American Vaudeville Museum

All material © 1998-2011 American Museum of Vaudeville, Inc.  Page 13

Royal Rockets

The Royal Rockets were a popular vaudeville roller skating act from 1930 to 1960.  John, Dorothy and Paul entered vaudeville in the trough of the Great Depression, when stages were closing to live acts and motion pictures were taking over.

They did turns, about 60 turns a minute, one a second.  For the finish John would swing the other two; Paul weighed about 160 and Dorothy was about 110, plus 24 pounds of roller skates.  John would have Paul with one hand and one foot, Dorothy would swing in from the back and jump up on John’s arm and Paul’s foot, slide up on John’s shoulders and lay back and then he’d lift Paul as they did the finish spins.  Physical strength, balance and timing were essential; the act was performed on a 9’ by 9’ skating table with a four foot circle in the middle.

The last time the Royal Rockets worked professionally was Christmas in 1959.  “You know what?,” says Dorothy, “If I hadn’t had the kids, John, even at 80 years old now, would still be trying to throw me around!”