Ronnie Allen Article

jrhendy

Verified Member
Joined
May 24, 2004
Messages
4,799
When Ronnie passed, I asked San Jose Dick to write something I could put in Cue Sports Journal, a hard copy publication I was putting out in the 90’s. Here it is.


I would like to share a few my experiences, of over fifty years, with
someone who needs no introduction. Anyone whose ever been in a pool
room, or around high dollar gambling at pool will know the name... the
late, Ronnie "Fast Eddie" Allen.

I am not, by any stretch, a George Fel's, or Walter Tevis,or any other
'pool author' for that matter, but they could never do enough
research, to know the personal side of him, as I got to know it.. So,
as I was unable to attend his funeral, I'm going to give it my best
shot..Maybe call it a sort of belated eulogy to my old friend.

If you are looking for information re; his birthplace, wedding date,
children's birthday's, tournament victories, etc...I suggest you
Google him, Its all there, and in much more accurate detail, than I
could ever recall, even though I know (or knew) most of it, at one
time or another. If you need to know what was the most money he ever
played for, or won or lost..It gets a little tougher..He's in a place
now, where he can throw out any number he wants to..(which he did all
his life anyway)

What I would like to share most with you all, is what really made
Ronnie tick,(IMO) and to examine what this unique individual brought
to my life, and thousands of others..He is without a doubt, the most
unforgettable character I've ever met. He is the 'poster boy' for
people who, you just knew...whatever path he chose in his life, he
would have been really damn good at it !..

Ronnie (or RA as most of us called him) could have made a fortune. as
a high level salesman, I can see him moving big ticket item's, like
hi-dollar homes, yachts, exotic car's, or anything else for that
matter. Or, how about a 'politician' ?..Boggles the mind, doesn't it
?...Ronnie could have reversed that old saying..He could have sold "an
Eskimo, to a Refigerator" !

He could think just as fast on his feet or had the "gift of gab" that
W.C. Fields, or Johnny Carson might well have envied... Had he
cultivated his business acumen, He could have probably bested Donald
Trump, in any big deal..He wasn't too shabby at disecting 'racing
forms' either.

But RA chose to be a "pool hustler" in every sense of the word, or
maybe it chose him...who knows, ? He was 'Action Driven' and he became
so successful at it, at such an early age, I guess that was all he
ever wanted to be,..except for maybe owning a few racehorse's, a
racetrack,..or a Golf course !...I think he could have easily handled
those demanding endeavor's, but having chose the life he did, there
would never be enough money, to get him even a start in that
direction, no matter how good he played... By the time he reached
middle age, I'm quite sure he realized, those dreams had slipped away.

Having reached an age, where I've forgotten, way more than I can
remember, most of my time spent with him, was pretty easy to
recall...The "war stories" I was involved with Ronnie, would fill a
book, which I would like to write someday...But for this effort, I'll
be keeping it kind of low key.

Like the time we went drinking, (with a few other scuff's) in the
North Beach area of San Francisco. We were taking a break and were
mostly checking out the strip joints..But you could not go anywhere
there was a pool table, that RA would not try to stir something
up...Sure enough, he captured a live one, with his patented 'come-on,
and the guy hustled HIM, to play a game of 8 ball, for a $50 ('60's$$)
...We were sweating it, and it was obvious the guy was a drunk
beginner !..RA was nursing him along just right..'til it came time to
make the 8 ball..RA easily knocked it in, got a freak, 8" roll-off,
and scratched.. He muttered, (under his breath)..."Dumb f-ing
Okie"...threw a C-note on the table, and reached for a quarter to rack
for another game..The place was packed..The 'sucker' says "thats all I
got myself, is 100's but my girl has some change". The guy wanders
off, Ronnie is watching him like a hawk, when a big bouncer, walks up,
and turns off the light and says, "No gambling in here"
Ronnie goes into his pleading act with the bouncer, to no avail, worse
yet, he loses sight of the guy, who disappeared never to return with
his change !

It was kinda funny, but RA was really pissed..He spent the ride back
to Cochran's, trying to convince us, we should all share in his
loss..(no luck there either)..It was a rare occurance that, that
'sucker' was able to outmove the king of the 'mover's.

