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Happy Birthday, Dear Rocky! 38 Freaky Facts About The Rocky Horror Picture Show

Happy Birthday, Dear Rocky! 38 Freaky Facts About The Rocky Horror Picture Show
Richard O'Brien, Tim Curry & Patricia Quinn in 'Rocky Horror Picture Show'
Learn 38 frightening facts about the smash hit 'The Rocky Horror Picture Show'!

Break out your fishnets and pink rubber gloves…and let’s do the Time Warp again! The Rocky Horror Picture Show premiered in London, England, on August 14, 1975. Based on the hit London musical The Rocky Horror Show, the film featured many of the production’s original stars, including Tim Curry and the show's writer, Richard O'Brien. A box office flop at first, the movie soon became a cult classic, paving the way for a raucous midnight showing (complete with audience participation, props and costumes) at the Waverly Theatre in New York City. Thirty-eight years later, more than 200 midnight showings of The Rocky Horror Picture Show are held worldwide, and the film has grossed more than $365 million. In honor of the movie’s birthday, check out 38 facts about Brad, Janet and our favorite aliens from transsexual Transylvania. Oh, Rocky!

1. The Rocky Horror Picture Show was filmed at The Oakley Court in Windsor, England, which has since been turned into a hotel. You can actually stay there!

2. The Oakley Court may look like fancy digs now, but when it was used as the filming location, it had no heat or bathrooms.

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

4. The film was shot October through December in England. “The castle where we shot was leaking,” Barry Bostwick (Brad) said in an interview. “I was always wet.”

5. According to Bostwick, there was one designated “warm room” in the castle with space heaters that the cast would crowd into between takes…until it caught on fire.

6. The Oakley Court was used in other horror movies, including The Brides of Dracula, And Now the Screaming Starts, The Old Dark House and Murder by Death.

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

8. The film featured several performers who appeared in The Rocky Horror Show onstage, 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 filmed over six weeks with a budget of $1.4 million.

10. The famous floating red lips that sing the film’s opening song "Science Fiction Double Feature" were inspired by Man Ray’s 1936 painting "The Lovers."

11. 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 be singing it instead.

12. Although Quinn didn’t sing "Science Fiction Double Feature," her lips were used in the iconic opening number.

13. The clock featured in “The Time Warp” had a real skeleton inside—it sold for 35,000 pounds (about $54,000) at auction.

14. Rocky, played by Peter Hinwood, was an underwear model with no acting experience. All of his speaking lines were cut, and his singing voice was dubbed by singer Trevor White.

15. Richard O’Brien borrowed the famous line “don’t dream it, be it” from the back of a magazine.

16. Set builders forgot to put a door in the laboratory set, so Dr. Scott had to crash through the wall to make his entrance.

17. Steve Martin auditioned to play Brad, but was passed over for Barry Bostwick, who had received a Tony nomination in 1972 for creating the role of Danny Zuko in Grease.

18. Rolling Stones frontman Mick Jagger asked to play Frank-N-Furter in the film. The creative team turned him down in favor of the musical’s original star, Tim Curry.

19. Tim Curry modeled Frank-N-Furter's voice after two women: Queen Elizabeth II and his mother.

20. Writer, creator and star Richard O’Brien’s wife Kimi Wong makes a cameo in the wedding scene and as a Transylvanian.

21. In the film’s DVD commentary, O’Brien reveals he and Patricia Quinn had smoked “something exotic” before filming the song “Dammit Janet.”

22. O’Brien initially wanted the first 20 minutes of the movie to be black-and-white, like The Wizard of Oz, then switch to color when Frank-N-Furter enters. The idea was scrapped by 20th Century Fox.

23. In the dinner scene, Barry Bostwick pounds his fist on the table, accidentally hitting Susan Sarandon’s hand—and her reaction is priceless.

24. ...But don’t feel sorry for Sarandon! Watch the "floor show" scene carefully: She steps on Bostwick’s foot with her heel, visibly hurting him.

25. Only Tim Curry and Richard O’Brien knew Eddie’s remains were under the table during the dinner scene—when the body is revealed, the looks of horror on the actors' faces were real.

26. Pierre La Roche, who did makeup for Mick Jagger and created David Bowie’s iconic Ziggy Stardust makeup, created Dr. Frank-N-Furter’s look—but it took him so long to apply the makeup (four hours), Curry ended up doing it himself.

27. According to Richard O’Brien, Susan Sarandon and Barry Bostwick “were actually an item” during filming.

28. In the London stage production, Eddie and Dr. Scott were played by the same actor. When Meat Loaf was brought on board to play Eddie, he was disappointed when he found out he wasn’t playing Dr. Scott, too. “I was a really good Dr. Scott,” Meat Loaf said in an interview.

29. Meat Loaf couldn’t ride a motorcycle, so a (much smaller) body double was used for “Hot Patootie.” In close-ups, the star is rolling in a wheelchair.

30. 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 theater.

31. The movie's midnight showings began at the Waverly Theatre in New York City on April 1, 1976. As time went on, audience members began shouting at the screen and throwing props, like toast and rice.

32. According to Rocky Horror Picture Show Fan Club president Sal Piro, Louis Farese, a Staten Island kindergarten teacher, was the first to create audience callbacks, where fans shout jokes back to the screen during the movie.

33. Tim Curry says he attempted to see a midnight showing of the film at the Waverly Theatre and was kicked out by an usher for being “an imposter.” After showing his passport, the usher apologized and invited him in, but Curry declined.

34. Princess Diana was a Rocky Horror fan! The princess requested a meeting with Tim Curry and in an interview, Curry remembers she told him with a “wicked smile” that Rocky Horror “quite completed my education.”

35. 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.

36. Many movies and TV shows have paid tribute to The Rocky Horror Picture Show, including Fame, Glee, The Drew Carey Show, That ‘70s Show, 3rd Rock From the Sun, CSI: NY, Charles in Charge, Halloween II, Loser, Men in Black, Vice Squad and The Perks of Being a Wallflower.

37. The Rocky Horror Picture Show is the record holder for the longest theatrical release in history—it continues to play in theaters across the United States.

38. 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.”

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