Transylvania 1992, the beginning.
It all started way back in 1990..........
But how do you even start to organise a Convention? Stephanie and myself had attended a few Conventions in our time and had a rough idea of what we would like to see at a 'Rocky Horror' event. We also had a lot of help from a good friend of ours, Barbara Heywood (sadly no longer with us), a veteran of many fandom Conventions. The first thing to do was to form the Committee, that small group of people determined to ensure the success of the day. You can read all about this brave band of people(?) in the 1992 'Committee' page from the menu below.
With our brave band of committee members formed into a solid and dedicated group (i.e. we would occasionally meet up and say 'are we going to run this thing or not') we started looking at a venue for the Convention and contacting our potential guests.
One of the Conventions Stephanie and I had attended was 'Fanderson' the Gerry Anderson related Convention held at the Mount Royal Hotel in London, we decided to use the Mount Royal as our venue as it was in a central location and the most convenient for as many guests and attendees as possible. They were also used to hosting fan Conventions, however nothing could have prepared them for hundreds of scantily clad Rocky Horror Fans and we were requested to ask our attendees to 'cover up' as they walked through the public areas of the Hotel.
By late 1991 it became obvious that we were getting a lot of interest in the Convention. We had originally planned to have about three hundred people attending the event, a figure we had already passed, and we realised the Hotel would be too small to hold a decent film showing. Fortunately we had also chosen the location of the Hotel with this in mind. Just around the corner from the Mount Royal is the Odeon Marble Arch, at that time the largest screen in the UK and one of the biggest in Europe. We booked the cinema for a Midnight showing and contacted our friends at 20th Century Fox to see what they could do about a decent print of the film.
Fox came through in style. Stephanie had asked if it would be possible to get hold of a copy of the movie with the complete version of 'Superheroes', they replied by getting us a BRAND NEW print made of the film, complete with the missing scene. All the UK copies in circulation at the time were very worn and even had the old certificate of 'AA', equivalent to an age fourteen classification. Because we had a new (to the UK) version of the film, it also had to be re-submitted for classification and received a '12' certificate. All the UK prints are now the same as the version first seen at 'Transylvania 92'. Fox also kindly paid for us to hire the cinema for an afternoon a month before the Convention to have a run through for the performing cast.
We then started contacting our guests to confirm they would be able to make the day. Richard O'Brien, Patricia Quinn and Sal Piro had already confirmed their attendance and from the UK productions of Rocky Horror we had Kate O'Sullivan, Zalie Burrow, Stephen Thiebault and Anthony Head one of the most popular Frank 'N' Furter's ever (now seen as Giles in Buffy the Vampire Slayer!) You can read all about our guests in the relevant section of this site from the menu.
We had also started ordering the Convention merchandise and producing the brochures, badges, etc. Our front room was rapidly resembling a bomb site. The logo for the Convention was taken from the 'Griffins' in the Time Warp room in the Rocky Horror Picture Show. It was drawn by Paul Garner a brilliant artist and one of the founder members of 'Charming Underclothes'. Paul was also to create the logo for our 1994 Convention and we thank him for his contribution to the Conventions.
With a month to go to the Convention we travelled to the Mount Royal Hotel with Andre, the head of our technical crew, to check some last minute details. We found the Hotel in the middle of a refurbishment (the first we'd heard of it) and doors were no longer where they used to be, power points had vanished and the main hall seemed smaller than we remembered. With a lot of assurance from the hotel management that the venue would be ready on time, we left for home feeling totally helpless. It was far too late to look for another venue and we just prayed everything would be completed on time. As it happened most things were ready by the day, but we did have to get them to put plastic sheets down in the backstage corridor as it was still a building site and we didn't want our guests to get too dusty! None of the attendees got to see the backstage areas thankfully, we did however suggest they ignore the dress code when walking through the Hotel.
By the time the brochures were printed we had well over five hundred attendees registered for the Convention, on the day there were over six hundred at the Convention and more than eight hundred by the cinema show (we sold separate film-only tickets for those who couldn't make the whole day). In fact the event was sold out several weeks before the day itself. We had been told the main hall in the hotel would hold 600, at one stage during the day it was bursting at the seams, as we thought the room had become smaller during the refurbishment.
Along with the first UK showing of a complete version of the Rocky Horror Picture Show, in the biggest cinema in the country, on Halloween, at Midnight, the cinema audience were also to see the first appearance of that horny little devil himself: Mephistopheles Smith. There are some pictures from this premier show in the 'Programme' section of this site.
The day was also filmed for a Convention video and all the profits from this and the day itself went to our Convention charity, full details of the charity are in the 'General Information' section, accessed from the main page.
Sal Piro introduced the midnight showing of the film, leading the audience in the famous 'Give me an R..Give me an O....' he also wrote the following about the Transylvania '92 Convention in his book 'Creatures of the Night II': "As the audience exited the theatre at 3 a.m., many of them realized they had spent the past eighteen hours doing ROCKY HORROR. It was a fan's dream come true, and yet no one was tired, many of us continued to party until dawn at the hotel."
Overall the day was a great success, we would like to thank all those who made it possible, especially our technical crew and our wonderful guests. A complete listing of the events are in the 'Programme' section, including lots of pictures from the day. The committee received many letters of thanks from attendees and we felt after it was all over that we needed to sleep for about ten years. We were however to do it all over again, just two years later!
Programme of Events 1992
The Convention then moved up Oxford Street to the Odeon, Marble Arch, the biggest screen in the country at the time. The cinema show consisted of Pre Shows, the first appearance of Mephistopheles Smith, a film of the 10th Anniversary Convention with an introduction to the Rocky Horror Picture Show by Sal Piro, president of the RHPS Fan Club.
We also had the first showing in the UK of the Rocky Horror Picture Show complete with the full version of 'Superheroes' and 'Science Fiction Double Feature' music over the credits. Richard O'Brien, Patricia Quinn and several other guests also joined us at the cinema and the event finished at 3.00am eighteen hours after it had started.
All our guests that attended the Hotel section of the Convention took part in question and answer sessions and autograph signings. Select a Guest from the alphabetical menu below for more information and excerpts from their question and answer sessions.
As well as the committee, special thanks for making the day a success are also due to our Technical Crew: Andre Willie Paul Vanezis - Adam Trotman - Steve Broster - David Harley Richard Molesworth and Richard the Rampant. Thanks also to all our Convention Staff and Stewards who each gave us some of their time to the cause of 'Transylvania 92'
All text and images © TimeWarp/Transylvania 1992 onwards. Transylvania name and Griffin Logo © TimeWarp 1992 onwards.