Name: The McKellen Bros.

Biography from Sonia Henie’s 1953 Ice Revue :

From Muskegon, Michigan, came two of the youngest and most recent additions to the great “Ice Follies” staff. These two are Gilbert and Gordon McKellen who present an act which is really unique and novel for ice revues.

While gliding over the ice, these boys present a series of acrobatic stunts, injected with clever comedy, that have won them unstinted praise at every performance. To see difficult acrobatic tricks performed in an ice arena on figure skates, instead of in a gymnasium, is so distinctly different that until one sees…..

Biographies from various program:

This clever novelty skating team, the McKellen Brothers, combines spectacular figure skating routines with feats of acrobactic skill. Two of the youngest members of the “Ice Follies Family” they perform feats never before attempted on ice.

Because they had important business elsewhere, overseas in the armed service, the McKellen Brothers have been missed from the past three editions of Ice Follies. Their return, this year, will be hailed with delight by Boston audiences.

Portrayed as a football coach and his none-too-apt pupil, Gill and Tuffy lack none of the skill and sparkle of their earlier performance. Their spectacular acrobatics and well-timed humor, make them one of the best comedy attractions in the entire ice show world.

During his service with the armed forces, Gil was stationed in the South Pacific. Tuffy, the little guy, who had to stretch a good half inch to make the army minimum of 5 feet at his induction, was assigned to Military Police in the European theatre. Those who saw Tuffy in uniform say he could have used the famous MP billy-club for a vaulting pole.


Right up at the head of the list of the world’s most skillful acrobats are the McKellen brothers whose performance is a nightly feature of the “Ice Follies of 1942”.

A pair of joyous youngsters, the McKellens do many of the most extremely difficult acrobatic tricks, tumbling about and hand standing at incredible speeds while balancing precariously upon razor like edges of their skate blades.

Gil and Tuffy McKellen –Gil is the under man- patiently spend many hours practicing the seemingly effortless routines on ice which are such a delight to Ice Follies patrons of all ages.

The McKellen Brothers were originally discovered by the management of the Ice Follies while the show was playing in their home town of Muskegon, Michigan. While still in high school they won the State tumbling championship, and being interested in figure skating, translated their knowledge of acrobatics into terms of the flashing blades. They are the only performers in the world who execute the hand-to-hand stand on ice skates.


Spectacular Acrobatics on the razor-sharp edges of their figure skates is the special forte of the McKellen brothers, Gil and Tuffy, youthful Ice Follies stars. As gridiron coach and player, the skillful pair of comedians have concocted new antics for their audiences.

They know more about tying knots in themselves than two troops of Boy Scouts and all the rest of the Ice Follies cast of 65 will tell you that their hand-stand at 25 miles per hour is just about the most difficult trick in the show.

And it should be –if patience deserves a reward –because the two kids worked a year and one-half to perfect this one-minute trick. And they still practice it every day, just to make sure.

> See more photos of the Mckellen Bros.