THE POLAR PALACE, Los Angeles
Edition of August 2015
1948 Skating Class, photo supplied by Marie (Shepardson) Cruzzetti-Lintz who is one of the six year olds in costume.
Recital 1978 and Bazaar roster. Provided by Candace Earnhardt in Dec. 2014.
Roster names:PP FSC. Joan O'Connor, Lori Foster, Katie Helmark, Ellen Fields, Nicki Mouchou, Candace Earnhardt, Susan Fitgerald, Lisa Silverstein, Tami Anderson, Susan Mallory, Shawn Weekley, Karen Jones, Valerie Johnson, Pammy Donato, Kim Thorstinson. Laura Masciello, Shauna Freeh, Lisa Smith, Kimberley Ann Schewe, Traci Parker, Liz Dalmatoff, Stephanie Smith, Wendi Buchi, Priscilla Casap, Jenny La Russo, Sheri Snapp, Katrina Wasson, Jennifer Donato, Shari Snapp, Shari Cottingham, Debra Jo Poorman.
Polar Palace photo, circa 1960 by William L. Udell, renowned west coast skating photographer. Built in 1926, a few miles west on Melrose at the corner of Van Ness and Clinton St. ( a block south of Melrose ), now part of Raleigh Studios. Also called "Glacier Ice Gardens" and "Winter Garden"..Used as a velodrome in 1933-34. Reported to be a 'very worn wooden structure' after WWII when it burned down in 1963.
photo supplied June '05 by Roy Wagelein '68 Olympian (passed away 6- 25, '08 at home in Phoenix, AZ.)
Sylvia Clay Stoddard supplied the Udell photo and wrote the following on January 25, 2005 and has lots more on her website.David Price emailed from Australia in April 2005; "I skated at the Polar Palace late '59 and' 60 with Loren Cacamous (O'Neil), Barbara Anne Roles, Jimmy Short, Roy Wagelien, a speed skater Bill Disney. I can't remember names of the other skaters, but I remember going to Oblarths a lot so this must have been regulation for the figure skaters. I shared a unit across the road from the rink with a guy who was on the management staff, I think his name was Paul Durst(see below), sometimes after a few drinks we would go and skate in the middle of the night under one security light. I moved on to the UK where I was a pupil of Gershwiler at Streatham. Barbara Roles visited the UK in '62 I think on her way to Worlds, she was lucky to miss '61. I never realized the Polar Palace burnt down but it will always remain a happy memory for me. I have included 3 photos, the first one above is of of Loren and was by Wm Udell, Loren lived in Westwood but trained at Colorado Springs and was Mid-Western Champion I think. The one of me on the right at the Polar Palace (not a great photo) but I think that is Roy Wagelien behind me and the middle photo of three, Jimmy Short on the left who was US Junior Champ and Barbara Roles who of course won a bronze medal at Squaw. I also used to skate at a studio rink in the valley, Howards I think? I skated there with Loren and a pairs skater whose name was something like Sully Kaufman. I'm afraid the memory's slipping."
"I skated at Polar Palace every afternoon from about 1956 until it burned and watched it burn down. The photo was about 1960, when the old incandescent lights hanging from the ceiling were replaced by flourescents and the old mountain scenes on the end walls were plastered over. After the fire, the permafrost went more than 40 feet into the ground and the property could not be built upon. In the many years the Van Ness Ave. property was not buildable, it was occupied by Walter Allen Plant Rentals--a greenery service for the studios.
It was the largest indoor ice surface in the world--110 by 230. The only time I saw the place (that is, seats) filled was for the 1956 North American Championships (when this competition between the U.S. and Canada still took place) and I remember Tenley Albright skating down the middle of the rink with a huge American flag. Most of the stars of Ice Capades and Ice Follies would skate at Polar when they were in town.
