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Bowlers Journal Timeline TIMELINE


1931 1

The Chicago

American Women’s Tournament

The Windy City’s Hearst evening newspaper

begins sponsoring an annual team tournament for local women. The initial entry is 62 teams. By the end of the de- cade, more than 1,000 teams are competing.

1932 2


proprietors unite.

With the Great Depres- sion at its worst, Detroit

bowling center owner Don Campbell writes a letter to Bowlers Journal, declaring the time has come for a national organization of proprietors. In June, the Bowling Propri- etors’ Association of America is founded at Detroit’s Fort Shelby Hotel. The new BPAA immediately lays plans to fi ght the business slump through aggressive promotion.



THE 1930s 1932

Birth of the

Chicago Classic league.

Master promoter Louis Petersen organizes the

fi rst city-wide all-star trav- eling league. The Chicago Classic has 10 teams rolling a home-and-home schedule out of 10 houses. Spectators eagerly pay the 25-cent

admission charge — the price of a movie ticket — to see the city’s best bowlers in action. (Photo: Trophy presentation to Jack Prince, manager of the 1937-38 season champion Pabst Blue Ribbon Beer team.) Petersen’s idea soon spreads to Detroit, Milwaukee, Cleveland and all of the country’s bowl- ing hotbeds.


BPAA takes over the Match-Game Singles.

The new proprietors’ group sets up a series of elimination events to provide a challenger for match-game champ Joe Falcaro. When Falcaro is injured in a shooting and unable to bowl, the BPAA declares his title forfeited, and assumes custodianship of the match- game title — though Falcaro never accepts the fact.

1934 4

Bowling in the


MGM produces the fi rst bowling movie, a 9-min-

ute short titled, “Strikes and Spares.” The fi lm is part of the studio’s Pete Smith Specialties series. An up-and-coming Brooklyn bowler named Andy Varipapa stars. Besides provid- ing basic instruction, the fi lm also showcases some of the trick shots that will make Varipapa famous.


BPAA Team Match-Game event begins.

Building on its success in bring- ing order to the match-game singles title, BPAA establishes a team match-game champi- onship. Reigning ABC cham- pion Stroh’s Beer of Detroit is awarded the title, which then is open to challenges. In the years to follow, the publicity surrounding the challenge matches will help bring about bowling’s Great Team Era.

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April 2013

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