It was usually much more enjoyable, in a crowded pool room, especially
if you happened to be in with Ronnie. It was fun to watch him 'work
the room'...Here is an excerpt from Alf Taylor's great pool book, "The
Other Side of the Road"...Alfie has been around the block, and here is
how he described his first glimpse of Ronnie, at Johnston City, years
ago...

"His aggressive style of play, his uncanny knowledge of the game of
One Pocket, and his precision control in tight spots around the stack
made him a threat to run out anytime he got to the table...Ronnie had
a charismatic way of controlling his game, his opponent's game, his
backer, his opponent's backer, and the audience. He looked good,
talked fast and right in people's faces, and he backed it up with his
awesome play. I WANTED TO BE HIM."

Ronnie taught me the game of one pocket. (trial by fire..crash
courses, and often costly)..We played hundreds of times, in almost as
many different ways !...But there was no teaching his 'people
management skills', or his comedic delivery of them...I really think,
that early on, some of my friends would go in with me, or stake me,
just to get to watch his act...Win or lose, he put on an 'academy
award' performance every time !
Many of his victim's called it "sharking"..but I grew so accustomed to
it, I couldn't make a ball if he WASN'T bouncing around, and
chattering.

Before the internet, and cell phones, I used to steer him around the
bay area.. As I was a 'known criminal' myself, we had to play it kind
of "cloak and dagger" style..I'd send him into an action joint, on his
own, and I would say about 90% of the time,If he didn't get
knocked...he'd get 'em all stirred up, and get the right guy down..I
spent lots of boring hours, drinking in the nearest bar, waiting for
the outcome.

I watched his health deteriorate, at a much faster rate than mine, and
his 'primetime' slipped away quite rapidly..When he was around, we
began to spend more time drinking, and less time playing...But his
attitude never changed...He was always on the alert for action, and
could still put on a hell of a show for the folk's...It's obvious
Ronnie never lived his life, like an "athlete in training"...but, its
still a rotten shame his tired old body gave out on him, WAY before
his love for action did !

In closing, I guess this is the point where I'm supposed to say "RIP
old friend"..But, I know, wherever he is,
'resting in peace' is NOT his style !..He'd want to be doing his
thing, creating action, and matching up ! So lets just say.."Catch
ya' later big guy, it was a real treat knowing you" !

'San Jose Dick' McMorran,
 

lll

Verified Member
Joined
Mar 19, 2007
Messages
15,982
Great read john
thanks for sharing that
R.I.P San Jose Dick Mcmorran and Ronnie “ fast eddie “ Allen
 

Island Drive

Verified Member
Joined
May 1, 2011
Messages
4,461
He was the first man I ever heard ''deflect'' the conversation by calling/blaming and utilizing ''whitey'' as his way of making another think, what happened, was not his intention. He was blaming''what the cue ball did it''. Very creative....it was ''the third person (whitey) in the room'' it was never his fault LOL. thx JH for the memories. As a 19 yr college kid at Janscos, I always thought of em as ''our Jack Nicklaus of pool''.
 
Last edited:

gulfportdoc

Verified Member
Joined
Jun 25, 2004
Messages
10,240
When Ronnie passed, I asked San Jose Dick to write something I could put in Cue Sports Journal, a hard copy publication I was putting out in the 90’s. Here it is.
...
Very nice post, John. I sure enjoyed your CSJ. It was a lot of work when no one else would get into that market. Everyone loved that newspaper, and it was especially valuable before the web took over.

~Doc
 

Henry

Verified Member
Joined
Dec 15, 2005
Messages
131
I knew Ronnie quite well in his later years and he tried to teach me one pocket and would occasionally go in with me when I got in action. I drove him nuts the way I played my shot selection was never right. One time I am giving a guy 9/7 for maybe $100 a game and Ronnie couldn't stand it. He jumps up and says I can't take any more of this I am going to play and so he did. And I saw 5 games of the most beautiful one pocket ever. I saw how one pocket should be played. It took him 2 seconds to figure out what to do. Usually, when he got out of the chair he went right to the table and shot. The day before Ronnie went in for the surgery that he died from he called me and told me about the surgery and said when I get over this I am coming to Chico and we are going to bust that Jason. He was in action right up to the end
 

gulfportdoc

Verified Member
Joined
Jun 25, 2004
Messages
10,240
Henry, I didn't realize that it was a surgery that caused RA's demise. What was the surgery for?
 

wincardona

Verified Member
Joined
Aug 7, 2007
Messages
7,548
When Ronnie passed, I asked San Jose Dick to write something I could put in Cue Sports Journal, a hard copy publication I was putting out in the 90’s. Here it is.


