The motorcycle was real. It was an old military bike, and it weighed a ton. Working on that scene, Sheppard is told to ride the bike on a raised circular ramp. On the second round, hurrying along at a quick pace, he veers to the side of the ramp and topples over the edge from that height.
When the rider lay there without moving and with his eyes closed, everyone on the set feared the worse. Next, he sat up, clapped his hands, and was ready to get back to work. He later explained that keeping still after a crash is a stuntman’s check to make sure there are no injuries which movement would exacerbate.
Meat Loaf’s Motorcycle Cameo
Meat Loaf brought Eddie to life on stage and in the movie. The American singer (real name Michael Lee Aday) who would find fame after his Rocky Horror performances, didn’t mind portraying the ‘50s greaser biker, but as tough guys go, he wasn’t prepared to do the stunt.
Instead, a stuntman crashed the bike through the freezer room wall in that epic scene. Refusing to do the motorcycle stunt was a smarter move than he knew. He found out how wise he had been when stuntman Ken Sheppard crashed the bike.
The Real Story Behind the Motorcycle Scene
It was unsafe for Meat Loaf to do the motorcycle scene, so the production crew rigged a wheelchair into a motorcycle prop. It seemed safe enough. They added a windshield, a headlamp, handlebars, and front wheels. Finally, they added a camera to the front of the improvised bike to shoot the scene.
Unfortunately, the camera was just the right amount of weight to make the rigged-wheelchair front-heavy. Sure enough, Meat Loaf toppled over forward, going down a ramp. Stand-in Sheppard lunged to stop the crash but broke his leg instead. The actor landed in a pile of broken glass, bleeding from his head.
Meat Loaf Gets Cold Feet
Meat Loaf was from Denton, Texas, the same “Denton” of the working title. He was raised in Dallas but moved to Denton for college. “The Rocky Horror Show” was his second acting gig, “Hair” is the first. He had only rehearsed the songs and had not seen the script by the time he showed up for the first dress rehearsal.
When he first saw Tim Curry fully costumed in drag, the naïve southern boy left. His erratic behavior got him a ticket, jaywalking across Hollywood Blvd. Legendarily, narrator Graham Jarvis talked him into coming back to the production. Soon enough, he understood the humor and loved the show.
Whose Lips are They Anyway?
The short answer is, the lips are Patricia Quinn’s. She sang “Science Fiction” for the London stage production, and she assumed she would be singing the song for the movie. As it turned out, writer Richard O’Brien decided to perform the opener, but they kept her lips moving on the screen as he sings.
At the time, she was furious. That song was the reason she auditioned. She was ready to leave the film altogether, but producer John Goldstone pleaded with her to stay to play her character Magenta.