National League of Bowling (1956)

(L-R) Carmen Salvino (Chicago), Johnny King (Cleveland), Pete Treybig (Houston), Foy Belcher (Los Angeles), Jack Aydelotte (Minneapolis), Dick Weber (St. Louis), Tony Lindemann (Detroit), Joe Brown (New York)

The National League of Bowling was part of the “Bowling Time” TV show.  Each week, star bowlers representing different cities bowled two-game matches.  Filming was done at Fairview Lanes in Cleveland, with Sam Levine at the microphone.

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19 Responses to “National League of Bowling (1956)”

  1. RAY WEISBERG Says:

    Is Foy Belcher still alive.
    He taught me to bowl while he was the house pro at Encino Bowl.
    I went to school with his son.

    • J.R. Schmidt Says:

      I remember Foy Belcher from TV, but don’t know if he’s still alive–he’d be in his 80s now. Can anyone out there give us an answer?
      –JRS

      • Teresa Says:

        I am the Great-Niece of Foy Belcher. My Uncle Foy passed away this morning in Glendale, California. He celebrated his 87th birthday in January of this year. He suffered a massive stroke approximately 3 1/2 weeks ago and though he made a valiant effort to recover, he was called home by our Lord. I stumbled across this website quite by accident as I am looking for anything that connected him with the his passion…bowling. Our family would certainly be grateful to anyone out there that may have any old pictures or news articles & would mind copying them & sending them to my e-mail address (Swthrt612@AOL.com). Thank you for your continued interest in such a kind, gentle and much loved man.

      • Ray Weisberg Says:

        Our prayers to you and your family.
        Foy coached me at Encino Bowl, where I bowled with his son.
        I’m embarassed I forgot his name (Robert?).
        A nicer man and mentor I’ve never met.
        Please keep in touch. I would enjoy that.
        Godspeed Foy!

        ray.weisberg@gmail.com

    • Teresa Says:

      Ray: Please see the response that I just posted to J.R. Schmidt. My Great-Uncle Foy also taught me to bowl so we have something in common. Thank you for your interest.

  2. steven g revethis Says:

    It is great to see a photo of Johnny King as a member of the National League of bowling on your site .Although he did not choose to participate in many major tournaments in his career,he is considered by many, as you know, to be one of the best and most feared matchgame players of all time.His ability as a matchgame player is clearly demonstrated by his incredible performances in the mid and late 1950s in Detroit, and at Faetz Niesen Recreation in Chicago,which included a 300 game.I find your site to be rich in hard to find bowling history. Keep up the great work.

  3. steven g revethis Says:

    schmidt,
    Steven replied but not sure if he did so in the right placeIt is great to see a photo of Johnny King as a member of the National League of bowling on your site .Although he did not choose to participate in many major tournaments in his career,he is considered by many, as you know, to be one of the best and most feared matchgame players of all time.His ability as a matchgame player is clearly demonstrated by his incredible performances in the mid and late 1950s in Detroit, and at Faetz Niesen Recreation in Chicago,which included a 300 game.I find your site to be rich in hard to find bowling history. Keep up the great work.

  4. Robert Kennedy Says:

    I used to be a scorekeeper at Foy Belcher’s bowling alley in San Pedro CA

    • Ray Says:

      Foy taught me and I
      bowled with his son at Encino bowl for years

    • Teresa Says:

      Robert: Please see the notice I posted on J.R. Schmidt’s comment. My Uncle Foy passed away this morning for complications due to a massive stroke he suffered approximately 3 1/2 weeks ago. If you have any old articles or pictures, I would like to get copies via my email that I may post for family and friends. Thank you for remembering him

  5. Tony Black Says:

    Teresa – One of the great things about the internet is you can reconnect with old friends about shared memories we were talking about things we all did and the Encino Bowl came up – of course we talked about your great uncle I am so sorry for your families loss I can only hope that Foy knew how many lives he enriched and how he taught us more than just how to bowl – i only wish we could tell him – Tony Black

    • Teresa Says:

      Thank you so much for the comment about my Uncle Foy. He would be humbled by these thoughts. Sometimes we don’t realize how many lives we touch by our actions. – Teresa

  6. Maury fagan Says:

    I’m finding this out a year late after Foy died, but I was very close to Foy from around 1964 to the middle 70’s. Great man I don’t know how many times i called him when I was in San Diego at college and after that in the bay area Maybe 2 or 3 times a day, 7 days a week. We both loved baseball and would bet against each other I’m sorry I never made attempt to contact him after Encino Bowl closed I did think of him and will miss him

  7. Frank Schmitt Says:

    Did you ever see one of these shows? I seem to recall seeing some in NYC back in the mid to late 50’s. That’s where I remembered Joe Bolek from (I asked you about him 4 years ago & you gave me some info that Joe Kristof had told you—see the posts on the American League).

