First, some pictures.
UK Press Kit photo #5 is another headshot of Tim Curry, this time as Johnny appears at the end of the film as he’s watching the concert though his telescope on the deck outside WJAD. The most interesting thing about this photo is, at first glance it looks like TS-79-28/8 from the US press kit, but it isn’t. It’s not just cropped differently; Tim’s head is tilted up slightly and he hasn’t got the beginnings of a smile he sports in the US photo. It’s a different photo, taken just before or just after.
Photos 6, 7, and 8 are pictures of Robin. Unfortunately I don’t have Photo 6, and none of the photos without the little number are of Robin alone.
In Photo 7, Nicky kneels at the edge of the Times Square Theater marquee, deciding if she wants to perform or not. She never looks up in the film like she’s doing here, though, not without turning to look at Pammy or the Blondells. Perhaps she’s waiting here for a cue from Allan Moyle.
Photo 8 has Nicky scoping out the Cleo Club for Pammy, before revealing her attempt at poetry to her. This one is really close to the shot as it appears in the film, but it isn’t. The POV is slightly to the left of the movie camera, and although Robin is doing the same nervous finger-pulling, her hands are never in that exact position. This is the same almost-but-not-quite situation we saw with the shots of Trini from the later scene in the club where Mr. Pearl confronts Pammy.
I don’t have any photos numbered 9 or 10, and the caption sheet has no entries for them.
Photo 11 is a shot of Trini from the end of the same scene in the Cleo Club as Photo 8. In the film she never looks in thIS direction while smiling. Also, this photo has been lit in such a way as to make the background disappear entirely. The photographer took the opportunity to make this a true glamor portrait, not just an on-set publicity still. The glass on the table by her elbow shows that it was taken on the set, though.
Most of the photos in the UK Press Kit are very grainy and dusty compared to the US photos, as if they were printed from copies themselves. I’ve cleaned up the dust and scratches that were on the physical copy of the prints, but I’ve left most of the ones that were in the print itself, except the ones that were so huge I couldn’t stand to leave them.
There are two sets of text pages, and two profiles of Robin in each. The longer profile is almost the same as the one from the US press kit. Almost… but not quite. Aside from the slight rewording of nearly every sentence, this UK version spells Allan Moyle’s name correctly, where the US press kit and the film itself spell it “Alan”. The UK version describes Robin’s “discovery” on the steps of Brooklyn Tech in 1979 when she was 15 (which is accurate), and the US version has it happening in 1980 and gives her age as 16. I’m starting to wonder if the UK Press Kit wasn’t made up first, and the US version derived from it. (The photo captions also state Robin’s age as 15, which she was during the making of the film; she was 16 during its marketing.)
The only difference between the two sets in the UK Press Kit is that the text on the pages without the Times Square letterhead contain American spellings of words, and the pages with Times Square letterhead contain British spellings (“centers”/”centres”, etc.).
“TIMES SQUARE” STAR ROBIN JOHNSON IS A NATURAL
One day Brooklyn’s Technological High School’s front steps may be legendary as the spot where a star was “born”, a ’79 equivalent to Hollywood’s Schwab’s Drug Store, On those steps, smoking a cigarette while waiting for classes to begin, 15 —year—old ROBIN JOHNSON was discovered by a casting scout on the lookout for possible candidates for the lead in TIMES SQUARE.
“He gave me this card and said to call this number if I was interested in being in a movie,” Robin recalls in her inimitible Brooklyn-accented speech. “I thought ‘Oh! Another wise guy’, but gave it a try.”
What Robin didn’t know at the time was that director Allan Moyle, who had written the original story for TIMES SQUARE with Leanne Unger, was determined to cast only the young actress who would be precisely right for the crucial central role of Nicky Marotta, a gusty teenager, loose and without adult super- vision and determined to be a rock star.
The talent search had already bypassed many of the traditional avenues and gone to youth centres, punk clubs, and placed ads in papers like the Village Voice, Soho News, Aquarian. “We were looking for someone who WAS Nicky,” Moyle admits. “Robin’s definitely not that doomed child. Luckily for the picture, Robin’s brought a lot more humour to the character than I had originally envisioned.”
