52 Fun facts about the Rocky Horror Picture Show

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Rocky Horror Picture show fans, don’t miss:

THE CAST

1. Some big celebrities showed interest in being part of the original movie. Mick Jagger (Rolling Stones) voiced an interest in playing the part of Dr Frank-N-Furter. The producers stuck with Tim Curry, the actor who defined the role in both the British and American theatrical productions.

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2. Steve Martin also auditioned to play the role of Brad (a part that went to actor Barry Boswick).

3. An actor that the team really wanted to appear in the movie was the horror movie legend, Vincent Price, who actually saw the play on its opening night, according to ‘Rocky Horror’ creator Richard O’Brien. Unfortunately, scheduling conflicts prevented him from accepting, and the role of the narrator went to the actor, Charles Gray.

4. Meat Loaf walked out of the American stage production when he first saw Tim Curry in his stage costume. According to an interview he gave on VH1 to celebrate one of the movie’s many anniversaries, the cast rehearsed the songs before they saw the script. He didn’t realize what he was getting into until Tim Curry showed up to a rehearsal in his full costume while singing the song ‘Sweet Transvestite.’ Meat Loaf said that he was so shocked that he walked out of the theatre in the middle of the production. Eventually, actor Graham Jarvis, who played the Narrator in the stage version, talked him into staying.

5. Meat Loaf wanted to play Dr Scott and Eddie in the movie, as this was the way they did it in the original stage production.

6. Peter Hinwood, the actor (and underwear model) who played Rocky Horror, does not speak or sing his own lines in the movie. The moviemakers hired him on accord of his looks. According to the book “Rocky Horror: From Concept to Cult,” his entire musical performance had to be dubbed over by Australian singer Trevor White, while Hinwood mouthed the words to the songs on the set. Director Jim Sharman also wasn’t very pleased with Hinwood’s speaking voice, so they had White dub his dialogue as well. In an interview in 2000, he confirmed he gave up acting to become an antique dealer because he realised, he couldn’t act and hated watching himself on screen.

7. Susan Sarandon (Janet) was sick with the flu (or, according to some sources, pneumonia) during the filming of the “floor show” scene. O’Brien said Sarandon was “shaking with fever.”

8. The movie featured several performers who appeared in The Rocky Horror Show on stage, including Richard O’Brien (Riff-Raff), Nell Campbell (Columbia), Tim Curry (Frank-N-Furter), Patricia Quinn (Magenta), Meat Loaf (Eddie), and Jonathan Adams (Dr Scott).

9. The Rocky Horror Picture Show was Tim Curry’s feature movie debut. Curry trained as a stage actor and appeared in a few TV shows (mostly in small bit-parts), but made the crossover into the movie world, thanks to the Rocky Horror Picture Show.

10. Susan Sarandon and Barry Bostwick are the only Americans in lead roles.

11. Tim Curry modelled Frank-N-Furter’s voice after two women: Queen Elizabeth II and his own mother. Frank N Furter also nearly had a German accent. In a TV interview, Tim Curry explained that he originally intended to give Frank a typical ‘mad scientist’ German accent, but eventually ended up mimicking a posh lady he once noticed on the bus to create the character’s extremely proper English voice.

12. In the “dinner scene”, Barry Bostwick hammers his fist on the table, accidentally hitting Susan Sarandon’s hand. Her reaction is priceless.

13. Only Tim Curry and Richard O’Brien knew Eddie’s remains were under the table during the “dinner scene”. With the revelation of Eddie’s corpse, the looks of revulsion on the actors’ faces were real.

14. Tim Curry’s advice to future Frank-N-Furters: “Never think about it as drag, ‘cause it’s not. It’s just what people wear in Transylvania, so just get over it.”

15. Patricia Quinn ’s hair was sprayed the colour red every day. It was not dyed.

16. In the opening wedding scene the minister is Tim Curry (Dr Frank N. Furter), the “old man” to his left is Richard O’Brien (Riff Raff), and the “wife” to his right is Patricia Quinn (Magenta).

THE SET, MAKE-UP, AND PROPS

17. The skeleton in the coffin clock, featured in “The Time Warp”, was real. It belonged to the woman who had the clock custom-built. During March 2002, Sothebys auctioned off the coffin clock; it was sold for £35,000.

