Pools Golden Years

fred bentivegna

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Speaking of golden years Bill, here is a moment in time in 1972 at the Stardust that you probably forgotten about. I (squirrel)had just played a big fat kid a session of 9 ball and had spotted this kid the 8 and break for 200 a session. He was a loud mouth kid and most of you guys like yourself, Billy Johnson, Cole Dickson , Grady mathews and so on, wanted me (i suspect) to beat this kid and shut him up, but i couldn't overcome his break and lost to him as most of the players in the room watched! After the match this kids chest was bigger than king kong and as yourself and Grady Mathews harrased him a short while , he made the statement that he would take the seven spot from anybody and you stepped forward and said you got the seven. The fat kid ate crow and said I'll take the 6 from anybody causing Grady Mathews to bust into a laughter that probably only me and you know of today. I laughed myself to death that night even after losing to this kid! But you stepped forward and gave this kid the 6 and you guys played for hours and broke even. This was the same year that you and Cole had a big run at the crap table with thousands on the table and a cocktail waitress bumped into you and you crapped out with about 5k on the pass line and numbers and needless to say you were pissed. I had a front row seat, I was across the crap table from you and Cole that night. I was only 19 at the time
and the last time pretty much I played competively. No doubt there was some characters there in 72 in the golden years of pool.Just thought you might want to be reminded of one of the funniest moments in time for me and everytime Grady Mathews crosses my mind I think of him laughing at that fat kid, life was good!
Keith, its the ol' Beard. I need a photo of you for my Encyclopedia of Pool Hustlers book. Preferably when you were younger. You can email it to me or put it on this site by attaching it to one of your posts here.

My email address is bankingwiththebeard@comcast.net

Beard
 

androd

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I knew a guy named "Squirrel" in Indianapolis in the late '70s early '80s. Played pretty sporty 9-ball/6-ball on the bar box.
This is the guy that won the 9 ball tourney in Johnson City. :)
He and I played a few times in our younger days. I also played his brother Tommy a few times.
Rodney.
P.S. Back to the thread. I fondly remember Fat, U.J.,Marcel Camp, Earl Shriver, R.A., Slim Burris, Joe Cosgrove and Larry Woods as being bigger than life. I knew many who were great but said little, Don Watson, Bill Lawson, Bananas and Eddie Taylor.
Eddie was a hoot when he was drinking. We were in a black pool room and I looked at his table, He'd laid his stick down and was dancing the soft shoe with a couple of the black players.
 
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wincardona

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Speaking of golden years Bill, here is a moment in time in 1972 at the Stardust that you probably forgotten about. I (squirrel)had just played a big fat kid a session of 9 ball and had spotted this kid the 8 and break for 200 a session. He was a loud mouth kid and most of you guys like yourself, Billy Johnson, Cole Dickson , Grady mathews and so on, wanted me (i suspect) to beat this kid and shut him up, but i couldn't overcome his break and lost to him as most of the players in the room watched! After the match this kids chest was bigger than king kong and as yourself and Grady Mathews harrased him a short while , he made the statement that he would take the seven spot from anybody and you stepped forward and said you got the seven. The fat kid ate crow and said I'll take the 6 from anybody causing Grady Mathews to bust into a laughter that probably only me and you know of today. I laughed myself to death that night even after losing to this kid! But you stepped forward and gave this kid the 6 and you guys played for hours and broke even. This was the same year that you and Cole had a big run at the crap table with thousands on the table and a cocktail waitress bumped into you and you crapped out with about 5k on the pass line and numbers and needless to say you were pissed. I had a front row seat, I was across the crap table from you and Cole that night. I was only 19 at the time
and the last time pretty much I played competively. No doubt there was some characters there in 72 in the golden years of pool.Just thought you might want to be reminded of one of the funniest moments in time for me and everytime Grady Mathews crosses my mind I think of him laughing at that fat kid, life was good!
Keith, matter of fact I do remember that time, however, I don't recall the name of the fat kid that we played. An obnoxious type, but an exciting time. I also remember the cocktail waitress bumping into me...7 OUT...

Great hearing from you, stop back more often.

