The Mystery of the Double-Sided Poster, Side One

Posted on 19th June 2015 in "Times Square"
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I think this was the first promotional piece I found after Times Square had come, been, and gone. (Not this copy, but I’ll get to that.) I don’t recall exactly where it came from… it was a tiny store dealing in rock memorabilia in Manhattan somewhere, probably between 34th and 4th Streets, west of Broadway… The full opened outside of the 2-sided promotional poster.  As this was designed to be looked at while being opened and then turned to the other side, the sections comprising the folded outside are upside down.  Text:  THERE'S NOTHING TO DO BUT PLAY MUSIC AND SCREAM YOUR LUNGS OUT.  TIMES SQUARE ROBERT STIGWOOD PRESENTS  TIMES SQUARE  STARRING TIM CURRY  TRINI ALVARADO ROBIN JOHNSON PETER COFFIELD HERBERT BERGHOF  SCREENPLAY BY JACOB BRACKMAN STORY BY ALAN MOYLE AND LEANNE UNGER  DIRECTED BY ALAN MOYLE PRODUCED BY ROBERT STIGWOOD  AND JACOB BRACKMAN EXECUTIVE PRODUCERS KEVIN McCORMICK AND JOHN NICOLELLA  ASSOCIATE PRODUCER BILL OAKES  R RESTRICTED UNDER 17 REQUIRES ACCOMPANYING PARENT OR ADULT GUARDIAN SOUNDTRACK AVAILABLE ON RSO RECORDS AND TAPES AN EMI RELEASE DISTRIBUTED BY AFD  EMI RSO® Records Inc. AFD  ©1980 Associated Film Distribution DESIGN: SEINIGER & ASSOCIATES  PRINTED IN U.S.A.  THERE'S ONLY ONE WAY AND THAT'S RUNNING AWAY AND HANGING OUT AND SETTING YOURSELF FREE.  TIMES SQUARE THE ORIGINAL SOUNDTRACK FROM THE MOTION PICTURE 2 RECORD SET   FEATURING MUSIC BY "ROCK HARD" - SUZI QUATRO "TALK OF THE TOWN" - THE PRETENDERS "SAME OLD SCENE" - ROXY MUSIC "DOWN IN THE PARK" - GARY NUMAN "HELP ME!" - MARCY LEVY & ROBIN GIBB "LIFE DURING WARTIME" - TALKING HEADS "PRETTY BOYS" - JOE JACKSON "TAKE THIS TOWN" - XTC "I WANNA BE SEDATED" - THE RAMONES "DAMN DOG" - ROBIN JOHNSON  "YOUR DAUGHTER IS ONE" - ROBIN JOHNSON & TRINI ALVARADO "BABYLON'S BURNING" - THE RUTS "YOU CAN'T HURRY LOVE" - D.L. BYRON "WALK ON THE WILD SIDE" - LOU REED "THE NIGHT WAS NOT" - DESMOND CHILD & ROUGE "INNOCENT, NOT GUILTY" - GARLAND JEFFREYS "GRINDING HALT" - THE CURE "PISSING IN THE RIVER" - PATTI SMITH GROUP "FLOWERS IN THE CITY" - DAVID JOHANSEN & ROBIN JOHNSON The poster wasn’t in great shape, but it had a bunch of pictures I’d never seen, so I immediately bought it and took it home and encountered the dilemma of which side to display. I filled the corners with pinholes and “Fun-Tak” stains as I flipped it over every month or so, but eventually settled on the red side (next post, hee hee) because I found it more aesthetically pleasing, in no small part because no matter how I hung this side, part of it was always upside down. Eventually, we moved, and I took it down, rolled it up, and put it away.

Years later, God invented the Internet, and I stumbled across someone selling this same item, in unused mint condition. I purchased it immediately of course, and during the transaction he mentioned he had more of them, and since at the time I could afford to do such silly things, I bought them all. They arrived in a single heavy envelope that remained unopened until a few weeks ago when I decided I needed good scans of all my Times Square posters.

I opened the envelope for the first time, and discovered an extremely nice letter from the seller that I’m sorry I hadn’t seen before. I slid out a few copies of the poster, checked to find one with the least damage from the machine that had folded them, and gingerly started to unfold it to see how to do it without accidentally tearing something, and that’s when I noticed…

(If it’s obvious to you, congratulations, you’re more observant than I. I’d never even suspected there was anything to notice.)

