"SHOCK TREATMENT" changed everything. ROCKY HORROR was never the same after "SHOCK TREATMENT".

We had all heard for through the grapevine that Richard O'Brien had been working on a sequel to "THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW".
It was tentatively titled "The Brad And Janet Show" and it eventually evolved into "SHOCK TREATMENT".
Richard O'Brien, Lou Adler, Jim Sharman, Michael White, Richard Hartley, and a lot of the old gang were involved with it.
But Tim Curry wasn't in it. Nor were Susan Sarandon, Barry Bostwick, Meatloaf, Jonathan Adams, or Peter Hinwood.
We all pretty much knew it was not going to be "Rocky Horror Shows His Heels".

I honestly respect those people who embraced and are devoted to "SHOCK TREATMENT".
"SHOCK TREATMENT" opened up a lot of creative opportunities for a lot of people.
It greatly expanded the ROCKY HORROR community, and I accept that it is a part of ROCKY HORROR experience.
But the fact is that "SHOCK TREATMENT" was produced as a "cash-in". It was the world's first pre-planned cult film.
It was aimed and marketed at ROCKY HORROR fans, and, as Richard O'Brien later said, "I think the audience sort of smelled that."
"It's Not A Sequel, Not A Prequel, It's An Equal!" was the way it was sold to the audience.
But it's not "An Equal". At least not for me. The transition from ROCKY to SHOCKY was a very difficult time in my life.
It was a time in which a lot of things changed very quickly for me. I went from the top of the world to bottom of the barrel.
Here's what happened...

February 1981. The Tiffany was still #1 for ROCKY HORROR on the West Coast, and one of the top-grossing ROCKY HORROR theaters in the world.
I had now been involved with ROCKY HORROR for two years, and a regular performer at the Tiffany for over a year.
I considered myself very lucky to be playing Crim at the Tiffany. We were doing four shows a week, and I was having a great time.
Jim Cochrane from THE DENTON AFFAIR began working with THE TIFFANY TROUPE as Brad.
Jim was a great Brad, and we all knew that we were very lucky to have him as regular, full-time cast member.
It was still a very positive and energetic time at the Tiffany. The crowds were big and I was in love. Things were good.

But things started going bad shortly after the THE ROCKY HORROR SHOW closed at the Aquarius Theatre in late-March 1981.
A very serious rift occurred within THE TIFFANY TROUPE that caused a lot of grief, heartache, stress, and the first real inklings of disillusionment.
One night, Tori, our Janet, abruptly left THE TIFFANY TROUPE. No explanations. No goodbyes to anyone. Nothing.
Tori was very cool, sweet, and a great Janet. She never hurt anyone. We never saw her again. It was a devastating blow.
I was first told that it was an argument between her and Brandi, but it didn't take long to figure out what was really going on.
THE TIFFANY TROUPE was being manipulated. The person responsible for it had enormous influence on a leading member of our cast.
"This...person" considered the growing popularity of the other members of THE TIFFANY TROUPE as a threat her influence.
I didn't like a lot of what was going on, but I really loved performing at the Tiffany. It was the place to be.

Unfortunately, there was another very serious concern that led to something far more ominous.
Ever since THE ROCKY HORROR SHOW closed at the Aquarius Theatre, the quality of Garrett's performances had declined considerably.
She acted like she didn't care anymore. She seemed lackadaisical, uninvolved, and bored. And it really showed.
Garrett was cool, but nobody ever dared to cross her. To her, it was still very much "The Rocky Horror Garrett Show".
She was very used to having her very own private cheering section of groupies that worshiped her every move at every show.
She was in all the pictures, and she got all of the interviews. Almost every costume contest was rigged in her favor every single time.

But times had changed recently. Garrett's original fans had moved on to other things and they weren't showing up that much anymore.
Rocky casts were now expected to perform the whole show as the film rolled, and
THE TIFFANY TROUPE was no exception.
We, along with other visiting groups, would perform in the aisles and the middle of the theater during the film.
But Garrett showed little interest. She didn't like the idea of performing during the entire film.
She started getting in the habit of leaving the theater soon after Frank would make his entrance on the screen.
This opened up opportunities for Franks from other casts visiting the Tiffany to perform during the rest of the show.
And many of them showed that they could do it with a lot more enthusiasm than Garrett had been showing lately.

Audience tastes had changed, too. Newer, younger fans came to see ROCKY HORROR, not to pay homage to Garrett.