There was a "private" patch session from 11-1 pm every day run by Mrs. Ballace (her
daughter Elaine is still around) and the public sessions were from 2-5:00. On Mondays and Fridays, we'd all go (in our skating clothes) around the corner and across the street to Oblath's, a wonderful restaurant right outside the Paramount studio gates, and have dinner before the LAFSC sessions, which were from 5:30 to 7:30. The "gang" in the early 1960s included Sandy Carson, Billy Chapel (passed awau 4-4, 2009)., Roy Wagelien, Jerrie and Jackie Crandall, Jenny Marsh, Gale Thomas, Karen Andrews, Robin Reese, Kathy Lynn and Elaine Ballace. We all attended Hollywood Professional School which had half-day sessions so we could skate in the afternoon. Our "pros" were Jerry Rehfield, Mabel Fairbanks, Eugene Mickler, Bill Udell and others.
A major hazard at Polar was little mountains of ice that formed from condensation which would drip from the pipes overhead (which sort of held the building together and also used to hold the old lights). We were always having to run around scraping these deposits off the ice before someone fell. The water was rusty, which helped us see them. In the summer, Polar was a lake. There used to be at least 4 inches of water on the ice surface in the summertime. The building wasn't well insulated. But on Sunday mornings at 7 am, which was when figure skating tests were
held, it was the coldest place on earth, and there was always fog shrouding the place. In those days, no one used the rink after the evening public session until the first patch session at 8 am. No hockey team practiced there, and no one rented private ice.
Cliff Oddson was manager of the skate shop and was one of the best sharpeners in town. He had skated in Sonja Henie's shows and a couple of her movies. He had a great collection of antique skates which all went in the fire. We all had personal lockers (50 cents a month was the charge, as I remember) in the ladies room, so most of us lost our skates and all skating clothes, rulebooks, skate hooks, etc. in the fire.
Dick (Morgan??) and several other guys were the "guards" at the public sessions and resurfaced the ice (this was pre-Zamboni)--done with hand scrapers and a device that looked like a 10 gallon drum with a wide stip of chamois hanging from it--the drum had water in it and it fed to the top of the chamois, which laid a beautiful surface on the ice. This was done for patch sessions
and competitions. For regular resurfacing, there was a tractor with a rotating blade to scrape, then a hose and squeegees were used. The corners used to have a big buildup from the hoses. Anyway a guard named Ron lived across the street from the rink and called all of us when the rink caught fire (bad wiring in the coffee shop) and we all dashed up there and watched the grand old
lady burn. Later, I found a tiny corner of one of my dresses in the debris, and one of my skate blades.
During my years, it cost 75 cents to get in and the coffee shop was fabulous. They made many hot and cold sandwiches, including the best hot meatloaf sandwich I ever ate, but the hands-down favorite was a bearclaw heated on the grill in sizzling butter. Yum.
There were black circles on the old wooden barriers which were guides for drawing the lines between patches for patch sessions. I think these sessions (the 8 am and the 11 am one) cost $1 each. The rink was so huge, there was room for about a dozen patches in the middle during public sessions and two on each end. The preferred place to switch from figure to freestyle skates
(yeah, we all had two pair), was the first row of boxes above the walkway. They had angled wood rails at exactly the right height to jab your blade into to lace them up. Each rail had a big hole in it from years of this usage. In the photo, the LAFSC club room is on the far end of the rink on the right, next to the pit into where they shoved the scraped ice after resurfacing. The coffee shop is on the near left.
You should have been there in the spring of 1961 when the World Figure Skating team was killed. Many of them had skated on our ice just a day before. We'd all gone to the airport to see them off. Afterwards, we went to 8 funerals in 7 days--Dona Carrier, Rhode Michelson, and so many others. A joint memorial service was held March 5, 1961 at the Lafayette Hotel in Long
Beach. But there was gloom at Polar for weeks, with clusters of skaters huddled in corners.
I also skated at a "studio" rink (about 40' x 60') at the corner of Jefferson and Sepulveda Blvd. in Culver City which was made into a 5 and 10 cent store, and now adjoins a CompUSA. The building is virtually untouched. I also skated several times at an outdoor rink in Clear Lake, CA.
