Janette Chelhowski got to know South Jersey when she spent three
years skating with the Ice Capades in the late 1960s, rehearsing
new shows and performing them all summer in the resort.
got to know it so well, the Toronto native spent the intervening
years living throughout South Jersey, including Voorhees and
Medford, before moving to North Wildwood.
taught ice skating at the Flyers Skate Zone and in the Coliseum,
both in Voorhees. She still teaches competitive skating
throughout the region.
Ice Capades has been the basis for everything else I've done,"
said Chelhowski, 55, who also modeled and did television
until Monday, she hadn't set foot inside Boardwalk Hall since
her stint with the Ice Capades ended in 1970.
Chelhowski and more than three dozen former skaters gathered in
the famed arena as part of a two-day reunion of Ice Capades
alumni. They came from Margate and Toronto, Fairfax, Va., and
South Bend, Ind. For many, it was their first trip back to
refused to come back here. It was sad to see it disappear,"
majority hadn't been back since they left the show," said Gloria
Spoden, who organized the reunion.
1941 through 1981, the Ice Capades show was a summertime fixture
at what was then known as Atlantic City Convention Hall.
Performers host a reunion in Las Vegas every five years, but
never in Atlantic City, which was like a second home to many
skaters, Spoden, of Toronto, said. The troupes would rent
housing in the resort or in neighboring communities as they
rehearsed the year's new show.
Ice Capades were part of the legendary fabric of what life was
like in Atlantic City in those years," said Valarie McGonigal, a
spokeswoman for Boardwalk Hall, who led a tour of the arena.
Jeffrey Vasser, executive director of the Atlantic City
Convention & Visitors Authority, an area native, "I can't
believe it took you this long to come back to Atlantic City, but
I'm glad you did it on my watch."
Spoden and others, it was a time to revisit old haunts like the
White House Sub Shop and Tony's Baltimore Grill, and see new
ones, including the renovated Boardwalk Hall.
just stepped into conversations we had last time we were
together," Chelhowski said.
they shared memories.
in the day, the Ice Capades founders had a religious bent and
expected the performers to go to church each Sunday, Spoden
said. Instead, many would slip out the side door of Convention
Hall to Bart & Tony's Bar across the street.
nicknamed the bar "the church,' " said Spoden, who skated with
the Ice Capades from 1966 through 1971.
bar is long gone, but Trump Plaza and its own watering holes are
across the street.
Marjory Kunik skated from 1944 through 1948. Raised in Timmons,
in Northern Ontario, she met her husband in Atlantic City. He
was a local lad, working as an usher while attending Villanova
just after World War II. They married and Kunik never left the
area. She lives in Margate today.
Julie Rudasics joined the Ice Capades the same year as Kunik in
1944, and skated until 1950.
have such lovely memories from those days, of traveling to all
those cities and meeting so many lovely people," said Rudasics,
a Schumacher, Ontario native now living in South Bend.
"Afterwards, I got married and settled down. I had my fill of
traveling. But I ice skated until I was 74."
Yanke, 73, skated from 1952 through 1958, with a couple of years
off for military service. After his performing days ended, Yanke
moved to the Washington, D.C. area, where he taught.
Nancy Horner was born and raised in Atlantic City but never
skated here. By the time she joined the Ice Capades in the
1980s, the summer tryout days in Atlantic City had ended.
worked as an usher at the show while growing up, but I never got
to perform in my hometown," said Horner, who skated and danced
at Trump Castle after her Ice Capades days ended and is also a
Reach William H. Sokolic at (609) 823-9159 or
Published: September 19. 2006 3:10AM
Seguin, Gloria (Lor) Spoden & Pat (Pinky) Forbes, all former
performers with Ice Capades have organized a mini reunion in
their old summer home of Atlantic City on September 17 - 18,
an Atlantic City institution were long time summer residents in
this famous seaside resort. It was here they first rehearsed
for their upcoming annual road trips across the country.
history in Atlantic City is very deep and those involved want to
come back to embrace its love of the city one more time.
recent survey went out asking if there was interest in putting
something together, the most comments received were ‘I haven’t
been back to Atlantic City since I left the show and it would be
fun to come see what has happened since then.’
gypsies want to come back – to see Boardwalk Hall, The Steel
Pier, Mr. Peanut, Whitehouse Sub Shop, Baltimore Grill, and even
Lucy the Elephant.
Even now the
Ice Capades sign can still be seen on the pipes as one drives
into the city.
the organizers "This will be a gathering of old friends who
want to get together again, just to keep in touch in a city
they all called their summer home".
will be held at The Tropicana Casino & Resort with registration
on Sunday September 17th. There will be a series of
events designed to provide lots of time to reacquaint old
friends - sample some of that famous Steel’s Fudge, or taste a
fully loaded Whitehouse Sub, just for old time’s sake.
Mini Reunion Information: