From an article this morning in the New York Times about the roller derby revival in Ulster County:
Roller derby, for better or worse, got its start in the 1930’s and had peaks of popularity in the 1950’s and 1970’s, reaching its pop-culture zenith with the 1972 Raquel Welch movie, “Kansas City Bomber.”
And then, poof, it disappeared. But an iron law of American culture is that nothing once popular is ever gone forever.
From a January 2, 2006 Times article about the roller derby revival on television:
For a while, it seemed as if Roller Derby was a lost art, like illuminated manuscripts or clog dancing. Actually, it’s more like polio: many people assume it was eradicated in the 1970’s, but it’s still around and, in some areas, quite virulent.
From a May 15, 2005 Times article about the roller derby revival in the Bronx:
The New York league is small, with 27 skaters… In July 2004 Nadia Kean from TXRD Lonestar Rollergirls, perhaps the best known of all the leagues, came up from Texas to train the Gotham Girls, many of whom had only seen the game played in ”Kansas City Bomber” the 1972 film starring Raquel Welch.
From an August 1, 2004, Times article about the roller derby revival in Austin, Texas:
Roller Derby, Texas style — now popping up in cities around the country — is not to be confused with the quaint Depression-era craze that sent marathoners skating off segments marking the mileage between the coasts. Or the periodic revivals marked by the aptly-named 1972 Raquel Welch film ”Kansas City Bomber” or the televised RollerJams on TNN from 1999 to 2001.
Since a handful of self-described onetime kiddy rinkrats met at an Austin party and formed the Lonestar league in 2001, offshoots have sprouted in New York, Seattle, Los Angeles, Tucson, Las Vegas, Raleigh, N.C., and the Cayman Islands, among other places.
Felix Gillette writes about the media for The New York Observer.
Paging the Times’ Cayman Islands Bureau: What’s this we hear about a roller derby revival down there?