18. You can stay in Dr Frank-N-Furter’s castle, in Oakley Court, London. The movie was originally shot at Oakley Court in Windsor, England. When it was used as the filming location; it had no heat or bathrooms. It was also used for several of the Hammer horror movies (The brides of Dracula, And now the screaming starts, The old dark house and, Murder by death). Oakley Court has been turned into a world-class hotel with 118 bedrooms, and 9 mansion suites (bucket list!). Although the property has been renovated, there are still some areas that can be recognised, including the entryway that Brad and Janet stood in front of, the large staircase, and the room where the dinner scene took place.

 19. Dr Frank-N-Furter’s creation doesn’t have a belly button! A less observant or inquisitive onlooker may not have noticed this tiny, but important detail. The makeup department created a plug that fit over Peter Hinwood’s belly button to hide it from view during filming. It’s an important segment of the story — since Rocky was created by Dr Frank-N-Furter, completely from scratch. This thus means that Rocky didn’t have an umbilical cord and therefore shouldn’t have a belly button.

20. The motorcycle scene saw some serious accidents. One of the movie’s more unforgettable scenes features Eddie, played by Meat Loaf, crashing into the Doctor’s laboratory through a block of ice, on a military-grade motorcycle. The scene required a stuntman and some clever grip work to make it seem like Meat Loaf was on the bike. Meat Loaf’s stuntman drove the motorcycle through the scene, including up and down several steep ramps. The bike fell off the top level and landed upside down, pinning the stuntman underneath it. Meat Loaf said he ran over and somehow gathered enough strength to lift the heavy bike, just enough to move it off of him. The stuntman did not move for some time, but eventually opened his eyes and told everyone he was OK. He later told Meat Loaf that it was an old stuntman trick, to make sure he wasn’t suffering any pain or serious injuries before moving.

21. Pierre La Roche, who did the make-up for Mick Jagger and created David Bowie’s iconic Ziggy Stardust, created Dr Frank-N-Furter’s look. Whilst filming, the make-up took La Roche such a long time to apply (four hours), that Curry ended up doing it himself.

22. The costume budget was $1,600 (in today’s currencies, around £1,060 or R25,000). Considering the number of extravagant costumes required, this was a tiny budget. Although designer Sue Blane admitted to doing no research before creating the Rocky Horror costumes, her work instigated a whole new dressing style. Blane is credited with starting trends such as brightly coloured hair and ripped fishnet tights, that became a big part of punk rock fashion.

23.  Some Hammer Horror props were re-used in the movie. The tank that Rocky is born from, as well as the dummy, wrapped in bandages inside it, both originally appeared in 1958 Hammer Horror, “The Revenge of Frankenstein”, which was also filmed at Bray Studios.

24. Peter Hinwood (Rocky Horror) auctioned his gold hot pants for $1,000 (in 2022, around £740 or R15200). Hinwood found his movie prop signature tiny gold hot pants in his home in the early ’90s and sold them at an auction where Hard Rock Café snapped them up to add to their memorabilia collection.

25. Meat Loaf couldn’t really ride a motorcycle. A stunt double was used in the far away shots of Eddie riding his motorcycle around Frank’s lab, and in the close-ups. Meat Loaf is actually being pushed in a wheelchair to simulate the movement of his bike.

26. Production could only afford to build both ends of the church, which are clearly seen in the movie. What is not visible is the middle of the church, which had no sides or roof.

THE PRODUCTION, SONGS, AND SCREENINGS

27. The initially proposed opening sequence was to contain clips of the various movies mentioned in the lyrics, “Science Fiction”, as well as the first few arrangements shot in black and white, but this was deemed too expensive, and scrapped.

28. The musical’s working title was “They Came from Denton High”. This title was changed before previews of “The Rocky Horror Show” musical began in London.

29. It holds the record for the longest theatrical movie release. “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” may have been a disreputable flop when it hit theatres in 1975, but it more than made up for its initial losses by becoming a midnight movie sensation. The word-of-mouth by fans turned the screenings into sold-out shows, and it wasn’t long before the movie became a cult classic.

30. 20th Century Fox has never pulled it from theatrical release, and it has been shown in cinemas across the world constantly since 1975.

31. O’Brien’s original script for the stage musical “The Rocky Horror Show” was only 40 minutes long. To fill up space, the hit song “The Time Warp” was written, according to co-composer Richard Hartley.

32. The Rocky Horror Picture Show was filmed over six weeks with a budget of $1.4 million (in 2022, about £1031239,18 or R21223382,47).

33. The Rocky Horror Picture Show was released on VHS for the first time in the United States in 1990. It originally retailed for $89.95 (in 2022, about £66.26 or R1,363.87).

