Record Mirror, January 31, 1981

Posted on 15th April 2017 in "Times Square"
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“‘Oh, I’ve been known to curse in my time…'”

Cover of Record Mirror, January 31, 1981, a UK music magazine containing an interview with Robin Johnson, during her publicity tour of the UK for "Times Square"

Page 7 of Record Mirror, January 31, 1981, a UK music magazine containing an interview with Robin Johnson, during her publicity tour of the UK for "Times Square"

 

RSO had evidently come to the realization that Robin was the film’s major selling point, so they sent her to England accompanied by her mom to promote Times Square’s opening and herself. The interviews she gave must have occurred even as the bad reviews started coming out, but they were published after. Along with the teasing of RSO’s plans for her future projects, she wasn’t hesitant to gripe in public about the poor editing of Times Square. She even agrees here that the script wasn’t all it could have been.

Record Mirror, January 31, 1981, p. 7  Text:  Record Mirror, January 31,1981  7  ROBIN JOHNSON MEETS BRYAN FERRY (and Mike Nicholls!)  ROBIN JOHNSON ponders becoming the next Chrissie Hynde as well as Liza Minelli.  ROADRUNNER ONCE, sipping cocktails in the hyper - high - rent confines of Mayfair's Inn On The Park hotel. A Daimler limousine purrs up to the entrance and I'm ushered into it. Inside sits a dark, diminutive, refined looking girl and her ma. The former is 16 - year - old Robin Johnson, star of trash epic 'Times Square'. Not that anyone who's seen the film could possibly guess. The amoral urchin with the matted hair has been transformed into a veritable princess. Only the scratchy, street - wise Brooklyn larynx remains the same. So what's all this nonsense? I gesture, referring to incongruity between our present surroundings and those of the film.  "That was only a movie and this is real life," she replies matter - of - a factly, "though I don't travel everywhere like this. For longer journeys we use trains."  A quick - witted likeable young lady, seemingly unaffected by success. Both her feet are square on the ground and she makes clear that because she's missing a lot of school, ma got clearance from the principal and lavishes her with lots of homework. At the moment, however, she just wants to learn Cockney rhyming slang.  As we're going through the basics, we arrive at the theatre showing 'Joseph And The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat' and out she gets. So much to do and see during a short promotional visit... ROADRUNNER TWICE. Robin and her manager / ma have gone on to a whistlestop tour of the provinces. Birmingham. Manchester and Glasgow are all in the past. She's just arrived in Newcastle, and New York seems a long way away.  How were you enlisted for 'Times Square'? I wonder, courtesy of the GPO.  "Enlisted!?" she shrieks down the phone into my Notting Hill pad "yeah, I guess that's it. I was drafted! Really! One day after school I was hanging out across the street with some friends and a guy came up and said 'are you 16?' I said -yeah, why?' so he tells me there's an ad in the Village Voice requiring someone like me for a film." she rasps, sounding like one of the Jets gang from West Side Story'.  "He told me the storyline, assured me there was no sexual exploitation and gave me a number to ring. Well," she goes on barking, "the summer vacation was coming up, I had nothing to do so I called it up just for a goof."  Goofing or otherwise, she'd made contact with the mighty Stigwood empire, went on to pass the audition and got signed for the major role in the first of three films. In the next, she stars opposite Andy Gibb in 'Grease 2'.  'The funny thing is," she prattles amiably, "no-one knew who the guy was or have seen or heard from him since. God must have sent an angel from Heaven!"  Scarcely an overstatement, if you think about it. in the course of the film, Robin comes out with some fairly choice language. Did this come naturally? "Oh, I've been known to curse in my time," is the riposte. "Actually, the voice and mannerisms are pretty much me. For the third movie I do, the script will actually be tailored with me  in mind. That's the best kind you can do."  I point out that the script in 'Times Square' was pretty naff. In fact, st ruined the film.  "Yeah," she agrees, "and it was edited pretty badly, too. I actually found it disorientating because there's stuff said which pertains to earlier scenes that were cut. But I was happy with my performance even if the film in general could have done with being better.  "In America," she admits, "it hasn't done as well as expected, with some major distributors pulling out. Maybe the time and market weren't felt to be right," she continues sensibly, giving the impression that she's spent a lifetime in the game.  A bright spot, however, is the 'Times Square' soundtrack, featuring, amongst others, delicacies by Talking Heads, The Ramones, Lou Reed and The Pretenders. Is that your sort of music?  "Oh yeah," she enthuses, "that's what I listen to all the time. New wave, The Clash, Blondie, Roxy Music ... I saw Bryan Ferry in Manchester after their show there. He seems like a nice fellow. I thanked him for the song on the soundtrack ('Same Old Scene'} which I like very much. Hey! I'd have told him if I didn't!"  How was the Roxy gig?  "Oh it was great and it was nice to see the local teenagers."  It was nice talking to Robin Johnson, a bright star on the ascendant, totally without phoney airs and pretentions. The lil' gurl's gonna be huge. Remember where you read it first. (The Daily Mail? — Ed).