Dr. Bill
 

wincardona

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This is the guy that won the 9 ball tourney in Johnson City. :)
He and I played a few times in our younger days. I also played his brother Tommy a few times.
Rodney.
P.S. Back to the thread. I fondly remember Fat, U.J.,Marcel Camp, Earl Shriver, R.A., Slim Burris, Joe Cosgrove and Larry Woods as being bigger than life. I knew many who were great but said little, Don Watson, Bill Lawson, Bananas and Eddie Taylor.
Eddie was a hoot when he was drinking. We were in a black pool room and I looked at his table, He'd laid his stick down and was dancing the soft shoe with a couple of the black players.
That's funny that you mentioned Eddie Taylor doing the "soft shoe" I have often heard from players that knew Eddie well that he was a good dancer...especially if he'd had one too many. :lol Also, your description of the above players is right on, that's the way I remember them as well.

Dr. Bill
 

wincardona

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By the way, I forgot to mention one of the all time greatest characters pool has ever seen...CORNBREAD... he fits nicely with Ronny and Keith as pools most colorful characters. I did although revise my original opener to the thread and added him with Ronny and Keith.

It's always a pleasure to me to take a stroll down memory lane, and I would like to thank everyone that has helped keep this thread alive (especially at this time) to help put things in perspective.

Dr. Bill
 

wincardona

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There's no doubt in my mind about it. Pool will never be the same since the advent of digital technology. Back in the day, road players walked into a room cold, not knowing who was who, and sometimes the hustler got hustled playing on foreign equipment, often using a house cue to conceal their identity. :D

Today it takes hours to match up with spots, equipment, rules, et cetera. You didn't see this extensive back-and-forth before an action match previously. Players stepped up to the plate and gave it their all, hoping to come out on top. Some of today's young gamblers are looking for somebody to drop their wallet. They don't want to gamble; they're hoping to match up right, wanting the proverbial "lock."

I'm sorry, but watching these challenge matches with robotic emotionless play is boring to me, and I love pool. Pool does need a personality a la Minnesota Fats. It's missing. I mean, when I'm not working, I sure as hell don't feel like watching robots play mum pool for 6, 7, and 8 hours on my computer monitor. No, thank you.

Today's pool world is quite different. It's become more of a tournament soldier arena, but even that, at least in America, is plagued with problems due to lack of sponsorship, a pro tour, BCA's disdain for professional pool, the American pool culture's lack of respect for professional-caliber players, et cetera, et cetera.

I also believe, much more today than previously, sad to say, there is a discrimination in pool when it comes to women. They are not given any respect when it comes to professional play, and in some circles, women are regarded as pieces of meat. "Come to Philippines to pick and choose which lady you'd like to lay down with," as an example, seems to be the sentiment of how women are regarded by some men in the pool world. This lack of respect for women is rampant, even on pool forums.

There was a comaraderie among the players during the golden years, to include a respect for the legends of the game. When an Accu-Stats camera man passed away and a well-known pool tournament director from Arizona passed away -- [may both rest in peace] -- it immediately became front-page news on the AzBilliards website.

The greatest American one-pocket player of all times, Ronnie Allen, has passed away, and there's not one mention of him at the time of this writing on that very same front page. It is quite disappointing to me as an avid pool enthusiast, but maybe it's also very telling of what direction pool is going in. The BCA doesn't care about professional players, much less people like Ronnie. I guess the pool media doesn't, either. :(

Thanks for the memories, Mr. Incardona. There's one thing about it. No matter what happens from here, that's one thing that they can't take away from us. We were so lucky to have witnessed pool when it shined so brightly in those golden years. :)
Jenny, you have always been one of my favorite posters, to me you always make very valid points along with your vivid recollection of how things were...back when...:) So glad when you join us here at One pocket.org. Stay healthy, and tell Keith I said hello. Haven't spoken to him in a while, I hear he's getting fat :eek: Love you guys.

Bill Incardona
 

Don Smith

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What about the 1920s, 30s, 40s, and 50s? Were they not also pool's heyday?
 

KindlyOleUncleDave

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Golden ....

Golden ....

Whenever ....

Spend an hour or two in these pages: http://www.chicagobilliardmuseum.org/home.html

I can recall once doing some research and seeing a newspaper article (from the 1880's or so) mentioning a match to 3,000 points in France (I think) between Vignaud and someone for a purse of 20,000 pounds ....

Pretty golden ....




Oh ....RA ... please save me a balcony seat.
 

