat. There are seven children in the family. But you expected that. Alison and Nipper would hitch to London, they would have a great time, Nipper would sign on, find a job. After all, there are lots of offices in London—in between the pubs and shops, the clubs and Georgian terraces. Arriving in the late afternoon, her sister took her straight to meet her friends, to the West End. They stayed on and on, and actually there was no flat; there was nowhere to stay. Alison was on the circuit. Roaming the streets Of Piccadilly, sheltering in the fast-food cafes around Leicester Square, drinking with the others who roam, drifting on nameless drugs which are freely shared. Just mixing in an image for the moviemakers, a sob story for the newspapers, a platform for the politicians, inspiration for the songwriters, cases for the police.Part II of “Suffer the Little Children” by Hilary Shore uses the album cover from the Times Square soundtrack in its Su Huntley illustration, but it really has nothing to do with the movie. It initially asserts “Film fantasies draw the young to the bright lights of the capital, where they find . . . nothing much . No work, no housing, and precious little official aid. Hilary Shore investigates survival at street level for the kids who go sleaze in London,” and has as a section header “Go sleaze in Times Square, said the poster in Piccadilly,” but it does very little to support the idea that kids got the idea to run to London from the movies in general and Times Square in particular. It is a sad look at the real lives of homeless runaway teens in 1980s London, but the Times Square connection is a bit of editorial sleight-of-hand.

Therefore, I am presenting here first the Robin Johnson interview, whose first line follows directly from the last line of “Suffer the Little Children Part I,” which I will reproduce immediately below it. I’m not going to post the text of “Part II” unless there’s a huge outcry for it, which there won’t be.

Photo illustrating Suffer the little children, part I (page 2), Time Out No. 567, February 25, 1981, p. 15  ‘Times Square. (AA) directed by Alan Moyle with Robin Johnson and Trini Alvarado, 1980.

‘Nobody likes to think they’re being used’

One such child is Robin Johnson (age: 16, daily cigarette consumption: 70) whose fiery performance went some way to salvaging ‘Times Square’.

Did you want to be an actress?

I never seriously thought about acting. It never really crossed my mind. I was just going to school. I was a regular teenager. I would just hang out with my friends at Brooklyn Tech High School.

I wanted to be a lawyer—my father is a compensation lawyer and that’s probably where I got the idea. My mother didn’t drag me around to auditions and I didn’t take drama at school. That’s why it’s a bit weird that it has all happened. I was in my sophomore year of high school (roughly equivalent to the fifth form) when this guy found me. He asked me ‘Are you 16?’ I looked at him—‘What the hell are you asking me this for? What do you want to know how old I am for?’ And that’s when he started telling me about the movie.

Was the role that was offered to you very different from the one that actually turned up on the screen?

No. I knew that Nicky was an incorrigible delinquent—a kind of outlandish character who doesn’t really have roots, someone who is always getting into trouble. Her character wasn’t changed.

Was the final product very different from what had been originally intended? Were there many cuts?

Didn’t you notice how quickly we changed our hair colour? The continuity is very jumpy. There’s one scene in particular: we are driving in the ambulance, and they play ‘I Need Love’, and the scene just cuts, and we are on a train and we have both got short red hair. They cut out scenes where they show us running out of a pharmacy in Manhattan. You obviously notice that Nicky has stolen something, and what she stole was henna.

Pamela and Nicky then have this kind of ceremony. We are on the Jersey side of the Hudson river and we mix up this goo, put it in a hubcap and pour the gloppy stuff over our hair. It was very ceremonial you know. The lighting is very low, it’s very slow motion, very symbolic and over my head, but actually we were hysterical.

Did you think that these symbolic devices were rather obscure? Like the TV- smashing campaign?

The whole reason for us dropping TV sets off roofs is that Nicky wants what’s real. Nicky thinks that ‘real’ is the most exciting. That’s why she loves Times Square. It’s real seedy—it’s graunch you know—but it’s real, and Nicky thinks TV is plastic. But then that is never explained in the movie.

It is cut rather badly. We refer to things later on in the movie that are cut out earlier. It is very confusing. When I first saw it I said people are definitely going to have to see this twice. I had to see it twice and I made the damn thing.

Did the scenes that they cut have anything in common?

