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HISTORY

       A 17 Jul 1979 DV news item reported that actor Paul Lynde was cast in Skatetown U. S. A. However, a 24 Jul 1979 DV news brief stated that Lynde could not be in the film due to scheduling conflicts with a theatrical tour in which he was appearing.
       A 15 Sep 2009 LAT obituary stated that Skatetown U. S. A. was actor Patrick Swayze's (1952–2009) first theatrical film, while a 2 Aug 1979 HR news brief claimed it also marked actress Dorothy Stratton’s first theatrical film appearance. Stratton was Playboy magazine’s Playmate of Aug 1979 and 1980 Playmate of the year. Born in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, 28 Feb 1960 in a Salvation Army Hospital, she moved to Los Angeles, CA, with her husband Paul Snider. As Statton’s career began to take off, her marriage crumbled and on 14 Aug 1980, Snider killed her with a shotgun and then himself.
       In a 6 Aug 1979 LAT article, executive producer Lorin Dreyfuss, who referred to the film as a Westside Story “parody,” stated that Skatetown, U. S. A. was originally intended as a low budget film. He considered financing the $500 thousand budget himself, but took the idea to producer Ray Stark, who had worked with Dreyfuss’s brother, actor Richard Dreyfuss on The Goodbye Girl (1977, see entry). Stark decided to increase the budget to make it into a major production.
       The film’s budget was reportedly $3 million according to the LAT article, but an Oct 1979 ... More Less

       A 17 Jul 1979 DV news item reported that actor Paul Lynde was cast in Skatetown U. S. A. However, a 24 Jul 1979 DV news brief stated that Lynde could not be in the film due to scheduling conflicts with a theatrical tour in which he was appearing.
       A 15 Sep 2009 LAT obituary stated that Skatetown U. S. A. was actor Patrick Swayze's (1952–2009) first theatrical film, while a 2 Aug 1979 HR news brief claimed it also marked actress Dorothy Stratton’s first theatrical film appearance. Stratton was Playboy magazine’s Playmate of Aug 1979 and 1980 Playmate of the year. Born in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, 28 Feb 1960 in a Salvation Army Hospital, she moved to Los Angeles, CA, with her husband Paul Snider. As Statton’s career began to take off, her marriage crumbled and on 14 Aug 1980, Snider killed her with a shotgun and then himself.
       In a 6 Aug 1979 LAT article, executive producer Lorin Dreyfuss, who referred to the film as a Westside Story “parody,” stated that Skatetown, U. S. A. was originally intended as a low budget film. He considered financing the $500 thousand budget himself, but took the idea to producer Ray Stark, who had worked with Dreyfuss’s brother, actor Richard Dreyfuss on The Goodbye Girl (1977, see entry). Stark decided to increase the budget to make it into a major production.
       The film’s budget was reportedly $3 million according to the LAT article, but an Oct 1979 Millimeter magazine article claimed it was $4.5 million with $300 thousand being spent on lights and sound systems alone.
       Principal photography lasted five weeks at the Hollywood Palladium, which had been refashioned into a roller rink.
       An article in Oct 1979 Millimeter stated that a Panaflex camera with a wide-angel lens was mounted onto a golf cart so the film crew could follow the skaters around the rink.
