5/14/10

Rollermania #3



Grown-ups had their discos, bars and pool halls, but the children of the 70s had the roller skating rink.  Many of them are still around today, but their day in the sun has long since past.  Major cities with a large enough population to support them have impressive rinks; however, most cities and towns across America have rinks that haven't been remodeled in thirty years. Many of them are long since closed - vacant and tattered reminders of a distant time.





The roller skating rink was around long before the 70s - they were often enormous with live organ music.  In the 70s they metamorphized into a disco themed haven for teens.  They had everything you could want - loud music, poor lighting (all the better to get away with stuff), an equal measure of girls and boys, pinball machines and, later, a video arcade.



There was also the infamous "couple skate".  Woe betide the boy or girl stuck on the fringes of the rink with no one to skate with. Torture defined is being forced to watch happy couples jaunt by over and over again to the sound of "Joanna" by Kool & the Gang. 


If I had to pick the ultimate skate song - a song that just seems tailor made for roller skating - it would, without hesitation, be "Apache" by The Sugarhill Gang.  The initial notes sounded the alarm to put down your hot dog and get your ass on the rink and have a good time.




8 comments:

  1. We had one in my town, called America On Wheels. The theme song was a rip off of Jefferson star ship's We built this city on rock and roll... "we built this city on ROLLER SKATTTESSS" It shut down about....20 years ago.

    There was another one I went to when I was 19, with a guy I was dating. so so so retro looking. Actually it is because it had not been remodeled in 20 years. That got shut down after gang fights.

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  2. We used to have school roller skate parties in the mid-80s at the Shamrock Roller Rink. In keeping with the Shamrock theme they dyed the soft drinks green, even dark colored drinks like colas. People got very green tongues and a lot of green stains on their clothes.

    I just googled it and discovered they have a facebook page - not a current business one but where people talk about their memories there.

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  3. We still have a "Skate Country" in our town and it still looks like it is stuck in a time warp. Green pea shag carpet and orange booths! I remember my cousin would have every birthday there till she turned 17. Thanks for the memories!

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  4. I love your pictures of these rollerinks. If I hadn't been so afraid to skate when I was a kid I would've loved to have gone to such places.

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  5. If you are ever in Dallas, you have to hit White Rock Skate! It is authentically the same for the past 30 years at least down to the soundtrack - disco with healthy doses of Michael Jackson. It has that groovy smell and the skates are the same, though lots of the kids bring their own rollerblades. They even still do the Hokey Pokey!

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  6. Our skating rink was in an industrial estate across the road from a graveyard and downwind from a cattle slaughterhouse. They only played the soundtrack from "Flashdance" as they were too cheap to buy another record. Now when ever I hear "Maniac" by Michael Sembello it brings back the smell of death!

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  7. Suh-weeet!

    And I think Freak Out is another classic roller skating song

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  8. We had one in Maryland called Sportsman's Hall that had the old pipe organ. I went to many a Birthday Party there!

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