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Thread: Great Figure Skating Television Specials

  1. #1
    SkateFan4Life
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    Great Figure Skating Television Specials

    Does anyone out there remember the wonderful television specials that starred Peggy Fleming? She really gave us some wonderful TV memories. In her first special, aired a few months after her 1968 Olympic gold medal win, she skated with Gene Kelly in a Hollywood sound studio, as Kelly sang "Peg o' My Heart".

    Peggy filmed a television special in Sun Valley, Idaho around 1970 that starred The Carpenters and French triple Olympic gold-medal skier Jean-Claude Killy. The gorgeous mountain scenery was quite a backdrop for the outdoor skating sequences. In one of these, Peggy demonstrated a number of jumps and spins. She and Jean-Claude had a friendly conversation in a ski lodge, close to an inviting fireplace. The Carpenters sang several of their hits while Peggy skated indoors and outdoors. If I remember this correctly, this show won several television Emmy awards.

    Fleming aired two specials in Europe, the first that took her back Grenoble, France, the site of her Olympic victory, and a second that was filmed in the Soviet Union. Peggy commented after filming in the USSR that she "nearly froze". She said, to paraphrase, "We filmed many of the outdoor skating routines after midnight and before dawn. It was so cold that we could only skate for about five minutes before we had to rush back to the heated trailer."

    Dorothy Hamill starred in several very nice television specials, all of which were filmed in Hollywood (I think). They were cute and delightful. I remember one routine in which she wore "saddle skates" and skated to "Sing, Sing, Sing".

    Brian Boitano starred in several outstanding skating specials in the late 1980's and early 1990's. Remember his "Water Fountain" number on the Alaskian glacier? Wow! Brian said that this was one of the most emotional skating numbers he had ever performed. He was so touched with the mountain grandeur that he was near tears throughout the number. I remember that he skated a single axel, double axel, and triple axel in quick succession during that number. Bravo, Brian.

    I enjoyed Elizabeth Manley's "Dear Elizabeth" television special that was aired on American television, and I've enjoyed a number of Kurt Browning's excellent specials. Unfortunately, I've never seen any of Brian Orser's specials.

    One of the best skating specials, in my opinion, was "Carmen", starring Katarina Witt, Brian Boitano, and Brian Orser. Great story, great skating. Kudos to all of them.

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    Gotta Have Music iluvtodd's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SkateFan4Life

    One of the best skating specials, in my opinion, was "Carmen", starring Katarina Witt, Brian Boitano, and Brian Orser. Great story, great skating. Kudos to all of them.
    "Carmen on Ice" was definitely one of my all-time favorite figure skating specials.

    I also really loved one that aired on cable tv in March 1997 called "Masters on Ice." It showcased Brian Boitano, Scott Hamilton, & Paul Wylie. Not only did each of them skate to three programs (including "signature" pieces), but they all spoke about what they admired most in the other two guys. In addition to the three men, there were other wonderful guest skaters to round out the cast. This show was aired just before Worlds that year, so I don't think
    Scott's cancer had been disclosed yet. Does anyone else remember this special?
    Last edited by iluvtodd; 10-15-2004 at 04:16 PM.

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    I remember that special so well Iluvtodd. I agree that had to be one of the best skating specials ever.

    I liked the skating specials that didn't use the live music and singers. I really hate when the camera cuts to the singer and you hear the applause. You know the skater did something good and you missed seeing it.

    I also love the specials "Romance" with Brian Boitano. In one of them, he skated with Michelle Kwan to "I love Paris" It was so cute and she was so young at the time. I have it on tape and it makes me smile everytime I watch it.

    Ladybug

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    Gotta Have Music iluvtodd's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ladybug
    I remember that special so well Iluvtodd. I agree that had to be one of the best skating specials ever.

    I liked the skating specials that didn't use the live music and singers. I really hate when the camera cuts to the singer and you hear the applause. You know the skater did something good and you missed seeing it.