These newer fans weren't interested in watching an aging transsexual hopeful sleepwalking through our pre-show.
They wanted to see a young, sexy Frank, one that looked like the guy they saw at the Aquarius, or at least looked more like the guy they saw up on the screen.
The other members of
THE TIFFANY TROUPE became increasingly frustrated with Garrett's attitude and behavior.
We all had strong personalities and goals, too. ROCKY HORROR meant everything to us.
We had been putting in a lot of hard work, having completely devoted the last couple of years of our lives to ROCKY HORROR.
People started commenting about Garrett
's performances and sadly, her appearance. One night, someone started booing her.
It expressed what many of us were starting to feel, yet had been reluctant to say about our show:
It was time for new blood.

By mid-April, a full-blown conspiracy to replace Garrett was in full swing.
On June 7, 1891, THE TIFFANY TROUPE informed Garrett that they would no longer perform with her.
She was told that her last show would be at our
upcoming 5th Anniversary Show.
Garrett soon announced
publicly that she would be retiring due to her bursitis. The coup d'état was complete.

On June 19, 1981, The Tiffany presented the "THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW" 5th Anniversary Floor Show".
"That's Hollywood!" filmed our show and interviewed us for their "Cult Classics" episode.
Barry Bostwick was our special guest. Barry had never seen ROCKY HORROR performed in a theater before. He was a Virgin.
He addressed the audience and at one point, he put on a pair of Brad glasses, stepped into character, and gave a very "Brad" look to the audience.
The crowd "got it", and went nuts! He then presented the theater with a pair of what he said were the "original underwear" that he wore in the film.
The underwear were framed and displayed proudly in the Tiffany lobby for a long time.
Barry signed the "He's The Hero" poster. It had now been signed by all three of the film's main stars.
I introduced myself to Barry in the lobby, and he gave me his autograph.


Tiffany Theater
West Hollywood CA
June 19, 1981
From the collection of D. Garrett Gafford

"Brads Shorts (really!)"
Tiffany Theater
West Hollywood CA
June 19, 1981

From the collection of Jim Cochrane

Garrett Gafford gave her last "official" performance as Frank during the evenings pre-show.
The Tiffany presented her with a plaque recognizing her years of devotion to ROCKY HORROR.
I have always believed that the way that Garrett got treated was kind of unfair.
But at the same time,
THE TIFFANY TROUPE was in sort of a "Pete Best" situation.
Severing ties with Garrett was the only way to preserve and improve the group.

After Garrett's last performance, Michael Danke from the Orange County cast made his debut as the Tiffany's primary Frank.
Michael was a dramatic, devoted, and energizing performer. The girls went crazy over him.
And he fit in better with the other members of
Michael was the shot in the arm that the Tiffany needed, and he would remain there as Frank until the theater closed.
But after that night, the Tiffany became a much different place.

As I mentioned earler, I had just moved into Crossroads. I have never regretted moving to Hollywood.
I was sure of one thing, it was a much better than living in a chicken coop in Mira Loma.
But the promised "business aspects" and the "living situation" of my new life in the city weren't quite what I thought they would be.
And I didn't move to Hollywood just to get involved with a lot of drama and heartache, but now the Tiffany had plenty of both.
I soon realized that I was no longer experiencing much of the fun, positive things that brought me to the Tiffany in the first place.
I still believed in ROCKY HORROR, but there were definte changes and situations that I was not really happy with.
I started practicing guitar a lot more. I really wanted to learn how to play.

On July 4, 1981, the Tiffany once again showed the "UK Version" of the film with "Super Heroes" and "Science Fiction Double Feature Reprise".
More than two years had passed since it had been last shown at the Tiffany.
It would be the first time that I, like many in the audience, would see the complete and uncut "UK Version" of the film on the big screen.
It was Fourth of July weekend and we couldn't wait to see something that most of us had only heard of.
As always, the theater was SOLD OUT. Every serious ROCKY HORROR fan was in the house that night.
It was pretty much a regular night until Brad, Janet, and Dr. Scott made their escape from the Castle.
After the Castle lifted off, the theater became eerily quiet. We were all transfixed by what we saw on the screen.
When the film ended and the lights came up, the entire audience erupted in cheers.
The "UK Version" played for both shows, and it was the last time it was played at the Tiffany.
The print was returned to FOX the following Monday, and the theater only ran the edited "US Version" from then on.

It was soon after this that the Tiffany banned one of the most popular ROCKY HORROR participation bits...the use of lighters during "There's A Light".
The reason we were given was that there was, supposedly, "a fire at the 8th Street Playhouse in New York City."
We never did find out if that was true or not. But the only thing that was certain was that ROCKY HORROR was changing.
It was also around this time that I met Nora McGillivray. She was from Tucson, Arizona.
She was a wonderful person, a regular Frankie-fan, and one of the coolest people I ever knew.


