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Roller Derby Chronicles: Rolling Thunder

Airs Wednesday, November 3, 2010 at 11 p.m. on KPBS TV

Above: Title graphic for "Roller Derby Chronicles: Rolling Thunder"

Historical photo of roller derby star Joan Weston. Fans referred to her as "The Blonde Bomber," "Blonde Amazon" and "Golden Girl."
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Above: Historical photo of roller derby star Joan Weston. Fans referred to her as "The Blonde Bomber," "Blonde Amazon" and "Golden Girl."

With the roar of wood wheels on banked masonite providing the score, the aptly titled "Roller Derby Chronicles: Rolling Thunder" elbows its way through the history of Roller Derby, from its humble roots as a Depression-era skating marathon through to its heyday as a nationally syndicated road show, and finally, to its untimely demise in 1973.

Combining elements of physical endurance with theatrical showmanship, the game is a highly appealing form of entertainment that drew millions of fans to arenas and to television sets all across the country. At its height, Roller Derby was commercially syndicated in more than 120 markets.

Video

Preview: Roller Derby Chronicles: Rolling Thunder

Above: With the roar of wood wheels on banked masonite providing the score, the aptly titled "Roller Derby Chronicles: Rolling Thunder" elbows its way through the history of Roller Derby, from its humble roots as a Depression-era skating marathon through to its heyday as a nationally syndicated road show, and finally, to its untimely demise in 1973.