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A Blog Written By Skaters for Skaters

Lights, Camera Ska-ction: Roller Skates In Pop Culture

Posted by Jordan Y on

Since the first recorded use of roller skates in 1743 roller skating has meandered through many obstacles to remain the top casual fitness activity. Ironically, the great depression played an influential role in motivating people to think “Outside the box” for new forms of entertainment.

In fact roller derby got it’s start in a popular pastime recreational activity by the name of Endurance Races. But soon after the great depression something called WWII broke out and most of the roller derby men had to kiss the sport goodbye.

They definitely kept their skates stashed in the closet as evidenced by the come back that roller skates made after the war. In 1948, roller derby debuted on New York television with a 13-week series of matches between New York and Brooklyn. The big screen is responsible for the revival of many sports and hobbies and roller skating is no exception!

In 1995, roller skates were first promoted as fitness skates and this trend doesn’t show any signs of stopping. Let’s glance back at the big screen and take a look at the influence that pop culture has had on roller skates.

Roller Skates Go Western

Not so long after, the epic western film from 1980 Heavens Gate, brought us one of the most epic scenes with roller skates. Did you know the roller rink in the film is called “Heavens Gate”? Unfortunately, the entire roller skating dance scene didn’t make the cut for the slimmed down 149-minute version.

Rock On At The Rink

2002 saw the best collaboration of pop music and roller skating when Matchbox Twenty transformed New York City into a giant roller disco for a music video. Even though the song they chose isn’t in their top three best, can we agree that the video definitely is?

“In Manhattan now, there’s this unbelievable underground roller disco scene,” Thomas said. “We went out and cast these kids, some of whom were from this off-Broadway show that’s a roller disco show, some of whom are just Wednesday-night-at-the-Roxy skaters, street skaters. There’s a whole other world that goes on in the middle of the city that people don’t know about.” ~ Lead singer Rob Thomas

Skateland: Sundance On Roller Skates

Only grossing $19,411 in the north american box office is the 2010 movie Skateland. Come on! Every movie involving roller skates should be a blockbuster hit, right? It’s your typical teen movie and it premiered at the Sundance Festival. Were not movie critics here at Roller Skate Nation but we give the roller rink scenes a 10/10. Check it out!