I would like to share a few my experiences, of over fifty years, with
someone who needs no introduction. Anyone whose ever been in a pool
room, or around high dollar gambling at pool will know the name... the
late, Ronnie "Fast Eddie" Allen.

I am not, by any stretch, a George Fel's, or Walter Tevis,or any other
'pool author' for that matter, but they could never do enough
research, to know the personal side of him, as I got to know it.. So,
as I was unable to attend his funeral, I'm going to give it my best
shot..Maybe call it a sort of belated eulogy to my old friend.

If you are looking for information re; his birthplace, wedding date,
children's birthday's, tournament victories, etc...I suggest you
Google him, Its all there, and in much more accurate detail, than I
could ever recall, even though I know (or knew) most of it, at one
time or another. If you need to know what was the most money he ever
played for, or won or lost..It gets a little tougher..He's in a place
now, where he can throw out any number he wants to..(which he did all
his life anyway)

What I would like to share most with you all, is what really made
Ronnie tick,(IMO) and to examine what this unique individual brought
to my life, and thousands of others..He is without a doubt, the most
unforgettable character I've ever met. He is the 'poster boy' for
people who, you just knew...whatever path he chose in his life, he
would have been really damn good at it !..

Ronnie (or RA as most of us called him) could have made a fortune. as
a high level salesman, I can see him moving big ticket item's, like
hi-dollar homes, yachts, exotic car's, or anything else for that
matter. Or, how about a 'politician' ?..Boggles the mind, doesn't it
?...Ronnie could have reversed that old saying..He could have sold "an
Eskimo, to a Refigerator" !

He could think just as fast on his feet or had the "gift of gab" that
W.C. Fields, or Johnny Carson might well have envied... Had he
cultivated his business acumen, He could have probably bested Donald
Trump, in any big deal..He wasn't too shabby at disecting 'racing
forms' either.

But RA chose to be a "pool hustler" in every sense of the word, or
maybe it chose him...who knows, ? He was 'Action Driven' and he became
so successful at it, at such an early age, I guess that was all he
ever wanted to be,..except for maybe owning a few racehorse's, a
racetrack,..or a Golf course !...I think he could have easily handled
those demanding endeavor's, but having chose the life he did, there
would never be enough money, to get him even a start in that
direction, no matter how good he played... By the time he reached
middle age, I'm quite sure he realized, those dreams had slipped away.

Having reached an age, where I've forgotten, way more than I can
remember, most of my time spent with him, was pretty easy to
recall...The "war stories" I was involved with Ronnie, would fill a
book, which I would like to write someday...But for this effort, I'll
be keeping it kind of low key.

Like the time we went drinking, (with a few other scuff's) in the
North Beach area of San Francisco. We were taking a break and were
mostly checking out the strip joints..But you could not go anywhere
there was a pool table, that RA would not try to stir something
up...Sure enough, he captured a live one, with his patented 'come-on,
and the guy hustled HIM, to play a game of 8 ball, for a $50 ('60's$$)
...We were sweating it, and it was obvious the guy was a drunk
beginner !..RA was nursing him along just right..'til it came time to
make the 8 ball..RA easily knocked it in, got a freak, 8" roll-off,
and scratched.. He muttered, (under his breath)..."Dumb f-ing
Okie"...threw a C-note on the table, and reached for a quarter to rack
for another game..The place was packed..The 'sucker' says "thats all I
got myself, is 100's but my girl has some change". The guy wanders
off, Ronnie is watching him like a hawk, when a big bouncer, walks up,
and turns off the light and says, "No gambling in here"
Ronnie goes into his pleading act with the bouncer, to no avail, worse
yet, he loses sight of the guy, who disappeared never to return with
his change !

