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Surely we all remember that strange depiction on our Zenith TV of the tight clusters of women roaring around the banked rink, slamming into each other, with elbows flying, and an occasional hair-pulling. As a kid, I didn't know how to file it. They looked like moms, but surely not the moms I said "yes ma'am" to. I look back now and assume me rarely being around the TV when it came on can be creditied to my parents wisely diverting my attention to something wholesome and pure.
The growing popularity of roller skating in the United States led to the formation of organized endurance races as early as 1884, and the popularity of roller skate racing and endurance events continued into the early 20th century. One such race was an 8.5 mile roller marathon organized in 1908 by a group of Chicago, Illinois rink owners. It was 1922 when the term “derby” (meaning a race or multi-race event) appeared for the first time in the Chicago Tribune. In 1929, with the onset of the Great Depression, a film publicist named Leo Seltzer began running dance marathons, also known as “walkathons” offering cash prizes to the contestants, mostly unemployed. With hundreds of people participating, Seltzer was grossing millions, and mind you, this was during the Depression. By 1933, Seltzer was booking events at the Chicago Coliseum. But just as the marathons were waning, the roller skating fad was making a come back, and being the entrepreneur that Leo Seltzer was, he seized the opportunity for a new business venture. One evening, while in Ricketts, a Chicago restaurant, Seltzer began jotting down ideas on a tablecloth. Combining the past
success of the dance marathons with the new found
interest of roller skating, Leo came up with the Transcontinental Roller Derby...
GREETINGS FROM ILLINOIS
FIRST DAY OF ISSUE
OCTOBER 25, 2002
NEW YORK, NY 10199
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Read the complete article in the Bevil newsletter, which accompanies the cover when collected.