       According to an 8 Dec 1982 Var article, Stark sued executive producer Peter Strauss, former vice-president of Rastar Films, in Los Angeles Superior Court for breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty and intentional interference with contractual relations. Stark claimed that Strauss did not disclose he was “serving as agent, representative and consultant” to third parties that were doing business with Stark. This suit covered three films that Rastar was involved in producing including: Skatetown U. S. A., The Villian (1979, see entry), and Touched by Love (1980, see entry). Strauss was accused of suggesting Stark arrange a joint venture for The Villain to make it convenient for Karl J. Breuer. The deal was executed by Group Six Ltd. which was wholly owned by Breuer. Strauss pushed Stark's representative, Gerald Lipsky, into making a deal with Pleniere, Inc. as a replacement for Group Six, it was alleged. Stark claimed that Strauss did not tell him that Strauss’s father was indebted to Group Six for $250 thousand or that Pleniere, who Strauss alleged was a Liechtenstein corporation, was actually a New York corporation wholly owned by Breuer. Stark also claimed that Strauss advised the president of Pleniere, Alan Peters, on certain matters and was a close friend of Strauss. Also, Strauss’s father owed Peter $40 thousand. Stark consented to another joint venture with Breuer on Skatetown U. S. A., in 1979 with the deal executed by Pleniere. However, Strauss advised Stark to replace Pleniere with Filmvest, an Illinois company owned by Peters and Richard Hnatek. Also, Stark claimed that Armand Rubin, the film’s foreign sales representative and film distributor through his company Europex, was a confidante of Strauss. According to the lawsuit, Rubin intended to assign a portion or all of his rights to Skatetown U.S.A. to Merchant Securities Ltd. When principal photography began on the film, Columbia Pictures offered to loan $1 million to cover production costs if Stark would agree to assign Columbia his profits from his third picture, To Elvis With Love, later renamed Touched by Love. However, Breuer was not informed of the condition of the loan by Strauss and stated he was not bound by the agreement. Dove Inc. had agreed to a joint venture in Touched by Love, but Strauss had not revealed to Stark that the company was incapable of meeting its financial responsibilities. Strauss supposedly told Stark that Breuer was willing to guarantee all “duties and obligations of Dove” in this venture, concealing the fact that Breuer was not personally obligated. He also failed to reveal that Filmvest had acquired 50% in Dove’s net profits on Touched by Love. In Feb 1980, Stark and Breuer argued over Skatetown U. S. A. and Villain and allegedly Strauss secretly aided Breuer and his attorneys by supplying Breuer, Group Six, Pleniere and Peters records and files. Filmvest withdrew from Skatetown in May 1980, causing Pleniere to file a lawsuit against Stark in U. S. District court. Stark requested $32 thousand to cover his previous legal fees and $1 million for exemplary damages. The conclusion of the case has not been determined.

      End credits include thanks to the following organizations: Casio; Championship Roller Skates; Chemin de Fer; Donmoor; Frangipani; Hot Rollers; Skateskins; Captain Rainbow; Road Skates International; Altec Lansing.
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GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
17 Jul 1979.
---
Daily Variety
24 Jul 1979.
---
Hollywood Reporter
2 Aug 1979.
---
Hollywood Reporter
19 Oct 1979
p. 4.
Los Angeles Times
6 Aug 1979.
---
Los Angeles Times
15 Sep 1979.
---
Los Angeles Times
20 Oct 1979
p. 8.
Los Angeles Times
15 Sep 2009.
---
Millimeter
Oct 1979.
---
Variety
24 Oct 1979
p. 17.
Variety
8 Dec 1982.
---
CAST
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
Co-starring:
The Comics:
Introducing
as
Special Guest Star
as
Featuring:
The gang:
[and]
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PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANIES
PRODUCTION TEXTS
Columbia Pictures and Rastar present
A William A. Levey Film
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Unit prod mgr
1st asst dir
2d asst dir
2d asst dir
2d asst dir
PRODUCERS
Assoc prod
Exec prod
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
1st asst cam
Stillman
Stillman
Spec disco lighting
Disco lighting equip
Gaffer
Best boy
Best boy/Grip
Dolly grip
ART DIRECTOR
Art dir
FILM EDITORS
Film ed
Asst ed
Asst ed
Asst ed
Asst ed
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Sets by
Prop master
COSTUMES
Cost coord
Cost coord
Asst costumer
MUSIC
Mus score
Mus supv
Mus ed
SOUND
Sd mixer
Boom op
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
VISUAL EFFECTS
Title and opticals
DANCE
Choreog
Spec skating numbers
Spec skating numbers
Spec skating numbers
MAKEUP
Makeup
Makeup
Body makeup
Hairdresser
