Before she directed “The Fabulous Ice Age,” Keri Pickett was a photographer who had never contemplated making a film. Her uncle, the former figure skater Roy Blakey — an avid collector of ice-show memorabilia — changed all that.
Gia Kourlas – THE NEW YORK TIMES
“The Fabulous Ice Age” chronicles the era of the great American touring ice shows revealing how, with their dazzling production numbers and variety acts, they dominated family entertainment for decades. It also depicts one skater’s quest to keep this history from being forgotten. The ice shows’ creation and success changed the lives of skaters and audiences alike – eventually exporting American culture around the world.
- Rare archival footage, candid interviews with producers, skating legends and devoted chorus gypsies bring this never-before-told history of a uniquely American art form to life. The journey begins in 1915 when a young German skater named Charlotte brings her “ballet on ice” to New York’s Hippodrome Theater, igniting America’s love of theatrical skating. In 1936, Minnesotan brothers Roy and Eddie Shipstad and partner Oscar Johnson booked their small skating troupe into a hotel tank show, thus laying the groundwork for America’s first touring ice show, the Ice Follies.
- Simultaneously, Olympic skating champion Sonja Henie took Hollywood by storm, resulting in the creation of The Hollywood Ice Revue, a lavish touring show starring Hollywood’s newest sensation. Henie continued to make movie after movie, quickly becoming the highest paid star in Hollywood. As public interest soared, the Arena Managers Association created the Ice Capades, and Holiday On Ice were all performing to packed houses internationally.
- With never before seen footage, photos and rare archival material, “The Fabulous Ice Age” captures this glamorous and important live-entertainment history; a portrait of a sequestered family touring existence, living in the world on an international level, but not of it. Spanning several generations, this art form responded in its own way to social and political turmoil and historical events: The Cold War, racial integration and acceptance of sexual orientation. Yet through it all they were creating a magical world of the ice shows.
She has combined vintage film of leaping performers in sparkly costumes and interviews with aging skaters and promoters. They reminisce about decades of road trips; they describe traveling through racist towns and meeting foreign dictators in the audiences.”
Eve Kahn – THE NEW YORK TIMES
“Vintage clips give Keri Pickett’s documentary a dreamlike quality as she lovingly presents a host of characters, from ice-show icons Richard Dwyer andGloria Nord to Olympians Dick Button and Scott Hamilton.” — STAR TRIBUNE
“The film highlights the history of this frozen form of entertainment — which led to the World Champion and Disney-driven events we see today — which took off in the U.S. and internationally from origins in the Twin Cities.” — MPR
“The film features never-before-seen footage, photographs and rare archival material that introduces its viewers to a handful of performers, producers and entrepreneurs who helped turn ice skating shows into prime family theatre.” –SKATING MAGAZINE
Questions? Please feel free to contact us at: fabulousiceage at gmail dot com.
This project is made possible in part by support from the Minnesota State Arts Board.