Trying to capitalize on pop culture trends, William Levy and Lorin Dreyfuss created a film to lure the roller skating fans to the big screen with Skatetown USA.
Written by Nick Castle, who was also an actor best known for his 1978 role as Michael Myers in Halloween, the story line was based on a competition between rival roller skaters.
Starring Patrick Swayze and Katherine Kelly Lang in their first movie roles, TV stars Scott Baio, Flip Wilson, Ruth Buzzi, Billy Barty and Maureen McCormick were the main cast. Also included in a brief appearance is Playboy model Dorothy Stratten.
With a loose story of two rivals competing at the local roller rink in West Hollywood, the Hollywood Palladium was the main setting, which had been used by The Lawrence Welk Show as its main setting. Other locations include the Santa Monica Pier and Venice Beach.
Swayze has competed as a teenager in roller skating and did all his own skating and stunts for the film, which featured long skating sequences paired with odd slapstick side stories.
The music for the film was extensive, with the synchro sound and disco songs were woven together. The title track was created by guitarist Dave Mason who appears as himself in the film and performs his hit song Feeling Alright. Other well-known songs include Boogie Wonderland by Earth, Wind and Fire, Born to be Alive by Patrick Hernandez, Boogie Nights by Heatwave and Shake Your Body by The Jacksons.
Released in October 1979, the film was a box office bomb, not gaining much notice and not capitalizing on the era’s trends. The film was never released on VHS or DVD due to rights issues and has gone into the pop culture canon as a quick flash of the 1970s that was too late for the fans.