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Vintage Flashback :: Skating Back to the Ice Capades.


Image: 60s Twist

Over the weekend, my friend Melinda posted pix of her little girlie enjoying the heck out of Disney on Ice on Facebook.  There were smiles, BART rides, pictures of playing cards ice skating (think Alice in Wonderland) and a $12 shaved ice cone.  It got me very excited to think about taking the Peach to one next time Disney on Ice skates into town.  It also made me think about the Ice Capades.

My mother swears she took me to the Ice Capades as a child, but I can’t remember it and I’m sure I would have remembered something as spectacular as THIS:


Image: Hollywood Place

The Ice Capades were a traveling ice show that ran from 1940 to 1995 featuring ex-Olympian skaters,  elaborate set-pieces/themes, and costumes that could have been featured in a Hollywood musical.  In the early years, I think they marketed themselves more on the prettiness of the girls than any ice skating capabilities.  At least according to the old Ice Capade programs which featured bombshell Vargas-like covers.  Vavoom!  I have a feeling Dads weren’t against taking their kids to this “wholesome family fun” ice show. Hmmm….


Clockwise: 1234

But for me and I’m sure many a little girl in the audience it was about the pretty outfits and the Ice Capades did not disappoint!  It was a costumer’s dream of fabulous outfits worthy of any MGM Musical! Just look at the array of fashion awesomeness here:


Image: Jen O’Sale

I want to meet the costume designer who decided on that bouffant hair style.

Images: Retro Space.

I love this 1970 Ice Capade show featured Tim Wood, the 1969 World Figure Skating Champion. Olympics Bronze-winners Margot and Danne skated to a Beatles medley, World Free-Style Champion Tommy Litz appeared in a segment titled “An Astrological Affair.”

Oh, these sexy Librans!  I really don’t understand what the circle ponchos have to do with Libra. But it certainly makes for a sassy look!  With matching gloves, natch!


Images: Pitch.com

Or this 1983 Ice Capades jazz handed hot pink tambourine extravaganza?


Image: NeatNeatNeat

The Ice Capades had its roots in vaudeville theater, and many early acts included comedians, jugglers, barrel jumpers, magicians, and other such entertainers.

And this guy. Dave Pitts.

That Dave Pitts is one talented gent and is basically a chimp starmaker. Fancy!  I think that is the White Rabbit and Spanky is dressed as Snow White and and. Wow.  Just wow.


Images: Hollywood Places

But the Ice Capades weren’t immune to partnering with other brands to make more money. Oh no.  That was a life saver for the show!  Starting with the best partnership.  DISNEY!

(From Vintage Disneyland Tickets)

I’m not going to lie–that Pluto looks a little roughed up…

Or how about the Smurfs? And Peggy Flemming!


Images via: LoonBoy2

And–what the heck? A McDonalds inspired Ice Capades?

From Hollywood Place

I can only imagine storyline of the Golden Hamburger caper with those terrifying pink and yellow mop things! This picture was two pictures that I put next together so you could see the truly magnificent operatic joy of the McDonalds Ice Capades show.

Former Olympian and 70s hair style icon Dorothy Hamill bought the show in 1993 for 10 million dollars, and then sold it to Pat Robertson in 1995, who pretty much ran it into the ground in record time, and the show was bankrupt later that year. There have been attempts to revive the show, but they have failed to get traction. (Note to self: add “Revive Ice Capades to bucket list…”)

But Thanks to Disney on Ice and many other wonderful shows, you can still take your kiddo to a sweet ice show and have a blast and buy them a $12 shaved ice cone! YEAH!

Did you ever go to Ice Capades? Did you ever bring your child to one of the ice shows?  How was it? Did it compare?

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Posted in Best of Dottie, Vintage Childhood.

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10 Responses

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  1. Melinda says

    Oh my god! Instead of Disney on Ice, I should’ve spent our snow cone money on a time machine and gone to the Ice Capades circa 1983. Jazz hands on ice!

    • Dottie says

      I KNOW! That one positively SLAYED me! Oh the tambourine goodness of it all!

  2. Jody says

    Never been to an ice show. :( And I, like Buffy, would thoroughly enjoy it un-ironically. But when I told David that the whole Bailey clan went to Disney on Ice, he suggested that perhaps an ice show would be best enjoyed as an all-girl bonding session. Fine with me, as long as I get to go!

    • Dottie says

      I sent you a discount to it awhile back. I’m taking the Peach there next year because it’s gonna be AWESOME!!!

  3. Esther says

    This really helps explain some of the ice skating shows I was in as a kid!

  4. Alix says

    Not only did I go to the Ice Capades as a little girl, that second image up there (with the crazy 70s gyspy lady) is the program cover of the EXACT SHOW I WENT TO! I was probably 5 or 6 and i remember to this day how awesome that show was. The spangles and sparkles…..for YEARS i would pour through that program and look at all the pretty ladies in their cool costumes. There was a woman in a full body suit that was nude fish net and red fabric stripes (so she looked “on fire”), there was a Coppelia “doll come to life” skater…..and yes. The McDonalds thing was part of the show too. I loooooved it! I know I have the program somewhere at home still, I’ll have to dig it up!!!!

    • Dottie says

      Alix, I’m totally jealous that you went to THAT SHOW! Really, it looked amazing! Any pix of you as a kid going to it? I’d die of joy! DIE!

  5. Mom101 says

    I’m dying over this! If only that were Willard Scott on ice…

    • Dottie says

      I’m dying over the Willard Scott comment! That is pure hilarity!

  6. Robbie says

    i love the “golden hamburger” photo!



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