Meet Jerry Seltzer

I wish my father Leo had told his story as he was one of America’s great promoters, although he hated the term. I have followed in his footsteps since 1958, going from Roller Derby promoter (SF Bay Bombers) to television syndicator, to BASS tickets and Ticketmaster and on and on. I have three grown children and three granddaughters and am a dyed in the wool Californian. I always try to be optimistic and I have so many stories to tell.

33 comments on “Meet Jerry Seltzer

  1. Hey Jerry,
    What an honor it is to even email you!
    Thank you so much for posting all these amazing insightful stories of the past.
    So much speculation has been made about the demise of the Roller Derby in 1973. I’ve heard many peoples opinions but not sure if I’ve hard yours.
    Mostly I’d love to hear a great story about the Great Charlie O’Connell and what he meant to the sport and to you.
    Thank you again.
    Keith

  2. Hi, Jerry! My husband is related to Sid Cohen (Sid is his great-uncle) and the family would love to know more about Sid’s life. Do you have any more stories you can share about Sid? His personality? Lifestyle? Thanks for any more stories you can share.

    All the best,

    Amy

  3. It was my understanding from my father that he met Sid in the early 30′s when Sid was working for Cooney and was sent to the Coliseum with the intention of putting a bomb in the rest room (he apparently had it hidden under a tall hat!). He met my father, liked him, and went to work for him. He was a wonderful kind gentle giant and I knew him for many years. He was my father’s chief lieutenant and after he left the Roller Derby he went to work for the Ice Follies and had a great reputation in the entertainment industry. He and his wife Helen were my father’s closest friends. They would take trips together. I wish I had some photos.

  4. Jerry,
    I just saw a photo you had taken with a friend Pushy Willow while at RollerCon this summer. It brought back memories as I also have a photo with you from about 25+ years ago. I skated for the local RCA league in Westchester, NY back in the day.

    I recently noticed a youtube video you were in about starting a derby league done for expert village. Who would I call to get specifics on the photos used in this video? I am trying ti see if I can gain usage rights from the derby girl with the yellow background for a product launch.

    All the best.
    Dean

  5. Jerry, Just wanted to take the opportunity to say “Thanks” for writing in on the ChicagoReader.com article “Game Changer”…what a thrill that was to see you chime in on the comments section. So glad to see you’re keeping abreast of your dad’s legacy…and now yours too!
    Fever has caught on in KY too…our league started last year, and we just finished our first season in Bowling Green KY. All best!

  6. Jerry,

    It’s great not only to see you blogging, but that you still have the youthful appearance of a 30-year old!

    A friend was just telling me about a book he is reading on the Angels. I told him of my positive experiences with Deakon and Fu when I worked for you. Googled to see if they were still doing concerts and found your wonderful blog.

    Hope you are well.

    Best,
    John

  7. Hello Jerry,

    Glad I found your website and the link to the new “Bomber” team. I grew up watching the San Francisco Bay Bombers, in the 60′s/early 70′s on KTVU. I just got a quick question. What ever happened to Charlie O’Connell? Thanks.

  8. Dear Jerry Seltzer,

    A journalist named Katherine (KJRinehart@Comcast.net) in Petaluma is writing an article about the old Gayland Skating rink that used to be in Petaluma. I was wondering if you might have photos of that Gayland skating rink? My grandma Joan Lujan (Spolini) used to skate there when it was still open. She told me stories of the wooden rink.

    Sincerely,

    Ms. Kitty MaulHER
    Director of Media, Publicity and Promotions
    Resurrection Roller Girls
    707-889-0848

  9. Hi Jerry!

    Just found your blogspot and am enjoying reading your past blogs. Growing up in the Bay Area in the late 60s/early 70s, I watched Roller Derby every week (and, yeah, even watched Roller Games).

    Thank you for promoting a product that I enjoyed so much. Hope this finds you well!

    All the best,
    Andrew

  10. Dear Mr. Seltzer:

    Eddie Krebs may have contacted you recently about a project we’re stepping into about Derby – Just wanted to say I will be avidly following your blog and hoping to perhaps hear more of your comments and perspective in the near future! What a wonderful adventure this is proving to be! Best to you in the meantime. We’ll be at a “Derby” gathering Friday and at Kezar on Saturday for fun and adventures a’la the banked track! YOU are in both our minds with fond memories on Eddie’s part, and respect/admiration on mine. Hope YOU will autograph my manuscript?

  11. Hi Jerry,

    I’m doing research on a 1968 movie called ‘Petulia’ which had a roller derby match in it between the San Francisco Bay Bombers and the New York Chiefs that showed a closeup of Eddie Krebs. I am trying to find out which auditorium the scene was filmed in and Eddie for sure would know that. I had guessed it was at Kezar Pavilion but I’m now pretty well convinced it was somewhere else. Can you give me a contact number or email so I can check with him? Or perhaps you could forward this email on to him and he could contact me. Or, perhaps you or one of your readers can tell me. My email address is brianhollins@comcast.net

    • it was filmed at Winterland Arena., home of the Ice follies and eventually Bill Graham Presents in the 70′s……I was there.

      Gerald E. Seltzer

      • Jerry, would I be right in saying the team competing against the Bombers in the movie was the New York Chiefs? (They also competed last Saturday at Kezar and the uniforms looked the same).