    I also love the specials "Romance" with Brian Boitano. In one of them, he skated with Michelle Kwan to "I love Paris" It was so cute and she was so young at the time. I have it on tape and it makes me smile everytime I watch it.

    Ladybug

    Ladybug, we were lucky enough to attend "Skating Romance 3" with Brian Boitano & Michelle in July 1997. It took place in Atlantic City (about an hour & a half drive for us). The rest of the cast was great too - Brian Orser, Yuka Sato, Roca & Sur, Underhill & Martini, Caryn Kadavy ... This was the first time that we got to see a show with retakes, & it was SO much fun to watch them! About an hour after the show we were walking on the AC boardwalk, and Michelle was walking toward us! I went up to her, complimented her on her part in the show, & wished her a great season to come.

    I don't mind musical guests in a live show, but sometimes the TV cameras focus too much on the singer when the skater is doing something really neat. One of the most enjoyable live shows we have attended is "Scott Hamilton & Friends on Ice" (October 2002 in Philly). The live music by the band (Jack Mack & the Heart Attack) was high energy & really got the audience clapping along & dancing in their seats. It was aired nationally on NBC in December 2002. While I am grateful to have the show on tape, I am a little disappointed that the TV coverage showed some inane comedy spots between the skating. These comedy bits had nothing to do with the show & were not even part of it. They were shown at the expense of some of the fine ensemble skating programs & other memorable parts of the show (including a charming interview with Steven Cousins & Todd E. that was a segue way into Scott's final program of the evening). There were retakes for this show, but the quality of the skating was so good that night that there were very few retakes.
    Last edited by iluvtodd; 10-16-2004 at 04:47 AM.

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    I like pie. Tonichelle's Avatar
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    "Too Hot To Skate" -- cheesy but I loved that it was an outdoor arena.... in the summer... neat concept


    Brian Boitano starred in several outstanding skating specials in the late 1980's and early 1990's. Remember his "Water Fountain" number on the Alaskian glacier? Wow! Brian said that this was one of the most emotional skating numbers he had ever performed. He was so touched with the mountain grandeur that he was near tears throughout the number. I remember that he skated a single axel, double axel, and triple axel in quick succession during that number. Bravo, Brian.
    That is cool that he's skating in Alaska... but I don't think he's ever done a show up here... (if he has I apologise, Brian)... it's one of my pet peeves when I watch that just because I want more skating shows up here ha ha!

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    I recall the John Curry/JoJo Starbuck specials & Robin Cousins/Roslyn Sumners "Sleeping Beauty", Dorothy Hamil & Robin Cousins "Nutcracker Suite" (one of my favorites), Dorothy Hamill, Brian Pockar, & Toller Cranston in "Romeo & Juliet" but must agree that "Carmen" with Witt, Boitano & Orser was the best of all.

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    Quote Originally Posted by merrywidow
    I recall the John Curry/JoJo Starbuck specials & Robin Cousins/Roslyn Sumners "Sleeping Beauty", Dorothy Hamil & Robin Cousins "Nutcracker Suite" (one of my favorites), Dorothy Hamill, Brian Pockar, & Toller Cranston in "Romeo & Juliet" but must agree that "Carmen" with Witt, Boitano & Orser was the best of all.
    Absolutely! All of the above skating shows were wonderful. The "Sleeping Beauty" special starring Rosalyn Sumners and Robin Cousins was a breakthrough performance for Roz, who at that time still seemed to be smarting from her 1984 Olympic defeat at the hands of Katarina Witt. Sumners has been quoted as saying that she rediscovered her love for figure skating while filming the "Sleeping Beauty" special with Robin Cousins and the excellent cast.
    Shortly thereafter, she signed on with SOI and had a long, successful run with that show.

    Brian Boitano's first special (before "Carmen") had Katarina Witt and Brian Orser as guests. Part of the special was filmed in then-East Germany and a short segment was filmed of Brian B. and Katarina walking thru the streets of her hometown, then named Karl Marx-Stadt. All I can say is, what a sorry looking city that was. A few of the buildings still bore the pock marks from the Allied bombing of World War II. The whole place appeared to be drab, with little color or variety. The buildings were "sturdy" and appeared to be built in the same cookie-cutter style. Oh well. The skating sequences, however, were fantastic!