Lots of 1970s TV shows used the Santa Monica rink, including Hart to Hart. BTW, the Sonja Henie film "It's a Pleasure" was shot at Polar Palace and the Westwood rink."
Paul Durst emailed on Feb 17, '07; "Thanks Joe. I was a guard at Polar from 01/57 till 11/61. Boy, if that place could talk. Gracie at the Cashier's Booth was an old Mack Sennett Bathing
Beauty. The rink charged 25 cents to get in as a spectator. One day Mabel Fairbanks arrived in her white Cad limeo along with her entourage and guess what, no freebe, 25 cents each. And so on and on and on.
Walter Hypes emailed in Feb '05; "I skated at the Polar Palace from 1952 till it burned down in 1963. I was one of Jerry and Louella Rehfield's students and their first pupil to make it to the National Championships. I was a little older than those mentioned on your page and I worked nights to support my skating. In 1954 the US Nationals were held there Tenley Albright was crowned National Champion for her second women's singles US title."
Bob Turk emailed in Feb '05, "former producer of Ice Capades. Roy Wagelien advised me of this article about the old Polar Palace. I was born about 4 blocks from the wonderful ole rink. I spent my youth in that rink. My recollection go back to 1937 when I began skating there. There aren't many of us left who remember that period of time. I do. As a kid I used to bring my classical records to Polar when Sonja Henie wanted to practise with some music. I would sit up there in that booth and play everything she liked. Incidentally Roy Wagelien was on the US Olympic Team in 1968 in pair skating with Susie Barens and starred in Ice Capades in the West Tour for some years."
'STORMY's' email of Oct '04;Joe Appicie emailed on Dec. 23, 2005;
"My sister and I used to go there every week, on Saturday afternoon and sometimes on Sunday, to figure skate. I was about 7 and she was 15. It was one of the only fun things we ever got to do. I used to hang out in the skate shop and talk to the two guys who ran it - both of them were named Bob. Years later, when I was a teenager I went back and talked to one of them - the other had passed away.
I have a lot of wonderful memories from that place - the music, the smell, the cold, the sounds of skaters whizzing past me. I even took a couple of lessons - until I got appendicitis, and had to have it
taken out. For some reason after that, I never got to go again.
I am so glad to know that at least someone remembers the place. I wish I had a picture of it. It seemed huge to me then."
JERRY HOLLOMBE wrote in November '04;
"I spent much of my childhood at the Polar Palace in Hollywood, from about 1955 until it burned down in 1963. My family was practically a fixture of the place and would often spend a whole Sunday there and a couple of weekday evenings as well. It was the home of the Los Angeles Figure Skating Club and many champions would go there to practice. I took lessons there for a while and participated in an ice show/school recital as lead in one of the chorus numbers.
The one thing I'm pretty sure they didn't have there was hockey. It's the only large ice rink I've ever been in that never had the markings for hockey laid out in the ice. There were a couple of speed skaters among the regulars, but, apart from them, just about everyone else was a figure skater.
The building itself was a huge wooden structure with far more seating capacity than I ever saw it need. (On reflection, it's a flat out miracle that it lasted as long as it did. The place was a fire waiting to happen.) The box seats down by the ice were where most people found space to rest and change into and out of their skating gear and the wooden benches, floors and walls were battered and worn from contact with skate blades. The coffee shop sold hot cocoa, of course. I don't recall what else was on the menu.
I remember reading about the fire in the newspaper one morning. I was 15 years old at the time and too stunned to react much to the loss of such a big part of my life. I kept hoping they'd rebuild it, but the property was entangled in some kind of probate dispute and it never happened. We followed the L.A. Figure Skating Club to the Culver Ice Rink for a while, but it just wasn't the same and I finally moved on to other interests."
