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Dick Button's Ice-Travaganza - a rare view


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#1 Bill Cotter

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Posted 22 February 2013 - 01:19 PM

chimp-on-skates.jpg

July 1964

 

Shots of this show are hard to find, both because the show itself was canceled not too long after the Fair opened, and as the lighting was really tough on 1964 film stock. Luckily this photographer was seated near the ice.



#2 Randy Treadway

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Posted 22 February 2013 - 02:59 PM

VERY rare!  I think I've only seen two others and they both had focus & exposure issues.



#3 worldsfairfan

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Posted 03 March 2013 - 12:40 AM

That's the first picture I've ever seen from this!  Thanks for putting this up!  Judging by the picture, it's not too hard to figure out why it didn't last long.... a skating chimp probably wouldn't be at the top of my list of things to see at the fair. I don't know much about this, I've only seen it mentioned a few times, but did Dick Button actually ever skate in the show, or was it just named after him?  Just curious - figure skating is my favorite sport, so I love anything about its history.



#4 Bill Cotter

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Posted 03 March 2013 - 12:58 PM

Glad you enjoyed it. I don't know if Dick Button skated or not - anyone have the program handy?



#5 Randy Treadway

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Posted 03 March 2013 - 01:58 PM

I just found this picture.
865c4e235bc6c478a18589d20b879c7e.jpg
Dick Button’s “Ice-Travaganza” with Sandy Culbertson for the New York World’s Fair, 1964

The star of the show was 1963 World Champion Donald McPherson, and I suspect that's him in the picture with Culbertson.

#6 Randy Treadway

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Posted 03 March 2013 - 02:19 PM

Here's a press photo. Sorry, this tiny thumbnail is all I have
Dick_Button_press_photo.jpg

028_-_Unknown.jpg
©Bill Cotter, Set 11, Picture 028

029_-_Unknown.jpg
©Bill Cotter, Set 11, Picture 029

...and an artist's sketch of the extravagant ski slope scene....
Button-Ice-Show.jpg

#7 Jim

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Posted 03 March 2013 - 08:41 PM

Holy crap, there really was a Chimps On Ice Show??!!  I thought that was just a line from King of Queens or something.  It is hard to imagine that with so many spectacular pavilions and exhibits to see that anybody would have actually banked on the idea that fair visitors would flock to a show with skating chimps--wearing  a dress no less.



#8 Doug Seed

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Posted 04 March 2013 - 06:42 AM

Well, where else were you going to see an ice skating chimp in 1964?  :D

 

My parents took us to the Ice Capades at Boston Garden several times when we were kids.  

 

As a 12-year-old boy at the Fair, GM, Ford, IBM and (thanks to my sister's pre-fair planning of our visit) Johnson's Wax were 150 times higher on our must see list.  Knowing what we know now, it seems that any run-of the mill activity or amusement ride was doomed before it even opened.  I'm sure Dick Button's show was fabulous for the era, but it was probably the wrong time and place, like To Broadway with Love in the Texas pavilion.

 

Everything has an interesting back story:

http://en.wikipedia....iki/Ice_Capades



#9 Eric Paddon

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Posted 04 March 2013 - 03:56 PM

I just found this picture.
865c4e235bc6c478a18589d20b879c7e.jpg
Dick Button’s “Ice-Travaganza” with Sandy Culbertson for the New York World’s Fair, 1964

The star of the show was 1963 World Champion Donald McPherson, and I suspect that's him in the picture with Culbertson.

 

Actually, I think that's Dick Button himself.



#10 Jim

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Posted 04 March 2013 - 08:26 PM

I remember Dick Button but realized he has been out of the news for a long time.  When I think of him I remember a commentator, mostly for ABC sports, who could be rather negative.  The Wiki account (which I realize may not be totally accurate) does make reference to his "frank and often caustic comments" about Olympic skaters.  I especially recall that during the Lake Placid games, I thought he was overly critical and I did not want to listen to his commentary.  It was as if no skater could meet his standards and he could not find a way to offer praise for the performances he was watching.   I had forgotten he was attacked and badly injured in Central Park and then, years later, fell while skating and suffered serious head injuries. 



#11 Doug Seed

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Posted 06 March 2013 - 06:48 AM

Two memorable Dick Button thoughts:

 

1. The moment when Dick Button realized that skaters Tai Babilonia and Randy Gardner wouldn't win medals in the 1980 Olympics and he wept on TV "oh Tai... Oh Randy", after Randy Gardner had suffered an injury. 

2. Dcik Button has to be the fastest spinner in the history of skating.  When you see film of him in that tight spin position, he truly is amazing.  I always take note to see if the modern skaters compare to his spin-rate and none of them do.



#12 worldsfairfan

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Posted 10 March 2013 - 10:16 PM

Thanks Randy for the additonal pictures and the rendering.... looks like it had potential to be a great production (minus the chimp).  It's fun  to look back on when figure skating productions were extravegent.  Figure skating is almost dead in this country with little to no television coverage and few ways to see skating live. I attended Stars on Ice every year from 2002 - 2011, back when they toured to 60 cities. 2012 saw the tour down to 10 stops and this year down to 6.  I miss not having a quality figure skating show to attend and I don't think the future looks very bright.

 

The promotional photo is definitely Dick Button himself. Fascinating information on something I knew little about.

 

I miss Dick Button's commentary - while he could be harsh with his comments, he was usually right. With the olympics coming up next year, hopefully NBC will bring him in for extra analysis like they did in 2010. He has done so much for the sport and continued to raise the bar with his techinal ability.  No male skater has won 2 olympic gold medals since he did and I doubt anyone will in the near future.



#13 Jim

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Posted 10 March 2013 - 10:34 PM

I did not listen to his commentary in Vancouver,  I am able to pick up Canadian coverage and opted to do that.  I guess that when he speaks, I sense a strong tone of condecension and criticism.  Some of his harshness has the ability to suck the joy out of viewing the competition.  He was a great skater and he knows  a great deal but as he nears 80 and appears to be a sharp tongued as ever, maybe he should  bow to younger commentators who skated more recently and better understand the sport as it exists in 2013.  Or he might try offering a compliment once in a while;



#14 Chmnofbrd

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Posted 22 April 2013 - 10:19 AM

I remember Ice Capades playing a week at the Garden and a few nights at Nassau Colliseum, used to be a big draw.



#15 Doug Seed

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Posted 24 April 2013 - 01:48 PM

And there was also the Ice Follies in the same era as the Ice Capades.  Just remembered that!






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