October 15, 1962 - September 25, 2007

Tiffany Theater
West Hollywood CA
July 11, 1981
From the collection of Rick Sloane

On July 12, 1981, Sal Piro appeared at an another one of Rick Sloane's R.I.P Conventions in Anaheim CA.
It was appropriately named "The Third Annual Transylvanian Convention". Time certainly had been fleeting.
And I got to co-host and hang out with Gail, My All-Time Favorite Trixie.
This convention was the official beginning of the promotion of "SHOCK TREATMENT" by 20th Century Fox.
The event was filmed for "The Rocky Horror Treatment" and "Real People".
Sal played some of the soundtrack and showed us production photos from the film. The music was great!

Anaheim CA
July 12, 1981
From the collection of Rick Sloane

Anaheim CA
July 12, 198

From the collection of Rick Sloane

July 12, 1981

From the collection of Jim Cochrane

The convention was a blast. Rick ran his R.I.P. films for the audience.
After the films ran, I was doing my schtick when Cyn Fox walked onto the stage and hit me in the face with a pie.
They crowd liked it. It wasn't the first time I got hit with a pie, and it certainly was not the last.
After I was done, I dropped a hit of really good acid.
I went to the Denny's at the hotel and hung out with Jill, Michele, Jim, Gilbert, Cyn, Hale and Jason.
I had a great time. I was feelin' groovy and enjoying the hallucinations!

After it the Con was over, I went back to Crossroads and started listening to "Rodney On The Roq" on KROQ.
The Go-Go's were his guests. They were being really obnoxious & funny...something about horses on the beach.
Rodney also played the B-52's "Party Mix" EP for the first time.
That tripped me out...I was so used the original versions of the songs and unprepared for the re-mixed versions.
It was the first time that LSD had really "blown my mind".
I sat on the couch and watched the walls melt. I laughed a lot that day.

Unfortunately, the hotel claimed that some of the convention-goers had caused $300 in property damage to the hotel.
Neither the RHPS Fan Club or 20th Century Fox lifted a finger or provided a cent towards paying for it.
Rick got stuck with the damages and never produced another convention again.
It was a real shame. Rick's conventions were fun and they brought together ROCKY HORROR Fans from all over.

On August 7, 1981, Rick took us to 20th Century Fox for a private screening of "SHOCK TREATMENT".
We were be the among first ROCKY HORROR fans to see the film.
Jim, Chelsie, Lori, Lisa, Nora, and Jason joined us.
The folks at 20th Century Fox were really nice and we were honored to be there.
And then they rolled the film.

"SHOCK TREATMENT" certainly belongs alongside "THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW" as a companion piece.
I like the fact that it's a continuation of "The Adventures Of Brad & Janet".
I love Jessica Harper's performance as a junked-up Janet. Jessica is one of those actors that "the camera loves".
She's a marvelous screen presence. And I love her voice. Cliff DeYoung was great, too. A dual role is always challenging.
I thought they made a great Brad & Janet. They had a genuine chemistry together.
It was great to see Richard, Pat, Nell, Charles, and Jeremy Newson on the big screen again.
And having Christopher Malcolm involved was a wonderful touch!
The shot of "American Gothic" during "Look What I Did To My Id" got the biggest response from the audience.

But other than the music, "SHOCK TREATMENT" did nothing for me.
I LOVE the music from "SHOCK TREATMENT". For me, the best thing about "SHOCK TREATMENT" is the music.
"SHOCK TREATMENT" contains some of Richard O'Brien's best songs.
Richard Hartley's arrangements and production of the soundtrack are excellent.

I only wish I could say more positive things about the film itself.
It was a boring musical...conspiracy..."comedy"? The story was weak & tepid. There was no "spark that is the breath of life!"
"Don't Dream It...Be It!" had been replaced by "Trust Me...I'm A Doctor!". I'll always take "Absolute Pleasure" over "Sanity For Today" every time.
It was all very nice...and tidy...and clean...and shiny...and bright...and wholesome...and sterile.
I honestly believe that it kind of mocked the ROCKY HORROR audience in a way.
The audience in the film was portrayed as a bunch of stupid, ignorant people concerned only with appeasing their mysterious "Celebrity-In-Chief".

