Sal Piro the man for who over 40+ years introduced audiences to “Don’t Dream It. Be It.” mantra of the Rocky Horro Picture Show has passed away.
Sal began attending screenings of The Rocky Horror Picture Show at the Waverly Theater in early 1977. Along with other early enthusiasts, Piro started the fan club in 1977 and later took it national after he and his group relocated to the 8th Street Playhouse. Along with being the Emcee at his theater, Sal became the voice of the Rocky Horror community, eventually acknowledged by both producer Lou Adler and 20th Century Fox. As a Rocky Horror Legend.
Sal Piro is and was a legend. Every weekend for decades he introduced “vrgins” (first time veiwers) to the thrills and pleasures of The Rocky Horro Picture Show. Huundeds of thousands of people and at a time in the 70s and 80s when any LGBT content was controversial and could be potentiall dangerous. Despite this Sal opened the minds and hearts of many not only to love RHPS but also to love themselves and others as well.
On a personal note I was introuced to Sal through his sister Lillias and was member of the 8th Street Floorshoor and I can attest to the fact thast there was never a not a nicer, kinder, more accepting soul ever walked the face of the earth.
Over forty-five years ago on September 26th, 1975 the movie that has taught generations to “Don’t dream it, be it.” and to be more accepting to others who are different, The Rocky Horror Picture Show opened at the UA Westwood in Los Angeles, California.
Directed by Jim Sharman from a screenplay by Sharman and Richard O’Brien, the production is a humorous tribute to the science fiction and horror B movies of the late 1940s through early 1970s. It introduces Tim Curry and features Susan Sarandon and Barry Bostwick along with cast members from the original Kings Road production presented at the Royal Court Theatre, London, in 1973.
Still in limited release nearly four decades after its premiere, it has the longest-running theatrical release in film history. It gained notoriety as a midnight movie in 1977 when audiences began participating with the film in theaters
Prior to RHPS’s infamous the midnight screenings’ success, the film was withdrawn from its eight opening cities due to very small audiences, and its planned New York opening (on Halloween night) was cancelled. Fox re-released it around college campuses on a double-bill with other off-beat films.
RHPS was eventually screened at midnight, starting in New York City at The Waverly Theater on April Fools’ Day of 1976.. By that Halloween, people were attending in costume and talking back to the screen. By mid-1978, Rocky Horror was playing in over fifty locations on Fridays and Saturdays at midnight, newsletters were published by local performance groups, and fans gathered for Rocky Horror conventions. By the end of 1979, there were twice-weekly showings at over 230 theaters in the United States including the 8th Street Playhouse in NYC which had the premiere floor-show in the country led by Sal Piro.
I played Brad Majors opening night and later also Eddie at 8th. Street Playhouse and I WAS NOT an asshole at that time just a closet-case Jersey boy.
But that would soon change.
Dori Hartley and Will Kohler RHPS – 8th Street Playhouse Floorshow. NYC NY
How many times have you seen The Rocky Horror Picture Show?