Vince Desmond emailed me in March '05 'how one memory brings another' when he looked at this page. He wrote "suddenly I realized why my mom and dad had ice skates in the early forties when they could not afford any luxuries. The skates were most likely hand-me-downs from dad's older brothers who were successful in their own business when World War 2 broke. I recalled dad had left Winnipeg when he was 10 years old and had been skating for 4 or five years. He told me of many fights he and his four older brothers had on the ice with Swedes. I remember my sister Eileen and I watching mom and dad skating at the Polar Palace about 1946-47. Dad was very fast. They taught us how to skate and took us to other rinks when we lived in downtown L.A."
Michele Hart emailed in May 2005, "Gee, what great memories! When I was a student at Hollywood Professional School I skated many afternoons at Polar Palace, taking lessons from Mr. Udell. I was and am a ballet dancer. What I wanted to do was later achieved by so many: incorporating ballet into skating. I started too late to be a competitor but I loved the great old rink and knew many of the people mentioned above. I heard the reason Polar Palace was never rebuilt due lack of adequate parking available to meet zoning regulations."
I, too skated at the Polar Palace, beginning in 1955 until the fire. My coach was -- of course -- Mabel Fairbanks. I knew most of the skaters mentioned by others in their memories about that grand old rink.
Billy Chapel and I took "semi-private" lessons together with Mabel until it dawned on both of us that, if either of us was going to learn this stuff, we would have to start taking private lessons, which meant paying $3.00 for a half hour each. Billy moved on to Jerry Rehfield and his very successful
competitive career, but I stayed with Mabel and moved with her to Culver Ice Arena staying with her until I turned professional to teach.
Roy Wagelein sometimes skated at the same sessions as I and we spent time talking outside the building while waiting for the box office to open. Roy had dinner at my house a couple of times, and I recall one sleep over that included him and Roger Berry where I cooked lasagna.
You could go to virtually any weekday public session and whichever professional show skaters or national champions who were in town would often be on the ice. I still have vivid memories of watching Richard Dwyer trying to invent a variation on the double Axel (he never quite succeeded).
One time I accidentally smacked Peggy Fleming in the mouth because her spread eagle and my spin had gotten too close to each other.
Mrs. Ballace used to take me, along with both Roseanne and Elaine, to skate at other rinks in Southern California. It was their way of encouraging me, because I wasn't getting anything like that at home, and I hope they knew how much I appreciated that.
By the way, the "pairs skater whose name was something like Sully Kaufman" was indeed named Sully Kaufman and he was something of a legend the whole time I skated at the Polar Palace.
Then there were Saturday and Sunday afternoons, where you often met some of the most eccentric people in eccentric Hollywood of the '50s. There was Bev Lapin with her pink hair, pink leotards and pink skates who craved to be a professional but had started way too late for that. And there was Doris (whose name no one ever knew), dear Doris, who didn't really skate well, but who loved being there and talking . . . and talking . . . and talking. And Patty Hypen, who stood about 4 feet tall in her skates and who did the meanest "bop" on ice. There was an older lady whose name I never knew,
who took lessons from Rene Desjardins and who, I swear, looked just like Gloria Swanson in "Sunset Boulevard".
I am surprised no mention was made of the 6:00 AM to 8:00 AM patch/freestyle sessions each morning. Each day someone, usually a coach or somebody's mother, rented the rink, then re-rented space to any skaters willing to pay $5.00 or so for the two hours' time. Mabel had one on Thursdays and I, along with a couple of others, would sleep over at her house on Wednesday nights so we could all make it to the rink on time the next morning. For those Thursday sessions, Atoy Wilson's mother was usually the one who brought donuts, hot chocolate and coffee for everyone to help us "thaw out" before going to school.
The reference to the Bear Claws in the coffee shop is worth a chapter in a book by itself. They also made the best-tasting cinnamon toast ever. To this day I cannot duplicate its taste. And my mind's eye can still see Mrs. Walsh coming in and ordering one dinner for herself and Jenny to share after
the Friday LAFSC junior sessions.
