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Roller Derby Chronicles

4.5 out of 5 stars 24 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Roller Derby's history stands as a uniquely American twentieth century attraction, from its humble beginnings in the Great Depression as a spinoff of the old walkathons, to the rage of early days of television, and finally as a nationally syndicated and touring phenomenon. For millions of fans, names like Joanie Weston, Ann Calvello, Mike Gammon and Charlie O'Connell rank right up there with the baseball and football heroes of lore. This landmark LIMITED EDITION three-disc vac-formed boxed set, is the result of years of work producing the brand new Rolling Thunder documentary, which includes exclusive to DVD interviews and rare and new footage of the San Francisco Bay Bombers at the Kezar Pavilion, spanning five decades of banked track action. Hosted by the Derby's long-time trackside announcer, Don Drewry, The Roller Derby Chronicles is ten hours chock full of slamming, jamming memories!

Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Don Drewry, Gwen Skinny Minnie Miller, Frank Macedo
  • Directors: Larry Gitnick
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 3
  • Rated:
    G
    General Audience
  • Studio: Video Service Corp
  • DVD Release Date: December 15, 2009
  • Run Time: 560 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B002ILRCRI
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #38,802 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Roller Derby has always been one of the most controversial American entertainment events/sports. It was born of the Great Depression, and has been described as six-day bicycle racing on roller skates. As it evolved over the decades, the emphasis on skating eventually gave way to fisticuffs and infield "color."

ROLLER DERBY CHRONICLES is a fabulous three-DVD set that pays tribute to the best intentions of the family that pioneered the sport. The festivities commence on disc one with a nearly hour-long documentary about the founders and some of the great skaters who graced the league during its heyday. Then, the acclaimed documentary DERBY (1970) follows in its entirety. DERBY actually crossed over to the theatrical arthouse circuit back in the day, and is still treasured by fans for its depiction of the Roller Derby world circa 1969/1970.

The other two DVDs offer a variety of games spanning the modern age of the sport, 1952-1977. It should be noted that virtually no game films survive from the 1964-1972 era, so that particular period isn't represented here (other than the 1969/70 game footage in the documentary DERBY). The overall visual quality is excellent, given the vintage of these games. Many of Roller Derby's greatest stars are on display throughout. Also included is the second half of a Canadian game from 1974, which provides a nice showcase for the Derby's primary competition, another league that called itself Roller Games.

Whether you're still an active fan, or just nostalgic for the days when Roller Derby ruled the airwaves, this three-DVD set wonderfully brings the era back to life.
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I started watching the Roller Derby in 1969 until it's demise in 1973, a true tragedy for aficionados of this unique, amazing and lost part of Americana. For the fans people like Ann Calvello, Joan Weston, Charlie O'Connell and the other bank tracked warriors were like part of our own families. While other sports have their die hard fans, the bond between the fans of Roller Derby and their banked track heroes was truly on a personal level. And we never forgot those skaters or our sport and still retain a livley interest and love for it today. This is a good set and showcases many of the top stars of the golden age of the Roller Derby and some games that capture the excitement and energy of the sport. As has been pointed out in some other reviews, little footage of the Roller Derby remains aside from a few filmed games from the 40s/50s and the final '73 season on videotape, something the fans still lament to this day. But for those that love the game or people who are just curious as to what it was all about this is a well put together set and provides many insights into the game, the players and why it all ended. Included is a Roller Games entry which shows the vast difference between the two competing leagues and also a game from the IRSL which succeeded the old Roller Derby (IRDL) and lasted another 10 years. Highly recommended!
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I first discovered Roller Derby back in 1970 when I was in Junior High school. My father took me to a game at the Sacramento Memorial Auditorium in Sacramento California. I was hooked. I was already an avid flat track roller skater. I followed the game through its IRSL period in the late 70's and 80's. I even tried out with the training school in 1982 but did not stick with it. This Roller Derby Chronicles video set is the first time a documentary has been made about the original Derby. In 1970 The movie Derby premiered. It was great however it mostly followed Mike Snell who was attempting to break into the league. Then of course there were several movies based on Bill Griffiths 'Roller Games' from southern California. That however was NOT Derby. Leo and Jerry Seltzer were Derby.
This documentary is excellent. It interviews Jerry Seltzer who explains why Derby folded in 1973. It also interviews several original skaters from that era. Last but not least, it has several Derby games to enjoy. I could not be happier with this film. I bought it through Amazon and had it in my hands in about 3 days.
If you are a Roller Derby fan you probably already have this dvd. If not GET IT!!!
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This is an excellent history of the REAL ROLLER DERBY, where skaters had exceptional athletic ability and skated on a banked track. For anyone who thinks they might like the concept of Roller Derby from the current examples of flat track skaters who grew up skating on Roller Blades, check this real history to see how the game was really played back when Gerry Murray and Mike Gammon ruled the track. I find the 1950's through the 1970's best. Back in the 1950's the only professional sport in which women were allowed to participate was the Roller Derby. Many participants were flat track racing champions. There is no comparison between today's "Powder Puff" skaters and the athletic women of the real Roller Derby shown in this historical compilation. Back in those days most of the games were choreographed performances. I doubt many of today's female skaters can skate well enough to follow a choreographed performance.

To become a Roller Derby skater one had to train under a professional skater in the Roller Derby Training School held for about 5 hours daily on weekdays. Skaters learned how to fall properly, how to get up and continue skating after falling, how to block properly, how to whip and other nuances that made the Roller Derby what it was. Endurance was acquired by skaters lined up single file and skating paces around the track, non-stop, at 3/4 speed for one half hour or longer, often led by one of the coaches, who could have been Mike Gammon or Buddy Atkinson Jr.

In the 1950's the skates had wooden wheels. The banked track was covered with a coating of green resin-like paint which added traction and helped the wooden wheels hold the track at high speed.
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