January 31, 2011

Wow ...

I just have to say congratulations to Ryan Bradley. What an awesome victory. Is that some kind of record after eleven times?

This guy is channeling one of my favorite competitors, Philippe Candeloro, but doing it in his own style. Still, their objective - entertain the audience.

I like that.

His own words from Amy Shipley's article in the Washington Post:
"That was probably the ugliest national championship program ever," said Bradley, who scored 231.90 points overall. "I love it because of that. . . . I never thought, 'Oh wow, I blew it.' I remember thinking, 'Okay, do something funny so they'll laugh and forget you just missed.' "

It was a pleasant surprise to me that he didn't really think he had won. Call me cynical, but I feel like some of these skaters know the scoring in their program so well, down to the percentage of deduction of a two-foot versus hand-touch versus extra three-turn spinout landing.

But he had his headphones during the other performances and didn't know the door was wide open. So I just have to say, wow!

January 28, 2011

My 250th Post!

Yes, 2-5-0. Who knew the old showgirl had it in her?

So I thought I'd simply leave you with the Ice Charades theme. It really is a catchy, little tune.

Oh, Ice Charades, you're so icy and fun,
Oh, Ice Charades, it's not the Capade one,
Oh, Ice Charades, every year comes to town,
Oh, Ice Charades, get your money back if a skater falls down!

Don't worry, I'll get back to I'll get back to ice show reunion announcements and obits very soon.

January 25, 2011

Donna Atwood dies at 85; longtime Ice Capades star

Back in the day, stars of Ice Capades were real stars. Donna Atwood and her longtime skating partner, Bobby Specht, made the cover of Life Magazine in 1946. She was also used as one of two human models for the ice-skating sequence with Bambi and Thumper in the 1942 animated Disney movie "Bambi."

A bygone era. And a bygone star.

This was posted in the Los Angeles Times:
Billed as 'the Sweetheart of the Ice,' Donna Atwood started skating as a teenager. Largely self-taught, she signed with the Ice Capades at 16 and within a year was its star.

Donna Atwood, in a 1955 publicity…January 21, 2011|By Valerie J. Nelson, Los Angeles TimesIce Capades star Donna Atwood had spent almost half her life on the road when she left professional figure-skating behind at 31 to raise her three young children in a custom-built Beverly Hills home complete with a piano that folded into the wall.

She was so famous that Times headlines from the era used only her first name. "Donna to Retire in 1956 for Home Life," said one atop an article that portrayed her as longing to "trade it all in for 'home, sweet home.' "

Here's another longer article written by Valerie J. Nelson of the Los Angeles Times:

By Valerie J. Nelson, Los Angeles Times

January 21, 2011

Ice Capades star Donna Atwood had spent almost half her life on the road when she left professional figure-skating behind at 31 to raise her three young children in a custom-built Beverly Hills home complete with a piano that folded into the wall.

She was so famous that Times headlines from the era used only her first name. "Donna to Retire in 1956 for Home Life," said one atop an article that portrayed her as longing to "trade it all in for 'home, sweet home.' "

Yet it was a bittersweet decision for both Atwood and her husband, John H. Harris, operating owner of the touring Ice Capades show. To have his wife home full time, he had to give up the longtime star of his successful enterprise.

"She was at the top of her game, and all of a sudden, she's home," said Don Harris, one of her twin sons. "That was a huge turning point in her life."

Atwood died Dec. 20 of respiratory problems at the Motion Picture Television & Country House in Woodland Hills. Her family confirmed her death this week. She was 85.

Inspired after seeing Olympic champion Sonja Henie's ice revue, a 13-year-old Atwood skated onto the ice for the first time at the Polar Palace in Hollywood.

Days before her 16th birthday, the largely self-taught skater medaled twice at the 1941 U.S. Figure Skating Championships. She won the senior pairs crown with Eugene Turner and also took the junior ladies title.

Harris was scouting for new Ice Capades talent when he saw Atwood skate in 1941 and offered her a contract.

"The Olympics were being canceled because of World War II, so she didn't have those to aim for," her son said, "and her family didn't have any money" because her pharmacist father had died.

At 16, she signed with the show and within a year was its star, "charming audiences" and displaying "dramatic flair," according to a tribute in the 2002 U.S. Figure Skating Championships program.

Billed as "the Sweetheart of the Ice," she toured the U.S. and Canada for 15 years, giving more than 6,000 performances in two dozen venues, The Times reported in 1956.

Disney used her as one of two human models for the ice-skating sequence with Bambi and Thumper in the 1942 animated Disney movie "Bambi."

Life magazine put Atwood and her longtime Ice Capades skating partner Bobby Specht on the cover in 1946 along with a simple headline: "Ice Show."

In 1949, she married Harris, who was 27 years her senior. A year later, she gave birth to twin sons and had a daughter in 1952.

To make it easier for her to travel with young children, the Ice Capades prop shop built a portable nursery out of a 10-foot traveling trunk that could be rolled into her hotel room, her son said.

When her sons reached school age, it was time for Atwood to establish "a real home" and retire, she said upon announcing her decision.

