Most of us think of bowling as a "sport" in quotation marks, and bowling alleys are places with disco balls, matching shirts, and funny shoes. But in the 1960s, New York City was the center of "action bowling," a form of high-stakes gambling in which bowlers--often teenagers--faced off for thousands of dollars every night.Read more...
Most of us think of bowling as a "sport" in quotation marks, and bowling alleys are places with disco balls, matching shirts, and funny shoes. But in the 1960s, New York City was the center of "action bowling," a form of high-stakes gambling in which bowlers--often teenagers--faced off for thousands of dollars every night. When money like that is changing hands, you can bet the pressure is on (and the balls are rigged), and losses come with dire consequences. But for a few kids, the world of action bowling would turn out to be a ticket off the mean streets and onto the Professional Bowlers Association Tour. For Ernie Schlegel, it would be a chance to shed his hustler ways and become a bonafide champion.
For the more than 100 million bowlers worldwide and for fans of timeless sports histories, Pin Action captures the underbelly of 1960s and '70s New York and tells the true story of how the most notorious action bowler of all time became a Hall of Famer. Set in the gritty, flashy, lost world of action bowling, Gianmarc Manzione tells an epic tale filled with seedy characters, uproarious eccentricities, improbable twists of fate, and a rags-to-riches narrative so crazy it has to be true.
- ISBN-13: 9781605986456
- ISBN-10: 1605986453
- Publisher: Pegasus Books
- Publish Date: November 2014
- Page Count: 226
- Dimensions: 9.27 x 6.37 x 0.94 inches
- Shipping Weight: 0.91 pounds
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2014-09-01
- Reviewer: Staff
The action of the title refers to “action bowling,” in which bettors gamble on head-to-head match-ups. Action bowling was most popular in New York City and the Northeast around the same time bowling was booming in the U.S.—the 1950s and ’60s—and, though it took place in the same alleys where families bowled, it was a late-night affair. Manzione, a native of Brooklyn, action bowling’s capitol, paints the scene of these late night battles and the hustlers, gangsters, murderers, gamblers, and characters, such as Joe the Kangaroo, Fish Face, Ox, and Bernie Bananas, who haunted these smoky alleys from dusk to dawn. While the mayhem and debauchery of action bowling is the central to the first part of the book, Manzione later turns his focus to Ernie Schlegel, a great bowler with a hot temper and a hustler’s spirit who tried to make it on the straight and narrow in the Professional Bowlers Association Tour. Manzione’s account of eccentric people, colorful places, and once-popular pro sport is a strike. (16 pages of color photos). (Nov.)