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Bowlers Journal At 100 By Mort Luby Jr.


As part of the 100th M Anniversary Celebration of Bowlers Journal, Publisher

Emeritus Mort Luby Jr. chronicles the history of Luby Publishing, from the magazine’s inception in November 1913 through today. Part 3 of 12.

ort Luby Sr., my father, Took over the Bowlers Jour- nal when he was 28 years old. He never went to col-

lege, and I’m not sure that he ever fi nished high school. I just know that he was

terribly insecure about his writing. Even when I was a kid, he would ask me to look over his copy and make suggestions when I visited the ramshackle offi ce above the Stock Yard Press. (This was after I sharpened the pencils and changed the typewriter rib- bons for Theresa Forkin, his secretary of many years.) His fervor for bowling

tournaments sprouted everywhere, he hit the road. He bowled just about every major event and made at least one stab at compet- itive fame. He fi red a 712 series in the 1927 ABC Tournament in Peoria, as he and partner George Stewart led the Doubles for more than a month. Three days before the windup, however, they were shunted down to third place. Just about every high-

Mort Luby Jr.

was just as great as his father’s. As bowling blossomed around the country and new

way in the Midwest had seen his battered old Chrysler coupe. He also was something of an avi- ation pioneer. I can’t tell you how many times our family drove to Midway Airport and waited for

a DC-3 to descend through the gloom and bring him back to us.


My father was a heavy smoker, drinker and gambler. And he loved to eat. That’s why we had a “due bill” (a trade of advertis- ing for food) at Mario’s restaurant in Chica- go’s loop and Phil Schmidt’s in Hammond, Ind., for many decades. His marriage to Frieda Matthaie was undoubtedly the best thing that ever hap- pened to him. This was a merger of two un- forgettable human beings. Frieda was born around the turn of the

century in Hollywood. Her father, a German brewmaster, had come to California to run one of the fi rst commercial breweries in that state. The movie industry was getting started,

and Frieda fi t right in. She zoomed up and down Hollywood Boulevard in a yellow Mercer runabout. She played bridge with


fi lm star Mary Pickford, and once had a date with J. Paul Getty. She was an avid member of the Turners, a German gymnastic society, and won many ribbons and trophies in golf, fencing, swimming, diving, tennis and javelin. Sometime during the 1920s, she decided

to travel to New York to visit some of her Turner colleagues who had moved there. She got off the train in Chicago to break up the trip and arranged a side trip to the Indiana Dunes. While at a party there, she was intrigued by a curly-haired young man named Mort who played a mean ukulele. A small romance ensued. Off she went to New York, only to receive a bizarre telegram from Chicago. “Go down to Tiff any’s and buy a ring,” my

father wrote. “I’m coming to New York to marry you.” He turned up a few days later and they

marched together down the aisle at St. Pat- rick’s Cathedral. They were a team. Although her California family practically ostracized her for marry- ing this odd bowling person from the frigid Midwest, Frieda embraced the sport avidly. Always an excellent athlete, she soon led her women’s league at the Beverly Recre- ation. Of course, she got a lot of fi rst-class instruction. When Andy Varipapa came to our house, he and my mother would de- scend to the basement and practice on the concrete. I can still hear those bowling balls whacking the basement walls. She traveled with my father on many of

his trips, sitting patiently in the Chrysler while he made “calls” on advertisers. I was

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