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 they dominated family entertainment for decades, changing the lives of skaters and audiences alike, eventually exporting American culture around the world along with one skaters’ quest to keep this history from being forgotten.
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.
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.
- “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.” — MPRShe 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
“The Fabulous Ice Age,” documentarian Keri Pickett’s vivid visual history of figure skating shows, has come straight from New York’s Lincoln Center to Netflix’s streaming service.
– Rob Nelson, STAR TRIBUNE
“Vintage clips give Keri Pickett’s documentary a dreamlike quality as she lovingly presents a host of characters, from ice-show icons Richard Dwyer and Gloria Nord to Olympians Dick Button and Scott Hamilton.” – STAR TRIBUNE
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.