Mick Rock

Posted on 1st August 2020 in "Times Square"

On June 1, 2016, Mick Rock did a signing for the “unlimited” edition of his book, The Rise of David Bowie, at Taschen in New York City, and I went.

Of course I got an autographed book, but I also took the opportunity to ask him about the photos of Robin I’ve been theorizing he took at the same time as the back cover of the soundtrack album.

I showed him a page with the four photos printed on it, and there ensued a conversation that went more or less like this:

Q: Could I ask you a quick question?

A: Yeah. I don’t know that I can answer it…

Q: I know you took the first photo here. Did you take the other three as well? I know this is yours.

A: How do you know that? But it is mine.

Q: Because on the back of the album, it says, “Photo by Mick Rock.”

A: Oh, yeah, yeah, not many people now even know about the film Times Square.

Q: I’m the one.

A: No, I did take that one. Very good, I haven’t had it come up in years.

Q: Did you take these others?

A: No…

Q: Because these are the only ones where she’s got that guitar. And it is —

A: I could have… no, I shot them both together. That was a long time ago… They paid me a lot of money…

ASSISTANT: Just take the credit!

SECOND ASSISTANT: Take the credit for it!


A: [laughs] Anyway.

ASSISTANT: “Is it rubbish? It’s good? It’s mine!”

A: [laughs]

Q: Thank you very much.

So I guess we still don’t have a definitive answer, and won’t unless someone else manages to get one from him, or he finds and releases the originals from his archive. But he certainly seemed to be leaning in that direction, and so I feel more certain than ever that these shots, and any more that might possibly turn up, of Robin in her “Aggie Doon’s debut” outfit, and with that Kent guitar, and any shots that may surface of Trini in the poncho she wears during the final sequence that aren’t obviously shot during filming, were all shot by Mick Rock in a session that yielded the back cover of the soundtrack album, and for which he was paid a lot of money.

Me and Mick Rock

Your humble narrator with the man himself. If he had taken the photo, I might have looked cool too.


Would you like to know more?

From The Original Motion Picture Soundtrack TIMES SQUARE (songbook)
Times Square UK Press Kit (post 4 of 4)
Nicky Marotta in Limbo
Filmstar, Vol 1 No. 3, Thailand, August 1981


From The Original Motion Picture Soundtrack TIMES SQUARE [detail, back cover]
564px (W) × 800px (H), 96dpi, 239 kb (image)
Photo by Mick Rock
©1980 Chappell & Co.

[TIMES SQUARE UK Press Kit photo a]
1080 px (H) x 864 px (W), 96 dpi, 154 kb (image)

[Nicky with Her Kent]
8 in (H) x 10 in (W) (work);
862 px (H) x 1080 px (W), 96 dpi, 338 kb (image)

inscription: [on reverse:] [handwritten in blue ink:] D+P. EAST 170 mm deep x 115 mm wide PA77
[handwritten in black ink:] ROBIN JOHNSON. 20

Filmstar Vol. 1 No. 3, 15 August 1981, back cover (magazine (periodical), AAT ID: 300215389)
25.9 x 18.9 cm. (work);
Filmstar Vol 1 No 3_back_cover_1080px.jpg
1080 px (H) x 777 px (W), 96 dpi, 679 kb


Times Square ©1980 StudioCanal/Canal+


[THE RISE OF DAVID BOWIE, front cover], [Mick Rock’s autograph], photographed by Sean Rockoff, July 26, 2020
[Me and Mick Rock], photographed by one of Mick Rock’s assistants, possibly an employee at Taschen Store New York… now permanently closed… thank you for your service…


More Times Square German press photos, 1982

Posted on 20th June 2019 in "Times Square"




The next German press photo from Schröder-Filmverleih had previously seen publication in Filmstar Vol. 1 No. 3, in Thailand. The Filmstar version shows less of the image at the left, and more of Nicky’s hand on the right, so there must have been a more complete version at some point. It’s from the Cleo Club performance of “Damn Dog”, and so must have been taken at the same time as this slide, UK publicity still #21, and this color 8×10 print, although it must have been a little later… this is the only still from that scene after she’s put down her guitar.

I’ve also just noticed that there’s a little number “22” inset at the bottom edge. This must be a reprint of #22 from the UK series, which I do not have at the moment. I wonder if the others are also reprinted from the UK series, with the number either invisible or cropped out.








And here, from May 1982, is the last piece of promotional material produced for Times Square’s theatrical run.* Do I need to say anything about it at this point? This photo of Robin was the single most-used photo, thanks to its use on the movie poster and soundtrack album cover, beating out the shot of Trini only because Nicky quickly became the face of the film.


As with the other two German photos, there were captions pasted to the backs of these.

Nicky Marotta (ROBIN JOHNSON) as a rock lady. Will it only be a dream for the rebellious Nicky? The movie “Times Square – Eff Alla Youse” describes the escape of two teenagers from a psychiatric hospital. The two turn New York upside down. They are supported by Johnny LaGuardia (TIM CURRY), the most popular disc jockey in the city.