I guess it was because the copy I had back in the day had never been folded in its natural state, or if it had I was too eager to get it open, and when I stored it I rolled it up like you’re supposed to do with posters, but… as I was wondering how best to approach scanning such a huge item (in pieces stitched together with Microsoft Image Composite Editor, If you’re wondering), I noticed that the front and back of the folded item were complete images by themselves. And opening it, there was another complete image. And opening it once more, another one. And the next unfold revealed the other side.

It wasn’t a 2-sided poster, it was a 5-sided poster. This thing is an interactive promotional presentation for Times Square, the movie and the soundtrack. It’s a little movie trailer on paper. That explained something I’d always wondered about: what exactly was this thing for? Evidently it was distributed to theater owners, and maybe record stores, to drum up interest in booking the film and pre-ordering the record, with the red side an option to hang as a teaser poster.

The reason part of it was always upside down was, the blue side was never intended to be seen all at once. Only the other side was a poster. The blue side is supposed to be looked at as it unfolds, as I’m going to try to show below. In real life, each unfolding results in doubling the size of the image, but these images are all going to be about the same size, because it’s the Internet. If you pay me enough I’ll try to do more to replicate the experience of unfolding a big piece of paper.

The “front cover” shows the final promotional logo for the movie. (The logo as used on and in the US Press Materials folder became the logo for the soundtrack.) The back has the movie credits.

The double-sided poster, designed by Seiniger & Associates, is the pinnacle of the artistic design for the film’s promotional materials. This is the only time that the text appears as strips of DYMO hand-embossed labels, a brilliant move to signify that you’re looking at something made cheaply by hand. (I was surprised and gratified to find they’re still being made; they were the height of label-making technology in the 1970s.) In all future posters, the text would be distressed typewriter-style lettering on uneven black stripes, and sometimes just white lettering on black stripes. Strangely, I didn’t realize that until this project: I always pictured all of the posters’ text appearing as it does here, evoking a punk DIY aesthetic echoing yet totally different from the cut-out ransom-note letters in Jamie Reid’s designs for the Sex Pistols."Times Square" Screenplay by Jacob Brackman, 1979,  page 127 of 129  Text:  127 CONTINUED NICKY All right!  Nothin' to do but SCREAM YER LUNGS OUT! and PLAY MUSIC! The kids love this rhetoric.  They call to her. KIDS Tell it Nicky!  We love you! NICKY There's only one way and that's RUNNING AWAY and HANGING OUT and SETTING YOURSELF FREE! The crowd roars its approval. NICKY starts a chant and the kids take it up, faster and faster. NICKY Got to.  Got to.  Got to.  Got to. Got to.  Got to.  Got to.  Got to. I'm gonna stay up here till they blow me away. BUT THEY CAN'T BLOW ALL OF US AWAY, CAN THEY? Her fans scream with pleasure,  NICKY is completely caught up in her own theatricality.  She strikes another giant chord. NICKY They're gonna kill me, but when I'm dead I won't give a shit . . . cause I'm a DAMN DOG! THE BLONDELLS launch powerfully into the song. The rehearsals have paid off.  Within moments, everyone knows NICKY is a success as a singer. NICKY realizes it too.  She has moves.  She begins to laugh as she sings. Five policemen burst onto the roof. CONTINUED

The line using the DYMO typeface shown in the first unfolding (“There’s only one way and that’s running away and hanging out and setting yourself free”) does not appear in the film. It is, however, on page 127 of the May 1979 draft of the screenplay. The dialogue in the scene as shot is far better than what appears on the page, so it would appear that this was heavily rewritten and the poster designers were working from photos and an outdated screenplay. Although the soundtrack was locked (as is seen on the next unfold), no one had yet seen the movie, which was probably still being edited and re-edited. I don’t think any of the photos on this page appear anywhere else. I would love a full print of Nicky and Pammy in front of the adult book store.

