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#ThrowbackThursday: Ski Show

Did you know we used to have a water-ski show?

It was a long time ago. Sixty years, actually.

It was called the Willie Bartley Water Ski Show and was performed on Lake Rudolph.

This was back when Lake Rudolph was called Rudolph Lake. And it was smaller then than it is now.

I kid you not. The late Bill Koch told me this years ago; he chuckled when I expressed shock. It’s still amazing to think that there would have been enough room for all the stunts and thrills the show provided.

This photo is from 1959

Lake Rudolph with American Legion in background

See where those people are gathered? That’s where The Raven‘s lake turn is now.

(If you’re local, you’ll probably recognize the American Legion in the background.)

Ready to see some photos of the ski show?

This one’ll knock your socks off: The Human Pyramid!

Human Pyramid

The Water Skiers’ Ballet required a tremendous amount of poise. And balance!

Water ballet at Santa Claus Land

The water skiers looked like they came out of central casting. I half expect to see them in a classic flick on TCM tonight!

Double's Act

People watchers will enjoy taking a gander at the audience members’ stylish dress, below.

Meanwhile, that’s not one, but two boats flying off the ramp!

Crowd Watching Flying Boat Full Size

A brochure from the year 1960 is an absolute hoot to read: Whether your interest lies in the talented and thrilling performance of the comely lasses of the Willie Bartley Troupe or in the men’s masterful handling of the powerful boat and motors, you’ll enjoy every moment of the show.

The Mad Men vibe continues with this commercial (don’t forget to crank up the volume):

We had fun reading the reaction to this commercial when we posted it on our Santa Claus Land Facebook page a few weeks ago – and even connected with the daughter of one of the skiers, who couldn’t wait to show it to her mom! It’s always amazing to hear from those who remember our early days.
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