Apparently, in 1980, RSO sent this videotape to record retailers to play in-store to promote the soundtrack to Times Square. It features the two songs performed in the film, “Your Daughter Is One” and “Damn Dog.” The fact that the lyrics to “Your Daughter Is One” consist primarily of curse words and racial slurs guaranteed that it would never be played in any store for more than thirty seconds. The fact that nobody at RSO, from the tape’s conception to its distribution, realized that would happen, boggles the mind.
The middle portion of the tape is an edit of the dance the girls do along 42nd Street to “Life During Wartime” by Talking Heads. Much of this sequence is made up of shots that do not actually appear in the film; unfortunately here they’re only four or five frames long. Even more unfortunately, this digitization is at such low resolution that individual frames turn into pretty smears of color.
There are no close-ups of the girls’ feet in the movie.
Pammy doesn’t dance with the Man in Red in the movie.
These cops are only shown from the reverse angle in the movie.
“Tiger” Haynes breaks the fourth wall.
This video was originally digitized and uploaded on February 24 2012 by “PsychoticNorman”. I’ve offered to buy or borrow the tape to make a higher quality transfer, but have not received a reply. I have fixed the aspect ratio and brightened and sharpened the image a little. You can see PsychoticNorman’s original upload here. My file is technically at a higher resolution, but that’s an artifact of my editing software refusing to save at the small resolution of the original file. I’ve tried to make it easier to look at, but there isn’t really any more detail.
TIMES SQUARE soundtrack promotional video (trailer (motion picture) AAT ID: 300263866), videotape promoting the film and soundtrack for use in record stores, 5:29 (work); H264 – MPEG-4 AVC (part 10) (avc 1), 480 px (W) x 386 px (H), 19.4 MB (video); MPEG AAC (mp4a) stereo 48000 Hz (audio) (video modified 25 December 2015 from the file digitized by PsychoticNorman at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S38UzHtkmeA)
RSO Promo Video Image4.png, RSO Promo Video Image5.png, RSO Promo Video Image15.png, RSO Promo Video Image17.png, RSO Promo Video Image21.png, RSO Promo Video Image22.png: frame captures from “TIMES SQUARE soundtrack promotional video”, 655 px (W) x 486 px (H), 72 dpi (images)
Take note: this post is mostly just me killing some time. It’s not really connected to Robin, and only technically connected to Times Square.
So, here are a few buttons I’ve managed to glom onto.
They’re not the actual ones used on Nicky’s jacket, but they were all real pins, and I’m hoping to find the others floating around, eventually.
“Stick It In Your Ear” is the sole badge on her right lapel. “Rolling Stones In Concert” is near the top at the inner edge of her left lapel, and “I Am A Human Being” is at the bottom of her left lapel. The Stones pin may come from any time in the 1970s, and the others may even date back to the late 1960s. Of her other pins… her left collar wing sports a large cartoon image of Debbie Harry with the label “Blondie,” and I’ve never seen anything remotely like it. There was a promotional button of an ad for Ampex recording tapes featuring Blondie, and that’s the closest thing I’ve seen, but it’s not it.
Immediately below the Stones pin is a small button that looks all red. Out towards the tip of the lapel is another small button with a scallop or gear-like pattern around its edge. I’ve never been able to make out what’s on them.
There’s another button that isn’t always there, hanging off the edge of the lapel, a black and white face of a man with curly hair. I’d like to think it’s Johnny LaGuardia, but it doesn’t look quite like Tim Curry. I always thought it looked like Nigel Harrison of Blondie, but I’m pretty sure it’s not him. I’m not certain, but I think this button appears when Pammy gets the jacket.
At the top of the left lapel, just beside the Stones pin, is a red-on-white button reading “I Am Anonymous – Help Me.” This is another late ’60s- early ’70s counterculture/protest pin. I’ve only ever seen one of these, after it was sold, so I know they’re out there, but the problem with these buttons is they were made by anyone who thought they could sell them, and they don’t all have the same design. I’ve come across a few “Help Me” pins but none with the text laid out like Nicky’s, except for the one I was too late for.
I wonder which came first, “Help Me” the button, or “Help Me” the song. Was one the inspiration for the other, or was it just coincidence?
Except for the Blondie pin, these are all hippie, dinosaur pins, leading me (as I’ve mentioned before) to hypothesize that the jacket may have belonged to Nicky’s dad before he was cut from the film. The big butterfly applique on the back may have been put there by Nicky after she took possession of it… or, maybe, the jacket belonged to Nicky’s mom, and Nicky took it when she died.
More likely, though, it’s just a reflection of the late ’60s-early ’70s sensibilities of the film’s writer and director, clashing (or, merging?) with the punk/New Wave attitude the producer wanted the film to have.
Should the title of this post have been “Needles and Pins”?
STICK IT IN YOUR EAR button (button (information artifact) AAT ID: 300207332),
pin as used on Nicky’s jacket, 1 in (diameter) (work);
800 px (W) x 786 px (H), 96 dpi, 351 KB (image)
I AM A HUMAN BEING – do not fold, spindle or mutilate pin (button (information artifact) AAT ID: 300207332),
pin as used on Nicky’s jacket, 1.25 in (diameter) (work);
800 px (W) x 797 px (H), 96 dpi, 265 KB (image)
Rolling Stones IN CONCERT pin (button (information artifact) AAT ID: 300207332), pin as used on Nicky’s jacket, 2.5 in (diameter) (work);
800 px (W) x 789 px (H), 96 dpi, 327 KB (image)
If it hadn’t been for him, Jacob Brackman and Allan Moyle would have likely continued to develop the screenplay for Times Square for another year or two. The result would have been a more coherent story, somewhat darker in tone, with more overt indicators of Nicky and Pammy’s relationship, and a soundtrack that only filled a single LP.
And the film, being made two or more years later (if at all), wouldn’t have starred Robin Johnson, who would probably have been in college studying pre-law or something by then.
It was a cynical move to load up the movie with New Wave music in order to sell records to a newly burgeoning market… and Robin’s casting was more than anything a case of right place-right time… but without those two things, Times Square would have been a very different film. Would it have been a better film? Quite possibly… but it wouldn’t be the film we’re still obsessed with and talking about all these years later. Maybe someone might be, but not you and me.
And yeah… Robert Stigwood is the guy who dealt Robin’s career a blow it never fully recovered from: signing her to a three-picture deal and then never making the other other two movies, while refusing to let her out of the contract and keeping her from working as an actress until two years had passed and nobody remembered her name…
… but he did make the movie without which we would never have seen her at all.
The first is a not-quite 1 1/2 inch button with the Times Square logo on a black background. As far as I know these were never for sale, and were most likely given to radio stations and theater owners to give out as publicity. I know there were also t-shirts and sweatshirts with this design — the logo on black — some of which had “I’m a Damn Dog” on the back, some of which had radio station call letters added. I had two t-shirts (not from the time, I found them sometime in the early 2000s); one I gave away, one hasn’t turned up yet after moving twice. As soon as it does you’ll be the first to see it.