Bowlers Journal At 100 A GLOBAL FORUM FOR BOWLING SCRIBES
ing headache. Getting and keeping read- ers is a never-ending struggle. Production (dealing with the printer and other ven- dors), delivery (the Post Offi ce, newsstand distributors, etc.) and other publishing issues can give you an ongoing migraine. Obviously, if you don’t have a solid fi - nancial structure, all of the other elements tend to fall apart. I’ve often said that I should have tried for a degree in man- agement instead of journalism at Notre Dame.
Mom went off to retirement, and I suff ered through a string of inept and dishonest offi ce managers and bookkeep- ers. One guy nicked me for a quarter of a million dollars. I was so focused on the ed- itorial side of the business (because it was the most fun, I suppose) that I neglected almost everything else.
It was also around this time that Willie Mosconi — probably the best pool player that ever lived — sued me, the company and one of our correspondents for more than $3 million. He claimed that a story written by an award-winning writer, Tom Fox, had libeled him. The case bounced around various courts for months and was fi nally thrown out.
It took about 10 years, but Willie and I fi nally became friends again. We even joked about our outrageous attorney fees.
The media room at global tournaments could be a busy place, not to mention a venue for selling subscriptions. Between squads, there often was time for some sightseeing, including Bangkok (below).
EVERYTHING BOWLING, ALL THE TIME
Miraculously, the business survived
the onslaughts of the late 1960s. After my divorce, I moved downtown to a new res- idential high rise about four blocks from our old offi ce at 506 S. Wabash Avenue, all the better to spend most of my waking hours at my desk.
The company was located in the old Congress Bank Building on the corner of Wabash Avenue and Congress Boulevard in downtown Chicago for many decades. It may not have been fashionable, but it was convenient.
Directly across the street was Johnnie’s
Steak House, the de facto epicenter of the bowling industry. Brunswick headquarters was two block away, the Bowling Proprietors’ Associa- tion of America was a 10-minute walk, and Sam Weinstein’s Universal Bowling Supply was next door. Out-of-town visitors from New
York (AMF) and Milwaukee (ABC/WIBC) made Johnnie’s their automatic fi rst stop when they came to town. You could walk in the door almost any day at noon, order the 60-cent luncheon special, and chat with half of the movers and shakers in the tenpin industry. At night, the place buzzed with salesmen making deals with soon-to-be bowling center owners.
Brunswick fi nally moved into a swanky high rise building in the center of The Loop, the BPAA segued to even fancier quarters in suburban Hoff man Estates,
Universal was forced to relocate a block away, and the building that housed John- nie’s was demolished because of an urban renewal project. With our lease running out, I decided to move our offi ce to a new building in Chicago’s tony Lincoln Park district.
But we missed the action and conve- nience of Chicago’s vibrant downtown. After a few years, we were on the move again, this time to the 100-story John Hancock Center. We spent many years in the Hancock, moving three times within the building as the business grew.
I bought a condo in the same building (the bottom half of the Hancock is mostly commercial space, the top half is residenc- es) and for many years commuted to work by elevator.
Next month: Bowling bounces back, and technology changes publishing forever.
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