The next unfolding reveals an ad for the soundtrack. The line here (“There’s nothing to do but play music and scream your lungs out”) is misquoted from the film, and oddly the screenplay has the line correctly. Either someone at Seiniger made an editorial decision, or the draft they were working from was an intermediate one in which Jacob Brackman had changed the line to this, and then changed it back before shooting. The photos again are immediately recognizable, but aren’t the shots from the film, and as of this writing I don’t think they appear anywhere else. The shot of Nicky and Pammy at the microphone is from before they blacked out the word “Rickenbacker” from the guitar’s headstock.

The image is split through the middle with a bit of the red poster showing through. Getting the poster’s edges to meet perfectly would have been extremely difficult, plus it was a good idea to make it obvious that there’s more unfolding to do. This is what really proved to me what this item was: I’d been looking at this for years without realizing that the top and bottom of the unfolded blue side were really the middle strip of a single image when it was folded this way. And a circular splatter of day-glo color, whose edges become musical notes… where have we seen something like that before? Oh yeah, here, where it’s a cloud of smoke. That’s another thing that makes me think that rejected poster is real: this design element that survives in a vastly improved form on the first official poster.

Coming up next: the full poster side.

 

 

[“Times Square” double-sided promotional poster, outside]
color, 39 in (H) x 25.75 in (W) (work);
715 px (W) x 1080 px (H), 518 kb (image)

1980
inscription:
THERE’S NOTHING TO DO BUT PLAY MUSIC AND SCREAM YOUR LUNGS OUT.
TIMES SQUARE
ROBERT STIGWOOD PRESENTS
TIMES SQUARE
STARRING TIM CURRY
TRINI ALVARADO ROBIN JOHNSON PETER COFFIELD HERBERT BERGHOF
SCREENPLAY BY JACOB BRACKMAN STORY BY ALAN MOYLE AND LEANNE UNGER
DIRECTED BY ALAN MOYLE PRODUCED BY ROBERT STIGWOOD
AND JACOB BRACKMAN
EXECUTIVE PRODUCERS KEVIN McCORMICK AND JOHN NICOLELLA
ASSOCIATE PRODUCER BILL OAKES
R RESTRICTED
UNDER 17 REQUIRES ACCOMPANYING PARENT OR ADULT GUARDIAN
SOUNDTRACK AVAILABLE ON RSO RECORDS AND TAPES
AN EMI RELEASE DISTRIBUTED BY AFD
EMI RSO® Records Inc. AFD ©1980 Associated Film Distribution
DESIGN: SEINIGER & ASSOCIATES
PRINTED IN U.S.A.
THERE’S ONLY ONE WAY AND THAT’S RUNNING AWAY AND HANGING OUT AND SETTING YOURSELF FREE.
TIMES SQUARE
THE ORIGINAL SOUNDTRACK FROM THE MOTION PICTURE
2 RECORD SET
FEATURING MUSIC BY
“ROCK HARD” – SUZI QUATRO
“TALK OF THE TOWN” – THE PRETENDERS
“SAME OLD SCENE” – ROXY MUSIC
“DOWN IN THE PARK” – GARY NUMAN
“HELP ME!” – MARCY LEVY & ROBIN GIBB
“LIFE DURING WARTIME” – TALKING HEADS
“PRETTY BOYS” – JOE JACKSON
“TAKE THIS TOWN” – XTC
“I WANNA BE SEDATED” – THE RAMONES
“DAMN DOG” – ROBIN JOHNSON
“YOUR DAUGHTER IS ONE” – ROBIN JOHNSON & TRINI ALVARADO
“BABYLON’S BURNING” – THE RUTS
“YOU CAN’T HURRY LOVE” – D.L. BYRON
“WALK ON THE WILD SIDE” – LOU REED
“THE NIGHT WAS NOT” – DESMOND CHILD & ROUGE
“INNOCENT, NOT GUILTY” – GARLAND JEFFREYS
“GRINDING HALT” – THE CURE
“PISSING IN THE RIVER” – PATTI SMITH GROUP
“FLOWERS IN THE CITY” – DAVID JOHANSEN & ROBIN JOHNSON

 

Details from [“Times Square” double-sided promotional poster, outside]:
TIMES SQUARE double-sided promotional poster package, folded front
800 px (W) x 609 px (H), 96dpi, 220kb (image)
 
