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Did You Know These Behind-The-Scenes Facts About The Rocky Horror Picture Show?

If there’s one word to describe The Rocky Horror Picture Show, it’s “theatrical.” In fact, the 1975 cult classic began as a stage production called The Rocky Horror Show, before Richard O’Brien decided to write, produce, direct, and act in the film that added a “picture”-perfect touch.

The process of making the film was in and of itself filled with just as much weird brilliance as the final product. Here are some behind-the-scenes facts that you may not have heard about one of the most iconic movie musicals of all time…

Photo: Flickr/Susanlenox

It Originally Had A Different Title

The title The Rocky Horror Picture Show is so iconic that it’s hard to imagine the film being called anything else, but it’s actually not what Richard O’Brien initially had in mind. In his attempts to get the script together quickly and start shooting, he gave it the more banal title of They Came from Denton High—a shout-out to the story being set near Denton, Texas. It’s hard to imagine the film attaining its cult status under that name.

The Denton-inspired title stuck throughout rehearsals. It was only at the last minute that O’Brien and director Jim Sharman decided to change it to The Rocky Horror Show, shortly before previews of the stage show were set to begin. The word “Picture” came later.

Photo: Flickr/David Shankbone

Brad And Janet Were Supposed To Be Played By Different People 

Richard O’Brien was set on keeping The Rocky Horror Picture Show as similar as possible to the stage production, which meant using the same creative team and actors. However, the executives at Fox had other ideas and suggested that leads Brad and Janet be played by two American actors. Anybody who’s seen the film knows that Barry Bostwick and Susan Sarandon rocked their roles, but it’s hard not to feel bad for the two original actors who got the boot.

Photo: PickPik

Meat Loaf Didn’t Actually Ride That Motorcycle

Meat Loaf makes an appearance in the film as Eddie, an unlucky delivery boy. He famously bursts out of a freezer on a motorcycle before meeting an untimely end at the hands of Dr. Frank-N-Furter, played by the inimitable Tim Curry. Meat Loaf may look slick and fearless in the movie, but it was actually a stuntman on that motorcycle.

To mimic the visual of riding a motorcycle, the film crew built a wheelchair for Meat Loaf to use in close-up shots. It’s commonplace nowadays for big Hollywood stars to acknowledge the use of a stuntman, but this wasn’t the case back then. It’s no surprise to learn he wasn’t comfortable doing tricks and risky stunts on the bike, and who can blame him?

Photo: Flickr/Sebastian Dooris

The Costume Designer Wasn’t Feeling It  

The Rocky Horror Picture Show is a parody through and through–as such, it never takes itself too seriously… but costume designer Sue Blane certainly did. Though her shocking and over-the-top costumes would become one of the film’s most-discussed aspects, Blane wasn’t interested in the project at first. She felt the pay was beneath her, but with the help of a little alcohol (and the knowledge that her friends and colleagues were all going to be doing the show), she convinced herself that the opportunity was too good to pass up. Thank goodness she did, or Tim Curry may have never donned that spectacular corset, fishnet, and heels combo.

Photo: Flickr/Peter K. Levy

Meat Loaf Wasn’t Feeling It, Either  

While Tim Curry’s extravagant look isn’t much of a talking point today, it was quite a shock to audiences in the late 1970s–Meat Loaf included. The rock star first saw Curry onstage in full regalia and makeup performing “Sweet Transvestite.” He reportedly walked away–shocked by Curry’s appearance and demeanor–because he hadn’t realized exactly what he was getting himself into. It’s a good thing he wasn’t more comfortable on that motorcycle, or he might have ridden off before Graham Jarvis could talk him into staying.