ROBIN JOHNSON MEETS BRYAN FERRY
(and Mike Nicholls!)

ROADRUNNER ONCE, sipping cocktails in the hyper-high-rent confines of Mayfair’s Inn On The Park hotel. A Daimler limousine purrs up to the entrance and I’m ushered into it. Inside sits a dark, diminutive, refined looking girl and her ma. The former is 16-year-old Robin Johnson, star of trash epic ‘Times Square’. Not that anyone who’s seen the film could possibly guess.

The amoral urchin with the matted hair has been transformed into a veritable princess. Only the scratchy, street-wise Brooklyn larynx remains the same. So what’s all this nonsense? I gesture, referring to incongruity between our present surroundings and those of the film.

“That was only a movie and this is real life,” she replies matter-of-a factly, “though I don’t travel everywhere like this. For longer journeys we use trains.”

A quick-witted likeable young lady, seemingly unaffected by success. Both her feet are square on the ground and she makes clear that because she’s missing a lot of school, ma got clearance from the principal and lavishes her with lots of homework. At the moment, however, she just wants to learn Cockney rhyming slang.

As we’re going through the basics, we arrive at the theatre showing ‘Joseph And The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat’ and out she gets. So much to do and see during a short promotional visit…

ROADRUNNER TWICE. Robin and her manager / ma have gone on to a whistlestop tour of the provinces. Birmingham. Manchester and Glasgow are all in the past. She’s just arrived in Newcastle, and New York seems a long way away.

How were you enlisted for ‘Times Square’? I wonder, courtesy of the GPO.

“Enlisted!?” she shrieks down the phone into my Notting Hill pad “yeah, I guess that’s it. I was drafted! Really! One day after school I was hanging out across the street with some friends and a guy came up and said ‘are you 16?’ I said ‘yeah, why?’ so he tells me there’s an ad in the Village Voice requiring someone like me for a film.” she rasps, sounding like one of the Jets gang from West Side Story’.

“He told me the storyline, assured me there was no sexual exploitation and gave me a number to ring. Well,” she goes on barking, “the summer vacation was coming up, I had nothing to do so I called it up just for a goof.”

Goofing or otherwise, she’d made contact with the mighty Stigwood empire, went on to pass the audition and got signed for the major role in the first of three films. In the next, she stars opposite Andy Gibb in ‘Grease 2’.

‘The funny thing is,” she prattles amiably, “no-one knew who the guy was or have seen or heard from him since. God must have sent an angel from Heaven!”

Scarcely an overstatement, if you think about it. in the course of the film, Robin comes out with some fairly choice language. Did this come naturally? “Oh, I’ve been known to curse in my time,” is the riposte. “Actually, the voice and mannerisms are pretty much me. For the third movie I do, the script will actually be tailored with me in mind. That’s the best kind you can do.”

I point out that the script in ‘Times Square’ was pretty naff. In fact, it ruined the film.

“Yeah,” she agrees, “and it was edited pretty badly, too. I actually found it disorientating because there’s stuff said which pertains to earlier scenes that were cut. But I was happy with my performance even if the film in general could have done with being better.

“In America,” she admits, “it hasn’t done as well as expected, with some major distributors pulling out. Maybe the time and market weren’t felt to be right,” she continues sensibly, giving the impression that she’s spent a lifetime in the game.

A bright spot, however, is the ‘Times Square’ soundtrack, featuring, amongst others, delicacies by Talking Heads, The Ramones, Lou Reed and The Pretenders. Is that your sort of music?

“Oh yeah,” she enthuses, “that’s what I listen to all the time. New wave, The Clash, Blondie, Roxy Music … I saw Bryan Ferry in Manchester after their show there. He seems like a nice fellow. I thanked him for the song on the soundtrack (‘Same Old Scene’} which I like very much. Hey! I’d have told him if I didn’t!”

How was the Roxy gig?

