The Time Warp, Again

Robrt Pela tracks the cult classic that won't go away

October 31, 1977: Tonight was extremely strange. Janette and I went to the Sombrero Theater (which is way down on Seventh Street and Camelback, kind of a scary part of town) to see Phantom of the Paradise. Janette has seen Phantom 37 times! I've never known anyone who has seen any movie more than once except The Wizard of Oz, but that's on TV every year, so it doesn't count because anyone can watch it. But Janette used to walk down to Valley West Mall when Phantom was showing there, and she'd go to the morning show and just stay there and watch it over and over again. She's in love with Paul Williams and she knows all the songs and even has the soundtrack album, which she says she'll let me borrow.

Anyway, Phantom was showing with this other movie called The Rocky Horror Picture Show, and there were all these people in line wearing black eye makeup and platforms and lacy underwear. And that was the guys! We were grossed out, and as soon as we watched Phantom (which is about a guy who sells his soul to the devil, and the music is incredibly cool and now I know why Janette thinks Paul Williams is a god, even though I still think it's kind of weird to go to a movie 37 times), I made Janette call her mom to come get us so we could get away from all the freaks.

Very scary.

Rocky redux.
Larry Ellis
Rocky redux.

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December 26, 1977: Got the Rocky Horror picture disc for Christmas from Soozin, also $20 worth of gift certificates to the Sombrero, so I can see Rocky six more times, bringing my grand total up to 21 times I've seen it. This weekend we're going to bring mustard packets and hot dogs to throw when Frank sings "Planet Schmanet." The people at the Sombrero are trying to get the audience to not throw toilet paper or rice because it messes up the theater, but fuck them. Like they think we're there to sit and watch the movie or something.

August 12, 1978: My Rocky Horror one-sheets arrived today. They're huge. I took down all the Linda Ronstadt posters except one (sorry, Linda) and put the Rocky posters up, and I have the one of Frank-N-Furter standing in front of the RKO tower wearing a merry widow and his eye makeup running down his face right over my bed. Mom saw it and said, "That is an extremely ugly woman. Why did you take down the nice pictures of Lynda Carter?"

My mother can't tell the difference between Wonder Woman and a country singer and she thinks Tim Curry is a girl. And people wonder why I'm cranky all the time.

April 16, 1979: Mom said it was all right for Gort to drive us to homecoming, which she wouldn't have if she knew we're going to smoke a big doobie on the way. Gort is taking Becky and I'm taking Suzanne (Gort calls them Blecky and Sleazanne) and what they don't know is that he's going to dress up like Frank-N-Furter and run for homecoming queen. He's insane.

May 28, 1980: My graduation party was awesome. Sue Moore got drunk and barfed in Mom's Infant of Prague planter, and my new sister-in-law, Carrie Berry Annie, refused to do the Time Warp. But otherwise the whole thing was totally Transylvanian.

December 20, 1981: Went to see Shock Treatment tonight. They're calling it the sequel to Rocky Horror, but what it really is is a great big enema.

May 7, 1982: My next-door neighbor asked me to take her 12-year-old son, Jamie, to see Rocky Horror at Christown. Says she's too old (she's right, she's 42) and he doesn't want to be seen with his old mom. All I could think of was, "What the heck is Rocky doing at Christown?" As we were leaving the theater, Jamie said, "It was pretty good, but the audience didn't seem to like it. They kept yelling all the time."

I'm too old for this.

February 3, 1990: My 28th birthday. Bonnie Paul gave me an espresso maker and then took me to see a live performance of The Rocky Horror Show at Mill Avenue Theater. Why do people think I still want to look at this piss? Anyway, I'd never seen the stage show before, and Curt Anthon was amazing as Frank, even if he was doing a Tim Curry impersonation. Christ, will I still be watching Rocky Horror when I'm 60?

July 17, 1990: I confess: I went to Tower to buy the 15th-anniversary Rocky Horror video, and the clerk wanted to put my name on a waiting list. Seems 20th Century Fox is only printing 10,000 copies of the video, and charging $45 for it. There's something faintly damning about having your name on a list for a Rocky Horror video -- at least at my age. I passed.

March 4, 1994: Rented Rocky Horror for old time's sake. Bad move. Somehow, this movie wasn't meant to be seen on TV. Without the screaming kids and pelting rice, it's just another funky rock movie. I got as far as "Touch-a Touch Me" before turning it off. Feeling very middle-aged tonight.

October 22, 1997: From my New Times review of Todd James Smeltzer Productions' The Rocky Horror Show:

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