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BowlingOldies

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I've unearthed an old VHS tape on to which I rolled off several highlights of me bowling with friends back in the day.

Here we find me bowling a friendly doubles competition.  The two teams are comprised of my best friend Tommy, another radio guy like myself, who appears to still be a bit road weary after driving to the Dallas area from Shreveport (about a 3 and a half hour drive) and then heading straight to the lanes.  He's paired with the general manager of Forum Bowling Lanes in Grand Prairie, Texas at the time, Joe Hafner (RIP).  Joe was one of the Dallas area's "action bowlers," and in this clip, he's throwing an old hard rubber ball.  Me?  I was still going by my middle name, Robert ("Bob") at the time this video was made, and I'm paired with a young fellow named Sam, who worked part-time at the bowl.

So it's Tommy and Joe against Sam and Bob in this doubles match at my longtime home bowling center, Forum Bowl.  Forum Bowl was the long time host of the PBA's Quaker State Open where Bob Benoit rolled a 300 on TV, and also played host to the 1976 BPAA US Open.  Whenever Pro Bowlers Tour originated from this bowling center, Chris Schenkel always pointed out that it was the one bowling center the pros bowled in that had chandeliers hanging from the ceiling throughout the center.

This was 1978, fully a year before I started to show signs of knowing what the heck I was doing on the lanes.  I had already figured out how to score fairly well by this time, but my game still appeared pretty feeble, like I still had some major kinks to iron out before anyone would mistake me for a really good player.

Joe's the only one in this clip who appears to know what he's doing.

Try not to laugh too hard at the rest of us.

mrbowling300

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Reply with quote  #2 
Back then, didn't the Forum Bowl have the Brunswick Astroline Automatic scorers?  Each bowlers had to move a knob like button on the ball return to their bowler # position.  You needed to do that, or the pinsetter wouldn't lift up.  Notice lanes 4 and beyond to the right are all down.  Maybe on your pair it didn't have it....although I did notice on lane 2, the rack stayed down at times.  Actually, look at the 8:50 minute mark of the video, and you'll see what I'm talking about....and at about 8:59, they slide the button to make the rack go up!   It is possible by the time this video was made they may have removed the system.   This is what I'm talking about:  http://willythagr8.tripod.com/id8.html  This would has sat back a bit between lanes 2 and 3, and would control the scoring for lanes 1 - 4.  In a few of your shots that you pan out, I don't see it, so by 1978 they must have removed them.  Where I bowled, at Hartfield Lanes, they had them, but were removed either in the late 70s or like 1980 or 1981.  I'm sure these were expensive to maintain.

Other observations.....it seems all your videos were shot on lanes 1 and 2.....and I've never heard the PA system go off so much!

These are classics...glad you have them.  I have to dig out a video I have of me in league in 1991.
BowlingOldies

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Reply with quote  #3 
Yes, all 60 lanes at this center had those scoring mechanisms.  Each pair of lanes was equipped with a device and you had to slide the button up or down on your side to indicate which bowler was up.  That would raise the pinsetter and send the signal to the scorer that so-and-so bowler was bowling.  The scoring devices themselves were massive and sat behind the settee areas, each one keeping score for four lanes and projecting the scores up on the screens.  You'd insert little pieces of paper that had a wax backing and holes along the sides to lock them into place.  Then you'd pull a little knob and the scorer would engage on top of the paper.

We've come a long way, baby.
BowlingOldies

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Reply with quote  #4 

The only reason my videos were on lanes 1/2 or the end pair on the high end was because I would request those pairs whenever I brought my video gear.  Back in those days, video cameras were much bigger, and none of it was battery operated; you had to run AC cables to plug 'em in to the wall.  So I just wanted to be out of everyone's way so no one would trip over a cable or knock over the camera.