Fatboy

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By the way, I forgot to mention one of the all time greatest characters pool has ever seen...CORNBREAD... he fits nicely with Ronny and Keith as pools most colorful characters. I did although revise my original opener to the thread and added him with Ronny and Keith.

It's always a pleasure to me to take a stroll down memory lane, and I would like to thank everyone that has helped keep this thread alive (especially at this time) to help put things in perspective.

Dr. Bill

i met Cornbread in the elevator in 93 at Gradys reno tourney right after he beat Cotton, man did i miss out on the good years, got lucky there to catch a glimse. thanks Dr. Bill:)
 

JAM

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Jenny, you have always been one of my favorite posters, to me you always make very valid points along with your vivid recollection of how things were...back when...:) So glad when you join us here at One pocket.org. Stay healthy, and tell Keith I said hello. Haven't spoken to him in a while, I hear he's getting fat :eek: Love you guys.

Bill Incardona
You are so sweet. Thank you for the very kind words. :)

Here's a cute photo of Cornbread to add to this thread. I like adding photos to threads to create a pool archival record, so to speak. When I'm dead and gone, at least there will be some data cached on the Internet for future generations of pool enthusiasts.

Unfortunately, for players in Keith and Cornbread's era, there's not much by way of video, photographs, or print media, like there is today since the advent of the Internet and digital technology.

This photo was taken at Derby City Classic in 2003, I believe. He was gracious enough to pose for me several times, to include the photo in his Wiki article ---> Cornbread Red's Wiki Article.

BTW, just a little pool smut, I hear somebody -- AGAIN -- dropped 70 clams, this time, in New Orleans a few days ago. Looks like they're trying to re-create the action from the golden years in New Orleans in the year 2013. If I lived near that place, I'd be hanging out there, hoping to get me some.
 

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Island Drive

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Here's a cute photo of Cornbread to add to this thread. I like adding photos to threads to create a pool archival record, so to speak. When I'm dead and gone, at least there will be some data cached on the Internet for future generations of pool enthusiasts.

Unfortunately, for players in Keith and Cornbread's era, there's not much by way of video, photographs, or print media, like there is today since the advent of the Internet and digital technology.

Your right, but what is good, some of the hustle and ways of the depression era players have bled thru to some of the still living and this is interesting, as the US seems to have been the Original Phillipines pool room of the planet. A great story is just as good as video, and think of all the stories players from the 1890's could tell? Yeah I'd also put Cornbread with Ronnie but CB removed the southern Buddy Hall type hospitality before the beat .
 

bstroud

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We all miss the well known players that we knew that are mentioned again and again. But what about the supporting players we all knew.

Who could ever forget Savanna Red running out the front door of the Cotton Palace with his wife chasing him wearing one high heel and beating him over the head with the other.

Who could ever forget Crabtree? Omaha? Cueball? Titanic?

There were hundreds of lesser player of that era that built a foundation for all the champion players.

I miss them all.

Bill S.
 

Alfie Taylor

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Ross keith...

Ross keith...

Speaking of golden years Bill, here is a moment in time in 1972 at the Stardust that you probably forgotten about. I (squirrel)had just played a big fat kid a session of 9 ball and had spotted this kid the 8 and break for 200 a session. He was a loud mouth kid and most of you guys like yourself, Billy Johnson, Cole Dickson , Grady mathews and so on, wanted me (i suspect) to beat this kid and shut him up, but i couldn't overcome his break and lost to him as most of the players in the room watched! After the match this kids chest was bigger than king kong and as yourself and Grady Mathews harrased him a short while , he made the statement that he would take the seven spot from anybody and you stepped forward and said you got the seven. The fat kid ate crow and said I'll take the 6 from anybody causing Grady Mathews to bust into a laughter that probably only me and you know of today. I laughed myself to death that night even after losing to this kid! But you stepped forward and gave this kid the 6 and you guys played for hours and broke even. This was the same year that you and Cole had a big run at the crap table with thousands on the table and a cocktail waitress bumped into you and you crapped out with about 5k on the pass line and numbers and needless to say you were pissed. I had a front row seat, I was across the crap table from you and Cole that night. I was only 19 at the time
and the last time pretty much I played competively. No doubt there was some characters there in 72 in the golden years of pool.Just thought you might want to be reminded of one of the funniest moments in time for me and everytime Grady Mathews crosses my mind I think of him laughing at that fat kid, life was good!
my little brother of the past. Although your stay in the pool scene was brief, you opting for a more secure life in the working world (smart move), you were certainly a splash of color who should be recognized. You were fierce at the table. I know. I watched you, first hand, knock players off right and left. You beat Irving Crane in Johnston City, using a house cue, then went on to become the youngest major tournament winner ever. I loved seeing the picture of you standing next to the Janscos, in the winning circle, wearing a tank top. Then, you and I, and my brother Bobby (your best friend) were part of a terrible, bloody night in Atlanta. I never knew if that influenced you away from the game. You are definately an important part of pool's colorful history.
Now, get your ass off the couch and shoot some more pool.
Keep in the loop. Alfie
 