    There is one show posted on YouTube from the National League featuring Carmen Salvino against Joe Brown. The show was funny in its quirkiness. It ran an hour & the bowling of those 2 games was just part of the show. First there was the cute little theme song & then Bud Palmer came on in the role of the host. He showed the standings on the 8 bowlers (Salvino was 7th & Brown was 8th) then introduced “that noted bowling announcer” Sammy Levine who looked uncomfortable on camera & spoke with a lisp. He gave a breakdown of the total prize money ($17,750). All through the show, he referred to the bowlers as “star pin topplers” & then he introduced Salvino & Brown. Palmer then explained that Sammy was going to go into a soundproof booth so as not to disturb the bowlers (an obvious nod to the quiz shows of that era). Levine explained that the show was guided by the Peterson Point System & introduced another guy who would tally the points. He didn’t say anything. After all this, they finally bowled one game & then Palmer began an interview with Dr Joyce Brothers of “The $64,000 Question fame” and also “noted BOXING expert.” Before that could really get started, he asked Joyce if she bowled & when she said “yes”, some woman named “Marion” brought out an audience member from The Bronx (even though the show was supposed to be in Cleveland) and introduced him to Lee Jouglard who was there as an Instructor. Lee told the guy how to stop dropping his right shoulder & the interview with Dr Brothers continued with Palmer asking her if she learned anything from Jouglard.Then they mostly talked about the quiz show & her boxing knowledge. He finished by telling her that she was more attractive in person than on TV. THAT would go over big nowadays! They bowled the 2nd game & then we saw the revised standings (Brown was still last but Salvino went up to 3rd). Then “Marion” brought out more audience members who played guessing games to win prizes. The last time I watched it, I wasn’t able to finish the entire show so I forget what the games were or the prizes won. I also forget how it ended. But they seemed to have a “cast of thousands” for a mere one-hour show. It appears that Levine wanted to include every possible thing he could think of to fill the time & the actual bowling was probably less than half the show.

    I did notice that when they used the front camera shots of a bowler about to bowl, you could see the other bowlers on the series all sitting in the back & out of the way. The other thing was the lanes themselves. The automatic pinsetter looked like it might have been the first one AMF ever made. It hardly looked streamlined & they had a microphone close by so you could hear the thing in action. And the pins were filthy! Championship Bowling always had a fresh set of pins for each match—Fred Wolf said so. These had been through the wars, I’ll say that. I found this show by Googling “Joe Brown—Bowler” and it came up. If you haven’t watched it, check it out sometime. I’ll bet it’s the only “Bowling Time” on existence on the Internet.

    BTW—this was the first I had ever heard of Joe Brown.

    • J.R. Schmidt Says:

      I’m glad to hear there’s another “Bowling Time” broadcast available. The Bowling Museum has an episode with Lee Jouglard bowling against Ralph Engan. Boxer Mickey Walker—“The Toy Bulldog”—is the celebrity guest. There’s no mention of Sammy Levine going into an isolation booth to do the play-by-play. He just sits on the bench, like Whispering Joe Wilson.

      Sammy wasn’t a broadcaster by trade, but was the publisher of The Cleveland Kegler newspaper. Then again, Fred Wolf didn’t start broadcasting until he was in his mid-thirties, and became a real pro. You either have that talent, or you don’t.

      –JRS

      • Frank Schmitt Says:

        That’s interesting because when the HOF was still in St Louis 10 years ago, they sent me a listing of all the old shows they had for rent at that time. It was mostly Championship Bowling & Top Star Bowling but there was nothing listed from Bowling Time. Jouglard & Engan were in the American League which was televised first.

        I agree with you about Fred Wolf. He evolved into an excellent broadcaster who even became a morning drive DJ in Detroit. I can see where Levine wasn’t that polished & probably should’ve had Palmer do the announcing. I think you’ll get a kick out of watching this episode. The audience looks so large, they appear to be in a theater & not a bowling alley. And the members who came on camera (like the guy from The Bronx) came from New Jersey, California & Georgia. Nobody was from Ohio! I wonder who won the two leagues.

        PS—the woman “hostess” was Florence, not Marion.

      • J.R. Schmidt Says:

        According to Bowlers Handbook (1957) Pat Patterson won the $5,000 first prize in the ALB. I’m not sure, but I think Johnny King won the NLB.
        –JRS

  8. Frank Schmitt Says:

    I wouldn’t be surprised if it was Johnny King. He was a great match game bowler who was still bowling out of Cleveland at the time that was filmed. It could’ve been a house he was very familiar with. He was also leading at the time of the Salvino-Brown match. Thanks for the info on both!

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