TIMES SQUARE double-sided promotional poster package, folded back
800 px (W) x 611 px (H), 96dpi, 278kb (image)
 
TIMES SQUARE double-sided promotional poster package, unfolded once
1080 px (W) x 408 px (H), 96dpi, 236kb (image)
 
TIMES SQUARE double-sided promotional poster package, unfolded twice
1080 px (H) x 1426 px (W), 96dpi, 733kb (image)

 

TIMES SQUARE, p. 127
Screenplay by Jacob Brackman
1979

 

Times Square ©1980 StudioCanal/Canal+

 

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Times Square isn’t a punk picture”

Posted on 21st March 2015 in "Times Square"
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Cover of Mediascene Prevue 42, Vol 2 No 2, Sep-Oct 1980
 
Magazines are dated ahead by their publishers to try to keep them on the stands longer than their competitors. The date on a magazine usually refers to when it is supposed to be replaced by the next issue, not when it actually comes out. Anyway, although this issue of Prevue was probably still current when Times Square opened in October 1980, “Musicals” by Jim Burns is another case of an article having been written months before publication, before Associated Film Distributors and RSO has designed their marketing plan.

The two photos accompanying the article are the same ones that had been used by The Aquarian back in April, although they’re cropped differently: there’s more of Robin and Trini, and a bit less of Tim. Along with the shot of Nicky with microphone in the Cleo Club, these were the first images released to the press, but they weren’t included later in the official press kit.Photo of  Pammy and Nicky in the WJAD studio From: Mediascene Prevue Vol No 2, Sep/Oct 1980, p 16

The article describes Times Square as a product of Robert Stigwood’s media powerhouse, but also features Allan Moyle defending what remained of his original vision for perhaps the last time in the press: “Times Square isn’t a punk picture,” he says. “The girls’ particular rebellion or societal anger has to do with their own little heads. They’re not making any statement; they’re just two runaways.”

That much is certainly true: Times Square was not conceived as a story that takes place within an environment where New Wave rock is actively being created, as opposed to films like Breaking Glass (1980) and Ladies and Gentlemen, the Fabulous Stains (1982) (but shot mostly in 1980), where the main characters deliberately set out to start bands and are surrounded by other bands. If it had been, the location would probably have been moved to CBGBs and the title changed to The Bowery. Nicky’s spirit and determination to do everything herself at whatever cost, however, fit in perfectly with punk’s DIY ethos.

Mediascene Prevue Vol No 2, Sep/Oct 1980, p 17
 
But he then goes on to say, “New Wave music was in our script from the very beginning, before we had had any contact with the Stigwood Organization. The music is keyed to the texture of the screenplay.” Although we don’t know exactly when the soundtrack became a vehicle for New Wave music, we do know that in the original script the soundtrack was Classic Rock, Adult Contemporary, Disco, and Oldies. The closest thing to New Wave was “Sweet Jane” by the Velvet Underground. While it is entirely possible that Moyle and Jacob Brackman had started changing the music before Stigwood got his hands on the script, I believe that changing the focus of the soundtrack was Stigwood’s idea. It was a deliberate attempt to cater to a new segment of the market; as much of the publicity material says, to make a New Wave Saturday Night Fever. It may have been a cynical business-driven move, but it improved the film no end. Although it does create the strange situation of New Wave music being everywhere while there are almost no visible signs of the city’s vibrant punk scene that hadn’t yet started to fade.

