Romy’s, 4th & Main, Los Angeles

jrhendy

Verified Member
Joined
May 24, 2004
Messages
5,542
From
Placerville, CA
I started going down to the pool rooms in LA as soon as I started driving around 1958. I only played snooker then, and there were plenty of old guys who would bust you a at $2/3 a game. Over the years the neighborhood changed, and by the 70’s, it was pretty much a Mexican pool room with a lot of action. I played Don Willis there in 1965, but that’s another story.

By the late 70’s, I had pretty much quit going down there. I had an insurance agency in Alhambra, right outside LA, and a friend owned The Golden Cue, a few miles down the road, and the players came to me. None of the players that knew me from Romy’s would play one pocket, so it was 9 ball or golf.

One day one of the sweaters/backers who came around, told me he would steer me into some one pocket games for 30%. I agreed, we set it up, and I beat 2/3 guys out of a few hundred. We went back to the Golden Cue to whack it up, and he told me he should get a little more jelly for the last guy we beat. I asked him why and he told me ‘The last guy was my brother’. True or not, he got a little extra.
 

mr3cushion

Verified Member
Joined
Sep 17, 2008
Messages
7,617
From
Cocoa Beach, FL
On the 3C side at 4th & Main in 70/71 defiantly 98% Hispanic players. I played about 4 or 5 players, the 2 notables were, Ernesto Dominguez and Ismael 'Morro' Paez. Another 2 guys named Henry and Jose Villalobos ?, whom I met again at North Hollywood in the late 80's.

Corrected.
 
Last edited:

12squared

Verified Member
Joined
Mar 14, 2005
Messages
3,472
From
Fort Collins, CO
On the 3C side at 4th & Main in 70/71 defiantly 98% Hispanic players. I played about 4 or 5 players, the 2 notables were, Oscar Dominguez and Ismael 'Morro' Paez. Another 2 guys named Henry and Jose Vilalobos ?, whom I met again at North Hollywood in the late 80's.
Must have been Ernesto, not sure Oscar was born yet.
 
  • Like
Reactions: lll

baby huey

Verified Member
Joined
Oct 29, 2008
Messages
1,778
That's my room. I learned to play at 4th and Main the "Brunswick Billiard Academy." In the 60's I traveled between four or five rooms daily looking for action. I always ended up at the Academy because something was always going on like a golf game or some one pocket action and the boys there liked to drink late at night and would gamble it up and take the worst of it. The walk in traffic was great. As a kid I made some really nice scores playing 8/9 ball starting for a $1 a game. I once won about $600 starting that cheap. I went out and filled up my chevy with Custom Supreme 101 Octane for 21cents/gallon. Now it's $639/gallon. I even got free water glasses with the fill up. LOL LOL LOL
 

jrhendy

Verified Member
Joined
May 24, 2004
Messages
5,542
From
Placerville, CA
That's my room. I learned to play at 4th and Main the "Brunswick Billiard Academy." In the 60's I traveled between four or five rooms daily looking for action. I always ended up at the Academy because something was always going on like a golf game or some one pocket action and the boys there liked to drink late at night and would gamble it up and take the worst of it. The walk in traffic was great. As a kid I made some really nice scores playing 8/9 ball starting for a $1 a game. I once won about $600 starting that cheap. I went out and filled up my chevy with Custom Supreme 101 Octane for 21cents/gallon. Now it's $639/gallon. I even got free water glasses with the fill up. LOL LOL LOL

I wish you were there in 65 when I played Willis. I would have turned him over to you lol. I would go there after night class at East LA Jr. College. I had a College sweatshirt I used to go to the bars in.
 
  • Like
Reactions: lll

Hard Times Carla

Verified Member
Joined
Jul 4, 2005
Messages
196
John: I want to hear about your match with Don Willis! I saw him shoot wing shots at an exhibition somewhere in Ohio in the early 70's, and he was amazing to watch. Throw the ball up toward the center of the table and fire it in! Like shooting skeet. I never actually saw him play a game, but according to legend, he beat everyone.
 

jrhendy

Verified Member
Joined
May 24, 2004
Messages
5,542
From
Placerville, CA
John: I want to hear about your match with Don Willis! I saw him shoot wing shots at an exhibition somewhere in Ohio in the early 70's, and he was amazing to watch. Throw the ball up toward the center of the table and fire it in! Like shooting skeet. I never actually saw him play a game, but according to legend, he beat everyone.

Carla, I was taking some night classes at East LA College and would hit a room or two before I went home. Dean Chance, a pitcher for the Angels, was at 4th & Main with an old guy who was barking at everyone, guzzling beer and making a lot of noise. Dean introduced himself to me, and told me he was in town for the World Series with the Dodgers/Twins, where he was going to to receive the Cy Young Award.

The old guy kept on barking and Dean asked me if I could play. I said no, I was a college student and at the pool room to study The Diamond System for three cushion. I thought I was hustling them. He told me the old guy owned a couple farms in Wooster, Ohio, and was an old family friend he brought out for the World Series. He suggested I play him, win a little money and shut him up.

We played some nine ball for $20 a game and it did not take him long to beat me out of my $100. He never ran out, and gave me the fisheye a couple times when I did, but he made combo’s and ran the last few balls after getting what appeared to be lucky safeties when he missed. I quit and heard Dean say they were going to go to Hollywood Billiards, that was not too far away.

