Dr Frank-N-furter – the snappy alpha-alien who stars in The Rocky Horror (Picture) Show is one of the most memorable characters to grace the stage and screen in recent decades.
In his castle-spaceship from the planet Transsexual in the galaxy of Transylvania – Frankie creates a carnal athlete named Rocky and makes a phallic incursion into the innocent lives of Brad and Janet – before being finally killed in an insurrection by his servants.
Frankie is an unusual creature in equal parts funny and terrifying.
My research into the character suggests this is because he is a hybrid of two types of comic entertainers – violent clowns and panto dames.
The Rocky Horror Show debuted on stage in 1973 in at the Royal Court Theatre in London.
It was followed in 1975 by a film adaptation.
Both were directed by Jim Sharman – who grew up in Australia.
In his autobiographical writings Sharman vividly recalls being taken to the circus as a small child – to vaudeville and other touring shows.
These included his family’s boxing troupe and Sorlie’s travelling tent theatre – a popular attraction which between the 1920s and 1961 (with interruptions) took pantomime – musical comedy and vaudeville around New South Wales and Queensland.