Yeah. I think they mostly had weird kinda offbeat things in them. So they had to find a kind of medium: we can’t let it be too weird or it’s going to get too small an audience and maybe end up a cult like ‘The Rocky Horror Picture Show’. And we can’t be too commercial because then it’s going to be trash.

Were you consulted at all about that?

Oh no. Whatever goes on in the editing room we have nothing to do with.

Were you pissed off about that?

I was . . . When I first saw the movie it was with my immediate family and we were all a bit disjointed, a bit disoriented. I didn’t particularly like the film as a whole. I like the individual performances very much. I’m pleased with what I did. Trini is absolutely adorable and she’s gotten better with age.

Do you think the film works principally on a fairytale level or a realistic level, or both?

I think all the kids watching the movie are going to realise that first of all the film skips over the practicalities of life. How do we eat? Who the hell wants to live in a pier anyway? I can’t worry about every single kid that is going to watch this film. I think that most are smart enough to realise that. . . look … if they are going to try and run away, they are going to be back home in time for dinner. Where am I going to sleep? How am I gonna eat? I haven’t got my soft warm bed, I don’t have dinner which my mummy cooks for me.

Don’t you think that the film is absurdly romantic? To set it in Times Square and never mention drugs!

About the drugs: Nicky, you figure, is definitely the type that’ll at least light up a joint. But see, a scene is cut when we are driving in the ambulance. Nicky steals some carroteen pills from the hospital and she says ‘Here, take some of these.’ And Pamela is thinking ‘What the fuck is she giving me?’ But she takes them and Nicky takes them. Then Nicky says ‘Oh don’t worry, they’re not drugs, not speed, especially not speed. I hate speed, my mother ODed..

It’s interesting that the film is bookended with a couple of black guys who’ve obviously ODed on something.

We are just trying to show some of the life on the street around there. There were a lot of junkies, a lot of hookers, life is so crime-ridden. Like the subways, it’s the easiest place to get mugged.

Over the last couple of years there has been an upsurge of pre-teen stars like Brooke Shields . . .

God I hate her. She’s so boring.

Do you feel you are being manipulated on account of your youth?

Of course nobody likes to think they are being used by anybody. See, Robert (Stigwood) seems to be very interested in the kind of image I give off, but it’s not that kind of teenage image. He’s given me a great contract and flattering offers that aren’t heard of much now. I’m going to do two more films. The first is a sequel to ‘Grease’ with Andy Gibb. Of course Robert wants to make money. Money is the bottom line. But I don’t think he is using me for that prime reason … I hope not, God.

Part I

Suffer The Little Children

Can adolescent innocence cure adult anxiety? Ian Birch and Fiona Ferguson watch Hollywood line up the pretty maids (and pubescent boys) all in a row.

ILLUSTRATIONS BY SU HUNTLEY

Since the late ’70s Hollywood has spawned a new type of baby boom.

Between 1978 and 1980 over a dozen titles appeared which dealt specifically with early adolescence and its traditional problems. Pre-pubescent stars (you’re an OAP at 16) variously wrestled with pre-teen traumas. Youth, it seemed, was back, and younger than ever.

Not that it ever went all that far away. The child star has been an integral part of cinema iconography since the start. Remember ‘The Girl’ in early Chaplin? Shirley Temple as the perennial orphan during the ’30s? Leslie Caron in ‘Gigi’ and Hayley Mills twinned in ‘The Parent Trap’? But why is there such a profusion of such youthful pictures now?

In part, they relate to a general resurgence of interest in teenybop. The recession has forced the high street to look for new markets and they’ve chosen the new pocket money generation as a prime target.

Sometimes the campaign works. Smash Hits, the rock fortnightly for ‘younger teens’ started in the autumn of ’78 by Nick Logan, rocketed from zero to an immediate circulation of 123,000. It’s now the market leader, ironically beating Logan’s former paper, New Musical Express. It is successful because it identifies exactly with its audience, giving them what they want in a witty and intelligent way.

The same tactic has meant similar acclaim for TV’s ‘Grange Hill’—a look at acned life in a suburban comprehensive— and ‘Twentieth Century Box’—a documentary series with a prescient awareness of today’s teens.

The fashion industry presents a more complicated picture. It, too, has discovered the commerciality of ‘pretty babies’. New names like Kristine Oulman (12), Cathleen Ess (13), Lena Reid (15) and Phoebe Cates (16) can earn anything from $750 to $1,500 per session, but the undisputed star is Brooke Shields who can command a $1 million contract for modelling Calvin Klein jeans.