I went over there myself to find out who this guy was. When they got there, nobody wanted anything to do with him. When they left, I asked one of the sweators I knew who the guy was. He said ‘ That guy is the best player the other side of the Mississippi. The only reason he’s not the best on this side, is he never comes out here. That was Don Willis’.
 

mr3cushion

Verified Member
Joined
Sep 17, 2008
Messages
7,617
From
Cocoa Beach, FL
Carla, I was taking some night classes at East LA College and would hit a room or two before I went home. Dean Chance, a pitcher for the Angels, was at 4th & Main with an old guy who was barking at everyone, guzzling beer and making a lot of noise. Dean introduced himself to me, and told me he was in town for the World Series with the Dodgers/Twins, where he was going to to receive the Cy Young Award.

The old guy kept on barking and Dean asked me if I could play. I said no, I was a college student and at the pool room to study The Diamond System for three cushion. I thought I was hustling them. He told me the old guy owned a couple farms in Wooster, Ohio, and was an old family friend he brought out for the World Series. He suggested I play him, win a little money and shut him up.

We played some nine ball for $20 a game and it did not take him long to beat me out of my $100. He never ran out, and gave me the fisheye a couple times when I did, but he made combo’s and ran the last few balls after getting what appeared to be lucky safeties when he missed. I quit and heard Dean say they were going to go to Hollywood Billiards, that was not too far away.

I went over there myself to find out who this guy was. When they got there, nobody wanted anything to do with him. When they left, I asked one of the sweators I knew who the guy was. He said ‘ That guy is the best player the other side of the Mississippi. The only reason he’s not the best on this side, is he never comes out here. That was Don Willis’.
Speaking about, Dean Chance. I wasn't there at the time but, from Freddy's book. Dean chance, Bo Belinski and Mamie Van Doren came down to Bensingers in the mid 60's. Bo and Dean were in town to Play the White Sox that week. They came in barking, "Who wants to play some $10 nine ball?" The Best player in the joint at that time was, Isador 'Pony' Rosen. Now Pony was his Best playing for $3 a game, his limit was $5!

Bo took a thumping, losing 24 games, Pony never raised the bet! The side-betters took most the meat off the bone.
 

jrhendy

Verified Member
Joined
May 24, 2004
Messages
5,542
From
Placerville, CA
Speaking about, Dean Chance. I wasn't there at the time but, from Freddy's book. Dean chance, Bo Belinski and Mamie Van Doren came down to Bensingers in the mid 60's. Bo and Dean were in town to Play the White Sox that week. They came in barking, "Who wants to play some $10 nine ball?" The Best player in the joint at that time was, Isador 'Pony' Rosen. Now Pony was his Best playing for $3 a game, his limit was $5!

Bo took a thumping, losing 24 games, Pony never raised the bet! The side-betters took most the meat off the bone.

Dean acted like a big dumb hick, but he wasn’t. He mentioned Bo often and how great he played.

I wish he would have brought Bo instead of Willis.
 

gulfportdoc

Verified Member
Joined
Jun 25, 2004
Messages
12,093
From
Gulfport, Mississippi
...
I went over there myself to find out who this guy was. When they got there, nobody wanted anything to do with him. When they left, I asked one of the sweators I knew who the guy was. He said ‘ That guy is the best player the other side of the Mississippi. The only reason he’s not the best on this side, is he never comes out here. That was Don Willis’.
Great story! I know Willis went on the road with Wimpy for many years. What a duo! Willis may have been the best 9ball player of that era.
 

Frank Almanza

Verified Member
Joined
Aug 31, 2005
Messages
2,562
From
Upland, California
My story about the first time I went to Romy’s.
It was in 1960. I had a good friend that was a student at Molars barber college just a block from this pool room. I told him that I would come to have lunch with him that day and I would be at Romy’s.
Well when he took his lunch break he came to the pool room to meet me for lunch but I was in action so he just stayed there to watch. He left and went back to the school.
He returned after finishing school for that day
My game was over by that time with me winning several hundred. Somehow my friend Tom (RIP) talked me into going to the barber college that was just a two minute walk away to enroll. Well I did and that’s how I contribute my nickname “The barber” to Romy’s.
 

baby huey

Verified Member
Joined
Oct 29, 2008
Messages
1,778
Dean Chance and Bo Belinsky were regulars in the pool scene in the LA area when Dean pitched for the Angels. Bo in particular could catch the most beautiful women. I saw something recently about him in Vegas in some kind of car dealership I think. Still handsome in his early 80's was Bo.
 

mr3cushion

Verified Member
Joined
Sep 17, 2008
Messages
7,617
From
Cocoa Beach, FL
Dean Chance and Bo Belinsky were regulars in the pool scene in the LA area when Dean pitched for the Angels. Bo in particular could catch the most beautiful women. I saw something recently about him in Vegas in some kind of car dealership I think. Still handsome in his early 80's was Bo.
Bo died around 2000. If alive He'd be around 89.
 

Mary Kenniston

Verified Member
Joined
Jun 24, 2011
Messages
78
Bo started coming into Cue-Topia after he moved to Vegas in 1990. Once in a while he'd have Dean Chance with him. I have a signed photo of him & Mamie Van Doren around here somewhere. He was a great guy & had plenty of pool stories.

In the link below, the article talks about how he got started playing pool in Joe Russo's room in Trenton...

 

baby huey

Verified Member
Joined
Oct 29, 2008
Messages
1,778
This thread covers all kinds of stories of yesteryear LA. We don't see too many "Stars" around the pool world lately except for maybe a little from Joe Rogin. But a few years (20 years ago) back Keifer Sutherland was staking someone at Hard Times LA for 5K. I remember seeing him in the bleachers and thinking wow how'd this happen.
 
Top