The GoGo's played Flipper's Roller Boogie Palace on Friday, December 5, 1980.
Flipper's Roller Boogie Palace was located at 8491 Santa Monica Blvd., West Hollywood.
photo: Jenny Lens
Flipper's Roller Boogie Palace opened up in July 1979.
In 1979-1981 - Flipper's was hard to miss. It was the flashy purple-blue building on the northeast corner of La Cienega and Santa Monica Blvds.
Same view today
2008 photo: tlc
The owner was Denny Cordell, Nicholas Cowan and Flipper (a mysterious Englishman named Flipper). The property was partly owned by Berry Gordy, Motown's head man.
Denny Cordell was born in Buenos Aires but grew up in England. In the '60's he worked as a producer for Island Records. (He produced the Moody Blue's 1st album Magnificent Moodies).
Cordell went on to become president of Shelter Records. (Later he dabbled in racehorses).
In the 1979 he turned his attention to opening a star-studded member's only nightspot that would combined the disco and roller skating fad. Cordell had previously visited a similar type club in New York City.
Flipper's was a posh and exclusive nightclub for skaters. It was also a private club. However, one didn't have to be rich and famous to join. Membership was limited to 1,000. A 5-man membership committee chose the members who paid $200 annually plus a $7 entrance fee. It was open 8pm 'til late.
The outside sign calls it a Roller Boogie Palace. Originally the club was a place for skating and talking.
Flipper's - All lit up at night
Flipper's had a bar, restaurant and a custom skate shop. It was decorated to look like a plush exotic tropical fantasy paradise.
It had mirrors, disco balls, mural and private booths. Rather than wood, the skating floor was made of polyurethane.
2008 photo: tlc
La Cienega Lanes - Bowling Alley
Before it became Flipper's, the site was a former bowling alley called La Cienega Lanes.
LAPL Herald Examiner collection
It seemed like La Cienega Lanes stood northeast corner of Santa Monica and La Cienega Blvds. forever. Indeed, it was built in 1940 and stood here about 40 years. For years it was West Hollywood's beloved bowling alley.
La Cienega Lanes survived until the late '70's. In the '70's, many of the old bowling alleys had gone out of business. Many were converted into dance clubs or roller rinks.
1979 Roller Skating/ Disco Craze
One of the biggest movies of the '70's was Saturday Night Fever with John Travolta. Released in 1978, this movie help create a disco craze across the country.
The amazing dance moves inspired many to dance to colored strobe lights in disco clubs.
By the end of 1979 there were over 10,000 discos in the USA.
It was only natural that disco music would filter into roller rinks and prompt a roller disco craze. Roller skaters were eager to perform disco dance moves on skates. Roller disco dancers would dress in stretchy, brightly colored satin pants and enter competitions at roller rinks and in parks.
By 1979 was the height of the huge roller skating- disco craze.
AP photo: 1979
The big change in skating had to do with the wheels. The new polyurethane wheel that revolutionized skateboarding made the transition to roller skates. The wheels cushion the bumps, creaks and vibrations.
In Los Angeles, a popular place to skate was along the bike and pedestrian paths of Venice Beach.
There were estimated 50 roller rinks in the Los Angeles area. Popular rinks included:
Bellflower Rollerena 9140 E. Alondra Blvd., BellflowerBuena Park Rollertorium 7951 Commonweath Ave, Buena ParkHarbor Roller Rink 1726 Superior Ave., Costa MesaSkate-O-Rama Skating Center 12310 S. Woodruff Ave., DowneyFountain Valley Skating Center 9105 Recreation Circle, Fountain ValleyRoller Village 464 W. Commonwealth Ave, FullertonMoonlight Rollerway 5110 San Fernando road, GlendaleRoller City 945 W. bonita Ave., GlendoraLaguna Hills Skate Palace 23251 Avenida de la Carlota, Laguna HillsRoller Skatium 2517 W. Washington Blvd., Los AngelesNorthridge Skateland 18140 Parthenia St., NorthridgeT-Bird Rollerdrome 8252 W. Whittier Blvd., Pico RiveraPomona Skateland 3964 E. Mission Blvd., PomonaSherman Square Roller Rink 18430 Sherman Way, ResedaFiesta Roller Rink 136 S. San Gabriel Blvd., San GabrielSkate Ranch 2526 N. Main St., Santa AnaShamrock Skate Arena 1851 Mullin Ave., TorranceCarousel Roller Rink 1133 N. Azusa Canyon Road, West covinaRoller Skateen Center 300 Hampshire road, Westlake villageWhittier Skateland 12520 E. whittier blvd, WhittierSkatopia 7100 Knott Ave., Buena ParkMarina Del Rey Skatepark 12980 Culver Blvd., Marina del ReyThe Big 'O' Skateboard Park 157 N. Wayfield St., City of OrangeThe Endless Wave 1965 N. Oxnard Blvd., OxnardScatercross 6734 Reseda Blvd., Reseda
The Moonlight Rollerway in Glendale is one of the oldest rinks in the country. It opened in 1956. It has maple floors. It's still there - though not sure how much roller skating goes on.
In West Hollywood there was Flippers Roller Boogie Palace!
In February of 1980 Flipper's went new wave and rock 'n' roll. It was open to the public and started to present live music with rock 'n' roll nights on Thursdays and new-wave nights of Tuesdays.
In 1980 Flippers Roller Boogie Palace offered weekly roller skating instruction, yoga classes, skating competition and entertainment. Wednesday night was ladies night - ladies were admitted free. Tuesday nights featured new wave, raggae and rock 'n' roll music.A kids summer fun vacation program included; special games, competition, prizes, celebrity visits on Saturdays; skating on the blue lagoon rink with jungle fantasy decor. Mon - Sat 10:30am - 6pm. Sunday 10;30 - 3:pm Weekdays; over 12 $3. Skate rentals and food available.
LAPL digital archives: 1980
1980 (sample of shows presented at Flipper's)
OrchidsLondonLeroy & the Lifter (house band)Rockabilly Rollersthe Pencils, KingbeesLittle girls, Bugs TomorrowGary Myrickthe Pop, the LimitBus BoysToni & the MoversBilly and the BeatersInk SpotsPhil SeymourBerlinModelRubber City RebelsGreat Buildingsthe BlastersTextonesNaughty Sweeties, Bullet BoysBilly Burnette, John Lawry GroupJo Allen and the ShapesLinda RondstadtPlimsoulsJimmy RabbittNo Sisterthe Limit, ResistorsBerlin, Falcons, Soldierthe Limit, Adaptorsthe Last, Wet PicnicTHE BLASTERSCandy Apple, the JohnnysZippersJohn Cougar
Flippers wass where Linda Rondstadt and Nicolette Larson and Chaka Khan roller skated to raise money for Gov. Jerry Brown's presidential campaign.
Flippers hosted veil nights on Wednesday nights. It would book local pop rocks acts as well as more known acts.
Dead Kenney'sBlack Flagthe GermsAlley CatsDada'sPatti SmithThe RamonesTalkng HeadsX
Prince (age 21)Stranglers
Nearby Flippers on Santa Monica Boulevard.
Holloway Motel was at 8465 Santa Monica Blvd.International House of Pancakes at 6461 Santa Monica Blvd.Barney's Beanery was at 8447 Santa Monica Blvd.Starwood was at 8151 Santa Monica Blvd.
In 1983 the site became a Esprit De Corps. - a woman's apparel retail shop.
Today a CVS drug store occupies the site.