What is it exactly you do?

We get that question alot. For the uninitiated, shadowcasts are hard to explain. We get, “Do you just show the movie?” “Is this the play?” “So you just act out the movie, or do you show it?” “Why is everyone talking during the movie?”

We will try to explain.

Fishnets and Floorshows is the KC Shadowcast for the Rocky Horror Picture Show. What that means is, at our shows, we show the actual film on the screen (as of 2013 20th Century Fox has ruled that all casts must show the 35mm print) and while the film shows, the cast performs the action in front of the screen. They do this in costume and in time to the movie- and depending on the cast, some people exaggerate and add their own flair to their re-enactment.

Fishnets and Floorshows definitely opts for the goofy and we have fun with it.

The entire time, the audience (YOU) yell back at the screen; some lines are 35 years old and have been yelled since the beginning, some where made up last week. Never be afraid to yell out something if it strikes your fancy and you think it’s funny. If you never been, you’ll pick it up. The best part about this is, you will never get the same experience between any two casts or even any two shows of the same cast. The lines always change.

Why do we do it? Well, let’s just reference Wikipedia shall we?

The film The Rocky Horror Picture Show opened in the United States at the United Artist Theatre in Westwood, California on September 26, 1975. Although the theater was selling out every night, it was noted that many of the same people were returning to see the movie. This turned out to be an exception, not the rule as it was not doing well elsewhere in the US.

The film was then re-launched as a midnight movie, beginning its run at the Waverly Theatre in New York City on April 1, 1976. The Riverside Twin in Austin, Texas became the second location to run the film as a midnighter. Over time, people began shouting responses to the characters’ statements on the screen. Schoolteacher Louis Farese, Jr., is credited by some with starting the convention of talking back to the film on Labor Day weekend, 1976, at the Waverly Theatre. (These mostly include melodramatic abuse of the characters or actors, vulgar sex jokes, puns, or pop culture references.) A showing of the film at the 1976 World Science Fiction Convention spread its fame to a new cadre of enthusiasts.

Midnight screenings of the film soon became a national sensation. All across the country people were lining up on Friday and Saturday nights to see this unique film experience. In New York, the film relocated from the Waverly after a house record ninety-five weeks to the 8th Street Playhouse. By summer 1979, the film was playing on weekend midnights in twenty-odd suburban theaters in the New York region alone; 20th Century-Fox had approximately two hundred prints of the movie in circulation for midnight shows around the country. The Oriental Theatre in Milwaukee, where the film has played as a Saturday midnight film since January 1978, is the world record holder for continuous showings. The Clinton Street Theater in Portland, Oregon, has also had continuous runs of Rocky Horror since April 1978.

The film gained popularity as much because of the fan participation as anything else. Interactive shows featuring “Shadow Casts” of fans acting out the entire movie below, or in some cases directly in front of the screen are almost always present at showings. In San Francisco at the Strand Theatre on Market Street fans came to see the well organized group there performing with sets and props like a professional theatre troupe. In Los Angeles, fans included a transsexual performing as Frank N Furter at the Tiffany Theater on Sunset Blvd, just a few blocks away from the Roxy Theatre where the Rocky Horror Show made its American debut.

Other audience participation includes dancing the Time Warp along with the film, and throwing toast, water, toilet paper, hot dogs, and rice at the appropriate points in the movie. Many theatres forbid throwing items that are difficult to clean up. In many cases a total ban of throwing anything at all have been instituted due to severe damage to screens. Fans often attend shows in costume as the characters, while an onstage “shadowcast” act out the movie. At a now defunct theater in New Orleans the local Eddie would ride his motorcycle down the aisle during Meat Loaf’s/Eddie’s song, “Hot Patootie.” Audience members also use newspapers to cover their heads and squirt guns for rain during the “Over at the Frankenstein Place” musical sequence, and use noise makers during the scene in which Rocky is unveiled. The whole phenomenon got a boost in 1980, with the release of the movie Fame, in which some characters attend a screening of Rocky Horror at the 8th Street Playhouse. It was this feature film that introduced America to Sal Piro, the president of the National Fan Club. Piro made an appearance in the film playing himself during the screening of Rocky Horror.