Friday, November 8, 2013

Mommy--that old man on skates is scaring me (again).

And you thought Halloween was over!  No, this is not your old diarist.  Although my skating probably does scare large and small ice tourists, sadly, I can't jump this high.  Love the costume though.  It's hard to top the 1930s for drama.

Red McCarthy in full flight as the "King Bat" during a 1936 performance at the Sports Stadium in Brighton, UK.  It took  over an hour for Red to be painted with silver paint before each show and just as long to remove it afterwards.  You can read a bit more here: . 

Photo: Illustrative image for the 'S.S. Brighton' page
The Sports Stadium started life as an indoor salt water swimming facility.  While it intially proved quite popular, a succession of warm summers caused a decline in popularity as the public preferred outdoor ocean bathing.  In response to the decline the management decided to convert the facility into an indoor ice rink.

Photo:Souvenir Brochure, opening of the Swimming Stadium, Brighton. 1934
A rendition of the indoor pool from the original 1934 promotional brochure.

Getting back to Red, he started his skating career as a barrel jumper and Canadian Olympic team member but quickly found that the theatrical side of skating was more lucrative.
After the "King Bat" days, Red found work in American with the Ice Capades during the immediate pre-world war two era.  Here is a youtube video of Red from the 1941 show.  Red apparently never gave up his speed skates or his role as a "fantastic creature".  Could you do a Waltz jump on speed skates?  Amazing stuff!

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