It wasn't funny. There was not a single good laugh in the entire film. And nobody "got any", if you know what I mean.
I didn't have anything to say at the Q&A afterwards. It was a Pretty Big Downer. Even Charles Gray couldn't save it.
I really tried to like the film. I really did. I felt that the the only thing the film had really going for it was the music.
I couldn't relate to the film. It was like beaming back to Transylvania only to find that you were still stuck in Denton USA.
And unlike"THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW", I knew that I could never sit through "SHOCK TREATMENT" over and over again.

We held a post-screening party at Crossroads. A really nice group from Fresno joined us.
But there was another group of self-righteous crashers that showed up. I don't know who invited them. I know I didn't.
They seemed nice at first, but about two hours into the party, they started to openly criticize us.
Then they began to lecture us with their "moral and intellectual superiority".
They got to be such assholes about it, and pissing everyone off, that I had to ask them to leave.
That kind of put a damper on the evening, and the party broke up.

Shortly before the film opened, US Magazine ran an article about "SHOCK TREATMENT".
Jessica Harper was quoted as saying "I'm completely disinterested in the run-of-the-mill-script."
That wasn't very encouraging coming from the star of the film.
Still, everyone bought the "SHOCK TREATMENT" soundtrack album as soon as it was was released.
It got a lot of airplay. We learned every word to the soundtrack within a week or so.
I loved the music, and like so many other ROCKY HORROR fans, I was waiting in "Antici...pation!"

The weekend before "SHOCK TREATMENT" opened, an employee of the Vista Theater showed up in line at the Tiffany.
He was distributing flyers advertising the opening of the film at the Vista the following weekend.
Dave, the manager of the Tiffany, came outside and confronted him. I had never seen him so angry before.
He got in the guy's face, and told him that he could not distribute the flyers because it would take away
business from the Tiffany on the weekends. The guy from from the Vista said that he had every right to do so.
He also reminded Dave that he was standing on a public street. It was a genuine First Amendment moment.
Until Dave started shoving him...and the guy shoved back.
Then Dave punched him...and the guy punched him back...and then it got worse from there.
Their fistfight was a precursor for what was to come.
and "THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW" would be competing against one another.

From the collection of Rick Sloane

Everyone watched the promotional special, "The Rocky Horror Treatment" on TV when it aired on October 24, 1981.
On October 30, 1981, we went to see "SHOCK TREATMENT" for it's opening night at the Vista Theater in Hollywood.
The film was being marketed as a "Midnight Movie", and it had a "limited" release.
There were not a lot of people there that night. The theater sold less than 50 tickets. Not a good sign.
And a second viewing only re-affirmed my original thoughts and feelings that I had about the film.
Although no one said anything after the premiere, we all knew that it was a major disappointment.
Worst. Halloween. Ever. "The First Era of Rocky" had come to an end. You could feel it in the air.

In retrospect, I consider that experience to be the night that my youth actually ended. I just didn't know it yet.
"SHOCK TREATMENT" played at the Vista for a few more weekends and then it disappeared.
After "SHOCK TREATMENT" came and went, ROCKY HORROR became a more "structured" environment.
Over the years, a lot of people from my generation have been asked what caused ROCKY HORROR to lose it's initial popularity.
Most of them answer the question with two words..."SHOCK TREATMENT".

By this point, I had been involved with ROCKY HORROR for almost three years.
Big changes soon came to the Tiffany. Crowds were winding down. We were seeing empty rows in the theater during the Midnight shows.
By now, there was just too much hype and overexposure regarding "SHOCK TREATMENT", and ROCKY HORROR suffered for it.
Audiences were burned-out on all things related to ROCKY HORROR. It wasn't long before the Tiffany stopped the 2 AM shows.
The vibe at the Tiffany had gotten a lot nastier, too. Bad energy was pervading itself into every aspect of our lives.
People were turning on each other. It was almost cutthroat. I didn't know who to trust anymore.
I never thought that it was possible, but for me, ROCKY HORROR just wasn't fun anymore. It was now boring, routine, and unpleasant.
I began to wonder if if I had lost the essence of what made ROCKY HORROR so special to me in the first place.
I gradually stopped going as much, and I didn't spend much time with my fellow cast members.

Playing guitar in a rock'n'roll band was much more important to me now.
I started playing more music with Jim, Gilbert and Don in Hermosa Beach as often as I could.
By the end of 1981, Van Nuys Freight & Supply Co. had been evicted from Crossroads Of The World.
The business aspect of things was a total failure and the parties had gotten WAY out of hand.
I wound up in an lousy living situation at Victory Boulevard & Woodman Avenue in Van Nuys.
On December 5, 1981, I watched Tim Curry host "Saturday Night Live" with Meat Loaf as the musical guest alone and by myself.
I loved "Tim And Meat's One-Stop Rocky Horror Shop". But I was still not very happy during the last few weeks of 1981.

