Rollermania! #2

Roller skating fit the 1970s like a glove.  Two trademarks of the decade were (1) environmental concerns and (2) fitness, so it shouldn't be a surprise to learn that something which captalized on both would become a huge sensation.  Roller skating was a fuel-less means of travel, and it burned calories - a match made in heaven!

When you added disco into the mix, the lid blew off, and the roller skate quickly became a symbol of the decade. So, get ready. This post is literally bursting at the seams with roller skating dynamite. So, sit back, relax and enjoy the sights and sounds of rollermania!

It wasn't long before the craze entered the pop culture arena via movies like Roller Boogie, Skatetown USA and Xanadu, and it kept popping up on TV (i.e. Donnie & Marie skatin' to the oldies on The Brady Bunch Variety Show). Even the likes of Raquel Welch and James Caan were playing roller skaters in films! Rollermania was truly everywhere.

Magazines such as People, Tiger Beat and Jet regularly featured celebs on skates. And if you know America, you know that if the celebs are doing it, the "common folk" will be lining up to do it too. Here's a few celebs caught with their skates on...




Catherine Bach


....and, oh yes, Jimmy Walker on skates! Roller skating is officially DY-NO-MITE!

I remember owning a pair of skates which looked like a cheap pair of sneakers.  They weren't allowed on the roller rink and their lack of ankle support rendered them useless on the sidewalk.  A bad idea all the way around. Here's the exact skate I'm talking about:

Here's another example of an attempt to make roller skating more practical and less cumbersome.  I have a feeling these were a far cry from our modern day "Heelys".

Of course it wasn't just about health and conserving the environment... it was about disco! The two fads, roller skating and disco, collided with epic force resulting in some of the worst (ahem) most interesting music of that time period.

Follow this link to check out some of the worst roller skating I've ever seen on an episode of Buck Rogers in the 25th Century.... proving once and for all that roller skating will still be around for hundreds of years to come.

Are you ready to get funky in your brand new roller skates? Francois Feldman is about to lay down some roller skatin' funk in his song "Can you feel it?". Enjoy.

Follow this link to watch the 1979 television airing of The Playboy Roller Disco Pajama Party complete with commercial breaks. A little slice of heaven.

I could easily go on for hours, but I'd hate to give your computer a roller disco overload.  So, I'll save the rest for another post.  Till then, here's a few roller babes for the road. Cheers!


  1. I still remember an episode of CHiPs in 1979 where a gang of criminals would rob stores and make their getaway on pop wheel skates. Only Ponch and Jon could catch them on their motorcycles. Jim Brown played one of the skatin' bad guys. It was awesome! That episode (called "Roller Disco" was voted the 7th most popular episode of all time according to chips-tv.com

    Here is a list of some of the stars that made cameos in this outstanding episode:

    Ed McMahon, Leif Garrett, Larry Linville (M*A*S*H), Melissa Sue Anderson (Little House on the Prairie), Nancy Culp (Beverly Hillbillies), Lee Meriweather (Barnaby Jones), Cindy Williams (Laverne & Shirley), Todd Bridges (Diff'rent Strokes), George Pepperd (The A-Team), Dan Haggerty (Grizzly Adams), Dana Plato (Diff'rent Strokes), Antonio Fargas (Starsky & Hutch), Vic Tayback (from Alice), Mr. French, Peter Marshall, Jo Anne Worley, Tina Louise (Gilligan's Island), Ruth Buzzi (Laugh-In), Dick Van Patten (Eight is Enough), Adam Rich (Eight is Enough), Brett Sommers, and Dody Goodman. Now that is an all-star cast!

  2. Yes sir! Roller skating and skateboarding were part of the awesomeness of the 70s.

  3. mandy_ReevesApril 15, 2010

    My first ever Barbie was Roller Disco Barbie! She sorta looked like Blair from Facts of Life

  4. another example of vinyl roller-mania:

  5. Holy Moley, check out the 1970s iPod in the "Let's Skate Chailo" pic!!! No wonder there was a fitness craze in the 70s; you needed to be fit to carry around the portable music players!!

  6. You missed a couple of ID's there Gilligan - the girl skating with Hef is Dorothy Stratton, the PB bunny executed by her slimy hubby and on the cover of Roller Disco is Cheryl Tiegs.

    Oh, and did we really dress like that? Wow.

  7. Sweet! I'm tweeting this.

  8. I wasn't really that into rollerskating especially after I broke my arm doing so in 1980. I definitely want to see that CHiPs episode. I used to watch that show sometimes but I don't remember that one. I did see Roller Boogie at a drive-in.

  9. Li'l OJ (#32) should look where he's going.

  10. Please dont forget this album.

    Living in the USA

    Linda Ronstadt

  11. I rollerskated a lot in my youth in the late 70's. Sadly, I never had those cool lace up boot style skates. I had the kiddie type that fit over your regular shoes. Also my city never had roller rink like the awesome ones pictured in this post but there was a small open air roller rink at our local park.