The difference here is that these child-women cater for their elders rather than their contemporaries. They sell clothes that their mums want to wear and there is an unnerving logic to the device. The gamine look has always been crucial to both fashion and movieland, but traditionally it has been evoked by more mature models. Instead of getting older people to synthesise the look, why not use the genuine article?

More importantly, the appeal of these child-women resembles that of soft pom. Shields is always tastefully presented in her photos and films (and with extraordinary propriety, a 35-year-old stand-in played the nude sequences in ‘The Blue Lagoon’). But the knowledge that she is so young makes the fantasy she projects so much more intense and risque.

The American TV ad for the Klein jeans exploits just this hybrid illicit tease and upmarket sophistication. Shields purrs: ‘Wanna know what comes between me and my jeans? Nothing.’

Shields personifies the style of this new, would-be adult. Sex is underscored by a lot of innocence and a lack of experience. Shaky talent is partially camouflaged by the publicity of controversy. The cool distance of an icon is offset by the cosy warmth of youth.

Malcolm McLaren, rock music’s supreme manipulator, has taken this to its logical conclusion with his latest proteges, Bow Wow Wow, fronted by 14-year-old Annabella. By making the band’s image outrageously explicit, he keeps all his options open. On the one hand, he mocks hidden sex and disguised lechery and, on the other, makes a lot of money out of it.

But the key to the current baby bonanza in the movies lies in the mid-’70s. Louis Malle’s ‘Pretty Baby’ and Martin Scorsese’s ‘Taxi Driver’ made i overt use of two recognised child stars as 12-year-old prostitutes—Shields and Jodie Foster respectively.

The furore created by showing children in unmistakably ‘corrupted’ roles contributed to the UK ‘Protection of Children Act’ becoming law in 1978. Designed to protect minors against exploitative labour, it also applies to finished work imported into this country. Under its auspices, ‘Taxi Driver’ was withdrawn after two years’ distribution and re-cut.

The cumulative effect on movies was complex. Because the Act focussed attention on the commercial potential of micro-boppers, there was a spate of pre- teen pics. Because it reflected a growing conservatism within the media, it instigated a middle-aged backlash which frantically shied away from the previous ‘realism’.

The themes of the new movies underline this again and again. Innocence and romance become the order of the day. In ‘A Little Romance’ a pair of 13-year-olds run away from Paris to Venice so that they can ‘kiss beneath the Bridge of Sighs at sunset as the bells of the Campanile toll’, and thus guarantee their eternal love. When two 12-year-olds get mildly drunk in ‘Rich Kids’, the extent of their transgression is an ingenuous romp in a bubble bath.

This fairytale quality appears in home life. Siblings are unknown and parents are generally one-dimensional figures in the background. The rich kids are misunderstood because their parents are too busy and the poor kids are victims of social deprivation.

Here worldly adults may kowtow to class distinctions, but children are as yet immune and choose their chums on an unaffected basis. Social opposites attract rather than repel. In ‘Times Square’ Robin Johnson is the orphaned street punk while Trini Alvardo (also in ‘A Little Romance’) is the sheltered daughter of an ambitious politician. ‘My Bodyguard’ pairs wealthy hotelier’s son Chris Makepeace with Adam Baldwin, an alleged psychopath from the seedy end of town.

Where sex does emerge, it’s embarrassed, confused and unreliable. When Kristy McNichol beats Tatum O’Neal in the race ‘to become a woman’ (‘Little Darlings’), we are treated to a shot of a lighted boathouse window where she and Matt Dillon (the male star most likely to) are dallying.

‘Womanhood’ only makes Kristy morose. She goes off Matt and can only regain her teenage appeal when she decides that sex is for adults and that Tatum is really her best ally.

‘The Blue Lagoon’ goes a few steps further with idiotic expositions of puberty (‘why are all these funny hairs growing on my face?’), masturbation (back view of boy on a rock, right arm jerking), copulation (legs intertwine, camera veers away) and birth (one small groan and a gleaming baby appears from somewhere off the bottom of the screen).

The result of this idealising process is to push kids out of the picture altogether. By turning them into emblems—scapegoats, even, in some cases—the movies become vehicles for grown-ups to explore grown-up anxieties. Youth, they argue, has the candour and simplicity to cure adult cynicism and ambiguity.