It was kinda funny, but RA was really pissed..He spent the ride back
to Cochran's, trying to convince us, we should all share in his
loss..(no luck there either)..It was a rare occurance that, that
'sucker' was able to outmove the king of the 'mover's.

It was usually much more enjoyable, in a crowded pool room, especially
if you happened to be in with Ronnie. It was fun to watch him 'work
the room'...Here is an excerpt from Alf Taylor's great pool book, "The
Other Side of the Road"...Alfie has been around the block, and here is
how he described his first glimpse of Ronnie, at Johnston City, years
ago...

"His aggressive style of play, his uncanny knowledge of the game of
One Pocket, and his precision control in tight spots around the stack
made him a threat to run out anytime he got to the table...Ronnie had
a charismatic way of controlling his game, his opponent's game, his
backer, his opponent's backer, and the audience. He looked good,
talked fast and right in people's faces, and he backed it up with his
awesome play. I WANTED TO BE HIM."

Ronnie taught me the game of one pocket. (trial by fire..crash
courses, and often costly)..We played hundreds of times, in almost as
many different ways !...But there was no teaching his 'people
management skills', or his comedic delivery of them...I really think,
that early on, some of my friends would go in with me, or stake me,
just to get to watch his act...Win or lose, he put on an 'academy
award' performance every time !
Many of his victim's called it "sharking"..but I grew so accustomed to
it, I couldn't make a ball if he WASN'T bouncing around, and
chattering.

Before the internet, and cell phones, I used to steer him around the
bay area.. As I was a 'known criminal' myself, we had to play it kind
of "cloak and dagger" style..I'd send him into an action joint, on his
own, and I would say about 90% of the time,If he didn't get
knocked...he'd get 'em all stirred up, and get the right guy down..I
spent lots of boring hours, drinking in the nearest bar, waiting for
the outcome.

I watched his health deteriorate, at a much faster rate than mine, and
his 'primetime' slipped away quite rapidly..When he was around, we
began to spend more time drinking, and less time playing...But his
attitude never changed...He was always on the alert for action, and
could still put on a hell of a show for the folk's...It's obvious
Ronnie never lived his life, like an "athlete in training"...but, its
still a rotten shame his tired old body gave out on him, WAY before
his love for action did !

In closing, I guess this is the point where I'm supposed to say "RIP
old friend"..But, I know, wherever he is,
'resting in peace' is NOT his style !..He'd want to be doing his
thing, creating action, and matching up ! So lets just say.."Catch
ya' later big guy, it was a real treat knowing you" !

'San Jose Dick' McMorran,
Thank you, John. I can't begin to tell you how many times and how many great experiences I had with Ronnie. The year was 1950 back in the day Ronnie came to Pittsburgh to play in a tournament at the Hawks Nest. The pool room that Bernie Schwartz owned. What a crazy time that turned out to be. The Italian mob took a liking to Ronnie they were mesmerized by his antics and even staked him playing Gin Rummy for high stakes. Ronnie a below-average Gin Rummy player conned the mob into believing he was a champion and watching him play was hysterical. Whenever he would pick a card that Ginned his hand he would put it in his hand with his elbow and smile with a grin and holler "That's Gin Catfish" Needless to say, Ronnie didn't fare well playing Gin for the mob, but hell, they loved him anyway, unbelievable. Anyone else would have had a severe problem, but Ronnie was well, just Ronnie doing what Ronnie does.

I have had so many memorable moments with Ronnie that will remain with me until I'm gone, they were all great, and I cherish them immensely.

Thanks, John. I'm sure you had many beautiful moments with him as well. He brightened both our lives.

Dr. Bill
 

baby huey

Verified Member
Joined
Oct 29, 2008
Messages
1,566
Ronnie was a one of a kind character along the lines of Fats. He just manhandled players either by making them dog it or setting the best traps and taking the cash down. One experience i had with him was when he made a game with me and I had no money. Not only did he get a stakehorse for himself but he got one for me too. I lost.........
 
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