Hairdresser
PRODUCTION MISC
Asst to prod
Asst to prod
Prod liaison
Prod office coord
Prod secy
Prod asst
Prod asst
Unit pub
Scr supv
Transportation capt
Prod services
STAND INS
Stunt coord
Stunt man
Stunt man
COLOR PERSONNEL
SOURCES
SONGS
"Skatetown," music by Dave Mason, lyrics by Brenda Cooper
"Feelin' Alright?" music and lyrics by Dave Mason
"I Fell In Love," music and lyrics by Dave Mason, all perormed by Dave Mason with the Dave Mason Band: Mike Finnigan, Clydine Jackson, Rick Jaeger, Bobbye Hall, David Miner, Mark Stein, Julia Tillman, Lorna Maxine Willard. "Disco Nights," performed by GQ, courtesty of Arista Records. The following songs were made especially available for this picture: "Roller Girl," performed by John Sebastian, courtesy of CBS Records
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SONGS
"Skatetown," music by Dave Mason, lyrics by Brenda Cooper
"Feelin' Alright?" music and lyrics by Dave Mason
"I Fell In Love," music and lyrics by Dave Mason, all perormed by Dave Mason with the Dave Mason Band: Mike Finnigan, Clydine Jackson, Rick Jaeger, Bobbye Hall, David Miner, Mark Stein, Julia Tillman, Lorna Maxine Willard. "Disco Nights," performed by GQ, courtesty of Arista Records. The following songs were made especially available for this picture: "Roller Girl," performed by John Sebastian, courtesy of CBS Records
"Perfect Dancer," performed by Billy Davis, Jr. and Marilyn McCoo, courtesy of CBS Records
"Skatetown U. S. A.," performed by Carolyn Dennis, music and lyrics by John Everett-Beal. The producer thanks CBS Records for the use of the following songs: "Shake Your Body (Down to the Ground)," performed by The Jacksons
"Ain't No Stoppin' Us Now," performed by McFadden & Whitehead
"Ring My Bell," performed by Anita Ward
"Boogie Nights," performed by Heatwave
"Boogie Wonderland," performed by Earth, Wind and Fire
"Under My Thumb," performed by The Hounds
"Born To Be Alive," performed by Patrick Hernandez. "La Bamba," performed by Antonio Rodriguez, courtesy of Arista Records.
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DETAILS
Release Date:
19 October 1979
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles opening: 19 October 1979
Copyright Claimant:
The Skatetown Company
Copyright Date:
9 November 1979
Copyright Number:
PA50860
Physical Properties:
Sound
Color
Lenses/Prints
Lenses and Panaflex camera by Panavision®
Duration(in mins):
95
MPAA Rating:
PG
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
25798
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

Hundreds of young people enter “Skatetown USA” roller rink for a night of disco music and skating entertainment. The African American owner, Harvey Ross, finds his white, little person father, Jimmy, telling the young ticket taker to let in any cute girls to make up for society’s oppression of women. Harvey tells the girl to charge everyone and reminds his father that he is a married man. Across the rink, Richie signs up his sister, Susan, and their friend, Stan Nelson, to compete in a skating contest, although Stan insists he is not ready. As Stan warms up, he spies Allison, the younger sister of Ace Johnson, reigning skating champion and leader of a vicious gang known as the “Westside Wheelers.” Stan praises Allison’s beauty to Richie, when he is confronted by “Pistol Pete," a skater dressed as a Mexican bandito. Pete attempts to intimidate Stan with his press clippings, but Richie explains that Pete is only trying to “pysch” Stan out. Meanwhile, a concession stand cook accidentally switches his herbs with marijuana and sprinkles some on the pizzas he is preparing. Soon half the customers are stoned. Meanwhile, Ace tells his minion, Frankey, to “take care” of Pete and orders Jimmy to bring the “valley boy” to him. Before taking Susan and Stan to meet Ace, Jimmy takes Richie aside and warns him the Westside Wheelers are a violent gang. Ace and Stan trade insults until Allison arrives. Soon Stan makes eyes at Allison while Susan flirts with Frankey. Sensing trouble, Richie drags the siblings away. As professional skating troupes entertain the crowd, Ace ... +


Hundreds of young people enter “Skatetown USA” roller rink for a night of disco music and skating entertainment. The African American owner, Harvey Ross, finds his white, little person father, Jimmy, telling the young ticket taker to let in any cute girls to make up for society’s oppression of women. Harvey tells the girl to charge everyone and reminds his father that he is a married man. Across the rink, Richie signs up his sister, Susan, and their friend, Stan Nelson, to compete in a skating contest, although Stan insists he is not ready. As Stan warms up, he spies Allison, the younger sister of Ace Johnson, reigning skating champion and leader of a vicious gang known as the “Westside Wheelers.” Stan praises Allison’s beauty to Richie, when he is confronted by “Pistol Pete," a skater dressed as a Mexican bandito. Pete