Mediascene Prevue Vol No 2, Sep/Oct 1980, p 19

Finally, the article states, “Despite Moyle’s claim that Times Square isn’t a ‘punk picture,’ the film’s soundtrack will offer seven New Wave songs, including Desmond Child and Rouge’s ‘The Night is Not,’ Tom Petty’s ‘Refugee’ and Talking Heads’ ‘Life During Wartime.'” That one sentence contains three facts proving how long before publication it was written. First: Allan Moyle had not yet been fired for refusing to cut scenes in order to accommodate more music. Second: seven New Wave songs? The final soundtrack album contains 20 songs, at least 12 of which are New Wave (depending on how much of a pedant you are over the definition of “New Wave”), plus one more song that didn’t make the album. So, this was also before Stigwood had the idea to produce a double-album, thus necessitating the cuts to add more music. And third: Tom Petty? Again with the Tom Petty? Now I dimly remember that when “Refugee” first came out, Tom Petty was marketed as being something of a New Wave act (although of course he wasn’t), and “Refugee” does seem to be a good thematic fit for Times Square, but why were they so insistent for so long that it was going to feature in the soundtrack? Might it have had something to do with Robert Stigwood putting Bill Oakes and Jimmy Iovine in charge of assembling the soundtrack? Jimmy Iovine, who in 1979 co-produced Tom Petty’s Damn the Torpedoes album? That album came out as Times Square started shooting. The single reached #15 in January 1980. It probably seemed like an obvious and easy choice for Iovine to shepherd a cross-promotion deal with a major motion picture whose soundtrack he was putting together. Luckily for all of us, though, the deal fell through. I like “Refugee” but it belongs on the Times Square soundtrack even less than “Help Me!”

tl;dr: “Does Times Square merely use New Wave in the same way that Stigwood highlighted disco in Saturday Night Fever?” the article asks. The answer at the time: Not yet, but just you wait.

(One last piece of evidence of how early the article was written: RSO hadn’t yet removed one of the L’s from Allan Moyle’s first name.)

Here’s the Times Square material from the article, so you don’t have to strain your eyes:

Some upcoming features which offer new artists include Heading for Broadway (starring Rex Smith and co-scripted, directed and produced by Joseph Brooks (You Light Up My Life)), Idolmaker (based on the life of Bob Marcucci, the rock entrepreneur who discovered Fabian and Frankie Avalon, with music by Jeff Barry and Hall and Oates), Rude Boy (starring The Clash), The Apple (a science-fiction musical set in 1994), Running Hot (a Smokey and the Bandit-type film about a female rock trio heading cross-country to Los Angeles where they hope to find success, starring Hot), and the Robert Stigwood Organization’s (Saturday Night Fever, Grease) Times Square.

The latter relates the adventures of two teenage runaways — Pamela, a shy, inhibited girl whose wealthy father, a city commissioner, is directing a Times Square rehabilitation program, and Nicky, a rebellious street delinquent — who evolve into singing stars on their adopted home of Manhattan’s 42nd Street. The film showcases the actresses portraying the runaways: Trini Alvarado (Pamela), who debuted in Robert Altman’s Rich Kids, and newcomer Robin Johnson (Nicky). But just how important could Times Square be to their careers?

“Trini Alvarado is already very well established. Somebody looking for her type would find out about her within a matter of phone calls in the feature film world,” says Times Square’s director, Allan Moyle (Montreal Main, The Rubber Gun). “But Robin Johnson, a complete unknown, has the more glamorous role. I mean, she’s Jimmy Dean. It was a potential problem to give such a heavy role to a novice. Robert Stigwood and I did not see eye-to-eye on that decision at all. He didn’t want to send the picture down the tubes with an unknown. I wanted to take the chance, because Robin’s a natural with a great, gruff singing voice. Robert now agrees that when Times Square is released, Robin Johnson is going to explode.”

As Times Square progresses, the runaways’ story is promoted by Johnny Laguardia, a DJ who “eggs Pamela and Nicky on, turning them into minor media celebrities.” Laguardia is portrayed by Tim Curry, famous for his role as the transsexual alien, Dr. Frank N. Furter, in The Rocky Horror Picture Show.

Towards Times Square’s finale, Pamela and Nicky give an illegal concert above a 42nd Street theater marquee as “The Sleaze Sisters,” a high-style version of bag ladies. Inspiring others to “reject the plastic culture and go sleaze,” hundreds of teen-age girls arrive at the concert dressed as “Sleaze Sisters.” Undoubtedly, critics will perceive them as a parody of New Wave culture.

Times Square isn’t a punk picture,” Moyle counters. “The girls’ particular rebellion or societal anger has to do with their own little heads. They’re not making any statement; they’re just two runaways. We don’t spoof New Wave either. Pamela and Nicky are dead serious about their trip.”

Despite Moyle’s claim that Times Square isn’t a “punk picture,” the film’s soundtrack will offer seven New Wave songs, including Desmond Child and Rouge’s The Night is Not, Tom Petty’s Refugee and Talking Heads’ Life During Wartime. The movie’s score indicates Hollywood’s apparent desire to popularize New Wave music.

