The Rollerdrome Was My Neighbor

Lydia, c. 1956 (Lydia Spiegelman)

The Rollerdrome was my love. I lived only four houses from it on Bentley Avenue. I spent many, many hours meeting people and learning to skate. I took lessons every Saturday morning and had races with fellow skaters. My Friday nights were spent at the Rollerdrome with friends, going out afterward for a “Piece O’ Pizza” across the street. (Eating pizza at 11:00pm is certainly something I can’t do now!) All of my childhood memories are there. Wonderful times spending birthdays, and just going to have fun. I can still remember the Rollerdrome’s comforting smell. As I got older, going on dates and skating “couples only” was so fun and special, especially if a good skater asked you to skate. This magical place was my heaven and I loved every moment I spent there. I still have my skates, with the original case and decals on it, and plan to leave them to our Historical Society. Still like new with precision wheels, which was all the rage at that time. It made skating so much smoother.

I remember when they filmed The Fugitive at the Rollerdome. It was very exciting to see a T.V. show being made right in our neighborhood. I was so thrilled to see David Janssen in person. Handsome as ever!

My parents’ bedroom was in the front of our house and every summer they opened the windows to let some cool air in because we didn’t have air conditioning. I remember my dad used to say, “I can’t sleep over that organ!” We lived so close that we could hear the organ playing and could dance to it. It was a wonderful time and I knew it. A very special period in my life, as it was in so many other lives. To this day I love hearing organ music and it reminds me of that magical place. Memories are made of this.

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Winter 2020 Message

Dear Members and Friends:Hope Parrish

As we close 2019, reflecting on the honor it is to volunteer for this society, I want to recognize the many individuals dedicating time to this museum. I need to thank all of you. This society’s growth is dependent on its memberships, longtime to our most recent.

Dedicated volunteers, from our board to our youngest docent, you are the backbone of the museum. Since my term began, the Wednesday docents have worked very hard to update our database, allowing for more content description and photos of each item searched. The process of entering the data is very detailed, but our docents have made great progress getting our museum digitized. We have a state-of-the-art microfilm machine gifted to the Society from the Sahli-Wells family. Knowing we will soon be able to access the Star News from 1950-1980 will bring new light to researching.

Hackman Capital Partners helped us preserve four historic film windows

And the acquisitions! Where to begin? Iconic motion picture cast photos, Red Skelton’s fan mail, buried items at the Ivy Station dig, Stan Laurel’s bow tie, Little League collection and, on loan, the bible used in the 1935 version of Mutiny on the Bounty. Our two biggest donations (literally) were from the Art Directors Guild, four original MGM backdrops, and the 12’ x 3’ wide stained-glass window from The Magnificent Ambersons. I am grateful to Steve Auer and Hackman Capital Partners for including the Historical Society in the preservation effort of four film historic windows, three from Ambersons and the finale window from Gone with the Wind. Over the past 80 years, The Culver Studios property has had many owners, and housed these beautiful pieces of film history.

I look forward to another two years as President and hope we see you on January 15 for our board installation. Peace, Love, and Preservation!

Happy New Year!
Hope

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The Evolution of Girls Basketball in Culver City Through a Player’s Eyes

Girls basketball photo from Culver City High School yearbook with names to the left. I recognize at least 4 girls who played for Parks and Rec back in grade school. (Maureen Fleming)

When I was growing up, the mandatory school dress code for girls was dresses. It was hard to play sports in a dress and patent leather shoes on the playground blacktop. But where there was a will, there was a way.

My friends, Marisa and Tami, and I would spend our recess watching the boys play basketball from the sidelines, itching for the chance to catch a stray ball and pass it back. Sure, foursquare and tetherball were fun, but basketball looked amazing!

Our classmate, Tito, offered to teach us some pointers on shooting and defense at recess. As we showed ability, the boys started letting us play with them.   

Since girls were sporting jammed fingers and skinned knees, one of the teachers ruled that “Girls could not play basketball at recess anymore.” Back to the sidelines. My mother, a feminist for the time, called the school, put her foot down, and we were back on the court!

Article (full) from CC High School’s newspaper, Centaurian.(Maureen Fleming)

The next year, there was a meeting after school for girls interested in playing basketball for Culver City Parks and Recreation—the first year it would be offered to girls! A courageous gal named Marilyn, with no experience whatsoever, volunteered to coach us.

In 1972, maybe in response to Title IX, they added flag football. Marisa, Tami, and I played for La Ballona. We lost our first game to Vets, so Marilyn enlisted the help of Marisa’s older brother. He taught us three plays. He would secretly call plays out from the sidelines in Japanese. “Ichi!” “Ni!” “San!” And we would execute them perfectly. We won every game after that with those three organized plays and a lot of determination. Apparently, girls playing football was big news because our picture was in the Los Angeles Times!