“Oh it was great and it was nice to see the local teenagers.”

It was nice talking to Robin Johnson, a bright star on the ascendant, totally without phoney airs and pretentions. The lil’ gurl’s gonna be huge. Remember where you read it first. (The Daily Mail? — Ed).

Still of Robin Johnson as Nicky from "Times Square"  with caption, from Record Mirror, 31 Jan. 1981, p. 7 -  Image digitized for ROBINJOHNSON.NET

ROBIN JOHNSON ponders becoming the next Chrissie Hynde as well as Liza Minelli.

 

This is the second mention of her next project being Grease 2 (the first was in the January 1981 Film Review), although it’s the first mention of her starring opposite Andy Gibb. It’s also the first mention of the third film of her three-picture-deal being a movie written specifically for her to star in.

She lists The Clash among the bands she listens to “all the time.” In an interview she’d done months before for Seventeen, she mentioned them as a band she hated, along with all punk rock (as distinguished from New Wave). I don’t believe she ever was the kind of person who would soften her artistic opinion to protect someone else’s feelings, so I’m guessing she’d never really listened to any punk rock until after Times Square was finished shooting, and then decided it was pretty good.

The photo is TS-69-34A/4 from the US Press Material folder, which was also printed for use by ITC to promote Times Square in the UK, and at some point in a full-bleed version, with no white border, numbered 69-34A-4. My copy of that one isn’t technically in mint condition. There was also a version numbered “6” which I believe was printed for use in the UK Press Kit.
 

 

Mike Nicholls, “ROBIN JOHNSON MEETS BRYAN FERRY (and Mike Nicholls!)” (article, AAT ID: 300048715)
Record Mirror, January 31, 1981, p. 7 (magazine (periodical), AAT ID: 300215389)
16 in (H) x 11 in (W) (work);
Record_Mirror_19810131_p1_1080px.jpg (cover)
1080 px (H) x 811 px (W), 96 dpi, 605 kb
Record_Mirror_19810131_p7_1080px.jpg (full page)
1080 px (H) x 809 px (W), 96 dpi, 557 kb
RJ_TS_Record_Mirror_19810131p7_1080px.jpg (detail of article)
1080 px (W) x 1009 px (H), 96 dpi, 659 kb
RJ_TS_Record_Mirror_19810131p7_photo_800px.jpg (detail of photograph accompanying article)
800 px (H) x 685 px (W), 96 dpi, 301 kb (images)

 

©1980 Spotlight Publications Ltd

 

Record Mirror, January 24, 1981

Posted on 19th February 2017 in "Times Square"
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“All things vaguely sensible suddenly disappear in a puff of smoke.”

Cover of Record Mirror, January 24, 1981 featuring Jane Kennaway, "the voice of 1981"

Page 8 of the Jan. 24, 1981 "Record Mirror," containing a bad review of "Times Square."

 

 

Chris Westwood’s review of Times Square in the January 24, 1981, Record Mirror was sadly typical, finding it an unbelievable melodramatic mess that “tries too many things and pulls none of them off.” He sees some value in Tim Curry’s and Robin’s performances, but they’re not enough to save the film: “Robin Johnson battles aggressively to find some measure of meaning in life and the script… Her potential is possibly great, but it’s held down by ‘Times Square’, which looks as though it’s been made for the sake of making a movie.”

 

Review of "Times Square" from page 8 of the Jan. 24, 1981 "Record Mirror."  Text:  FILMS...FILMS...FILMS...FILMS...FI  TIMES SQUARE. Starring Tim Curry, Trini Alvarado, Robin Johnson. Director: Alan Moyle. (EMI).  PRE-PREVIEW buzzings led one to expect a sort of  Stigwoodian allusion to punk Woodstock, where in fact it's  nothing of the sort. Or any other sort for that matter — 'Times  Square' being a rather muddled mish-mash of an observation,  centering on a pair of female juveniles rejecting adulthood and  growing into it at the same time. Said juveniles (Trini Alvarado,  Robin Johnson) are seen setting up squat amongst the  seamier, slummier areas of New York, hustling for work at a  strip club and singing as the Sleez Sisters, dropping TV sets from great heights, becoming cult figures and — it seems —  the prime and only obsession of "meaningful" DJ Tim Curry  whose good intentions seem to do no good to anyone. All so much soap opera really, if well performed: Curry as  LaGardia is suitably nauseating (supporting the good bad  "guys" a la 'Vanishing Point'), whereas Robin Johnson battles aggressively to find some measure of meaning in life and the  script, her role here is something of a trash-novelist's-eye- view of rebel-punk. Her potential is possibly great, but it's  held down by 'Times Square', which looks as though it's been  made for the sake of making a movie. 'Times Square' never really goes anywhere — apart from  around in circles — because it's used up before it starts; as a  film aimed at the teenage market-place it offers neither the spice nor spectacle of 'Saturday Night Fever' or 'Grease'; as a  film about friendship (which it attempts to be) it dithers,  stumbles and only occasionally works; it tries too many things  and pulls none of them off. By the end we're faced with a rooftop jam session in Times  Square itself, where Robin Johnson's Nicky is suddenly elevated to the role of superstarlet, her embarrassing  rockspeak pronouncements bringing the salivating crowds to  boiling point. All things vaguely sensible suddenly disappear  in a puff of smoke. 'Times Square' is silly. It doesn't know what to say. If only  people would think about what to do with their allowances...  CHRIS WESTWOOD  ROBIN JOHNSON

