Saturday, April 19, 2014

Very Tricky

I used to be in the pool-playing business several years ago, and have hosted trick-shot exhibitions from Mike Massey and Eddie Parker.  Parker was a money player in the 1950's, and was the basis for Walter S. Tevis' character Fast Eddie Felson (an alias that Parker sometimes used) for the great 1961 movie The Hustler.

My dear old friend Fish Camp Barbie sent this to me, and asked if I'd consider playing this guy for money.  Florian Kohler:

I told her, "Sure.  He scratches about every 2nd or 3rd shot.  Give me ball-in-hand that often, and I can beat anyone.  Note: I had trouble concentrating on the pool shots after about the 1:20 mark of the video.

Eddie Parker's exhibition was in 1999, I believe.  After his show, I asked him if there was anything I could do for him.  Could I buy him a drink, at least?  He said that if I knew a place, he'd really like a piece of pie...a good cup of coffee and a piece of apple pie.  I did, in fact, know a place.  And away we went.

While he savored his apple pie, I asked him about playing pool for money and the making of the movie that made him famous.  He said that the most he ever played for, in one game, was $20,000 (I've seen him quoted elsewhere that the most was 30,000.  It's hard to believe that he got the 30K game after the day I met him, as he was in his 60's already.  Maybe he was just fuzzy on the number; really good apple pie can do that to some folks).

He isn't credited for an advisory role in the movie, but he claimed to have been there, in that capacity.  I asked him if he played pool on the set with Willie Mosconi, and he said they all did...Eddie, Willie, Jackie Gleason, and Paul Newman.  "And the best of them?"

"Hands down...Jackie Gleason."

True story.

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