For instance, when faced with opposition, kids simply run away. The perils of New York’s 42nd Street in the early hours of the morning do not present a problem. The heroines of ‘Times Square’ simply dash about the sex shops and boogaloo with local pimps like it was an English country fair. The ‘realistic’ trappings are only present to set the scene which, in intention, is closer to Arcadia than Brooklyn.

The extent of such fantasy also shows just how desperately parents need reassurance at the moment. As the period of childhood innocence seems to grow shorter with each successive generation, parents want to be convinced that, no matter what the outside temptations or opportunities, their little Adam or Eve is not going to bite the apple.

And yet these parents are creating the situation just as much as they are trying to resolve it. As Sylvere Lotringer, a philosophy lecturer at Columbia University, told New York magazine recently: ‘The pretty babies are forbidden but they have already become cover girls. That’s what counts. The fact that they’re posing means they’re for sale. With the promotion of pretty babies as cover girls—which cannot occur without the active support of their parents—a new step is taken in the destruction of Western values, which are already shaky and obsolete in regard to the actual laws of the marketplace.’

The pre-teen pics are, effectively, a scream for help. They have to believe that innocence will shine through, that moral integrity must bring salvation. They’re pleading: ‘Suffer the little children to come unto me.’

For all of Robin’s offhanded concern that she was being exploited by Stigwood… she was the one cast member who was sent around the world to promote the film. In hindsight it certainly seems that she was actually there to promote herself as a bankable star property and to push her next two Stigwood-backed movies, Times Square already being a lost cause at that point. However, she was so consistently brutally honest in giving her opinions of how bad Times Square turned out and exactly what was wrong with it… I wonder, is it possible that Stigwood decided she was too much of a liability, since she was just as likely as not to trash the product she was supposed to be selling, and that was why those next two projects never happened?

 

 


Time Out No. 567, February 25, 1981 (magazine (periodical), AAT ID: 300215389) ; 28 x 21.25 cm; (contains:)
Birch, Ian and Ferguson, Fiona, Suffer the little children part I (article, AAT ID: 300048715), pp. 14-15
‘Nobody likes to think they’re being used’ [interview with Robin Johnson] (interview, AAT ID: 300026392), p. 15
Shore, Hilary, Suffer the little children part II (article, AAT ID: 300048715), pp. 16-17 (work)
Time Out No 567 Feb 25 1981 p1_1080px.jpg
1080 x 815 px, 96 dpi, 754 kb
Time Out No 567 Feb 25 1981 p3_layers_1080px.jpg
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Time Out No 567 Feb 25 1981 p3_detail_800px.jpg
596 x 800 px, 96 dpi, 273 kb
Time Out No 567 Feb 25 1981 p14_1080px.jpg
1080 x 814 px, 96 dpi, 534 kb
Time Out No 567 Feb 25 1981 p15_1080px.jpg
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Time Out No 567 Feb 25 1981 p16_1080px.jpg
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Time Out No 567 Feb 25 1981 p15_image_800px.jpg
719 x 800 px, 96 dpi, 406 kb (images)

©1981 Time Out Limited


 

TIMES SQUARE IS MUSIC OF THE STREETS

Posted on 23rd July 2017 in "Times Square"
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Australian promotional sticker, front, 1981

 

WHAT: A yellow-orange, red, and black sticker, 2¼ inches in diameter, with text reading “Times Square is music of the streets.”

WHERE: Australia. The tag line on the Australian posters was “Times Square is the music of the streets.” The sticker omits the first “the.” Also, where the phrase is in a graffiti-like style on the poster, the sticker uses the distressed typewriter font on black strips from the soundtrack album. The orange and red background also replicates the design of the album cover. This would appear to be a crossover promotional item linking the soundtrack to the film in Australia.

WHEN: Presumably early 1981.

WHO: If it’s pushing the soundtrack, RSO. The sticker itself doesn’t say.

WHY: God only knows.

 

 

Times Square is music of the streets
Australia : sticker : AAT ID: 300027221 : 2.25 in. diam. : 1981 (work);
Times_Square Australian Daybill 1981_1080px.jpg
1080 x 1072 px, 96 dpi, 659 kb (image)

 

Times Square ©1980 StudioCanal/Canal+