This review distinguishes itself by being perhaps the only one ever to have absolutely nothing to say about Trini Alvarado.

FILMS…FILMS…FILMS…FILMS…

TIMES SQUARE. Starring Tim Curry, Trini Alvarado, Robin Johnson. Director: Alan Moyle. (EMI).

PRE-PREVIEW buzzings led one to expect a sort of Stigwoodian allusion to punk Woodstock, where in fact it’s nothing of the sort. Or any other sort for that matter — ‘Times Square’ being a rather muddled mish-mash of an observation, centering on a pair of female juveniles rejecting adulthood and growing into it at the same time. Said juveniles (Trini Alvarado, Robin Johnson) are seen setting up squat amongst the seamier, slummier areas of New York, hustling for work at a strip club and singing as the Sleez Sisters, dropping TV sets from great heights, becoming cult figures and — it seems — the prime and only obsession of “meaningful” DJ Tim Curry whose good intentions seem to do no good to anyone.

All so much soap opera really, if well performed: Curry as LaGardia is suitably nauseating (supporting the good bad “guys” a la ‘Vanishing Point’), whereas Robin Johnson battles aggressively to find some measure of meaning in life and the script, her role here is something of a trash-novelist’s-eye-view of rebel-punk. Her potential is possibly great, but it’s held down by ‘Times Square’, which looks as though it’s been made for the sake of making a movie.

‘Times Square’ never really goes anywhere — apart from around in circles — because it’s used up before it starts; as a film aimed at the teenage market-place it offers neither the spice nor spectacle of ‘Saturday Night Fever’ or ‘Grease’; as a film about friendship (which it attempts to be) it dithers, stumbles and only occasionally works; it tries too many things and pulls none of them off.

By the end we’re faced with a rooftop jam session in Times Square itself, where Robin Johnson’s Nicky is suddenly elevated to the role of superstarlet, her embarrassing rockspeak pronouncements bringing the salivating crowds to boiling point. All things vaguely sensible suddenly disappear in a puff of smoke.

‘Times Square’ is silly. It doesn’t know what to say. If only people would think about what to do with their allowances…
CHRIS WESTWOOD

The accompanying photo is TS-57-26/1 from the US Press Material folder and Press Book, also used on all the North American movie posters, and the soundtrack album and promotional materials, including the UK soundtrack sampler record cover.

Advertisement for the "Times Square" soundtrack album on page 32 of the Jan. 24, 1981 "Record Mirror."

 

 

On page 32, however, RSO gives a huge middle finger to the bad review of the movie by running a full-page ad for the soundtrack. In hindsight, we can see that was actually a huge middle finger to the film itself.

The cool thing about this ad is the top half devoted to a line drawing version of TS-82-30, which also appeared on the UK soundtrack sampler cover.

 

 

Chris Westwood, “Films – Times Square” (review (document), AAT ID: 300026480)
“Times Square – the double album soundtrack of the Robert Stigwood film” (advertisement, AAT ID: 300193993)
Record Mirror, January 24, 1981, pp. 8, 32 (magazine (periodical), AAT ID: 300215389)
16 in (H) x 11 in (W) (work);
Record_Mirror_1981-01-24_p1_1080px.jpg (cover)
1080 px (H) x 798 px (W), 96 dpi, 461 kb
TS_Review_Record_Mirror_19810124_p8_layers_1080px.jpg (full page)
1080 px (H) x 736 px (W), 96 dpi, 502 kb
RJ_TS_Review_Record_Mirror_19810124_p8_1080px.jpg (detail of review)
1080 px (W) x 543 px (H), 96 dpi, 301 kb
TS_OST Ad_Record_Mirror_19810124_p32_1080px.jpg (full page ad)
800 px (W) x 741 px (H), 96 dpi, 425 kb (images)