Island Drive

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Good post Bill, "The Golden Years" will always take you to a place that's comfortable, and stress free. It's times like this ....with Ronny and all....that gets ya thinkin about the good times, which will always be a good stop.:)
Dr. Bill
Yeppers !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!:p
 

petie

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Imo. pools golden years started in the late 60's ...1967-68-69, and went through the 70's decade. During that time we had pools most colorful characters, characters that became legendary for their entertainment value which they brought to everyone through their charisma and charm. If you will I would like to rate some of these people from what I remember of them, of course i'm probably going to leave some people/players out, however, anyone can bring up names of their favorite characters.

The absolute elite character of all characters is the great "Minnesota Fats" Fat's Imo. stands alone on the top tier of the worlds greatest pool characters.

The next tier would be Imo. Ronnie Allen, Keith McCreedy and of course " CORNBREAD" all three of these players always drew the largest crowds whenever they performed, both on and off the table. Of course it didn't hurt that they were all upper echelon players as well.

The next tier is a little more crowded with player/ characters the likes of "Freddie the Beard" "Jersey Red" Johnny "The Foghorn" Ervolino "U.J. Puckett" "Omaha Fats" "Ernest Nubby Morgan" Peter Lindhart rabbit" Please excuse the misspelling of some of the players mentioned, but none the less, these guys were a large part of "Pools Golden Years" the way I remembered them.

Action was fast and plentiful, players were many, entertainment was non stop, life was good.:):) Pools Golden Years.

Dr. Bill
These were certainly the golden years for us, Billy. I think it has more to do with our age than any objective measure. After all, Fats' career began in the 1920's. There were many characters all along the way. Cowboy Jimmie Moore, Baby Face Whitlow, the great Willie Mosconi, Eddy Taylor on and on. Some of these guys lived in more than one generation bracket. I think the thing that got you and me into the game and many others was "The Hustler." I know it did me. Back then, old timers talked about the golden age of pool when Greenleaf traveled the vaudeville circuit.
 

wincardona

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It's always nice for us old timers to reminisce, yes it brings back the good memories of what it was like back in the good days, especially in comparison to today. Say what you want but I wouldn't trade one day back then for a month of today's day's, we had the nuts back then, didn't we?

Dr. Bill
 

jrhendy

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It's always nice for us old timers to reminisce, yes it brings back the good memories of what it was like back in the good days, especially in comparison to today. Say what you want but I wouldn't trade one day back then for a month of today's day's, we had the nuts back then, didn't we?

Dr. Bill
It was so easy to make a little $$ back then I think we took it for granted it would go on forever.

I turned 21 in 1960 and that was the year Richie Florence busted me and I got a job. I worked, but still played quite a bit of pool. It seemed every player in the country came through California in the 60's and I played every one I could. I was never a great player but played all games well enough to go off to the good road players.:D That $$ came from playing the locals. The $$ you lost usually stayed in the pool room and you could win it back the next day or a few days later. There were at least 20 rooms with some kind of action within a 30 minute drive of my home room.

Then of course there was the bar table action. Most bars had its own champion that a player who grew up in a pool room could rob. Tables lined up with quarters to play anywhere from funsy's to $50 a game, but usually $5/10 a game. It finally got to a point where you needed some muscle for the bigger action all night joints, but they were full of good players and I was not a bar table specialist and could not beat the good players, but I went to those joints anyway to be around the action.

I looked younger than I was and had been gambling at pool since I was 14, so I would sometimes get steered to a spot and staked to play someone we had a line on. In 1963 I had two young sons and we bought our first house with a down payment I won with my end of a bar spot in Riverside, CA.

