Roller Disco Movie Review: “Skatetown, U.S.A.” (1979)

Skatetown USA Poster

“Skatetown, U.S.A.” (1979)

Dir: William A. Levey

MPAA Rating: PG

This is the kind of film that could’ve easily came from one of my dreams after a night out at RollerStop in Kinning Park – though for some this could be a nightmare.

Released at the height of disco’s popularity just before the backlash kicked in, it’s a charming time-capsule of a movie, featuring live performances from GQ and Dave Mason during their hey-day. With that said their appearances seem to be fillers that add nothing to the narrative.

Taking place over the course of one night in the rink, Stanley (Greg Bradford) is there alongside his sister Susan (Maureen McCormick) and friend Richie (Scott Baio) to try to win a roller disco competition – you know it’s the 70s when the prize also includes a moped. After entering he soon finds out he is up against Ace Johnson, the leader of a gang called the West Side Wheelers played by the late Patrick Swayze. What makes things more interesting is that Stanley also develops a crush on Ace’s sister Allison (Katherine Kelly Long).

The concept of a tough, masculine gang being on skates seems a bit out of place especially after seeing a graceful, arguably feminine dance routine as they enter the rink. With that said, Patrick’s performance as their leader is sexy and charismatic – during one sequence he solo dances while whipping the belt off his jeans leaving little to the imagination.

The movie suffers from having too many supporting roles that are either simple stereotypes such as Teri (Judy Landers), a blonde bombshell with less than average intellect, another “Mexican” skater in the competition by the name of Pistol Pete (Gary Hudson) with what looks like a Yosemite Sam Halloween costume and stick-on moustache or by having random roller disco dance routines without main or supporting characters that seem to simply fill up the running time.

Add to that we have the Skatetown Doctor (Bill Kirchenbauer) who suffers from PTSD after his time in Vietnam though it’s played comically which might have been acceptable in 70s, those less so now. As if it were not obvious by what we see on-screen, we are told he is getting crazy by an annoying flashing green light and electronic tone over the movie’s diegetic sound.

Despite all these shortcomings there’s something quite charming about this film – the soundtrack is perfect for its time featuring hits from Earth, Wind & Fire, The Jacksons, Patrick Hernandez, McFadden & Whitehead, Cheap Trick and even a catchy Rolling Stones disco cover by Hounds. Some comedic set ups work too, like a girl waiting what seems to be an eternity for pizza while the late real-life comic Leonard Barr playing himself, comes out with countless one-liners. We are also treated with some stand up from Murray Langston performing one of his Unknown Comic routines, his other ones are definitely worth watching on YouTube.

The set design looks terrific – the flashing lights, wide open rink space make it look like a heavenly place to roller skate in. The feel-good soundtrack which you can also find on Spotify below this review and comic book tone of the film mean I’m happy to forgive it failings. It can firmly be described as a guilty pleasure which also has cult following, perhaps in part due to its hard-to-find nature as it is still yet to have an official release on VHS, DVD or Blu Ray.

“Skatetown, U.S.A” I can best describe as a popcorn film – one where you don’t question the narrative’s realism because there isn’t any. Its pure fantasy as we are reminded towards the very end by one character. Plus the more I think about this film, the more I want to see it again and head to my local roller disco afterwards.


Busy Bee – New Disco Mix!

Ooft! Been a busy weekend though I’m not complaining at all 🙂

Last Friday I was happy to assist stage hypnotist Paul Munro at Pockets in Paisley – pushing the sound effect buttons on cue while doing a cheeky wee DJ set afterwards.

Also on Saturday, I was on North Highland Radio doing a two-hour disco mix for “The Shiny Disco Ball.” Click to listen below if you like tunes from Patrick Cowley, Bee Gees, Lime, Change, Sister Sledge, Madonna, Donna Summer…. basically all the good stuff!!

For more DJ sets, just go to the mixes section of this website.

The icing on the cake is that now I’m a full member of the NADJ – woop woop!

Will keep you posted about future DJ sets and radio shows.

Stereo 54: Subcity Radio at Renfield Lane

Just before I returned to Subcity Radio, the kind folk from said station asked me to DJ at their Stereo 54 night last November.

They wanted me to do a DJ set which echoed the spirit of Studio 54 – ok it was known as a hedonist drug den back in the day and not a place of cutting edge dance music. With that said, I did a bit of research and played some tunes known for being played at the club during its heyday in between a few disco classics.

Click below you if fancy a listen! 🙂

Stereo 54 - Front Flyeruk-1114-650309-419545-back

Another Highland Adventure: Cuban Connections

This past September in between searching for Nessie, I worked as a producer, presenter and social media manager for Monster FM in Inverness.

Along with presenting “The Northern Soul & Funk Show,” and “The Shiny Disco Ball,” I also produced “Cuban Connections” for the lovely Claire Hernandez.

During the programme’s short run, we had special guest interviews with Indira Cepero Roman from the band Aji Pa’Ti and Yoander Mulet Galvez – a Cuban ex-pat who told us what life is like in his native country.

Granted I can’t do salsa dancing for love nor money – but still there’s some cracking tunes in her shows that I hope you’ll enjoy.

¡Hasta Luego! 🙂

Welcome to Radio David :)

I’m David Campbell – a radio producer, presenter, P.A. announcer, club DJ and music is my life.

I live and breathe it and I want to get on the radio and play it.

I’m from Linwood and I’m working towards getting a full-time broadcasting job in the UK.

Right now you can hear me on Subcity Radio every fortnight.

To hear some archive shows, click either of the links at the bottom of this page. You can also find more at The Monster FM Funk & Soul Show and The Shiny Disco Ball pages.

But right now, here’s a quick video about me and my broadcasting experience – just click on the link below. Also you’ll find at the bottom of this page a showreel and a few shows I did for Monster FM.

I’m really interested in any opportunities to get a foot in the door in the broadcasting industry so if you’ve any opportunities or placements available for an honest, hard-working  passionate guy that’s going to give you 100% then please get in touch – I’d go for it.

Thanks, David