After the beginning of 1982, things started happening almost rapid-fire.
On February 5, 1982. I attended my 3rd Anniversary as a ROCKY HORROR fan at the Tiffany.
I left early. I honestly didn't like the vibe or environment of the Tiffany anymore.
And on top of that, I didn't like some of the newer people that I was starting to meet there, either.

Like the foolish, horny young stud that I was at the time, I started cheating on my girlfriend.
We lived too far away from each other and neither of us had a car.
Our relationship had devolved into a series of long distance phone calls.
I knew it was wrong, but "my new friend" was awesome in bed, and her oral skills were exceptional, and I "just gave in".
But it wasn't long until "my new friend" moved on to the next guy or girl, and I felt like a fool.
In March 1982, Van Nuys Freight & Supply Co. called it quits and we all went our seperate ways.
The next thing I knew, weeks had passed, and I was living out of the back of Don's pickup truck in Torrance.

On April 3, 1982, my life came crashing down within two hours at the "ROCKY ALIVE" event in Hawthorne.
The event was being run by a self-styled ROCKY HORROR impresario/mail-order business owner.
I knew most of the people that were there that day.
I had paid for an advance ticket with a money order, but my ticket never arrived in the mail.
Soon after Jim and I arrived at the event, I realized that I had been ripped-off.

Security that day was handled by fringe members of DREAM POLICE.
When I first met them in 1979, DREAM POLICE were a cool group of Rocky fans from the Strand Theater in San Diego.
They had come to the Tiffany a few times in the past, and we liked them, but they had really changed recently.
They had transformed themselves into a self-styled, self-imposed "ROCKY HORROR Police Force".
They were the people who could not make the cut to join a cast, so they wound up in their version of "security."
DREAM POLICE started becoming unwanted trouble-makers, known for commandeering whatever venue they showed up at.
They had an agenda. And none of it seemed to have anything to do with ROCKY HORROR.
They acted little tyrants, and were frequently booed and told to go away at more than one theater.

modus operandi was always the same: descend en masse onto a venue or event, force their annoying "security services"
when and where they were not wanted nor appreciated, and after the event, retreat back to their home turf San Diego.
One night, they showed up at the Tiffany and then took it upon themselves to "provide security services" to the Tiffany.
They wound up annoying and bullying our audience and intefering with our show. People got pissed, especially the Tiffany regulars and management.
The next time they showed up, they were told that they could pay to see the show, but if they ever tried to impose their will on the Tiffany ever again,
not only would they would be banned from the theater permanently, but also reported to the LA County Sheriff as a "strong-arm organization".
They didn't come back much after that, and when they did, their numbers were fewer and fewer.
But at "ROCKY ALIVE", DREAM POLICE were living up to their reputation as the biggesst assholes on the scene.

For some strange reason, they could not find my name on their list of paid ticket holders.
I was then told that I would not be permitted to purchase another ticket.
Then came the obligatory "Public Humiliation In Front Of My Friends".
So I left. There were a few that people that I would never call "friends" again.
To add insult to injury, a member of DREAM POLICE called the Hawthorne PD and told them that I might be armed. Asshole!
The Hawthorne PD showed up and rousted me Big Time. I was nervous, but I stayed cool.
Within a few minutes, the Hawthorne PD realized that it was all bullshit and a waste of their time, and they told them so.
They left and I waited outside in the van. Fuck Those People. "They didn't like me...they never liked me!"

And from there it just got worse.

The woman that I had fallen in love with and cheated on came out to the van to talk to me.
She cried only for a moment, and then very quickly regained her strength and composure.
She made no qualms about pointing out how much I had hurt her, and how much of a loser I was.
And she was right. I had let her down. She deserved better. And I had completely fucked up.
Someone like her only comes around once in a lifetime...beautiful, smart, classy, and creative.

And I had been a puerile, self-absorbed fool. I was a loser. And I had no one to blame but myself.
In that moment, I felt for the very first time, a new, powerful, and very painful emotion.
The pain of realizing that I had really hurt someone who really loved me.
I was ashamed of myself and my behavior. I hated who I was and what I was doing.
For the first time in my life I knew what is was like to hit rock bottom.
I had lost everything...my self-respect, my home, my job, friends, and now, real love.

I was outside in the rain. And washed-up at 21 years old.

I wanted to get as far away from ROCKY HORROR as I could.

I was done with ROCKY HORROR.

Or, so I thought...

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