Without any previous experience – “I had sung in a choir when I was 12” – Robin won the role over literally thousands of other candidates. After being cast, she entered an intensive programme of coaching in singing and dance/movement. Making the film meant that the novice was quickly transformed into a seasoned professional. Robin worked seven days a week for three months, for as a minor, the new star had to continue her studies with a tutor on the set and more lessons on Saturday. On Sunday, recording or dancing demands would take up the day. The veteran members of the New York crew were impressed with the professionalism of both Robin and her even younger co-star, 13-year-old TRINI ALVARADO. Both exhibited an almost non-stop flow of dedication, energy, high spirits and raucous good humour.
Robin lives with her older sister Cindy and her mother, in- Brooklyn. Born on May 29th, 1964, Robin never gave any thought to becoming an actress until TIMES SQUARE.
Her inclination previously ran toward sketching (I’m not into landscapes; give me cartoons with some people in there “) and, whenever the opportunity arose, banging on drums. And although she first started dating when she was 11, she’s not worried about permanent relationships at this point in her life. “I’m closest with my sister Cindy, who’s a year older. We’re both Geminis and I like to argue, especially in a friendly way.”
Like many young women her age, Robin can identify with Nicky’s rebelliousness and non-conformity, traits which land Nicky in trouble with the law and into the arms of Rosie (ANNA MARIE HORSFORD), a concerned social worker. “Nicky can’t put things over on Rosie like she does with others,” Robin figures, “and that’s the reason she admires her. I have trouble with authority figures, too, which means anybody with the upper hand – like my mother or my teachers.” But for director Allan Moyle, who might be considered the supreme authority figure, Robin has only praise: “We’re alike in certain ways and that made it easier to relate. Allan’s absolutely brilliant for inspiration, for giving you energy for a scene. When he wants you to do a scene better, he gets you to think, not bullying or intimidating, I want to work with him again.”
Robin sees Nicky as a teenager who masks what she really feels and tried to make her real, “She was bitter about being abandoned. Her Dad’s a loser. All she can do is pity him, not be mad at him now. Nicky has a lot of gutsiness that I really admired. Her philosophy always was, ‘When you’re mad, show it’.”
Gutsiness is a trait Robin and Nicky have in common. Robin, besides being bright, witty and talented, is seemingly fearless, whether performing atop a 42nd Street theatre marquee or being dunked into the icy December water of the polluted Hudson River. “Nerves don’t get you anywhere,” she says.
Robin was coached for TIMES SQUARE by veteran Sue Seaton, who has worked with Katharine Hepburn and Gilda Radner, But that throaty timbre is unmistakably her own, perhaps a result of the ”Kool” cigarettes she smokes incessantly.
The closest Robin had ever been to a movie set before TIMES SQUARE was when a scene for “The Wanderers” was shot in her neighbourhood. Now, the world of movies is opening for her.
“Let me tell you about this movie business,” she says seriously. “There’s no right for anyone to get an attitude just because so many people are aware of your job. What I say is, it’s entertainment and it’s a job. I hope TIMES SQUARE does well, but it’s not the answer to my life. Most, I loved meeting and working with so many wonderful people.”
There is one confession she’ll make when prodded about the rigors of working in the realm of make-believe: “Oh yeah,” she says with a grimace, “chewing roses was pretty disgusting. I’d never tasted flowers before.”
Two things of interest, both in the credits as listed in the letterhead: first, the order of the cast. The film’s credits are “Starring TIM CURRY, TRINI ALVARADO, and introducing ROBIN JOHNSON as Nicky.” This letterhead’s credits read “Starring ROBIN JOHNSON, TRINI ALVARADO and TIM CURRY.” So, for a brief moment, Robin had top billing.
Second, I just noticed… all the promotional materials, as well as the film itself, misspell Leanne Ungar’s name “Unger”. Of course, in Moyle’s earlier film The Rubber Gun (1977), she had a music engineering credit that spelled her name “Lianne Ungen,” so I suppose this was a step up.
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TIMES SQUARE UK Press Kit photo_7
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TIMES SQUARE UK Press Kit photo_8
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TIMES SQUARE UK Press Kit photo_11
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black and white photographic prints, 8 in (H) x 10 in (W) (works);
inscriptions: [on photos] 5; 7; 8; 11;
[on reverse] TIMES SQUARE
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