On her farewell tour, she starred in an Ice Capades production of "Peter Pan" that was a condensed version of the Broadway show. She made her entrance flying above the audience. It was, she often said, her favorite role.

Donna Arlene Atwood was born Feb. 14, 1925, in Newton, Kan., to Chester and Attie Atwood. Her family moved to Albuquerque, N.M., before relocating to Los Angeles when she was 9.

From age 3, she had taken dancing lessons. After her father died when she was 13, her older brother gave Atwood her first pair of ice skates.

Her marriage to Harris proved "stormy," according to the 1973 book "Whatever Became Of?"

The couple divorced in 1959 and Harris sold the Ice Capades in 1963 for a reported $5 million. He died at 70 in 1969.

Atwood, who never remarried, eventually moved to Marina del Rey and in her later years lived in Palm Desert.

Once her children were grown, she began coaching young figure skaters in the early 1970s after growing "tired of doing nothing," she told The Times in 1978.

"I really like to see kids get started right," she said, "and I'm a bug on position."

She is survived by her sons, Don Harris, a Paramount Pictures executive, of Ventura, and Dennis Harris, a lawyer, of Manhattan Beach; daughter Donna Greenfield, a real estate agent, of Boston and Washington, D.C.; and five grandchildren.

January 19, 2011

Guess Who's Coming To Dinner?

That would be the State Dinner for His Excellency Hu Jintao of China going on at the White House ... and that would be Aaron's favorite skater ... yup, it' simply

Ms. Michelle Kwan

as is stated on the Washington Post's seating chart. Go here.

Apparently she didn't bring a date so we're left to wonder whom she was seated next to. What's your guess? Hillary Clinton, Anna Wintour, Madeleine Albright, Christiane Amanpour, Yo Yo Ma or Maya Lin (that would be cool - she's the designer of the Vietnam Memorial, among others). Or how exciting to sit next to Jackie Chan!

Obviously I have no idea who, but maybe someone can get the details.

January 18, 2011

Looking for Memorabilia?

This announcement came via the The Ice Capades Blade.

My name is Dave Lowery and my wife Rita and I own www.theskatinggallery.com. We both skated with HOI in the late 50s. We now ( due to declining health )are in the process of selling our existing inventory and wonder if you could do us a big favor and forward the attached email to your reunion members. Our daughter Kristan (Lowery) Waggoner with partner Chip Rossbach were featured skaters with Ice Capades and raved about the recent reunion.

January 17, 2011

Another HOI Reunion to announce

... this time in Bergamo, Italy.

Rats! That's another one I can't get to. Looks pretty fu*%ing sweet, doesn't it? Sorry, Miss Ice Charades is just bummed she can't go.

Oh well, if you want the details and to see who can make it there, go to this site on Facebook.

It's coming soon - February 24, 2011. That's a date change too, so get out your eraser and your calendar.

January 13, 2011

At least she is being honest ...

"It's like Formula One. You want to see the car crash. . . We like to go to Rockefeller Center to watch the ice-skaters fall."

-- Carol Barbeiro, recent audience member for a preview of "Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark," explaining to The New Yorker why she was eager to see the seemingly accursed Broadway musical. At least four actors have been injured onstage since October -- and ticket sales have soared.

Ice Charades, for the record, would like to see the play with or without the "car crash", thank you very much.

January 10, 2011

Things I Learned From An Ice Show

Welcome to my new segment, "Things I Learned From An Ice Show." We'll see if I can come up with at least twelve of these suckers and then I can turn this into a monthly installment. Here goes ...

You can't sing and laugh at the same time.

Try it ... you can't do it. How do I know this? I skated in a couple of ice shows that featured live singers. And if you wipe out in front of them, you hear them stop singing and start cracking up on the mike.

If you are going to fall, the best thing to do is to wipe out in front of the audience as well, so they laugh too and understand why the singers stopped singing.

It wasn't very good the time I ran into the headlights backstage while exiting. The singer saw my big crash and lost his sh**, but the audience didn't know why.

January 5, 2011

Frozen In Time

There is a lot of buzz building for the film RISE that will air all around the US on February 17, 2011. Like Required Elements mentioned in her latest post, here is one place to go to find tickets.

Once you get your tickets, please do me a big favor...

Read. The. Book. First.

Frozen In Time by Nikki Nichols

Need to purchase it? Go here.

There is no other way to absorb the details of the skaters' lives or understand the context of competitive skating of that time without reading the book. All of the research is there and the movie will be a richer experience having read the book.

Already read it? Good. Take a few moments to review before seeing the movie and I I'll bet you'll get more out of it.

Now, if only the movie were playing somewhere south of the border for me.

January 1, 2011

My New Year's Resolution

I hope everyone is having a great holiday season. I am.

Have you made your resolutions yet? I have.

I usually like to go with something that is easy to achieve and perhaps fun along the way. Like the year I decided I would only wear nice pajamas to bed. No t-shirts or gym shorts. That lasted for a while. Or the year I gave up mint chewing gum - only bubble gum would do.

Well, kids, this year Miss Ice Charades has decided her new resolution is to swear more. In writing and speaking and maybe in cooking, if I can figure out a way. So buckle up kids, you're in for a kick-a$$ ride.

Happy Hell of a New Year!