34. Brad had another song in the original version of the musical. It was meant for the movie version. In an interview, O’Brien mentioned he couldn’t remember why it was left out, but he mentioned it was cut during the scene with Janet along in the laboratory. The name of the song is “Once in a While”.

35. The lyrics of the title track, reference science fiction and horror movies of the past and list several movie titles from the 1930s to the 1970s, including “The Day the Earth Stood Still”, “Flash Gordon”, “The Invisible Man”, “King Kong”, “It Came from Outer Space”, “Doctor X”, “Forbidden Planet”, “Tarantula”, “The Day of the Triffids”, “Curse of the Demon”, “When Worlds Collide” and “The Bride of Frankenstein”.

36. The soundtrack was released in 1975 by Ode Records and produced by Richard Hartley. The album, however, was unsuccessful. Three years later, in 1978, the soundtrack was back on the market and peaked at #49 on the Billboard 200.

37. The Museum Lichtspiele cinema in Munich has shown the movie every week since June 1977. If you are in the area, you can head along to the cinema to catch a screening of Rocky Horror every Friday and Saturday night at 11pm.

38. Meat Loaf was the only actor who could do Eddie’s song justice. Meat Loaf was brought on board for the movie after appearing as both Eddie and Dr Everett Scott in the original Los Angeles stage production. Apparently, O’Brien was concerned that the American singer could not do Eddie’s fast-paced song – ‘Hot Patootie – Bless My Soul’ – justice, as the actor who played Eddie in the London stage show had struggled. There was no need to worry though – Meat Loaf nailed it, of course.

OTHER FUN FACTS

39. Russell Crowe once appeared in an Australian stage version of the Rocky Horror Show. Recently, some rare footage revealed a young Russell Crowe, the Oscar winning star of ‘Gladiator’ and other macho fare, performing in ‘The Rocky Horror Show’ in Australia in the dual roles of Eddie and Dr Scott.

40. The famous floating red lips that sing the movie’s opening song “Science Fiction Double Feature” were inspired by Man Ray’s 1936 painting “The Lovers” and belong to Patricia Quinn, who played Magenta.

41. Patricia Quinn sang “Science Fiction Double Feature” in the original London production of The Rocky Horror Show—and she threatened to drop out of the movie when she found out O’Brien would sing it instead.

42.  Model Lorelei Shark provided the mouth on the movie’s iconic poster. You might think that Quinn’s lips were also used for the now instantly recognisable Rocky Horror promo poster, but in fact the popular ’70s model Lorelei Shark provided the sexy mouth.

43. When Rocky Horror first opened, Meat Loaf and director Jim Sherman bought tickets for a screening in the Midwest. They were the only ones in the movie theatre.

44. Princess Diana was a Rocky Horror fan! The princess requested a meeting with Tim Curry and during an interview, Curry remembers she told him with a naughty smile: “Rocky Horror quite completed my education.”

45.  The tape playing in Brad’s car whilst he and Janet are driving in the rain is Nixon’s 1974 resignation speech.

46. Grant Wood’s “American Gothic” is parodied throughout the movie and reflected in items such as the pitchfork ray gun.

47.  The Rocky Horror Picture Show was banned in South Africa, but not before 250,000 people saw the movie and became instant fans.

48. There was a (wacky) ’80s follow up movie featuring Brad and Janet. O’Brien and Sharman collaborated again in 1981 movie “Shock Treatment” which – although not a direct sequel to The Rocky Horror Picture Show – featured the characters of Brad and Janet and saw most of the principal Rocky Horror cast return, without Tim Curry. Although not as popular as Rocky Horror, the loopy “Shock Treatment” has gained its own cult following and – in an enjoyable twist – O’Brien has adapted it for the stage. The production premiered at the King’s Head theatre in Islington, London, in the United Kingdom in the spring of 2015.

49.  O’Brien wrote a direct sequel to Rocky Horror in 1988. The movie was to be called “Revenge of the Old Queen” and bootleg copies of the script can be found online, but it now seems unlikely that the movie will ever be made. In the script characters directly reference The Rocky Horror Picture Show, revealing that the plot was actually a true story and aliens from the planet Transsexual in the galaxy Transylvania are actually walking among normal humans on earth.

50. You can attend various regular Rocky Horror conventions around the world.

51.  The disembodied lips are featured on posters and other merchandise for the movie, with the tag line “A Different Set of Jaws”, a spoof of the poster for the movie Jaws, which was also produced in 1975.

52. In 2005, the “Rocky Horror Picture Show” was selected for preservation in the United States National Movie Registry by the Library of Congress as being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant”

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