Roller Skating Magazine (August, 1981)

Super thanks to Kim in CA for the scans! (Check out her awesome site!)   She got to see  Jim Bray in person back in the day at a skating competition. I'm so jealous. Thanks Kim!



One In A Million: JIM BRAY

He has the look of a movie star with flashing eyes, a heart-stopping smile and a halo of shinning, perfectly layered hair accenting his attractive face. He's a sociable and immensely likeable kid with a personality to match his sparkling good looks. And he's a better than average skater. The combination proved to be irresistible to Hollywood during the skate crazed roller disco days of '79. As the push to capitalize on America's media hype brought roller skating to stage and screen, Jim Bray became a screen/teen idol starring in Roller Boogie.

An interview with Jim Bray in the pages of Roller Skating Magazine (!) led to an audition invitation and subsequently, the lead role in the box-office success. In case you missed the movie, Jim played a hot dog street skater who fell in love with a wealthy, highly gifted music student (portrayed by Linda Blair). Their ensuing roller escapades, trials and tribulations with parents and shady wheeler-dealers created the somewhat limited, yet mostly wholesome storyline. The skating scenes were fun, the music enjoyable and Jim received generally positive reviews for his screen debut. 

What was it like for this young man from Ontario, California to suddenly be faced with star status? Jim states, "Premiere night was really weird! First of all, Linda and I arrived an hour late! I was so nervous because I'd invited everyone I knew! In the opening scene when it says "Introducing Jim Bray," my whole family started clapping! I was so embarrassed at first, and then I decided what the heck and settled down a little. I looked for all the bad spots, naturally, and just kept thinking about how strange it was to watch myself become someone else."

Dangling from a substantial gold chain around Jim's neck is a golden charm that reads Roller Boogie. It's his success in the movie that made it possible for him to afford the few extravagant purchases he's allowed himself--the gold, the flashy wardrobe, the fast car. The luxuries are a fond reminder of the excitement and fast-paced lifestyle that came with the transitory movie-star status. "I like money," states Jim, "but I don't want to spend it foolishly. I'll admit that when the movie was over it was a bit of a disappointment, After all, I had given up my amateur status and couldn't compete in roller skating anymore. It just made me realize that I had to make a career for myself. Life in Hollywood was great--I was on top and then when it was over I wasn't anymore. But I have a five-year plan in mind and with my manager, Bruce Cohen Curtis' help, I'll be big. It takes time to get big and if you're too big too soon, it might hurt you."

Slowing down to take a good look at the road map he's plotting for his life, Jim discusses his impending career in the entertainment field with confidence. "I learned to project to the audience in my skating career and I've been able to carry it over to my acting and singing. Music is where it's at for me right now. I've made some demo tapes and we have some deals pending with a couple of major record companies." We listened to some of Jim's live, in-concert demo tapes and were pleasantly surprised to hear not the stereotyped sweet-voiced bubblegum tunes of the typical teen heartthrob of the day, but the hard, get-down sound of a real rocker with some potential in the fiercely competitive music market. Jim has also developed a touring roller company, The Jim Bray Traveling Show. Performing in exotic locations including Mexico City, Chile and Brazil, the 15 show skaters delighted record breaking crowds nightly. Jim was actually mobbed by fans in Brazil who knocked him unconscious in their determined effort to get close to their idol. When he was finally transported to the local hospital, the doctor in attendance requested Jim's autograph. After Jim groggily complied, the physician cheerfully treated the young star's minor injuries. The ironies of adoration!

As one might suspect, Jim's mother, Sandy, is one of his most supportive fans. Her realistic attitude towards her son's success in no way diminishes her obvious pride. "We never kidded ourselves; Jim's just a kid in a million who got lucky! He always worked very hard-you wouldn't believe how badly he used to skate! When he finally learned to skate backwards we were so proud of him," she states enthusiastically. The modest Bray household cluttered with Roller Boogie memorabilia reflects the warm and comfortable family influence which has helped Jim deal with his roller coaster success. The one regret that both Jim and Sandy have is that Jim's father passed away, just prior to the production of the movie and did not witness his namesake's triumph. But each is comforted in the serene belief that some way, Jim Senior knows and shares the family's pride.

Jim reflects upon his competitive roller skating career and the effect it had on his life as he notes,. "My parents were the big push in my skating, They got me into skating because they knew it would be a good influence-they just didn't realize how good! Skating gave me confidence, determination and courage. It helped develop my character style and opened so many doors for me. The greatest value that I have realized from skating is all the wonderful people I have met."

Maintaining his close relationships with roller skating friends is a high priority with this sensitive young man. He is never too busy to make a phone call, even to rearrange his hectic schedule or put in an appearance at a local rink to assist an old friend. He has developed a gracious style and self-assured behavior which allows him to exhibit his gratitude to those who have helped him along the way. As we dined in his favorite Greek restaurant, Jim cautioned me, "You can't run this article unless you promise to let me thank those people who are closest to me." Assured his request would be honored, Jim continued, "I want to thank my former coach, Chris Baerg; my manager Bruce Cohen Curtis; my good friends Eric Foucrier, Kevin Vaughn and Jim Skelton; my wonderful parents, Jim and Sandy Bray; and of course, Linda Blair."

Linda Blair holds a special place in Jim's heart. As his Roller Boogie co-star, she was a very powerful influence during the filming of the movie. He gratefully acknowledges, "Linda was always so supportive; she taught me how to relate to the crowd, the cameras, the producers and the cameraman. It's so important to get along well with the crew members and she taught me how to do it. I might have had a lot more problems if she hadn't helped me so much. She is just a fantastic girl and a true friend. I enjoy her so much."

What advice would Jim give to an aspiring competitor seeking to follow in his footsteps? "I always teach my students the basics first; if you don't know the basics then you don't know how to skate. I teach my students to exhibit a great deal of strength when skating. It's also important to find a coach who's a good companion and a good friend who understands you."

As Jim pursues his five-year plan, his life has settled into a pleasant routine with plenty of room for growth. He spins records to adoring crowds at the Skateway rink in nearby Chino; he teaches a class in aerobic fitness and he's planning trips to Mexico and South Africa. There may be a spot for Jim on the Battle of the Network Stars and filming of the ABC-TV pilot, The Teen Idol begins soon. Jim Bray's star quality continues to shine as bright and promising as his personality. Jim's ability to turn his roller skating talent into a marketable career has been a pleasure and inspiration to millions all over the world.