Times Square is a film about two teenage runaways, Nicky Marotta and Pamela Pearl. Who are living in New York City, after escaping from a hospital where they are being examined for mental illness. Nicky and Pamela get involved with disc jockey Johnny LaGuardia (Tim Curry) and form an underground punk rock band, The Sleez Sisters. The band becomes a hit with the youth of NYC and the film climaxes with all the fans of The Sleez Sisters congregating in the streets of New York City’s Times Square for a rooftop concert.
The film is watchable in its complete form on YouTube (and in the magic window below this sentence).
I had a friend when I was a kid who was enchanted by the idea of being a punk (but would never commit to the part), he made me watch this movie on a VHS he somehow layed his hands on.
Yes, I do have a terrible memory of having my ears pulls out and mocked by an older boy at a playground while I sat on a springy, metal-handlebar animal. But, my most terrifying childhood thoughts — which may have scarred me far worse — are carved by the hands of one Timothy James “Tim” Curry.
My first memory of Mr. Curry’s work was, of course, probably his most scary turn ever as the Lord of Darkness himself in the film “Legend.” Not sure who thought it was a good idea to let a kid of my age watch this fiery red-skinned, barrel-chested, thick black-horned beast with a voice so deep (well…. it was hellish) that bellows forth from behind his fanged white teeth. You can be sure I wasn’t sleeping that night.
From the devilish Darkness, the next time I saw Tim Curry was in the movie “Clue.” Harmless enough as Wadsworth, but knowing he had played such a heinous character before, I was even more suspicious than those who always think “the butler did it.” And his eyes and mouth just drip with smarm. I may have been able to sleep, but it was with one eye open.
For some time, I was then given a respite from this Cheshire, UK cat but, oh, did he come back swinging. Curry really turned the creep on as Pennywise the clown for “Stephen King’s IT.” I was never squeamish about clowns, but this probably pushed many right into coulrophobia. A teenager by this time, but the television miniseries still managed to freaked the heck out of me.
It was high school (good job keeping THIS one from me, mom) before I finally happened upon Curry’s perhaps most memorable evil turn as the sweet transvestite from Transylvania (the transsexual section, of course). “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” featured Tim Curry as Frank-N-Furter all dressed in drag — I had seen Benny Hill so this was nothing new — but never saw someone take on the heels and thigh-high stockings with such ferocity and so menacingly. Thankfully, I had grown accustomed to his evil ways and was able to enjoy his performance and get a good night’s sleep too.
These actually make for a great Halloween movie lineup. And sure, Tim Curry was in a bunch of other creepy roles or spooky ones, but these were the ones that I keep tucked between those stick-out ears of mine — which I have grown into quite well, I should add.
Not everyone knows this, but Tim Curry, in addition to being a successful actor, also logged some time as a pop star. I do the Rock is from his second and most successful album, Fearless. Fearless was more rock-oriented than his first album Read My Lips. Two songs from the album, “I Do the Rock” and “Paradise Garage” actually made it on the US charts.
Featuring an amazing amount of comedic talent, Clue, was directed by Jonathan Lynn (Twice a Fortnight, Nuns on the Run) who collaborated on the screenplay with none other than John Landis (Animal House, Blues Brothers, An American Werewolf in London). The story revolves around six strangers who are invited to a mansion on a dark and stormy night in what seems to be the 1950’s to attend a party for one, Mr. Boddy (Lee Ving). As each guests arrive though they are informed by Boddy’s butler, Wadsworth (Tim Curry), that each of them has been given a pseudonym to protect their identity, for it is soon revealed they are all being blackmailed.
The cast also includes:
Mr. Green (Michael McKean)
Mrs. White (Madeline Khan)
Professor Plum (Christopher Lloyd)
Miss Scarlet (Lesley Ann Warren)
Mrs. Peacock (Eileen Breenan)
Colonel Mustard (Martin Mull)
Mrs. Ho (Kellye Nakahara)
Yvette (Colleen Camp)
At the beginning of the dinner the strangers meet Mr. Boddy in person and it is then that Wadsworth explains he has brought all of them together so that they can confront his employer and turn him over to the police. Mr. Boddy replies with a counteroffer, the guests should take up the weapons provided (A gun, wrench, lead pipe, dagger, and rope, sound familiar?) and murder Wadsworth, then destroy the evidence against them. Someone however decides to take an entirely different option…
Clue had an absolutely inspiring gimmick in that during its initial theatrical run with three different endings, the ending would change depending on which movie theater you viewed it at! It wasn’t until VHS that I was finally able to see all three endings but thanks to the magic of the all knowing Wikipedia…there was a fourth ending that was scripted and filmed but never seen except for in the Clue Storybook and novelization, remember when almost all movies received a novelization? Be warned though for posted below are things that could be considered SPOILERS!
“Wadsworth, after pretending to be dead, says that he killed Boddy as well as the other victims, and then reveals to the guests that he has poisoned them all so that there will be no witnesses and he will have committed the perfect crime. As he runs through the house to disable the phones and lock the doors, the chief detective – who had earlier been posing as an evangelist (a cameo by Howard Hesseman) – returns, followed by the police, who disarm Wadsworth. Wadsworth then repeats the confession that he had given earlier to the guests, physically acting out each scene himself. When he arrives at the part about meeting Colonel Mustard at the door, he steps through the door, closes it, and locks it, leaving all the guests trapped inside. The police and guests escape through a window, while Wadsworth attempts to make a getaway in a police squad car, only to hear the growling of a Doberman Pinscher from the backseat.”
It didn’t happen very often in my youth but Clue was a film that my Father hated vehemently, which is odd because he really is a big fan of slapstick comedy, and I was enthralled with. During the ride home it was kind of awkward, I would keep trying to bring up my favorite scenes and he would just keep turning the radio up louder and louder.
A big thanks to mpwmcfly for posting that HQ version of the Clue trailer!