Monday, July 7, 2014

College Life: Episode 8: My Days as a Rocky Horror Picture Show Fan

For the summer, once a week I'll be sharing a story from my college days at CSU, 1984-1988. I will leave links at the end of each post for previous episodes.

(So Mom and Dad, remember how I've referred to antics in college that started me down a path that perhaps wasn't so good for me? This is one of those stories.  So I'm thinking you might not want to read this one...just saying.  Your choice.)

I don't know if college students still observe this cultish ritual, but according to Wikipedia, the tradition is alive and doing well.  They just didn't mention what age group still goes to the movies at midnight, shouts at the screen, throws rice and toast and other things that I'm sure theater employees enjoy cleaning up.  I used to be one of those college students.

I don't really remember how it all started, but one Saturday night my physics study group (remember those great guys who tutored me? link below if you don't) invited me to some movie called the Rocky Horror Picture Show.  I asked them what it was about.  

"Well it's like a horror musical, satire, comedy, farce, sci-fi but quite rated R sorta movie.  It's hysterical and the audience dresses up and participates.  There's nothing like it. You really have to see it to understand."  I went.  

Their's was a pretty good description.  At first I was appalled at some of what I was seeing, but I was also laughing, and the songs were absolutely hysterical, and the movie didn't even try to take itself seriously, and it was a mighty good time.  My stomach muscles were sore the next day from laughing.

We of course weren't REAL fans yet.  We didn't bring anything to throw.  We didn't dress up.  We did make it a regular Saturday night event, though.  It didn't take us long to catch on to what we needed.  I don't remember it all, but there's a wedding scene with a toast to the bride and groom where we all throw toast.  (Yes, you do get hit with the toast coming from behind you.  Most are kind enough not to butter it.)  You also throw rice at the departing couple.  

I remember rolls of toilet paper are tossed at some point - takes practice to make the roll un-roll as you throw it, but I knew how to do that from tp-ing people's trees (um, yeah, Mom and Dad, if you're reading, I did that too...but he deserved it).  You also throw hot dogs (my memory isn't good enough for where that one comes in) nor the squirt guns, but it does rain a lot, and there's an umbrella scene...

As we got better and better at this, we connected with the group of friends of one of the study buddies.  They were practically professionals.  One of them was one of the live actors who stood in front of the screen and acted out the movie along with the actors, at THE theater in downtown Denver.  

We started making pilgrimages.  We met some very interesting people and their interesting friends...and so on and so on.

Have you seen it?  Did you become a fan?  Have you thrown toast in a movie theater?  (See even that part would offend my poor mother, waste of food AND littering AND bad manners...AND not cleaning it up...she really did raise me right...doesn't mean I always obeyed...)

©2014 All Rights Reserved
Photo Credit: Movie Poster

Episode 5: A Physics Prank
Episode 6:  Marvelous Marble
Episode 7: I Don't Hate My Laptop Quite as Much


Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Tina - well that's experiencing College Life .. and sounds amazing for students ... great you had those physics friends - are you still friends with any of them?

I've seen performances since - ie in recent years .. but at that stage of my life I thought it sounded terrible! Also it was in London ..

It does sound like a fun time .. and perhaps your Mother won't worry so much now ... she knows you've been clearing up for a while around others ...

Cheers and have a good week - Hilary

Jeremy [Retro] said...

It's just... a jump to the left and a step to the right.

I have never experienced this live, though I always wanted to.

Jeremy [Retro]

There's no earthly way of knowing.
Which direction we are going!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I've been to a midnight showing of Rocky Horror. I guess because I'm just naturally reserved I never got into it though.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

I was warned ahead of time to bring things. So I came prepared with a lighter and squirt gun. The staff took my TP though.

Mason Canyon said...

I have yet to see this movie. Not sure why I just couldn't get into the rush everyone seem to have for it.

Rachel said...

I've never seen it. I tried to watch it on TV but it had already started, so I couldn't do it. But my mom and I have had popcorn fights in the movie theater. We did try to clean up some, but considering most landed in my shirt, it wasn't too bad haha.

Brian Miller said...

ha. i have seen it...and went to those showings in college...and made some very interesting friends...pretty funny too when they would show up at the dorm room, as they were very different than my room

A Beer for the Shower said...

I've seen this, but not in the same fashion. That sounds like a blast. Every year we go see The Room at the CU campus, where everyone is encouraged to shout comments at the screen. Also, every time they show a spoon on the screen (inside joke with the movie) people are encouraged to lob spoons. It's practically the most fun you can have with 2 hours and a bucket full of spoons.

Lisa said...

The first time I saw Rocky Horror was a live show - and they were gracious enough to sell "Virgin Bags" at the door for those of us who didn't bring anything to throw. It was SO FUN!!! It's just not the same seeing it on TV at home.

JoJo said...

I believe the TP is for the 'great scott!' exclamation. I wanted to go so bad when I was in high school in the early 80s but of course my nazi mom wouldn't let me b/c it was a midnight movie. Although i'm sure it was playing in Boston when I was in college, I didn't ever go. I've only seen one midnight movie, pink floyd's 'the wall'. I didn't actually see RHPS till I was an adult on Comedy Central. I guess by that time I was either too old for it or the novelty had passed since I was already sick of that 'time warp' song by the end of the 80s.

Jo said...

Never saw it and certainly never came across anything like this in my travels through life. Wouldn't have been my scene anyway, sorry.

cleemckenzie said...

I guess everyone needs to experience this at least once. I remember having a hard time with the throwing, too. It was so against my nature. Still I managed to do a bit of marshmallow hurling.

Anonymous said...

I'm so glad you wrote about this, Tina. I was aware of it in college but never went even though I suspected I was missing something uniquely fun. My Mom would have been appalled as well!

Hope you're feeling a little better than last month!

Andrew Leon said...

I suppose I'm only a quasi-fan. I've never been to a midnight showing of it, although I did have a friend or three who used to invite me on a regular basis. Probably, it's just my opposition to dressing up.

Tim Curry is awesome.

klahanie said...

Hi Tina,

Humble apologies for not being able to keep up. I'm in the midst of moving to a new home. It's hectic as you can well imagine.

The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Oh good grief. Every big party over here and somebody insists on playing the Time Warp song. Incidentally, the star of the movie, Richard O'Brien, ended up doing a bizarre game show over here called, "The Crystal Maze."

Yikes and now the Time Warp song is rattling around in my head!

Be well, dear friend.

Gary :)

Anonymous said...

OMG Tina, I love The Rocky Horror Picture Show! Still do. I first saw it in my first semester of senior year high school (1982-83). I spent one semester of high school in Boston, and a group of us went to a live midnight show and I was the only 'Virgin' in the group.

After that, I was hooked. I passed the tradition on to my daughter, although her first time seeing it was on DVD. :(

Silvia Writes said...

Hope you feel much better soon, Tina. Sending good vibes and hugs!


Anonymous said...

wow, thank-YOU for some great feeling memories! your blog took me back to Florida State University where I saw RHPShow a couple dozen times. Oh Brad, Oh Janet,Oh Rocky!
i appreciate the smile today in a big way. it's funny- you never know what day your blog will make someone smile later... thanks!!

Unknown said...

Reading through all eight installments is really entertaining. It made me reminiscent of my own college antics. Also, I love Rocky Horror. Hahaha! Thank you so much for sharing that! I hope you're having the best time of your life.

Deborah Williams @ Choice Career College