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In the song Don't Dream It, Be It, Janet (Susan Sarandon) finishes the number with the line

God bless Lili St. Cyr!

Lili St. Cyr was essentially famous for getting naked a lot, especially on camera. Although this makes it unsurprising that Frank and his protégés would admire her, it doesn't quite explain why St. Cyr is singled out for special attention.

Why does Janet want to bless Lili St. Cyr?

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    Is Rocky Horror sufficiently on-topic that we can ask general questions about the non sci-fi elements of it? – Valorum Jun 9 '16 at 6:56
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    @Valorum - Aliens with transportation rays and anti-matter laser guns inventing artificial life and using Sonic Transducers that are audio-vibratory physiomolecular devices.... I'd say yes. – Wad Cheber Jun 9 '16 at 6:58
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    @WadCheber - Arguably it's a horror film with scifi elements. Are questions wholly unrelated to those elements sufficiently on-topic? – Valorum Jun 9 '16 at 7:00
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    I don't think it's horror at all, aside from Eddie's fate. The whole plot is about aliens seducing and corrupting humans, being investigated by UFO hunters, etc. The US Library of Congress lists it as Science Fiction. – Wad Cheber Jun 9 '16 at 7:02
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    @Valorum The theme song is literally titled "Science Fiction Double Feature" – Wad Cheber Jun 9 '16 at 7:05
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+250

Out of universe (according to her biography Goddess of Love Incarnate: The Life of Stripteuse Lili St. Cyr.) her inclusion was an homage to Richard "O'Brien" Smith's adolescent obsession with all things kitsch and glam.

The wording of the song 'Don't Dream It— Be It' (and presumably much of the rest of the film) evidently contains multiple in-joke references to obscure 1950s burlesque magazines.

Growing up in New Zealand in the 1950s, Richard Timothy Smith's "adolescence was swamped with joys that most of the fifties decent society decried as mindless, comics, rock-n-roll, B-movies." He became fascinated with comic books and pulp fiction, in his town of Tauranga was a shop filled with kitsch and magazines. Lili St. Cyr. adorned many of those magazines.

Smith became fascinated with her. She "was one of the most beautiful women in the world and, by default, a transsexual's dream girl." Smith noted that burlesque "was aimed at the eternal adolescent in males." Lili clearly was the leading element of that "particular Zeitgeist."

In 1973 Smith, now known by his stage name of Richard O'Brien, wrote what would become the cult hit The Rocky Horror Picture Show, both the musical and, in 1975, as a cowriter, the screenplay.

The character Janet, played by Susan Sarandon in the film, sings "Don't Dream It— Be It." It was inspired by one of O'Brien's pulp magazines asking the question, whatever happened to King Kong actress Fay Wray? The last line of the song is "It's beyond me, help me, Mommy — God bless Lily [sic] St. Cyr." And though it was just twenty-five years from her heyday in the fifties, most of RHPS's audience had no clue who Lili St. Cyr was. The "inclusion of Lily [sic] was driven by the recognition of my own imagined self."

O'Brien believes the LA stage version bought some of their costumes from Lili's lingerie store in 1974.

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    This is the sort of answer where I can't decide whether I should bow down and cry "I'm not worthy" or give you a wedgie and shout "nerd!" ;) – Marakai Jun 20 '16 at 10:37
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    You can do both. Start with the wedgie. – James McLeod Jun 20 '16 at 10:51
  • @Marakai - Glad you appreciated it. I rather suspect it'll earn me the bounty unless someone can persuade Richard O'Brien to come out of twitter retirement to answer the in-universe part of the question. – Valorum Jun 20 '16 at 11:11
  • sob You're just in it for the bounty! shattered – Marakai Jun 20 '16 at 11:11
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    @Valorum You're either heck of a lot older or a heck of a lot younger than me. We used to line up for midnight viewings, the whole shebang. Never shaved my legs so couldn't wear those stockings though... – Marakai Jun 20 '16 at 11:28

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