 

©1980 Spotlight Publications Ltd

 

Another UK Movie Ad

Posted on 17th December 2016 in "Times Square"
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Ad from a UK newspaper promoting "Times Square's" opening Text: NOW!  ABC  Shaftesbury Ave  Tel: 836 8861  Licensed Bar  DOLBY STEREO  STUDIO  OXFORD CIRCUS  Tel: 437 3300  DOLBY STEREO  SCENE LEICESTER SQ (WARDOUR ST)  Tel.439.4470  ABC  BAYSWATER  DOLBY STEREO  ABC  EDGWARE RD.  ABC  FULHAM RD.  TIMES SQUARE AA  "GO SLEAZE!" ...IN TIMES SQUARE  ROBERT STIGWOOD Presents "TIMES SQUARE"  Starring TIM CURRY·TRINI ALVARADO And Introducing ROBIN JOHNSON  Also Starring PETER COFFIELD·HERBERT BERGHOF DAVID MARGULIES·ANNA MARIA HORSFORD  Executive Producers KEVIN McCORMICK·JOHN NICOLELLA  Directed by ALAN MOYLE  Produced by ROBERT STIGWOOD and JACOB BRACKMAN Screenplay by JACOB BRACKMAN  Story by ALAN MOYLE and LEANNE UNGER  Associate Producer BILL OAKES An EMI-ITC Production  Soundtrack available on RSO Records and TAPES RSO  Released by COLUMBIA-EMI-WARNER Distributors Limited.  EMI  A Member of the THORN EMI Group. ALL OVER LONDON FROM SUNDAY AT ABC AND OTHER LEADING CINEMAS  (SEE LOCAL PRESS FOR DETAILS)This is almost identical to the ad from my last post, which appeared a in an unknown film magazine, but it promotes the film’s wide opening “All Over London from Sunday.” The previous ad has the premiere date, Thursday, 15 January, so it must have been published first. Either way, Times Square was probably out of all those theaters in two weeks’ time.

My notes say that this particular ad came from the Record Mirror, but they don’t say why they say that. All I have is the ad itself, and there’s nothing on it to indicate what page of what magazine it was cut from. I think the ad on the back may give a little weight to the argument, though.

From a January 1981 Record Mirror. Back of a movie ad for TIMES SQUARE.

If T.I.T.S was still in business, how many of these shirts would you buy, right now?

 

 

[“Times Square” UK movie advertisement]
advertisement, ID: 300193993, 29.1 cm (W) x 20.12 cm (H) (work);
1080 px (W) x 747 px (H), 96 dpi, 485 kb (image)

1981
Inscription:
NOW!
ABC
Shaftesbury Ave Tel: 836 8861
Licensed Bar
DOLBY STEREO
STUDIO
OXFORD CIRCUS
Tel: 437 3300
DOLBY STEREO
SCENE
LEICESTER SQ (WARDOUR ST)
Tel.439.4470
ABC
BAYSWATER
DOLBY STEREO
ABC
EDGWARE RD.
ABC
FULHAM RD.
ALL OVER LONDON FROM SUNDAY AT ABC AND OTHER LEADING CINEMAS
(SEE LOCAL PRESS FOR DETAILS)
TIMES SQUARE AA
“GO SLEAZE!” …IN TIMES SQUARE
ROBERT STIGWOOD Presents "TIMES SQUARE"
Starring TIM CURRY·TRINI ALVARADO And Introducing ROBIN KOHNSON
Also Starring PETER COFFIELD·HERBERT BERGHOF·DAVID MARGULIES
ANNA MARIA HORSFORD
Executive Producers KEVIN McCORMICK·JOHN NICOLELLA
Directed by ALAN MOYLE Produced by ROBERT STIGWOOD and
JACOB BRACKMAN·Screenplay by JACOB BRACKMAN
Story by ALAN MOYLE and LEANNE UNGER
Associate Producer BILL OAKES An EMI-ITC Production
Soundtrack available on RSO Records and TAPES RSO
Released by COLUMBIA-EMI-WARNER Distributors Limited.
EMI A Member of the THORN EMI Group.

 

Times Square ©1980 StudioCanal/Canal+

 

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