My downfall was my pride and I loved to play the champions. Lost to Grady 8/6 and St. Louie Louie getting the 8 in my home room, but I was always testing myself and it never slowed down my love for pool and action.

Those days are fond memories now. I drive almost 50 miles to Hard Times in Sacramento a couple times a week to find a little action. It is nothing like it used to be, but it still keeps the blood pumping.

I test my memory sometimes by going through tournament rosters and counting the names of the players I have played, when and where. I went through Freddy The Beard's Beat List and there are plenty.

Hope I am not done yet!:D
 

keoneyo

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One name I'd add to the list is Bill "Weenie Beenie" Staton. Who deserves a whole category himself. He showed that you could be a gentleman and live by your word and play for high stakes. Since he was on the east coast I only heard stories of him but I did run across him in the later years in Vegas. Always in the middle of big action and willing to help out broke pool players.

I came out in '65 still in my teens. I got a job at Jerrys pool hall in Pasadena while I was going to Acting school. I cleaned up the joint after 2AM closing and slept there till school started.
I caught the bus to Hollywood when I could and there was Ye Billiard Den I met Freddy there with his crew. He was one of the friendlies. But there was a lot of thieves and con men. Lenny Moore was playing $50 9 ball and Cuban Joe was betting high.

One of the first nights I walked in from the bus stop Diliberto was punching out Crazy Bruce who stiffed him for a $100. Pancho had made a big score off Phil Spector. I heard $20K with Ronnie Allen. Cripple Shorty was there and Black Rudy who got dumped for 5 figures from the Iceman. Rudy introduced me to a young Ed Kelley. I first met Brooklyn Butch there and we remain good friends today. I think Im the only guy that stepped in between a guy Butch went after. He was hard as nails.
It was a great time. I saw Bernie Schwartz, Richie Ambrose, Gene the Machine, Dalton Leong (road partner to Earl), Marvin Henderson, Hawaiian Brian, Hippy Jimmy and Barbara (Jack Cooneys wife), Cole Dickson, Cecil the Serpent, etc etc.
Youre right Dr Bill. Those were great days. Its too bad we didnt have AccuStats then.

Of course it was 50 years ago and my memory isnt so good these days and we didnt have the internet so everything was by word of mouth and who knows how distorted it all got by the time it got to little old me.

PS I saw you, Diliberto, and Larry Liscotti (the Prince of Pool) at the Stardust and I wanted to be like you guys.
 

wincardona

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It was so easy to make a little $$ back then I think we took it for granted it would go on forever.

I turned 21 in 1960 and that was the year Richie Florence busted me and I got a job. I worked, but still played quite a bit of pool. It seemed every player in the country came through California in the 60's and I played every one I could. I was never a great player but played all games well enough to go off to the good road players.:D That $$ came from playing the locals. The $$ you lost usually stayed in the pool room and you could win it back the next day or a few days later. There were at least 20 rooms with some kind of action within a 30 minute drive of my home room.

Then of course there was the bar table action. Most bars had its own champion that a player who grew up in a pool room could rob. Tables lined up with quarters to play anywhere from funsy's to $50 a game, but usually $5/10 a game. It finally got to a point where you needed some muscle for the bigger action all night joints, but they were full of good players and I was not a bar table specialist and could not beat the good players, but I went to those joints anyway to be around the action.

I looked younger than I was and had been gambling at pool since I was 14, so I would sometimes get steered to a spot and staked to play someone we had a line on. In 1963 I had two young sons and we bought our first house with a down payment I won with my end of a bar spot in Riverside, CA.

My downfall was my pride and I loved to play the champions. Lost to Grady 8/6 and St. Louie Louie getting the 8 in my home room, but I was always testing myself and it never slowed down my love for pool and action.

Those days are fond memories now. I drive almost 50 miles to Hard Times in Sacramento a couple times a week to find a little action. It is nothing like it used to be, but it still keeps the blood pumping.

I test my memory sometimes by going through tournament rosters and counting the names of the players I have played, when and where. I went through Freddy The Beard's Beat List and there are plenty.

Hope I am not done yet!:D
You're a warrior and a true competitor, not many left like you John. I admire you for your willingness to play and your stamina, you just keep on keeping on. It's been a pleasure knowing you and watching you as you relentlessly pursue what keeps you going..playing action pool.;) What a life, hope you keep it going forever.


Dr. Bill
 
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