In the Chicago Tribune Archives – Nov. 30, 1952 – there’s a big article with photos about the 1st Installation in Chicago of the AMF Automatic Pinspotter at 20th Century Lanes on Cicero. Did they later switch to Brunswicks??
I was 9 years old and lived a block from 20th and remember the fire that took down the old 20th. I don’t recall any AMF pinsetters prior to the Brunswicks being there, but that doesn’t mean it didn’t happen that way.. I really didn’t start to bowl there until I was 11, a couple years later.
I only knew his last name because Bill Cwik and I went to watch him in the Chicago Tournament in, I believe, 1962. His last name was on the pairings board. He would play any of the ‘kids’ as long as they paid the time. The deal included a full commentary on strategy and Lou pointing out mistakes and/or opportunities during the play of 14-1 continuous. I learned a lot from Lou. I have great memories from the pool room and the bowling lanes at 20th I was known as ‘Inky’. Do you remember Mike Bartels, Motorcylce Mike,Willie Johnson, or the ‘Undertaker’? I think you’re a half-a-generation younger than me, so some of those guys might’ve been gone. Those were fun times.
I read the Billiards Digest article and nothing in there surprised me. Why? Because I’d seen it all before; many times. He could strut like a peacock! My father was a 3-cushion player and growing up his children had a pool table in the basement. When I was old enough to play at 20th (Counter man Tom Acouros made the decision) one of the first players I met was Lou. Sure he was over-the-top flashy, bombastic, and flamboyant, but he was a good person. In 1957 when I was 14 Mosconi came through and put on an exhibition. Dad took me to watch. You were probably too young to recall that. Frank Malin was a good promoter.
I was a bowler, not a pool player—my high run my entire life was 15 balls—but I used to shoot pool every couple of weeks with a buddy until I got married in 1972. You couldn’t miss Milwaukee Lou; he wouldn’t let you miss him. But as you said, a good person.
I lived on the corner of Kilpatrick and Roscoe until I joined the Navy in Jan. of ’63. Bowling was my main sport, but I played at least one professional tournament in bowling, golf, and billiards. Bowling provided the income though; younger brother Jim and I owned and operated one of the nations higher volume pro shops in San Jose, CA and were the authors of Larry Lichstein’s “The Profitable Pro Shop”. Also, we were one of the nine shops that founded the IBPSIA in 1990. After the service in ’67 I settled in California.
Are you still in Chicago? You and I need to spend an afternoon over a plate of food and swap ‘war stories’; we’re brothers from different mothers. I get to Chicago fairly often and expect to be there this summer. I still know Tom Kazmer, if that name rings a bell. He was a ‘house ape’ at 20th for a while. Might’ve been a bit earlier than you also, but he’s in our mold. Bill Cwik is dead; I went to his funeral in Crystal Lake in 2012. I’ll bet we both have stories the other would like to hear!
Let’s keep in touch. You have my e-mail in your system.