The Nikodell restaurant was on Melrose just a couple of blocks west of Van Ness, between the Paramount and RKO studios. On Saturdays the group who skated both the morning and the afternoon public sessions would go there for lunch. Contact between skaters while on the ice was minimal, but at these lunches that fell by the wayside and, regardless of who someone's coach
was, the "table with the skaters" sometimes got pretty noisy.
I had very little contact with the skate shop inside the rink. Charlie McCusker, owned the shack he called a skate shop that was next door to the rink as opposed to his brother Mac McCusker's, which was directly across the street. Charlie sold me my first used Riedell skates for $11, and did all my sharpening until the fire. I used to enjoy looking through the old "Icelandia" show programs he had piled in a corner of the shop.
The spinning skater that now sits atop the Culver Ice Arena building was modeled after one of
the Petty Girl Ice Capades covers of the 1940s and '50s and was originally mounted atop the Ice Capades headquarters on Santa Monica Blvd. I could see it from my kitchen window each morning.
Over the years, I've spent many hours telling my own pupils about the Polar Palace. These memories are so precious to me. I am so glad to have found some place to share them."
Dick Forsythe emailed the following in April 2006;
"I enjoyed reading the wonderful testimonies of the grand old Polar Palace on Van Ness Ave in Hollywood. I first started going there in 1951 when I was 17 years old and enjoyed skating every Wednesday evening, all day Saturday and Sunday afternoons well into 1962. I eventually trained with Mabel Fairbanks, who became a very dear close friend of mine. I teamed up with a girl named Shirley and we became very proficient in ice dancing. I especially recall the wonderful music they played up in the booth....The Blue Tango and many Perry Como songs. Shirley and I actually were one of the first couples to do the "jitterbug" on ice. I remember meeting Gene Nelson and Tab Hunter at the rink and several of the movie stars and their children. There was a lady named Beverly who was always dressed in pink, pink hair, pink skates, etc. Eventually, I began getting a few students of my own to teach. My skates were purchased and always sharpemed by Mac McCusker across the street from the rink. What wonderful days those were and I am glad that I was able to be part of that era. Dick Forsythe, Torrance CA"
Marlene Greene emailed me the following on Jan. 22, 2012
"I came across your polar palace blog and loved reading it. I'm a 50's and early 60's skater who originally took lessons from Bill Udell and later from Austin Holt. No one mentioned the ladies in the restaurant.....I do believe one of them was named Mrs. James."
"I have fond memories of the Polar Palace. I skated there from about 10 to12 years old (1960-1963) I loved it I would take the city bus from Nichols Canyon in Hollywood to the rink every weekend and get lessons from Mabel Fairbanks. My mother skated in the Sonya Henie Show when she was 16. I was always grateful that my mom introduced me to skating and Mabel. I loved Mabel Fairbanks; she was a great teacher and had high hopes for me. She had prepared me to perform a solo in the recital in 1963; however due to missing our plane from a family vacation in Hawaii I missed the recital. I always, to this day, have felt bad about that. The Polar Palace Ice rink was my happy place and I will always keep those fond memories in my heart always. PS. I remember the cinnamon toast I used to get there for a snack"
Gratefully, Melody Sievers Kennedy (email of June 19,2015)
SPEEDSKATERS at Polar Palace
Lynn Mac Kaye Morgan emailed in June 2006; "I began when I was about 7 years old (1945) as a figure skater....just for fun. By the time I was 12 I was ready for a change. Most of the boys I knew were speed skaters of the Los Angeles Speed Skating Club and my competitive nature drew me. The only guard I remember well was Don Maki...but many of the names on here sound familiar. After Polar burned I tried PickWick and a few remembered me because of my "White Speed Skates"....but it just wasn't the same...There was only one Big Wooden Barn...Many thanks for this interesting site...my second home for lots of years, holds many happy memories."
Mickey emailed the following to me on Aug 27, 2006, promising more to follow:,
"My name is Allen (Mickey) Banick. I started sweeping floors at the Hollywood Polar Palace in 1950. My work earned me free passes to the public skating sessions. By 1951 I was on the payroll and over the years swept floors, washed dishes, was the soda jerk, fry cook, worked in the check-room, worked in the skate rental room, eventually became a Floor Manager (Guard). The highlight of my career was working as the disc jockey. My employment at the Polar Palace ended when I enlisted in the USAF in 1955. Whenever I could get home to Hollywood, on leave, or a weekend pass, most of my time was spent ice-skating.