    I've enjoyed all of Kristi Yamaguchi's television specials, all of which had lovely skaters, great-looking costumes, and imaginative numbers.

    Still, I have a soft spot in my heart for the specials that aired from the late 1960s to the late 1980s. They were less "show-bizzy" and featured some great skating, not to mention some of the greatest legends in the sport. :D

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    Oh, dear, I thought the topic meant new televised programs. Oh, well. But I did see most of the ones mentioned and they were wonderful.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SkateFan4Life
    Brian Boitano starred in several outstanding skating specials in the late 1980's and early 1990's. Remember his "Water Fountain" number on the Alaskian glacier? Wow! Brian said that this was one of the most emotional skating numbers he had ever performed. He was so touched with the mountain grandeur that he was near tears throughout the number. I remember that he skated a single axel, double axel, and triple axel in quick succession during that number. Bravo, Brian.
    The show was called 'Canvas of Ice'. It was first broadcast either late 1988 or early 1989 on ABC. The show opened with the 'Water Fountain' number. I remember the axel sequence you mentioned. He closed with another number on the Alaskan ice to (IIRC) music from the movie 'Silverado'. A few years later I remember watching a show where Brian recalled how cold it was when they were filming. He also skated to 'Music of the Night' from Phantom of the Opera. Sandra Bezic was the choreographer. Katarina Witt was also in the special. There was a great sequence where he skated to Gypsy Kings and she skated to Romance D'Amour, a Spanish guitar piece. After it aired, I would watch it over and over again. I have the tape somewhere and I'm going to have to search for it now so I can watch it again.

  10. #10
    ~ Figure Skating Is My Passion ~ Ladskater's Avatar
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    Toller Cranston's "Strawberry On Ice" special was one of my favorites. Great skating and choreography by the maestro. Also, Isabelle and Paul Duchesnay's "The Planets" was awesome.

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    Peggy

    I vaguely remember and wish I won the lottery to buy all the things I missed.

    Does anyone know, where is the largest repository of show tapes and/or competition tapes? The Ice Channel if it happens would have so much material. Seems like a wealthy person in skating like Dick Button could have copies made and donate them to Harvard's video collection. I envy you all your magical memories. I guess it would be impossible with copyrights, greed etc.

    Anyone know Bill Gates? Maybe his family loves skating.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ladskater
    Toller Cranston's "Strawberry On Ice" special was one of my favorites. Great skating and choreography by the maestro. Also, Isabelle and Paul Duchesnay's "The Planets" was awesome.
    Darned it, why doesn't American television pick up these great ice skating specials? With 85 cable channels, you'd think that at least one of them might be interested in this type of filming. :sheesh:

    ICE CHANNEL, WHERE ARE YOU??

  13. #13
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    Darned it, why doesn't American television pick up these great ice skating specials? With 85 cable channels, you'd think that at least one of them might be interested in this type of filming.
    I've actually seen "The Planets" special on Bravo several times each year. So if you get that channel (it's american, right?) keep an eye out for it!

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by skater85
    I've actually seen "The Planets" special on Bravo several times each year. So if you get that channel (it's american, right?) keep an eye out for it!

    Yes, I get Bravo, so, hopefully, I'll see that television special one of these days.

    Definitely, there's been a dirth of television specials during the past few years.

  15. #15
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    I dug out my videotape from the 1988 Radio City Christmas Show, and it featured a lovely duo by Peggy Fleming and Robin Cousins that was filmed on the Rockefeller Centre skating rink. This segment of the show was filmed at night, and the Christmas tree lights and decorations provided a terrific background for Peggy and Robin.

    The number began with them posing on the stage of Radio City Music Hall, with Peggy pirouetting around Robin - then the action flashed to the outdoor rink.

    Great show!

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