The first time I ever encountered ROCKY HORROR was in a record store in Tinton Falls, New Jersey in 1974.
I had moved to NJ from Phoenix, Arizona when I was nine. I lived in New Jersey for eight years.
In 1974, I was barely a teenager, and I was doing my new weekend routine of going to the local record store.
The store was located in a small shopping center called Atlantic Superama on Shrewsbury Avenue and Route 35.

Atlantic Superama
980 Shrewsbury Avenue
Tinton Falls NJ

I was flipping through the record racks when an LP cover caught my eye. I really liked the picture of the girl.
And I thought it was even cooler when I looked on the back cover and I saw a picture of the back of the girls head.
I had never seen record with a cover like it before. It just looked cool to me.
The LP called was "Lou Adler Presents THE ROCKY HORROR SHOW Starring Tim Curry - Original Roxy Cast".
By the title and look on the girls face, I thought that the subject matter might be some sort of horror parody.
I did not buy the LP at the time, but it stayed in stock in the record store for the better part of a year.
At one time, someone had opened the plastic sleeve and I saw the inside cover.
I didn't really know what to make of it. The situations that I saw seemed rather "adult" and "different".
Perhaps it was another one of those "hippie rock musicals" that had gained popularity over the past couple of years.
They all looked like they were having a pretty good time, though.
The album eventually disappeared from the store and ROCKY HORROR disappeared from my mind.
But the album cover image never left me.

By 1978, I was collecting import vinyl and spent a lot of time browsing records at Sam Goody's located inside Monmouth Mall.
I picked up a Jem Records import catalog. I took it home and I started browsing through it with my sister.
I saw the cover for the "THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW" soundtrack LP.
Once again, I thought the cover was cool. It didn't look like any other LP cover that I had ever seen before.
But there was something familiar about it, but I couldn't quite put my finger on it.
I said, "THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW?" My sister replied, "I've heard it's a great movie."
Again, I didn't buy the LP, and not once did I get the connection to the album that I has seen four years earlier.
And once again, ROCKY HORROR disappeared from my mind.

By July of 1978, I was a punk weirdo living in Mira Loma, California.
I was two weeks out of high school, and I had a very hard time adjusting my new environment.
The "California Lifestyle" that I saw for years on TV certainly did not apply to me.
I was, at the time, fat, unattractive to girls, and awkward.
I didn't fit in with anyone I met, and I did not know how, or had the means to express myself.
My new home life was not happy at all. I was miserable.

The only real joy I had back then was being able to visit a record store. It was my only means of escape.
I would go to Licorice Pizza at Tyler Mall just to get out the house. They had the best records.
One day when I was at Licorice Pizza when I noticed an LP cover beckoning to me.
I looked at the front and back covers and I liked what I saw.
The artwork and the design of the cover looked great. And I loved the song titles.
This time I didn't buy it because I didn't have the money.
And I still didn't I get the connection to the album that I had seen four years earlier.
To me, "THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW " meant a movie that I had not seen yet or knew anything about.

My only other solace was the radio.
Dr. Demento was broadcasting his legendary Sunday night radio show on K-MET 94.7 FM at Metromedia Square in Hollywood.
"And Remember To STAY DEMENTED!!!" He would regularly play songs from the film soundtrack.
In August 1978, he played a song called "Sweet Transvestite".
It was the first ROCKY HORROR song that I ever heard.
Dr. Demento credited the singer as Tim Curry. His voice blew me away. A Shakespearean baritone singing rock 'n' roll was new to me.
When I heard Tim sing for the first time, something inside me just "clicked'.
i finally understood the concept of vocal projection, and putting every bit of my heart, body and soul into my own singing.

I heard some other of the other songs, notably "Science Fiction Double Feature", "The Time Warp", and "Rose Tint My World".
I fell in love with the music. It was simple and fun. I knew that I had to see this film, if only for the music.

On September 18, 1978, I watched an episode of "People", a new weekly TV series based on the popular magazine.
I was interested in watching the segment on Greta Garbo, but what caught my attention was the segment that preceded it.
The segment was about the bizarre goings-on at the Kings Court Theater in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
It featured ROCKY HORROR being performed by the Kings Court Theater Cast.
Even though it was only a few moments of footage, I consider the Kings Court Theater Cast to be the first cast that I ever saw.
I loved it. was impressed and curious about these odd happenings taking place in a movie theater.
The segment mentioned that this strange phenomena was taking place in theaters in other cities.

By now, the word was out that there were some rather strange and bizarre things about "THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW".

Creepy things. Disturbing things. Things that people "just didn't do" in movie theaters.
When I heard that "THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW" was going to be playing in Riverside, I just knew that I had to be there.

UA Cinema 4 Tyler Mall
3485 Tyler Street
Riverside CA

"THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW" originally opened at the UA Cinema 4 - Tyler Mall in Riverside CA on October 6, 1976.
It was part of a general re-release of the film in the greater Los Angeles area, paired with "Phantom of the Paradise."
On February 2, 1979, "THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW" returned as a Midnight movie at the UA Cinema 4 - Tyler Mall.
I was a Virgin. I went out of curiosity and my interest in the music.
It was to be a night out that I was going to remember for a very long time.
The theater was SOLD OUT! And there were LOT of pretty girls. I knew this was gonna be good.
There was no "cast" of any kind. There were a variety of people...punks, stoners, surfers, straights...and me.
And there were a couple of people dressed in Transylvanian outfits.

