1982: Robin stars alongside Andy Gibb in Robert Stigwood's production of Grease 2:


Oh, wait, that's right... no she didn't.

So, what the hell happened?

Another story told best by Robin in her own words on the Times Square DVD commentary track. But, since we're both here, I'll have a bash at it.

The story so far: Alan Moyle's little independent film about a disturbed teenage runaway in Times Square had been co-opted by media mogul Robert Stigwood, and changed into a mutimillion-dollar musical extravaganza in the vein of Stigwood's other productions Saturday Night Fever, Grease, and Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Heart's Club Band. Robin Johnson was discovered on the steps of her high school, blew everybody away at her audition, and won the lead in Times Square, and signed a three-year exclusive contract with the Robert Stigwood Organization. RSO's postition was that there was more money to be made from the soundtrack album than the film itself, and demanded Moyle change the film to accomodate more songs chosen by RSO. Eventually Moyle refused and was fired.

Robin Johnson was featured heavily in the film's advance publicity. She was touted by RSO as the "female Travolta," it was announced that RSO was developing many projects for her, she was recording an album, she was going to be the lead in Grease 2 (see above)... When Times Square came out, though, it was generally savaged by the critics, and flopped at the box office, even as most who saw it were wowed by Robin Johnson's performance.

And so...

Robin began getting calls from Hollywood, agents and producers and casting directors offering her role after role, which she had to turn down because of her 3-year contract with RSO. She was legally unable to work for anyone else for three years.

And all those projects RSO had for her... dried up and blew away. This is the big mystery, as far as I'm concerned. I guess that, much as their bean-counters figured they could make a profit off the Times Square soundtrack album even if the movie tanked, they would come out ahead more by preventing her from working for anyone else, rather than risk their own money producing another vehicle for her.

So that's it. After Times Square, Robin Johnson was not allowed to take any acting roles for anyone but RSO, who wouldn't give her any work. She ended up working as a bank teller in Brooklyn, while waiting for her RSO contract to expire.

And by the time it did, no one remembered her, except maybe as the lead in a huge flop. Her career never fully recovered.

It did, however, go on.

But, what happened to Grease 2, specifically? According to the Andy Gibb entry on Wikipedia, late in 1981 "Andy Gibb's Greatest Hits was released as a finale to his contract with RSO Records." Evidently, RSO was keen on casting Grease 2 with talent they already had under contract. Starring in Grease 2 may even have been just been bait to get Gibb to renew his record contract, bait he didn't take. OR... Gibb's growing drug problems, which interfered with his writing and recording his previous album in 1979, made him a liability in RSO's eyes, and they were eager to end his contract. This would make the announcement of his being in Grease 2 a total lie, to keep him happy while they stabbed him in the back. I wouldn't put it past them to have been treating Robin the same way, except Times Square hadn't failed yet when they started promoting Grease 2. Anyways, the loss of cheaply available Gibb plus the floppage of Times Square equalled Robin the bank teller.

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