Times Square UK Press Kit (post 3 of 4)

Posted on 9th August 2016 in "Times Square"

First, some pictures.

Tim Curry as Johnny LaGuardia on the roof outside the WJAD studio, in the UK press kit photograph numbered 5.  This photo was taken a second before or after the photo numbered TS-79-28/8 in the US press kit.  The text from the press kit's photo captions page:  5. TIM CURRY stars as an all-night disc jockey, who, perched in his studio high above Times Square follows and encourages the progress of the runaway girls, who thanks to his efforts become minor media celebrities.

5. TIM CURRY stars as an all-night disc jockey, who, perched in his studio high above Times Square follows and encourages the progress of the runaway girls, who thanks to his efforts become minor media celebrities.



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.

Robin Johnson as Nicky Marotta atop the Times Square Theater marquee, in the UK press kit photograph numbered 7. The text from the press kit's photo captions page: 6/7/8. 15-year-old screen newcomer ROBIN JOHNSON stars as Nicky Marotta, a street-wise young runaway who, thanks to a radio DJ's patronage, is able to fulfil her fantasies of becoming a star of the "new wave".

6/7/8. 15-year-old screen newcomer ROBIN JOHNSON stars as Nicky Marotta, a street-wise young runaway who, thanks to a radio DJ’s patronage, is able to fulfil her fantasies of becoming a star of the “new wave”.

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.
Robin Johnson as Nicky Marotta in the Cleo Club, in the UK press kit photograph numbered 8. The text from the press kit's photo captions page: 6/7/8. 15-year-old screen newcomer ROBIN JOHNSON stars as Nicky Marotta, a street-wise young runaway who, thanks to a radio DJ's patronage, is able to fulfil her fantasies of becoming a star of the "new wave".

6/7/8. 15-year-old screen newcomer ROBIN JOHNSON stars as Nicky Marotta, a street-wise young runaway who, thanks to a radio DJ’s patronage, is able to fulfil her fantasies of becoming a star of the “new wave”.


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.

Trini Alvarado as Pamela Pearl, in the UK press kit photograph numbered 11. The text from the press kit's photo captions page: 11. TRINI ALVARADO, 12-year-old star of Robert Altman's RICH KIDS, is Pamela Pearl, daughter of a well-to-do New York family who runs away to find a new and exciting life in the city’s streets.

11. TRINI ALVARADO, 12-year-old star of Robert Altman’s RICH KIDS, is Pamela Pearl, daughter of a well-to-do New York family who runs away to find a new and exciting life in the city’s streets.



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.).


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.



TIMES SQUARE UK Press Kit photo_5
1080 px (W) x 864 px (H), 96 dpi, 263 kb (image)
TIMES SQUARE UK Press Kit photo_7
1080 px (W) x 864 px (H), 96 dpi, 260 kb (image)
TIMES SQUARE UK Press Kit photo_8
1080 px (W) x 865 px (H), 96 dpi, 282 kb (image)
TIMES SQUARE UK Press Kit photo_11
1080 px (W) x 865 px (H), 96 dpi, 245 kb (image)
black and white photographic prints, 8 in (H) x 10 in (W) (works);

inscriptions: [on photos] 5; 7; 8; 11;
[on reverse] TIMES SQUARE


8.5 in (W) x 11 in (H) (works);
1080 px (H) x 832 px (W), 96 dpi, 238 kb (image)
1080 px (H) x 832 px (W), 96 dpi, 200 kb (image)
1080 px (H) x 832 px (W), 96 dpi, 233 kb (image)
1080 px (H) x 832 px (W), 96 dpi, 115 kb (image)


8.27 in (W) x 11.69 in (H) (works);
1080 px (H) x 755 px (W), 96 dpi, 283 kb (image)
1080 px (H) x 755 px (W), 96 dpi, 262 kb (image)
1080 px (H) x 755 px (W), 96 dpi, 254 kb (image)


Times Square ©1980 StudioCanal/Canal+


“The Trend Settles in New York”

Posted on 13th February 2015 in "Times Square"

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])



TIMES SQUARE Screenplay, 1979

Posted on 6th October 2014 in "Times Square"

"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
129 pp; cover sheet; end sheet