$30

Atlas Obscura Society Chicago: Roller Skating in the Movies

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Location

Fleetwood Roller Rink

7231 W Archer Ave

Chicago, IL 60501

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Refund Policy

No Refunds

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Description

According to the National Museum of Roller Skating, Belgium-born John Joseph Merlin invented roller skates in the 1760s. But as legend has it, Merlin couldn't control his skates in either speed or direction. Consequently, one night at a fancy masquerade party, the aspiring inventor crash-landed into a huge (and really expensive) mirror—shattering it to pieces, severely injuring himself, and setting back the pastime of roller skating for years.

Indeed, more than a century would pass before New Yorker James Plimpton would perfect the roller skate. In the late 1800s, Plimpton reinvented the mobile footwear, now featuring four wheels and turning capabilities (he later added straps and side braces). Not to be outdone, Plimpton also opened the first public roller skating rink and introduced roller skating as a recreational sport.

Since the early days of cinema, Hollywood has embraced Merlin's and Plimpton's ideas. Filmmakers have not only featured roller skating in short scenes, but they've also fashioned entire movies around it. Notably, the industry doesn't discriminate in terms of genre: from the 1900s to the 2000s, Hollywood comedies, musicals, westerns, fantasies, horror films, and dramas have showcased roller skating.

Join us as film scholar and Atlas Obscura Field Agent Dr. Kelli Marshall interactively guides you through Hollywood's roller skating history via your smartphone or tablet (those without devices may still participate!). We'll consider why so many filmmakers have embraced the sport, why it peaked onscreen in the 1970s and 1980s, and how one roller-skating movie started the now-infamous Razzie Awards.

Then, we'll lace up a pair of skates and glide around the ol' hardwood floor of one of Chicago's last-remaining roller rinks. This event is part of our 2019 Focus on Film Series.

ATLAS OBSCURA PRESENTS: THE 2019 FOCUS ON FILM SERIES

In 1899, Eastman Kodak sold its first strip of film stock, a flexible and transparent material used for recording motion pictures. It's now exactly 130 years later, and while film stock has mostly fallen by the wayside, the images photographed on it remain. For 2019, Atlas Obscura is delighted to focus on film with a series of events curated by Field Agent and film scholar Dr. Kelli Marshall. Taking place in theaters and venues in and around Chicago, these events will explore the moving picture in all its unique and wondrous iterations: themes, techniques, characters, genres, directors, stars, and physical locations. Join us in 2019 as we celebrate film stock's 130th birthday and take a deep dive into its contents!

Additional Details:

  • About 10 minutes prior to starting time, meet Kelli inside Fleetwood Skating Rink, 7231 W Archer Ave, Summit, IL.
  • Skate rental, DJ, and interactive talk are included in your ticket price; an open snack bar is available.
  • All participants must sign a waiver (provided at the event); if participants fall under the age of 18, a parent or guardian must also sign.
  • While not required, part of this event may be enhanced by mobile devices or tablets. Bring 'em if you've got 'em!
  • The bar Fergie & Foz is attached to the skating rink. Note: skates are not allowed inside the bar; alcohol is not allowed inside the rink.
  • The rink has dedicated parking behind it and across the street. Public transportation from Union Station: Metra (Heritage Corridor and BNSF) and Amtrak.
  • This indoor event runs in rain, snow, or shine.
  • The ticket is non-refundable, but you can transfer your purchase by following this handy Eventbrite tutorial.
  • All ages are welcome.

QUESTIONS?

Email Joie Mikitson at joie.mikitson@atlasobscura.com.

Stay connected! Subscribe to the Atlas Obscura Society Chicago newsletter and join our Facebook Group for a first glimpse at upcoming events.

Advance tickets only. All sales final. No refunds or exchanges.

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Date and Time

Location

Fleetwood Roller Rink

7231 W Archer Ave

Chicago, IL 60501

View Map

Refund Policy

No Refunds

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