That’s the snotty, rebellious and defiant Nicky Marotta (ROBIN JOHNSON). She is 15, on her own, and dreams of becoming a rock star. Their adventures are portrayed in the thrilling music film “Times Square – go pound sand”, which starts in Germany on May 21st. Another starring role is superstar Tim Curry.


I first posted a version of that last photo about four and a half years ago, in my ninth post here, as our first look at Robin as Nicky (although that specific print actually comes from the 1980-81 series of stills from the UK). It’s only fitting that it also be our last look, as we bid farewell to Times Square, and consign it to poorly-mastered Betamax tapes and cutout record bins .


… but wait, there’s more! I tried to post all this stuff in chronological order, but that proved impossible, because “new” stuff kept turning up. That means I found a few things in only the past few weeks (as I type this), and we’re going to be looking at pictures from Times Square for a little while yet.



* The last one in the order I’m posting, anyway. I have no idea in what order they were manufactured or distributed. I fully admit I saved this for last purely for dramatic effect.



[two German press photos]
black-and-white photographs, AAT ID: 300128347
Germany, 1982 ; 12.3 x 17.4 cm. (works)
1080 px (H) x 763 px (W), 96 dpi, 327 kb
1080 px (H) x 773 px (W), 96 dpi, 347 kb
1128 px (W) x 765 px (H), 96 dpi, 206 kb
1119 px (W) x 773 px (H), 96 dpi, 223 kb (images)


Times Square ©1980 StudioCanal/Canal+


Times Square German press photos, 1982

Posted on 7th June 2019 in "Times Square"


Schröder-Filmverleih, Times Square’s German distributor, put out a handful of black-and-white press photos to promote the movie along with the poster and lobby card set. They aren’t printed all that well, appearing to be copies of copies, which is a shame because most of them are images that never appeared anywhere else.

The first one here is Pammy and Nicky bursting through the doors that somehow lead to an alley accessible by fire escape from the Adonis Theater. It must have been taken at about the same time as this color shot, and like that shot, doesn’t match up to the action in the film. To my eye, the girls are in the same spot relative to the doorway in both photos, so I hypothesize that this was taken during a second run-through, as they tried to internalize the direction to look more frightened and less happy. In the take used for the movie, Robin practically falls through the doorway, and Trini is not smiling. (More details of the peculiar architecture of 50th St. & 8th Ave.)



This second one, Mr. Pearl attacking Johnny, would appear to have been taken just before or just after TS-78-2/16 from the American Press Material folder. Why did Germany use this ever-so-slightly different photo? Your guess is as good as mine.

These black and white 8 x 10’s came complete with ready-to-use captions in German on the back.

Two teenagers Nicky (ROBIN JOHNSON, right) and Pamela (TRINI ALVARADO) are on the run in “Times Square – you can all kiss our asses”. The two girls become true heroes for their peers. An amazing film with the hits of recent years and the great Tim Curry as cunning disc jockey Johnny LaGuardia.

Ambitious politician David Pearl (PETER COFFIELD) storms furiously at disc jockey Johnny LaGuardia (TIM CURRY). Pearl thinks the disc jockey knows where his runaway daughter is. A highlight of the movie “Times Square – you can all screw off”. The craziest film ever made about New York teenagers.

Someone has corrected by hand the printed misspelling of Johnny’s last name as “LaGuardian.”



[two German press photos]
black-and-white photographs, AAT ID: 300128347
Germany, 1982 ; 12.3 x 17.4 cm. (works)
1080 px (W) x 762 px (H), 96 dpi, 295 kb
1080 px (W) x 769 px (H), 96 dpi, 326 kb
1179 px (W) x 762 px (H), 96 dpi, 235 kb
1198 px (W) x 769 px (H), 96 dpi, 181 kb (images)


Times Square ©1980 StudioCanal/Canal+


UK Promo Photos 20 and 26, 1980-81

Posted on 13th May 2018 in "Times Square"

Times Square 8 x 10″ publicity stills from this series continue to turn up. The first ones I found, I didn’t realize where they had come from, but the UK Press Kit’s caption sheet that matched up with some of the numbers on the photos solved the mystery. Their distinguishing characteristic is a small handwritten identification number in a tiny inset square along the bottom edge. Some have “TIMES SQUARE” stamped on the back. These have captions typed on a strip of paper pasted to their backs.

Photo 20 is the most-used publicity still from the movie, with the exceptions of the headshots of Trini and Robin that were used for the North American movie poster and the soundtrack album cover. I listed its various appearances when it showed up in Film Review Vol. 31 No. 1. Not in that list is photoplay Vol. 32 No. 4, where it also appeared, three months later. This specific version, numbered 20, was used as half of one of the two-photos-on-one-print 8×10’s that had Robert Stigwood’s name misspelled. It would make sense if the other three of those images were part of this series, especially since the caption for this one is identical on both versions, but I can’t see any numbers on the others.