I sat towards the back row. The theater soon filled up. It was the first time that I had ever seen a theater that was completely full.
For almost 20 minutes, a lot of people started chanting "LIPS! LIPS! WE WANT LIPS! LIPS! LIPS! WE WANT LIPS!"
The lights went down and the film started. And then...there were "LIPS". And they were good.
I loved how the audience would cheer or boo each character as their names appeared during the opening credits.
As the credits rolled, I noticed that the only actors that I had ever heard of were Charles Gray and Meat Loaf.
Dr. Demento had credited Tim Curry on his show as the singer of "Sweet Transvestite", but that was all that I knew about him.

"Over At The Frankenstein Place"
UA Cinema 4 Tyler Mall
Riverside CA

From the collection of Julie Ford

And by the time the film was over, I was hooked. I knew that I had experienced a whole new and different approach to entertainment.
The barriers between what was going on up on the screen and the audience were gone.
I loved how the audience would talk back and interact with the images on the screen.
The audience was the show. These were some very brave, passionate, and creative people.
There was life and energy in that room. It was easy to do "The Time Warp".
I had tasted blood, and I wanted more. I wanted to see it again.

Back then, "THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW" played on both Fridays and Saturdays.
It was possible to see the film more than 100 times in your first year.
So I went back the next night. And the next weekend. And the next. And the next.
Soon I was going back on both Fridays and Saturdays every single week.
I felt like I had found something that would allow me to express myself creatively.
I was not allowed in bars yet, and I knew of no bands or musical theater groups in my local area.
Going to ROCKY HORROR gave me the opportunity to sing a regular set of songs and give myself a solid,
enjoyable vocal work out with an audience that is familiar and appreciative of the music itself.
And more importantly, it was an opportunity for me to get out there and meet people.
And I was now a Tim Curry fan. I loved his performance as Dr. Frank 'N' Furter.
It wasn't very long after seeing the film that I bought my first Tim Curry record, "I Will" b/w "Brontosaurus".

My first costume was a Transylvanian knock-off with a face full of cheap greaspaint.
It wasn't too long before l saw my first "Frank". I don't remember his name. He stood about 4 feet tall.
Soon, after that, other people started coming to the show dressed as specific characters.
I learned the response dialog, and I was starting to make people laugh with some of my own.
And I didn't give a rats-ass if anyone thought what I was doing was "strange" or "abnormal".

I started to meet people that accepted me for who I was rather than by what I looked like or how much money I had.
Their attitude wasn't "what can you do for us". Their attitude was "what can you do WITH us."
And there were plenty of girls who, for once, didn't judge me and were not afraid to talk to me.
If you dug ROCKY HORROR or...Tim were in!
I knew that this is was where I wanted to be. I was really having fun for the first time in my life.

I really got hooked on the music. I bought the soundtrack LP and started learning the songs.
I'm the proud owner of a first US pressing of the soundtrack LP. I eventually bought the cassette. And then the 8-track.
The music in ROCKY HORROR is classic, traditional rock'n'roll music.
The original mono soundtrack of "THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW" is still my favorite version of the music.
I love the mix and the arrangement of "The Time Warp" that was used in the film!
The guitars are much more prominent in the film mix, as opposed to the album where the horns are louder.
Count Ian Blair plays some of my all-time favorite guitar parts.

But back then, only the edited "US Version" of the film was shown in all North Amercian theaters.
Unlike the uncut "UK Version", the "US Version" does not end with "Super Heroes" and "Science Fiction Double Feature Reprise".
The "US Version" ends with "Time Warp Reprise" over the end credits.
I wondered why there were two songs on the LP that I hadn't seen in the film, and two songs in the film that weren't on the LP.
I have always wished that the LP included "Sword Of Damocles", and "Planet Schmanet Janet".

I soon re-discovered the Original Roxy Cast Album of "THE ROCKY HORROR SHOW".
I finally made the connection to the album that I had seen five years earlier.
This time, I quickly added it to my record collection. I love that album! It is an experience in itself.
The Original Roxy Cast Album is still my favorite stage version of "THE ROCKY HORROR SHOW".
It was with this album that I fell in love with the song, "Once In A While".
Members of L.A.'s studio elite, "The Wrecking Crew" played on the LP.
And their names were...Tommy Tedesco, Hal Blaine, Larry Knechtel, Dean Parks, Joe Osborn and Jim Horn.
I got to see Bruce Scott, the actor who played Riff-Raff in the Original Roxy Cast at Squeeze's, a Riverside punk club.
He had a 3-piece band called RIFF-RAFF, and he was opening for another band called NUMBERS.
I found the Original Roxy Cast Songbook in a sheet music store in Corona for $5.95. I still have it.