If New Wave rock does become the next multi-million-dollar music trend, won’t that automatically make punk rockers hypocrites, since the underlying core of the so-called “New Wave mores” is anti-establishment?

“It’s an unfortunate cycle,” [Lech] Kowalski agrees. “That’s essentially what happened to the Sex Pistols. They couldn’t handle the potential monster they created both financially and artistically. There are a lot of producers looking for the next massive cultural phenomenon they can exploit. For the moment, it’s New Wave. It’s a self-destruct situation. That’s why my film’s called D.O.A.—Dead on Arrival.”

Kowalski’s attack on exploitative producers could be directed at the moguls behind any film featuring New Wave music. Most suspect, however, is Robert Stigwood’s and Allan Moyle’s Times Square. Does Times Square merely use New Wave in the same way that Stigwood highlighted disco in Saturday Night Fever, or does the film remain true to New Wave ethics?

“Look, American New Wave politics are a hoot, because it’s all art students slumming,” says Allan Moyle, “but the music does have that special new feeling. New Wave music was in our script from the very beginning, before we had had any contact with the Stigwood Organization. The music is keyed to the texture of the screenplay.”

 

 

Burns, Jim. “Musicals.” Mediascene Prevue Vol. 2 No. 2, Sept.-Oct. 1980: 12-19. Print.

 

Mediascene_Prevue_42_Vol_2_No_2_Sep-Oct_1980_p1_auto_crop_1080.jpg (cover)
9 in (W) x 12 in (H), 72 pp (work);
1080 px (H) x 811 px (W), 96 dpi, 575 kb (image)

 

Prevue2-2p16_1080px.jpg (detail from p. 16)
1080 px (H) x 880 px (W), 96 dpi, 556 kb (image)

 

Prevue2-2p17_1080px.jpg (p. 17)
9 in (W) x 12 in (H) (work);
1080 px (H) x 806 px (W), 96 dpi, 608 kb (image)

 

Prevue2-2p19_1080px.jpg (p. 19)
9 in (W) x 12 in (H) (work);
1080 px (H) x 806 px (W), 96 dpi, 628 kb (image)

 

Mediascene Prevue ©1980 James Steranko

 

“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])

 

 

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

 

vlcsnap-2014-11-30-17h14m33s69_enhanced.jpg
vlcsnap-2014-12-01-20h58m55s97_edit.jpg

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

 

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+
 

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
 
vlcsnap-2014-10-19-14h07m31s167.png
vlcsnap-2014-10-19-14h04m10s248.png

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+

42nd & 6th

Posted on 6th November 2014 in "Times Square"
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Nicky and Pammy walk the streets in this black and white print of a color publicity photo for "Times Square," which depicts a scene not actually in the film.

 

 

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

o-TIMES-900

 

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

"Times Square" Screenplay p. 49

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

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

 

 

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

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

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

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

Nicky Marotta, 1980

Posted on 17th October 2014 in "Times Square"
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Robin Johnson is Nicky Marotta
And this, of course, is the look they settled on for Nicky, ultimately using this photo on nearly all the American publicity materials. As this is the outfit she wears when the girls escape from the hospital, it was likely taken near the end of production, so the shaggy hair cut of someone who hasn’t got time for finesse with scissors is the wig Robin wears during act one.

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

TIMES SQUARE Screenplay, 1979

Posted on 6th October 2014 in "Times Square"
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"Times Square" screenplay cover sheetSo the story goes, Allan Moyle and Leanne Ungar rented an apartment on 42nd Street, having come to New York from a vibrant filmmaking scene in Montreal. They bought a used couch and found in the cushions a handwritten journal that appeared to be the work of an obsessive, possibly mentally ill young woman. This inspired a film treatment entitled “She’s Got the Shakes,” which got the attention of Robert Stigwood and Tim Curry, and with financial backing and a star, Times Square was off and running. Journalist and lyricist Jacob Brackman was hired to write the screenplay.