I didn't bring my video gear all that often.  I bowled all over that center.  But most of the video I shot was on one of the end pairs.  There were even a couple of instances where I brought lights, which were extremely bright (and hot), and I certainly didn't want to bother the other patrons.  So I'd just ask to be put on the end pair so we'd be as out of the way as possible.

BowlingOldies

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Reply with quote  #5 
And yes, I saw the image of the Astroline scorer you linked to.  Not sure if the ones at Forum Bowl were exactly that model, but they were virtually the same.  Four lanes.  The projector sat behind the seats of the settee area and down below the concourse, which was up a few stairs behind the settee area.  Those things remained at Forum Bowl until long after I walked away from bowling.  They were certainly still there in this video.  If you listen closely you can hear the click-click-click sound of the printer tapping out the scores on to the wax-backed, tractor-secured paper in the scoring machines after every ball is thrown.
BowlingOldies

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Reply with quote  #6 

I have about three more videos I'll be digitizing soon.  One is an even earlier clip of me, probably around '76 or '77.  Hard to tell in the video, but I'm throwing one of those orange Ebonite balls that Earl Anthony threw in the '76 tournament in which he faces Dick Weber in the title match (I forget which tournament it is).  I hated Ebonite equipment, but when Earl was throwing that "pumpkin," I had to have one.  LOL!

Another video I have is of my son when he was 8.  A few shots from this session found their way into a chapter of a video biography I produced about my son.  But the whole bowling session is there, and he showed some real talent back then.  Too bad he really didn't pursue bowling.  He'd probably be much better than I am today if he had.

And finally (and this is the video I was actually looking for when I found this tape that has all the other clips) is a video of me bowing with a fellow from Shreveport named Dennis Harbour.  Filmed in around '78 or '79, Dennis was doing the modern 2010 bowling delivery back in the late '70s, so far ahead of his time.  He could have been a superstar had he pursued it.  But tragically, he was shot and killed at point blank range by a deranged truck driver sometime in the '80s and never got to realize his full potential.  I knew I had this video of him, and it's really the only one I was seeking to locate when I found the rest.

Interestingly, this video posted here of me with my friends Tommy, Sam and Joe was posted to the DFW (Dallas/Fort Worth) Bowling group on Facebook where it was spotted by Joey Hafner and his sister, the son and daughter of Joe in the video.  ***I HAD NO IDEA JOE HAFNER HAD KIDS!!!***  So I was *delighted* that it found its way to them.  They were grateful to have seen this old footage of their dad, who died about twenty years ago.  Yes, I'm VERY glad I have this old stuff.

mrbowling300

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Reply with quote  #7 
To fix a score on those things were a bitch, too.  By the time I finally figured it out, they got rid of them.

Back in the day, I wonder how much those things cost?
Becker34

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Reply with quote  #8 
I remember a 16 laner that had those on the NW side of Milwaukee - Petroff's West.  They also had the rare Starshields that had a crown that lit for a strike instead of the "X".  I'd like to say that they eventually updated the scoring to the cameras or scanners, whatever the first generation of AS-80's used that did away with the double detect and the deck staying at pindeck level but you still had to use the bowler selector thingee on the rack.
Buckeye_Nut

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Reply with quote  #9 
These videos are fantastic!...and a rarity!   Not many people owned video cameras back in those days!   .....and to bring it to record bowling?....extra rare!   Love the old clips Randy...keep'em coming!  I wasn't a bowler back then, but I enjoy watching these old clips and it reminds me of the era of my youth.  

Keith made a nice observation because I've never been to a center where they talk over the intercom this often!  Is this how they reported pileups and malfunctions to the mechanic??  It seems like they were jabbering over the mic almost constantly!!

My fun observation:
 I can tell you bowled several games that day before the recording by the big brown spot on your shirt from rubbing the bowling ball against it.....hahaha      This is why black/dark colors is my color of choice when bowling!!   I never notice rubbing my ball off against my shirt, but if I dare wear a light colored shirt and bowl a 10-15 game set.......I end up with the same big oil stain.  funny stuff...
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