Basketball was offered in Phys Ed at Culver Junior High; however, some teachers made the girls play using the “3 Bounce Rule.” You could dribble the ball three times and then you had to shoot or pass, even if you had a clear path to the basket. This was frustrating! While we never expected to play on a boys team, we felt that we could play with the same rules (and if Ms. Huerta was your PE teacher, you did). I have always maintained that the “3 Bounce Rule” partially contributed to modern-day feminism!

Los Angeles Times
article on Culver City’s “powder puff” girls football, November 1972. (Maureen
Fleming)

When we entered high school, CCHS was forming their first Girls Basketball team! Excerpts from a 1976 Centaurian newspaper article stated that girls basketball has proven to be a ground breaker in women’s athletics. We made it to CIF but not into the Olympian. We would have to wait for our senior year in 1978 to get a picture in the yearbook.

Since then, girls basketball at Culver City High School and all over the world has soared in popularity, coaching, and ability. As an adult, I coached girls’ athletics through Parks and Rec. We’ve come a long way! Thank goodness for all the Titos and boys on the schoolyard, big brothers, dads, all pioneer coaches, and our moms for sticking up for us all those years ago. 

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Marking #14

Rollerdome, exterior (Culver City Historical Society)

As a founding member of our Culver City Historical Society, it is hard to express the depth of my great pride as we plan the marking of Historic Site #14, the Rollerdrome.

The Rollerdrome opened in 1928 on land annexed to Culver City in 1924, first inhabited by Tongva Native Americans. It could accommodate more than 200 people and became an important fixture in our social scene. The site of the Rollerdrome became Tellefson Park, built and named during the U.S. Bicentennial celebration in 1976. Michael Tellefson served Culver City as city attorney, mayor, and chief administrative officer. If you lived on Irving Place, you might have known the Tellefsons.

Rollerdome, interior (Culver City Historical Society)

As a researcher, I can honestly say that residents and visitors who spent time at the Rollerdrome always have wonderful stories to tell—from the dress code (no jeans), to their birthday parties and skating competitions! We have gathered detailed information and memories from notable residents like Virgie Eskridge, Ethel Ashby, Jean Barker, and many others—like the Rollerdrome’s organ, which became a reality in 1929, a few years after it opened. Most even remember the name of Mr. Osterloh, the organist who played music for “Couples Skate,” “Singles Skate,” and “All Skate.”

A kind donor parted with his sister’s skates, an amazing gift to our society, still housed in the original case! The skates bring back memories to the delight of many visitors! We will make sure it is on display again as we mark the site.

We have been working with our wonderful city staff, headed by City Manager John Nachbar, and our Parks and Recreation staff, headed by Corey Lakin and Patrick Reynolds. We look forward to unveiling the marker before the year’s end (before some planned upgrades to the playground) and hope you join us for the celebration. Check back here and on social media for the big announcement!

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Fall 2019 Message

Dear Members and Friends:

Hope ParrishMy very best wishes to all of you as we approach fall and 2020!  We have had a great year! 

As the Society continues to grow, we are involved with local and citywide events, requiring volunteers. Life is busy, and I know this firsthand. But for the Society to continue to be viable, we need you! I know many of you would consider this opportunity but think, “I don’t know our city’s history. How can I be of any help?” Well, it’s simple – you start by showing up, and we promise to share our knowledge about our city so you can pass it on to others. If you love Culver City as much as we do, I encourage you to join us.

This is also election time for our 2020-2022 Board.  We have a few openings that are vital to our Society:

  • VP, Development: This position manages merchandise sold online and in our Archives store, and develops ideas for events and fundraising, including the Founder’s Day Picnic. This is a voting position. 
  • VP, Museum and Archives: This position works with the collection and displays in the museum and manages the open hours each month. This is a voting position.
  • VP, Programs: This position selects program topics that are presented at the quarterly General Meetings. This is a voting position.
  • Communications Chair: This position keeps the Historical Society’s good name out in the press through releases and our quarterly print newsletter. (Social media and InDesign knowledge are NOT a requirement.) Non-voting position.
  • Volunteering: Choose your own adventure! We participate in about six events each year that require a friendly face handing out swag. 

These positions are exciting and can be shaped by you. I have personally found my time volunteering to be rewarding, as have our current and previous board members. As the Society’s president, I am asking you to consider these positions. If the Historical Society is to continue to grow and operate in the years to come, we need you!

Please feel free to call me if you would like to know more.  

Thank you!

Hope
Cell: (310) 880-6335

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