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The Shackled Schramm's

Photo courtesy Joseph Butchko Collection, an acquisition of the Skate Guard Archive

"You love the audience and the applause." - Ray Schramm

Born in North Dakota and raised in Minnesota, Ray and Roy Schramm were about as unique as they come in the figure skating world. The twin brothers learned to skate on a pond in their backyard and at the age of eighteen joined the Ice Follies. The November 29, 1947 edition of Billboard magazine described their act: "Among the newcomers, the Schramm twins (Ray and Roy) are outstanding with a novel duo routine with ankles and wrists shackled to one another."

Principal skaters Ray and Roy became known as The Shackled Schramm's for their unusual act chained together called Shackled Shadows. Other show skaters attempted to duplicate their act, and it just didn't work out the same. I will say that Klimova and Ponomarenko's "Captives Of Love" program with wrists shackled together was quite well done... but again, not really the same thing. Think about how hard that would be for a minute. You would not want to be catching a toe pick, that's for sure! The Schramm twins also made a foursome with another set of twins - Joanne and Joyce Scotvold - on the tour.

After serving in World War II, Ray Schramm returned to the Ice Follies where he met and married his wife Nadine Thompson. Ray and Nadine continued their professional careers performing in hotel ice shows and television specials until 1953. The following year, they bought their first ice rink in Mill Valley then moved to facilities in San Anselmo, Corte Madera and Marin. Roy and his wife April Schramm formed a professional pairs team and developed The Skating Schramm's Ice Show, performing a ten week gig on the E.K. Fernandez circuit in Hawaii as well as in Hollywood and at the Pacific National Exhibition in Vancouver, British Columbia. They also appeared on the California skating television show The Frosty Frolics in the fifties. In case you hadn't guessed it, Allen Schramm, the immensely creative choreographer and professional skater, is indeed Ray Schramm's son. Creativity clearly ran in the family.

Do you know what was even cooler about The Shackled Schramm's though? When the twins retired from touring, their next door neighbours were a pair of seven year old twins named Vicki and Judi Denton. At Ray's Raydine School Of Skating, the older twins worked with the younger twins for ten years and helped prepare them for their own professional careers with Ice Follies.

Photo courtesy "The National Ice Skating Guide"

Between touring productions like Holiday On Ice, the Ice Follies and Ice Capades, countless hotel shows and the British ice pantomimes, so many immensely creative skaters were able to carve out bona fide careers for themselves as professional skaters in the twentieth century. These two brothers from America's midwest had perhaps one of the most unique concepts going in their era. Audiences loved it then as much as we all can appreciate it now!

Skate Guard is a blog dedicated to preserving the rich, colourful and fascinating history of figure skating. Over ten years, the blog has featured over a thousand free articles covering all aspects of the sport's history, as well as four compelling in-depth features. To read the latest articles, follow the blog on FacebookTwitterPinterest and YouTube. If you enjoy Skate Guard, please show your support for this archive by ordering a copy of the figure skating reference books "The Almanac of Canadian Figure Skating", "Technical Merit: A History of Figure Skating Jumps" and "A Bibliography of Figure Skating":