I was one of four people who were the organizers and founders of the Los Angeles Speed-Skating Club (LASSC). Along with my fellow cohorts, we designed the logo of the skating polar bear and came up with the green warm-up jackets.
My boss was Vern Carlson who was the rink manager until it burned down. The last time I saw Vern (1970) he was managing the ice skating rink in Paramount."
Lynn Morgan emailed me this March 1, 2011 "Mickey (Alan) Banick passed away last month. He never did get back to his post...sorry about that as he had so much to say about his speed skating days at Polar."
From Marie (Shepardson) Lintz on August 29, 2007
"Saw the many emails on your website about the old Polar Palace Ice Rink in Hollywood, Ca. I took many lessons there from about 1946 to 1950. My teacher was Jerry Page, who I think was the brother of Rene Desjardins. Jerry was a former Hockey player who (played for the Pasadena Panthers, PCHL 1944-45 and ) had some affiliation with the Boston Bruins. I took semi-private and Saturday class lessons. My parents and I lived on Clinton street, and I went to the Van Ness Ave. Elementary School across the street from the Polar Palace. I enjoyed seeing the pictures on your website. After we moved to Westchester in 1951, I went back to the Polar Palace a few times until it burned down."
From Nikki West on Oct 26, '07
"I skated there from 1955 until 1961 when I went with Ice Capades. I grew up with Roger Campbell and at one time was his partner. I have many fond memories of the rink. I remember that every Tuesday night all of the show skaters who where no longer traveling or in town showed up at the rink. I skated there the night it burned down. My mother woke me in the morning and told me what had happened. It was really a very sad time. I remember taking dance lessons from Bob Turk along with Cathy Machado and other members of the LAFSC. My coach was Rene Desjardins and Elain Ballace was one of his students. I still have pictures of her."
From SANDY SZABO RADTKE in May '08; "I started skating at age 18 in a small studio in Westwood and quickly graduated to the Polar Palace. I took many lessons and practiced many sessions after my day job with A&W Root Beer in Santa Monica. After about five months while I was taking a lesson my instructor told me they were auditioning for the Hollywood Ice Revue so I gave it a shot and 2 weeks later my contract arrived and I was off to Chicago to join the show. They disbanded after the 1955-56 tour. I went on to join the Roxy Theater show from early 1956 to early 1958. I had a grand time and never forgot the Polar Palace where for me it all began. "
Sue (Harris) Lang wrote on July 4, 2008
Thank you so much for maintaining your wonderful web site. I have such happy memories from my time spent at Polar Palace - it was a very special time of my life. I have enjoyed this walk through memory lane and would like to add a few thoughts of my own.
I discovered figure skating as a teenager. I was introduced to it by Jerrie and Jackie Crandall - we were members of Job's Daughters and went on a field trip to the local mountains where I put on a pair of skates for the first time. I fell in love with the sport almost immediately.
I began coming to Polar Palace regularly on the weekends and after school. This meant an hour on the bus each way (as I was too young to drive) - but I spent the time doing my homework. I started taking lessons from Jerry Rehfield and quickly went from learning "shoot the duck" to a waltz jump and then to tracing figure eights on a patch of ice. I became a member of the LAFSC and periodically run into my old Blue and gold skating sweater - hoping someday my grandaughter may want to wear it to go skating! During the summer I was at the rink 6 or 7 days a week. This all took place from 1958 - 1961 (when college took precedence over the ice).
I remember all of the people already mentioned on the site. I was so sorry to learn that Roy Wagelein has passed away. I can remember, like it was yesterday, Jimmy Short and his 1957 while T-Bird; Jenny Walsh and her mother; Loren Caccamise (O'Neill), on whom I had a huge crush - and how he sent post cards to me from all over as he toured the country after turning professional. I used to hang out with the Crandalls, Walter Hypes, Billy Chapel, Sandy Carson, Gerry Hecker, Carol Galloway following the skating sessions. We frequented O'Blath's, went to the movies on late Saturday afternoons, and enjoyed sodas and freezes at the Carnation Ice Cream Store somewhere in Hollywood. I was best friends with Carol McCalla. She was a very serioius skater - Mr. Meckler
was her skating pro. Carol and I are still in contact today.
One day, after finishing a skate, I was sitting in the wooden stands chatting with a lady (Mrs. Bosworth) who had come to watch her grandaughter (Alice) skate, about a planned transfer to UCLA from LACC, when she suggested I look into the Nursing program at LACC (I did not know at that time - she was the Director of the Nursing program!). I followed her advice and have been a Registered Nurse for the past 42 years. I owe a great deal to my experiences at Polar Palace!
Sue (Harris) Lang
From Darlene Nevel Michener "Darlene Michener" <firstname.lastname@example.org> on Jan 21, 2009
"I love reading your newsletter and seeing names that bring back so many memories. I too skated a Polar Palace, Darlene Nevel. My dad, Clint was a skate guard and my mom, Ruth, worked the coat check room. I took lessons first from Ron Plank and then from Jerry Rehfield. I just touched base, through facebook, with Jerry's son Mark so I thought I would fire off an email to you. Polar was home to me for so many years. My best friend was Roberta Buswell and we stayed in touch for a long time. We
taught together at Olympic Ice Arena in Torrance. I remember one of the guards, Art Harding, was so funny he used to imitate White Fang from the Soupy Sales show, he would make me laugh so hard, I think I kind of had a little crush on him. I was younger than most of the skaters but grew up fast! I miss that old place a lot even to this day, it was very special to all of us. After the fire we followed Jerry down to Olympic in Torrance, I then quit singles at the junior level and went strictly in to dance so we moved to Burbank and trained at Pickwick with Bert Wright. Roy and I went to Salt Lake City in 1967 to partner some local skaters in a test session and that is where I completed my Gold Dance Test with Roy as my partner. He was one of a kind and I will never forget him. Well, thanks for the great walk down memory lane. "
From Carol Fern Jensen on June 7, 2011
"I recently came across your website about the Polar Palace ice skating rink in Hollywood. My father took me and my best friend Cherie Ernst there every Saturday and some Sundays for several months before the fire. Dad had learned to skate some 50+ years before on a river in New Jersey. He had beautiful leather speed skates whose blades extended several inches beyond the end of the boot. I loved watching him glide gracefully around the rink. It was a thrill to skate with him during partners time. He would slow down to accommodate my inexperience and we would float around the ice so effortlessly. I looked forward to every weekend of skating. I was fourteen and took group lessons. I learned the basics and loved spending time at the rink skating to all the wonderful music. I do remember a guard named Mickey. He was a very handsome young man from Nicaragua and as much as Cherie and I tried to flirt with him he only had eyes for a beautiful young woman skater. She was older, probably about 17 or 18, and both Cherie and I held out hope that she wouldn't show up one day and we could skate side by side with Mickey without "her". I remember how big the rink seemed and how massive the worn rafters and timbers were. I never dreamed anything bad could happen to this wonderful old place. The morning after the fire my parents told me the rink had burned down. We were very sad when my father drove us to the site to see the smoldering debris. I often wondered what happened to all those wonderful people who skated and worked there. It was nice to learn from your site that several went on to other places to teach and perform. My friends and I ultimately started going to a rink in Burbank. I cannot remember the name, could have been Pickwick, but it was never the same. I always held out hope that the old Palace would be rebuilt. Thanks so much for sharing these memories."
Jerry Rehfield passed away in February of 2003.
Roy Wagelein '68 Olympian passed away June 25, '08 at his home in Phoenix, AZ.
Google USFSA Obituaries for details and more lisitings
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