Photo 26 is making its first and only (as far as I know at the moment) appearance here. It was part of the UK series of stills, but not used in any other country, and never published in any magazine or newspaper. (That I’ve yet found, at least.) It was evidently taken at the same time as the shot of Johnny and Pammy used on the Italian lobby poster, which will also later be a German lobby card.

The captions pasted to the photo backs both include the text “A scene from “TIMES SQUARE” distributed by COLUMBIA/EMI/WARNER Film Distributors”, Columbia/EMI/Warner being the film’s distributor in the UK.

The highest number photo in this series I’ve yet found is 36. I have thirteen of them. If I get an even 15 I’ll put up a gallery of just them. Till then, you can see them in these posts:

Times Square UK Press Kit (post 2 of 4)
Times Square UK Press Kit (post 3 of 4)
the page you’re reading right now
UK Promo Photo #29
Nicky Marotta, 1980


[In the two months that elapsed between my writing this page and my writing this note, shortly before this post is scheduled to be published, I did indeed acquire two more pictures from this series, plus one more that looks like it belongs but has the same number as another photo… so they will go up as soon as I can get them ready, followed by a post showing them all at once.]



Times Square publicity still 20
black-and-white photograph, AAT ID: 300128347
UK ; 20.3 x 25.4 cm. (work)
866 px (H) x 1080 px (W), 96 dpi, 397 kb (image)
858 px (H) x 1080 px (W), 96 dpi, 92.7 kb (image)

Times Square publicity still 26
black-and-white photograph, AAT ID: 300128347
UK ; 20.3 x 25.4 cm. (work)
865 px (H) x 1080 px (W), 96 dpi, 332 kb (image)
855 px (H) x 1080 px (W), 96 dpi, 108 kb (image)


Times Square ©1980 StudioCanal/Canal+


Blast from the Past

Posted on 19th April 2018 in "Times Square"

Nicky Marotta (Robin Johnson) in costume for the final concert in TIMES SQUARE (1980)  Text (handwritten on back):  TIMES SQUARE

I got this photo at the same time as the Nicky hair and make up test and the preparing-to-shoot-the-excised-scene-of-the-girls-looking-for-Nicky’s-father. Somehow, in my excitement over those two true behind-the-scenes photographs, since there are so very few of those, I lost track of this one. I’d digitized it at the same time, but never prepared the file for uploading, or even made a proper note of its existence. I came across it again by accident while trying to identify the illustrations in the Japanese souvenir program book.

So here it is. Nicky, in costume and make up for the final concert. As of this writing I don’t believe this was ever published anywhere, like the two photos linked above that came with it. I would guess it was rejected for use as a publicity still in favor of TS-42-11A/2, and they both were taken at the same time as the slide.

The other two photos, which like this one are the full 35mm frame printed on 8 x 10 inch paper, resulting in the extra wide border along the long sides, have identifying numbers handwritten on the back. The one with the director and assistant director visible has a handwritten number (68-24A) that matches the format of the numbers printed on all the American publicity stills. Could these have been photos used by the production itself, and not as publicity materials? This particular photo has on its back only the handwritten words, “TIMES SQUARE”.


The photos referenced above are from these posts:

Nicky hair and make up test
Behind the scenes on location
Press photo TS-42-11A/2
Nicky Marotta 35mm color slide



[Robin Johnson as Nicky in costume for the final concert]
black-and-white photograph, AAT ID: 300128347
US ; 20.3 x 25.4 cm. (work)
878 px (H) x 1080 px (W), 96 dpi, 327 kb (image)


Times Square ©1980 StudioCanal/Canal+


Three photos from March 1981

Posted on 27th September 2017 in "Times Square"

I know nothing about these photos, except that they date from March 1981, and that they’re owned by Trinity Mirror and are part of the Daily Mirror Mirrorpix archive. In my opinion, they’re similar in style to photos that were published in Australia and presumably taken during her visit there, leading me to speculate that these came from the same source. Also in my opinion, they’re not the most flattering photos of Robin, which leads me to speculate further that that’s why they were never published.

Previously unpublished though they may be, they still have a home in the Mirrorpix archive, which licenses their use through the Alamy stock photo company. Fine upstanding citizen that I am, I have purchased a license to display them to the world on this website for the next five years, which surprisingly makes them perhaps the most expensive items in my collection — all the more so since they’re not actually part of my collection. We’ll see what happens in five years.

The images themselves raise one huge question: what on earth were they thinking?

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B4WFXT, B4WFXX, B4WFXP [3 photos of Robin Johnson from the Mirrorpix archive], March 1981
Reproduced under license from Alamy Stock Photo

[Displayed images have been resized and color-corrected.]
Credit: Trinity Mirror / Mirrorpix / Alamy Stock Photo