  12. I gave Eddie a call – that was with George C. Scott and Julie Christie, and the match was shot at Winterland. “With sport jacket over jersey, Eddie walked down the street and met with the promoters/movie folks for several hours – tucked away in the back of a nearby restuarant, they talked for hours, and nobody even knew they were there… A fun story.

    What’s your project about?

    • I’m sure you’re right about that, of course. And since my only heretofore reference point has been memories of my Grandmother in about 1964, yelling at the TV Screen, “that Goddamned Eddie Krebs!”…..(really!) I will definitely defer to that. Still, I am enjoying them! Amazing, exciting fun to watch, fun to yell…. the entire experience (minus some of that “scripting”) is a satisfying thrill I would have disdainfully laughed at until I experienced it for myself. Absolutely no mystery anymore about why or how this caught on. Derby rocks.

  13. Thanks guys – I appreciate the fast feedback! I just had a long chat with Eddie about the Winterland movie shoot. It’s clear he enjoyed the whole experience, a full day’s shoot, and especially hanging out with George C. Scott afterwards.
    Re the project, I have a blog, reelsf.com, which lists Then and Now photos of locations filmed in classic San Francisco movies. One of the movies I’m currently doing is Petulia and now thanks to you I can add the roller derby location. Check it out!

  14. Hello Jerry,
    I’m inspired by your work! I’m writing an article on the history of Roller Derby and would really like to have a quick chat with you regarding your involvement.
    Please email me on amyd104@hotmail.com and I’ll explain a bit more about the article. I just need about 10 minutes of your time so it would be really great if you could help me.
    Many Thanks,
    Amy

  15. Hello Jerry,

    I’m an architecture student and I’m looking into doing my research thesis on Roller Derby. I stumbled upon this site through your Roller Derby facebook page. I would love to have more information on the subject. My email address is frances.ortiz@gmail.com.

    Thanks in advance for any information you can provide! :)

    Frances

  16. Hi Jerry,
    I’m actually preparing a clip for Deutsche Welle TV, Germanys international broadcaster, about Roller Derby. For this I search historic video material from bouts in the 30s to the 90s. Can you help out?
    Cheers,
    Felix

  17. Hi Jerry I’m sorry if ur unintrested in this or if its not something u really are into but I’m trying to find older pics of hells angels members preferable b4 the 70s of course would take newer ones to also I’d like there to b 5 or more members in each pic but again would take any and if they cod b in their leathers that would b even better ofcourse I would pay ALL shipping packaging fees and whatever price u find reasonable I love black and white pics but there’s nothing wrong with colour photos either again I’m sorry if this is something u wouldn’t b intrested in or if u can lead me to someone who does deal with these kind of request I would grately appreciate it have a wonderful day. Crystal West

  18. Hi Jerry, in reference to your mention of a derby show in the UK, there is a community channel show in Australia called Powerjam by a group called ‘Fans of Derby’. You should be able to find more details if you wish, using those search terms.

  19. jerry,
    do you know what happened to christina snell, wife of mike snell in derby? we were friends when christina and i were children. peace from kathy

  20. My employer, Norman Shapiro, has expressed an interest in airing original Roller Derby on MeTV. Do you possess recordings of these, Are you in a position to license them for re-broadcast; or can you direct us to the rights holders. I am not as familiar as he is, but it sounds like an excellent fit.

  21. Hi Jerry, your name and face seem somewhat familiar, but the passage of time sort of clouds things a bit. I too was with the 430th CIC in Salzburg from about February 1954 to May 1955 and traveled much the same route as you. First Fort Ord, then clerk typist school followed by a stint at Fort Benjamin Harrison and then on the USS Geiger to Bremen and by train to Salzburg. As you note, it was a great duty station.

    Do you remember a Major Setzki (?), or a Captain Wall?

    Anyway, hope to hear from you,

    Rolly Throckmorton

    • I arrived in January 1955 and helped close the command in December….yes I remeber both Setzki and Wall…..our corps wasn’t that large and I am sure we knew each other…..

  22. Good evening Mr. Seltzer,
    My mom (Loretta Steele) was part of the beginning of Roller Derby in California as she was a member of a team in Visalia, Ca. in April 1939 (have love letters from my dad to her…dad referred to the team as the gang). They soon married in Aug. of 1939. I also have several letters from Mr. Bert Wall as his wife (Bobbie) and my parents were friends and some involvement with the “Hawaiians” in the early 1960′s. Do you have any records from that 1939 Visalia team?….would be great history for my kids. Also, I have my mom’s skates…..have a recommendation as to a place to donate? One more question….any contact information for Mr. or Mrs. Wall?
    Your assistance is greatly appreciated!
    Sincerely,
    Martin Hughes

  23. Hey Jerry, You and my daughter, Auntie Social (aka Lauren) have exchanged communications for years. She shared this site with me and I appreciate your writings beyond an interest in derby.
    Here’s an e-vite I send to writer friends and acquaintances:
    I have accumulated many journal entries over the past 47 years. Some pieces remain unused and unexpanded. I thought a collection of these to match each current date with a piece culled from the same date in the past would make an interesting almanac. Stephen Crane referred to his little pieces as pills…they were small, somewhat hard to swallow, but good for you. I hope you’ll check out
    One A Day at http://jmkallio.blogspot.com/
    Thanks, DonNoJuan

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