The screenplay I have is commonly considered to be the shooting script, although it differs greatly in places from what ended up on screen. This isn’t surprising since it’s also common knowledge that Moyle, the director, left the film towards the end of production to protest Stigwood’s insistence on changes to insert more music and lower the sexual overtones. I, however, don’t know for a fact how early or late a draft this copy is; it may or may not be what they had in hand when shooting started. Since it’s dated 1979, and the film was shot in 1979, for the sake of discussion I’m assuming it is the shooting script.

Overall, the biggest difference between the screenplay and the film is Nicky’s dialog: near the end of the film it’s nearly word-for-word as it appears in the script, but becomes more and more different the earlier in the film you go. The film was shot mostly in reverse: the concert in Times Square was one of the first things shot, and the scenes in the hospital the last, so my guess is that as production went on, Nicky’s dialog was tailored to better suit Robin’s performance. This is one of the few things I’ve asked Robin about: “Memory is kind of fuzzy – but changing daily ‘sides’ happens a lot on some films for various reasons… They probably did rewrite stuff specifically for me, or Allan sometimes went with my ‘improv’-ing intuitively.”

It’s not my intention here to thoroughly compare and contrast the screenplay with the finished film (and I could, believe me, I could go on for hours), but I would like to point out one thing. I’ve had over thirty years to think about this, and I’ve come to the probably unpopular opinion that the film we got is pretty damn close to the best possible version, plot holes, continuity problems, logical inconsistencies and all. Moyle’s original vision might have been a “better” film, but it wouldn’t have been one we’d all still be obsessing over and talking about today.

The screenplay, and I assume Moyle’s conception of the movie, is rooted firmly in the late 1960s-early 1970s. This is clear from the music selections mentioned in the screenplay, which (much like the finished film) is oblivious to the punk and New Wave revolution well underway several blocks south. The only contemporary music in the screenplay is disco. It was Robert Stigwood and Jimmy Iovine, in putting together the soundtrack, who gave the movie its New Wave gloss. Perhaps Moyle was already in the process of updating the music, and Stigwood just took things too far in his determination to use the film as promotion to sell records, but, judging from the screenplay…

Well, judge for yourself. Here are the songs in the screenplay, and what replaced them in the film. Note that there are a couple of songs that didn’t get replaced; there’s no music in the movie where they appear in the screenplay.

"Times Square" screenplay p 3
The Beatles, “All You Need Is Love”
[Roxy Music, “Same Old Scene”]

Linda Ronstadt, “Love Has No Pride”
[The Cure, “Grinding Halt”]

(“Nicky’s Song:” a record, made up for the film, that Nicky has adopted as her anthem; sung, chanted, played, and otherwise referred to many times during the story.)
[XTC, “Take This Town”]
[Ramones, “I Wanna Be Sedated”]
[Suzi Quatro, “Rock Hard”]

unnamed Stevie Wonder song
[Pretenders, “Talk of the Town]

Eddie Cochran, “Nervous Breakdown”
[D.L. Byron, “You Can’t Hurry Love”]

"Times Square" screenplay p 51
“The Times They Are A-Changin'” (The Bob Dylan song, performed by Nicky’s dad as he busks along the line at the TKTS kiosk.)

Lou Reed, “Sweet Jane” (They probably meant The Velvet Underground, but
the script says Lou Reed.)

Chic, “Freakout” (“Or some other rock-disco hit”)
[Desmond Child and Rouge, “The Night Was Not”]

Nicky & the Blondells, “Damn Dog Died”
[“Damn Dog” with slightly different lyrics; essentially the same]

Donna Summer, “Hot Stuff”
[Talking Heads, “Life During Wartime”]

“An original song, a tear jerker in the mood of “WHO’S SORRY NOW?””
[Patti Smith, “Pissing in a River”]

Del Shannon and the Vikings, “Runaway”

Orchestrated studio production of “Damn Dog Died”
[Marcy Levy and Robin Gibb, “Help Me!”]
[Roxy Music, “Same Old Scene”]

 

The film as originally conceived was totally unaware of the music that now seems to define it.  It certainly would have been a different movie had its opening titles been accompanied by “All You Need Is Love,” or had Nicky and Pammy danced down 42nd Street to the tune of “Hot Stuff.”

 

TIMES SQUARE, Screenplay by Jacob Brackman, Story by Allan Moyle and Leanne Ungar
1979
129 pp; cover sheet; end sheet