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 Posted: Mon Mar 20th, 2017 06:14 pm
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srossi

 

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Surprisingly I can't remember many discussions on the boards about this. 

My experience with roller derby consists entirely of RollerGames, which I thought was much more successful than it really was.  According to Wikipedia it only ran for 1 season in 1989-1990.  I remember watching this on Saturday mornings on WNYW-NY Channel 5 as the last show in a 3 hour block with WWF Superstars and American Gladiators.   

Of course TNN tried to revive it as RollerJam in 2000 when it had ECW, but I never watched that.  From what I understand, it had some of the same talent.

Obviously it's heyday was really in the '60s and '70s, but as far as national TV goes I think that's about it.  I believe some of the "legends" of the game were used as managers in the TV incarnations. 

How was this even worked?  I never remember thinking that is was possible for it NOT to be worked when I was a kid, it was straight out of the WWF playbook with heel managers and some pretty fake looking fights (and the big fake Polish hammer blows used to pass).  But there was obviously some semblance of a real sport going on too, with a real scoring system that seems hard to work.

There's also apparently a somewhat revived local roller derby scene in parts of California (and in other states) that insists it's 100% real.  But I've also heard from old-timers who saw roller derby in its heyday in the '60s and says it was worked then too. 

So when did roller derby start to become worked and then go back to being a legit sport?  And how do work something like this?  And why did it never take off on TV?   
 



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 Posted: Mon Mar 20th, 2017 06:42 pm
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freebirdsforever2001



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There are a few legit roller derby leagues in south jersey and philly.



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 Posted: Mon Mar 20th, 2017 08:00 pm
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Ultimark



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Roller Derby began around the depression. At first, it was a skating contest. Over time, it became a work. When exactly I am not certain. Roller Games was a separate company that amped up the entertainment part. It was extremely popular in the late 60's to the early 70's. A recession and soaring gas prices killed the league.

What I never understood was that the Philadephia Warriors were always the good guys. Did they have separate tapings where the NY Chiefs were good guys? It was a complete work by the way. From what I have been told, the outcome was 100% predetermined in both Roller Derby and Roller Games.

Anyway, they have attempted to bring back Roller games a few times but the TNN product was the closest they came to any success.

Girls roller derby is extremely popular in some locales but not enough a real national push.

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 Posted: Mon Mar 20th, 2017 08:17 pm
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Boz1515



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Ultimark wrote: Roller Derby began around the depression. At first, it was a skating contest. Over time, it became a work. When exactly I am not certain. Roller Games was a separate company that amped up the entertainment part. It was extremely popular in the late 60's to the early 70's. A recession and soaring gas prices killed the league.

What I never understood was that the Philadephia Warriors were always the good guys. Did they have separate tapings where the NY Chiefs were good guys? It was a complete work by the way. From what I have been told, the outcome was 100% predetermined in both Roller Derby and Roller Games.

Anyway, they have attempted to bring back Roller games a few times but the TNN product was the closest they came to any success.

Girls roller derby is extremely popular in some locales but not enough a real national push.


I remember watching Roller Games as a kid too.  It came on late on Saturday evenings here in the Baltimore area.

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 Posted: Mon Mar 20th, 2017 09:11 pm
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lobo316



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Skinny Minnie ruled.

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 Posted: Mon Mar 20th, 2017 09:32 pm
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Big Garea Fan

 

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I remember watching Roller Derby in the mid-80s on ESPN on Sunday nights. Even though there were numerous teams, the focus of the promotion and the story lines revolved around the LA Thunderbirds.

My father used to attend roller derby matches in California during the late 60's when he was in the Navy. He told me that each city (LA, Oakland, San Francisco, etc) had their own hometown team and the home team was always the "face" with the visiting team playing "heel" - complete with all of the cheating tactics. I guess this format wouldn't work for going national with roller derby so the LA Thunderbirds were annointed as the national "face" team.

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 Posted: Mon Mar 20th, 2017 09:58 pm
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pjstef



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Big Garea Fan wrote: I remember watching Roller Derby in the mid-80s on ESPN on Sunday nights. Even though there were numerous teams, the focus of the promotion and the story lines revolved around the LA Thunderbirds.


I remember this, too. They centered a lot of the action around long-time star Ralph Valladeras, and made him the Gordie Howe elder statesman. It was typical roller derby but filmed in Vegas, maybe where they filmed AWA wrestling at the Showboat.
 

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 Posted: Mon Mar 20th, 2017 10:13 pm
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Franchise



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Alligator pit overtime



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 Posted: Mon Mar 20th, 2017 10:24 pm
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Benlen
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My team was the San Francisco Bay Bombers.
Charlie O Connell
Margie Lazlo
Joanie Weston
Peanuts Myers
Tony Roman
Ann Calvello
Judy Arnold

Last edited on Mon Mar 20th, 2017 10:25 pm by Benlen



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 Posted: Mon Mar 20th, 2017 11:05 pm
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WongLee
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I belong to a Facebook and Instagram group that is run by the guys who are making the definitive film documentary about the Olympic Auditorium. They cover virtually everything that went on in the Olympic and Roller Games is a huge part of it. Fascinating stuff with characters that were easily as over as Blassie and Tolos. I will admit, like Rossi said, I'm not well versed on "how it worked". Did they have a booker type person, did they work out certain spots beforehand, was the score determined and the standings rigged. At it's peak in 1972, the Roller Games drew 52,000 in Comiskey Park. They sold out the Garden every month just like the WWWF did. Then, by 1975, it was dead in the water. I'm anxiously awaiting tamalie's scholarly thesis on the sports rise and fall :tongue: ;)



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 Posted: Tue Mar 21st, 2017 12:26 am
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chrob61



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Anyone remember that blond creepy little troublemaker- went by the name of E G Miller??
 
I did a little googling and I remembered just hating this creep, bhe dished out the trouble, and the shows producers always had a member of the T-Birds push him over the rails- I am just laughing remembering watching these shows on Saturday mornings!!

Last edited on Tue Mar 21st, 2017 12:32 am by chrob61

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 Posted: Tue Mar 21st, 2017 02:06 am
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BuddyPSHayes



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I remember it used to come on Saturday afternoons in the 70s, the T-Birds were the babyface team. A friend of a friend was in a local roller derby league a few years ago, she swears it's 100% legit. Surrrre.



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 Posted: Tue Mar 21st, 2017 04:43 am
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Superstar



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I watched it too in the '80s, and also remember seeing old reruns...possibly during Mets rain delays, that were as old as 1974. I remember a lot of names mentioned above. Wasn't Joanie Weston one of the top girls? And there was one old broad that they said was on a team since 1958 and she was a mean enforcer bitch. I loved this shit when I was a kid. Between wrestling, roller derby, and baseball, I wouldn't turn the tv off some Weekends all day long.



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 Posted: Tue Mar 21st, 2017 05:38 am
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The Ultimate Sin
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I watched those ESPN shows too. The storyline I remember was the Bookend Redheads. Some how the heel team got their contracts from the T-Birds on a technicality. Randi Whitman was one of the redheads, but the other girl must have quit because she was never there.

Bozo Congleton was another name I remember. He was bald on top but had a big afro on the sides like Bozo the clown.



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