I was wondering what ever happened to Roller Derby? Do you remember Roller Derby matches on television in the 50s? I used to love watching them. My favorite parts were the body checks that ended in a skater being tossed over the railings - I was a bloody minded little kid, lol!

In the seventies they made a movie called "Rollerball" based on the sport. It starred James Caan (JONATHAN! JOHNATHAN!) and it was a futuristic view of the socio-economics of professional sports, in this case Roller Derby. The ending was great, the Machiavellian minds of the sports promoters and team owners punctuated by the organ playing Toccata and Fugue in D minor by J. S. Bach.

I don't remember seeing a lot of men in Roller Derby when I was a kid in the fifties. Most of the shows I remember seeing featured women. But the staged violence was reminiscent of the wrestling matches that I remember in the sixties and which are still being televised today.

I wonder why the wrestling matches made it through to today and not Roller Derby? To me Roller Derby was the more interesting of the two "sports".


  1. I remember watching roller derby on weekends in the 70s when I was a kid. There was a lady enforcer who wore 747 on her jersey (I think that was her nickname too).

    Do you remember the Raquel Welch movie "Kansas City Bomber" (1972)? I haven't seen that in years... they used to show it on TV quite a bit.

    You raised a very good question about why roller derby hasn't seen a resergence in popularity. I am surprised that it hasn't. It looked like it was making a bit of a comeback a few years ago, but nothing really came of it.

  2. Now that you mentioned it I do remember "Kansas City Bomber".

    Maybe they could do a reality show about roller derby since the networks seem to love reality shows so much, lol. Wouldn't that be a kick?

  3. There is a MASSIVE roller derby renaissance happening in the US and worldwide since 2002 or so. About 200 leagues in this country alone. Check out the Women's Flat Track Derby Association at wftda.org to start. I'm not sure what town you're in, but chances are there's a league within an hour's drive of you.

    I play for Boston (www.bostonderbydames.com), and we regularly have crowds of 1,000+ at our monthly bouts. It's just as campy as old-school roller derby, but this time it's not at all staged. Our derby names are fake and our uniforms are often ridiculous, but the competition is 100% real.

  4. And there was a reality show 2 years ago, about the Austin banked track league that started the resurgence of roller derby. www.aetv.com/rollergirls

  5. Ruby - how very cool that you found my blog post and actually are a Rollergirl!

    Thanks for the information - I just checked out your team website and see that there was a game in March against Phoenix which is as close as you'll probably get to me in Sedona!

    Plus I'm laughing at the featured skater's name "Queen Kamayhemmayhem" - love it!

    Also, regarding the reality show - I would have loved to have seen that! I'm going to aetv right now to see if I can find it!

    Thanks and here's to fun skating to you and your team, the Boston Derby Dames!

  6. Wow! Does this bring back memories! I used to sit and watch the Bay Bombers (San Francisco team) and watch the ladies bounce each other off the rails. I guess that was the start of my not so lady-like ways. These damsels may not have been demure but they sure were FUN!

  7. I'm in Australia and I remember watching it on TV when I was a kid too. Loved it. My whole family did and we'd all be in the loungeroom together (6 of us in a small room) yelling at the TV and enjoying the show.

  8. I too remember the Roller Derby film,"Kansas City Bomber" and also the one with James Caaan...I for one would love to see this brought back, opposed to wrestling!!
    In the early days, Rock n Roll wrestling which had such entertainers as Cyndi Lauper, was one of the reasons I became hooked..years later, I can't stand it! It's all trash these days!

    Cheers from 'down under'

  9. I love this roller derby stuff!!! In fact, I would LOVe to incorporate it into a Fab Farm design. Here's what you might not know: we raise horses for 'performance event' which are things like cutting, reining, and working cow horse. They are events that are taken from 'real cowboy life' from out on the plains having to herd/cut/rein in cattle in real life, not in a rodeo setting. These shows make people millions and millions of dollars and horses begin competing when they are 3 at shows called 'Futurties' (future of the breed/event)... then when the young horses are 4 and 5 they are no longer eligible to compete in 'futurities' but in 'DERBY' events... see where I'm going with this?

    I think my horses need to throw on some skates and gear for a new Fab Farm design. TOTALLY DIVA!
    Got any cool roller derby graphics I can photoshop?

    Love your blog!!

  10. That's it! Roller Derby Cows! Love it! I might just have to get Pixel onto some skates and have a Yorkie Derby too, lol.


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