1 9 7 8 (USA)
4 x 30 minute episodes
The Pittsburgh Pitts, an all-female roller derby team, was owned, coached and managed by the bombastic, fast-talking and penny-pinching Don “Mitch” Mitchell (Terry Kiser).
Joanna Cassidy played the team captain, Selma “Books” Cassidy, a big, redheaded roller skating queen and feminist intellectual (she had a 145 IQ and was proficient in four languages).
The other women on the team were fun-loving JB Johnson (Candy Ann Brown) who learned to skate by “fast dodging dudes in Harlem”; half-Eskimo and half-Japanese Shana “Pipeline” Akira (Marilyn Tokuda), who had an Eskimo maxim for all situations; Mongo Sue Lampert (6′ 1″ Rhonda Bates) – the towering “Amazon from Arkansas”, and naive blonde rookie Honey Bee Novak (Marcy Hanson, who was Playboy‘s Playmate Of The Month for October 1978).
James Murtaugh played snobby announcer Howie Devine, whose game descriptions were coloured by his former occupation as an opera announcer on FM radio.
Manager Don had promised the girls they would be living in a beautiful condominium with a pool and a tennis court. When this didn’t come to fruition, his excuse was that the condo wasn’t yet ready because the construction crew had run out of wood. The girls had to “temporarily” take up residence in the back of their locker room.
Don also didn’t have the money to cover their first paychecks, so he cooked up a scheme involving the adoption of orphans so that the girls wouldn’t think he was a total creep, walk out, and turn their backs on the team.
Storylines revolved around the personal and professional lives, loves and losses of the girls in their sleazy locker room-cum-dormitory. In the first episode, the Pitts faced the all-male Atlanta Aces – who learned the hard way the error of “taking it easy on the girls” – and went on to play the Detroit Turbos, the Seattle Zingers and the Rhode Island Reds.
Action on the rink was supervised by William Griffiths, the owner of the pro Los Angeles Thunderbirds women’s roller derby team. Thunderbirds coaches John Hall and Ralph Valladaras also supervised training the cast, and five of their top skaters doubled for the stars in the action sequences.
Don “Mitch” Mitchell
Selma ‘Books’ Cassidy
Mongo Sue Lampert
Candy Ann Brown
Honey Bee Novak
Shana ‘Pipeline’ Akira