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Celebrating Canada’s LGBTQ2+ Community

FLASHBACK: The Rocky Horror Picture Show Premieres In North America (September 26, 1975)

September 26, 1975: Today in LGBTQ+ history…

On September 26, 1975, The Rocky Horror Picture Show had its North American premiere at the UA Westwood in Los Angeles before rolling out across the United States and Canada.The film, with its underlying message to be open-minded and not judge people just because they are different, had originally opened in the United Kingdom a month earlier, at the Rialto Theatre in London on August 14, 1975.

The film was an adaptation of Richard O’Brien’s stage production, which debuted at London’s Royal Court Theatre back in 1973. O’Brien co-wrote the screenplay of the film adaptation and appeared in the film as Riff Raff.

“I wrote it, first of all, for myself to wile away the long winter nights while I was out of work,” O’Brien once said. “It just all happened, really.”

Filming began in England in Fall 1974. O’Brien recruited Tim Curry (Dr. Frank N. Furter), Patricia Quinn (Magenta) and Nell Campbell (Columbia) from the stage production to reprise their roles for the film. Producers insisted on casting the two characters of Brad and Janet with American actors, Barry Bostwick and Susan Sarandon.

When the film premiered in L.A., It didn’t cause much of a stir with either critics or moviegoers. But a year later, the film, the songs, the images and the ideals began to catch on as a cult film, eventually leading to the famous audience participation and never-ending midnight screenings that have followed it ever since.

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