The Fabulous Ice Age


Before she directed “The Fabulous Ice Age,” Keri Pickett was a photographer who had never contemplated making a film. Her uncle, the former figure skater Roy Blakey — an avid collector of ice-show memorabilia — changed all that. Gia Kourlas – THE NEW YORK TIMES

“The Fabulous Ice Age” chronicles the era of the great American touring ice shows revealing how they dominated family entertainment for decades, changing the lives of skaters and audiences alike, eventually exporting American culture around the world along with one skaters’ quest to keep this history from being forgotten.

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.

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.

The Fabulous Ice Age is an official selection of the Minneapolis St. Paul International Film Festival 2013.

The Fabulous Ice Age won an audience award at the 2013 Minneapolis International Film Festival. 

The Fabulous Ice Age is an official selection of Dance on Camera 2014.

The Fabulous Ice Age is an official selection of the Napa Valley Film Festival 2013.

The Fabulous Ice Age is an official selection of the Fargo Film Festival 2014.