Grooving at California’s Most Retro Roller Rink
Articles Blog

Grooving at California’s Most Retro Roller Rink

October 19, 2019

– [Dominic] It’s a rarity to
go to a rollerskating rink and find live music there. – [Narrator] Most other roller
rinks have gone digital. But head to Southern California, and you’ll find one of
the last remaining rinks to employ a live organ player. (funky music) – My name is Dominic Cangelosi, and I own the Moonlight Rollerway. I’ve been playing rollerskating
music for 70 years. There are only about 10 or 15 roller rink organists left in the country. In the ‘40s and ‘50s, most of
the rinks around the country used live organ music, and then when Elvis
Presley and the Beatles all came into the picture
in the ‘50s and ‘60s, most of the rinks around the country phased out the live organ
to play recorded music. – [Narrator] But not
the Moonlight Rollerway. Wednesday through Monday,
the Moonlight Rollerway plays recorded music, just
like most roller rinks. But one day a week,
Dominic gets to dust off his Hammond organ, and throw
back to a different time. (organ music) – [Dominic] On Tuesdays, I
play from 8 o’clock ’til 10:30. The people that come on Tuesday
nights are a mixed crowd. A number of the skaters
are old-time skaters in their 70s and 80s who like
to skate to the organ music. This place is special because
it’s been here for so long. It’s a historical landmark. People have skated here through the years, met their boyfriends, girlfriends here. Raised a family, bring
their grandchildren. And it’s something from the past that I just want to hold on
to at least one night a week. I love coming here, I come every day. And I enjoy my customers. They appreciate it and
they like the music. I have no plans to stop playing the organ. I’ll play it as long as I’m here. Thank you for coming, and
hope to see you all real soon. Goodnight. (electronic tone)

Only registered users can comment.

  1. This guy is amazing and i'll definitely visit his roller rink some day!

    P.S. these videos are amazing and the production quality, and surprisingly, the framing is fantastic

  2. It really is surreal seeing your city on Great Big Story xD I wish I'd known you guys were here so I could tell you how awesome you are in person!

  3. I actually just had a conversation with my father about how roller rinks used to play organ music. He said his favorites when he was a kid were 'Red River Rock' and 'Happy Organ.' Look them up, you won't be disappointed.

  4. I really love your videos, but it feels like they always end RIGHT when I'm getting good and settled in to watch another half hour of their story.

  5. Hey I just want you guys and girls at the great big story to know that your doing a great job and you bring such joy to my heart so I can carry on thanks ❤️👍

  6. wow i was there 4 years ago maybe 3 times when i was visiting Glendale..I wish i knew this guy was going to be there i really would have enjoyed that

  7. next time home, I have to make Bob's in the valley on Friday, moonlight rollerway when Dom plays the organ, hope to see the rexers at play.

  8. Just stumbled upon this. It used to be Harry's when I went there regularly in the late 1950's early 1960's. I think it was Stan Wheeler at the organ. I lived in LaCanada and several of my Junior High friends and I would get a ride there from ones parent. Sometimes we would hitch hike back, walk part way or another parent would pick us up. Can't remember the bouncers name but one red-head guy in our group would always take the blame for others knocking him down and on his way down took out several other innocents with him and get kicked out. Several years went by and a couple of us decided to return to relive the good old days. Same bouncer was there and remembered my friend due to the red hair. He said "OK Red, I'll be watching you and one bad move and you're OUT OF HERE" Other times we would venture down to the Hollywood Roller Bowl ( no longer there) that's another story.

  9. Started skating at the Moonlight in 1966…And remember Dominic on the organ…So happy to hear that Dominic and the Moonlight are still here !

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *