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Richard O'Brien's Teddy Award Interview

Note: The Teddy Award (which has just recently been acknowledged as an "official" award of film in Germany) is given every year to commemorate achievements in the area of gay/lesbian/transgender films. In 1998 they presented Richard with a special award for his contributions to the genre in the form of The Rocky Horror Picture Show... and I think in no small way also the culture it has created. The first question is a reference to the award being called a "lifetime achievement" award.

Interviewer: Isn't it a little early for this award?

RO'B: Yeah . . . yeah . . . this is-this is an award for still being alive, actually. It's very nice.

Int: When you made that very important show, did you really expect that it would become one of the most famous musicals and films of all times?

RO'B: Well, next year we'll be celebrating 25 years of the movie, it's 25 years of the stage show this year- Silver Anniversary. I thought it would appeal to people for five weeks, it had a five week run originally, and I thought at the end of that time, I thought I'd be looking for work again . . . but it wasn't that way.

Int: Do you have any explanation for the interactivity miracle of the Rocky Horror Picture Show?

RO'B: It's pretty unique, in that respect, yeah. And there are no explanations, it started in America with the movie- late night screenings, I first heard about it when it was in Austin, Texas, for some reason or another, seems a very strange place for all that to start, and also in Greenwich Village.

And the strange thing was, when I was a kid, I used to go to the late-night movies with- other- wastrels- young adolescent, spotty, white-faced staring at the screen and shouting lines for each other- you know, just to see how (?) and gauche we could be. And now it's a kind of- it's almost a ritual, isn't it? It's almost church-like.

Int: Usually, there's a barrier between us and the film, and in this case, that barrier is thrown away. That's a great step forward into film history.

RO'B: Uh, yeah. I don't think that's- I don't think you could- you couldn't PLAN that. It- it had to be organic, that growth, and uh, and I think that if you'd tried to plan it, you'd probably have fallen flat on your face. But there are fans, who think- when-when I first watched that movie, I thought we'd-we'd lost somehow, the-the energy of the stage show, and I was very disappointed when I first saw it, because there seemed to be a gap between dialogue.

But now the fans say "Did you leave the gap in the dialogue so that we could say lines at the screen?" Which works anyway. (laughter) I deny it!

Int: Do you have any contact with the other stars of Rocky?

RO'B: I um . . . I run into Barry Bostwick occasionally, I see Meatloaf on a fairly regular basis, and I see Pat Quinn on a very regular basis. Uh, the others have gone their seperate ways, Little Nell's in New York, she's got uh, clubs and restaurants there, and uh, and as you say, Susan's gone on, and Tim lives in the States now, and works from Los Angeles, so I don't see much of him.

Int: (a long prattle which basically asked) What were you thinking about when you wrote RHS?

RO'B: Well, it's a collection of kind of populist, um, things that I liked. B-Movies, and Science Fiction, and Rock-n-Roll, and that kind of stuff. And one of the things we thought we would have a lot of trouble with was- because on stage, we were parodying- those movies. But making a movie, of films which were already to some extent parodies of themselves, we wondered if we would pull it off. Well, apparently we did.

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The Richard O'Brien Crusade est. 1996