attempts to intimidate Stan with his press clippings, but Richie explains that Pete is only trying to “pysch” Stan out. Meanwhile, a concession stand cook accidentally switches his herbs with marijuana and sprinkles some on the pizzas he is preparing. Soon half the customers are stoned. Meanwhile, Ace tells his minion, Frankey, to “take care” of Pete and orders Jimmy to bring the “valley boy” to him. Before taking Susan and Stan to meet Ace, Jimmy takes Richie aside and warns him the Westside Wheelers are a violent gang. Ace and Stan trade insults until Allison arrives. Soon Stan makes eyes at Allison while Susan flirts with Frankey. Sensing trouble, Richie drags the siblings away. As professional skating troupes entertain the crowd, Ace shows Harvey indecent photographs of Jimmy with young women and threatens to show them to Harvey’s mother unless Harvey declares Ace the winner of the skate contest. Jimmy arrives, sees the pictures and begs Harvey to accede to Ace’s demands. Later, Elvira, a city council member arrives with two of her colleagues to investigate vice at the roller rink. While Harvey assures her that nothing illegal or immoral is going on, Richie is in the men’s room collecting bets on Stan and Susan’s victory. Later, Jimmy tries to appease the council members with a free pizza, unaware that it is laced with marijuana. As Jimmy skates off, his wife arrives and spies him fondling a pretty skater. Across the rink, Frankey and another gang member, Alphonse, conspire to sabotage Ace’s competition. Harvey takes the stage and explains there are two contests: mixed doubles and singles. Winners will be determined by how much applause they generate. The first to take the floor is a man in an “Uncle Sam” outfit performing to Yankee Doodle Dandy, who repeatedly falls after Frankey and Alphonso shine a mirror into his eyes. Next, Pistol Pete rolls in and is halfway through his routine when the itching powder Frankey sprinkled in his costume kicks in, forcing Pete to rip off his shirt and scratch like dog. Elvira and the rest of the council are mortified by this display of semi-nudity. Ace then skates out and wows the audience with his contemporary dance moves. Stan is the last contestant and he soon has the audience on their feet with his handstands, flips and martial arts moves. Frankey moves to the edge of the rink with a peashooter, but two patrons hold him down until Stan finishes. The city council people roar with laughter and consume their fifth pizza. The audience is stunned when Harvey steps onto the stage to announce Ace the winner. In desperation, Richie convinces all his debtors to bet him double to nothing that Stan and Susan will win the mixed doubles contest. Meanwhile, Ace slaps Frankey and threatens him with bodily harm if he does not sabotage Stan’s next set. Frankey convinces Susan to take a ride in a stolen convertible, leaving Stan without a partner. The next contest begins with Ace and his girl giving a smashing performance. When Harvey calls for Stan and Susan to take the stage, Richie realizes Susan has vanished. He is about to forfeit when Allison skates over and offers to takes Susan’s place. The duo then improvises a winning routine. Meanwhile, Frankey apologizes to Susan for his skullduggery and admits he originally asked her out to sabotage Stan, but has fallen fin love with her. Susan tells him he is a big man for admitting to his mistakes and they make out. Back at the rink, Jimmy’s wife confronts him with his infidelities, but instead of being upset, she admits she too fools around and gives him permission to do likewise. Harvey takes the stage and awards Ace with the singles trophy as the crowd boos. Before Harvey announces the doubles award, Jimmy informs him he has come to an agreement with Harvey’s mother about his infidelity, so Harvey announces Stan and Allison the victors. Infuriated, Ace challenges Stan to a race to see who is the best skater in the city. Over Richie’s protests, Stan accepts under the condition that if he wins, Ace will not retaliate against Allison for helping him. The rink empties out as everyone runs outside to a pier. Ace hands Stan a pair of motorized roller skates after Alphonso assures him he has cut Stan’s brakes. Ace explains that the first one to stop before plunging into the ocean is the loser. The two men take their places and rev their motors. Harvey gives the signal, and they roar down the pier. Ten feet from the edge, Ace hits his brakes to find they do not work. Both he and Stan plummet into the ocean. Seeing Ace is unable to swim, Stan grabs him and drags him ashore. Ace asks him why Stan saved his life and Stan tells him it is because he is a hero. The crowd swarms the beach and after finding the racers alive, return to the rink and skate.







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Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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