The first person I met at ROCKY HORROR was Julie Ford.
The first time I saw Julie, she was dressed as Frank 'N' Furter with the leather jacket and whip.
The next time I saw her, she was Columbia, and she was with Vid Kadavre.
Vid was dressed as Frank, and I was blown away by the fact he was in a really good costume.
They too had been going to ROCKY HORROR since the night it opened in Riverside.
Vid and Julie made a great team. They had were brave, inspiring, and very creative.

Riverside CA

From the collection of Julie Ford

We started hanging out together. We liked the same things, science fiction, old horror movies, and great music.
It wasn't long before we started performing ROCKY HORROR together.
We weren't so a much a cast as we were a loose group of performers. We were "just there".
A nice fellow named Matt Patterson soon started hanging out with us, and he was our first Riff Raff.
Audiences liked us. We were doing something right.

UA Cinema 4 Tyler Mall
Riverside CA

From the collection of Julie Ford

But in those early days, ROCKY HORROR was certainly not without it's down moments.
People used to throw eggs, drinks, and other objects at us while we would do "The Time Warp".
One night, some jerk threw an entire sealed cup of soda at Vid. It burst on impact, and Vid got soaked.
Being the trouper he is, he continued to perform, and the crowd cheered him on.
Another time, some rube walked up to the screen an extingushed a lit cigarette on it.
And yet another time, some angry surfer dude threw a bottle at us. He missed, but that brought the cops in.
The theater got shut down twice because of the rowdiness.

"The Song Remains The Same" crowd hated our guts. And I mean they REALLY hated us.
It was really hard sometimes having to deal with these In-bred-tweaker-assholes.
They would show up at the theater before the show and they just wanted to kick your ass.
Still, I refused to let a bunch of idiots ruin my new-found fun.
I had lost 40 pounds over the summer. I wasn't a fat geek anymore. I was big, strong, and rather intimidating.
All bullies are cowards by nature, and they can't handle things when their cruelty backfires on them.
After standing up to the bullies a few times, they eventually left us alone.

In August 1979, we met Richard Gifford in line at the theater. He was wearing a Transylvanian tailcoat and a top-hat.
Richard was walking up and down the line to get people sign a petition to have "The Time Warp" played on The Dr. Demento Show.
We all just sort of hit it off right there and then. We knew right away that he was "one of us".
Richard quickly joined our growing group. I was really happy to meet others that were willing to take participation to extremes.
At first, Richard would dress in his Floor Show Brad costume, and other times he would play Transylvanian Kimi Wong.
But Richard was a genuine Handyman. His abilities as a fixer were second to none.
It wouldn't be long until he started playing the role that he was born to play: Riff Raff.
Richard became one of my closest friends and primary ROCKY HORROR creative collaborator. We were a team.

Riverside CA

From the collection of Richard Gifford

After the show, we wound up at Winchell's Donut House on Magnolia Blvd.
We soon met Lisa Ciafu, Sherri Johnson, Cindy Okert, Patrick Miller, and Selina Phanara.
We all eventually started hanging out at Denny's on Madison Street.
"Any of you guys know how to Madison?"
During the day we would hang out Cindy's house in La Sierra, and at Richard's place in Box Springs.
We called ourselves "THE RIVERSIDE ROCKYS". We had a lot of fun together.

More and more people were getting involved. It was like they were being converted. It was great!
Each week, we saw a few more people coming to the show in costumes and participating.
All of us came from different backgrounds, and yet It was as if we were destined to be drawn together.
And the petition that Richard had sent to Dr. Demento pushed "The Time Warp" to the #1 spot for a week.
We believed in ROCKY HORROR.

It was around this time that I decided that I wanted to do more than play Transylvanian.
Transylvanians are great, but after Frank and Rocky's "wedding", they disappear from the story.
All of the majors roles were taken except for Dr. Everett V. Scott and The Criminologist
And it was clear that no one wanted to play the part of The Criminologist.
Aside from Dr. Everett V. Scott, The Criminologist was the character that audiences loved to hate.

It just seemed to me to be the most natural and obvious role for me to play.

I liked the idea of playing Crim because the character is different from all the others.
The Crim tells the story,
has great dialogue, sings, leads "The Time Warp", and he's still alive at the end of the film.
He is the character who takes us on "a strange journey" week after week.
I knew I could handle the abuse from the audience, and it would only strengthen our group.
I wouldn't have to worry about fitting into corsets.

I Know That I Was NOT "The First ROCKY HORROR Fan To Play The Crim". But I do know that I was "ONE Of The First".
Darren Kimmel at the 8th Street Playhouse in NYC, and Mike Psyche at the Kings Court Theater in Pittsburgh both pre-date me.
But other than them, there were no other regular, performing Crims that I, or anyone else, knew of.
I think I was the first Crim on the West Coast until Mark Williams started playing the role the following year at the Cove Theater in Hermosa Beach.
Over the next four years, I became one of the most visible Crims in the growing ROCKY HORROR community.

I was on to something. My artisitic side was being fired-up like never before.
My outlook on things seemed to get better every day.
I was happy. This was great!

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