“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.
Lead artist: Keri Pickett