Hi Brian…..I was telling my grandson about Edison Lanes & in researching it for him, I stumbled upon this site. I grew up on Hickory St, 2 blocks from the lanes, behind the old Edison Diner. I bowled in many leagues there from 1960 to 1983 when I moved from Metuchen to CT, although I bowled my first game at the age of 7 at the Fords Rec where my parents met back in the late 30s. The majority of the time I bowled in a Friday night league starting at 6:00. I definitely remember your mom and I think even you. As a teenager, on many Saturdays I walked over to bowl for 35 cents a game. Good memories!
Yes, we lived on Sylvan Ave. in Metuchen. When my mom passed in 1999 they could not get all of the people into the viewing, after all, how many people could you meet at a 112 lane house over 30 years. I bowled every Saturday from about ’57 to ’65. I bowled in the Friday night major league and had to get my mom’s permission the first year because I was not 18 yet. Mom actually started at Metuchen Rec. (8 lanes) and went to Edison Lanes (66 lanes). I quit 20 years ago when the bowling balls went to $200. I just started back throwing a couple of games a week just for exercise.
DURING THE LUNCH HOUR IN 1975 I WAS THE ONLY PERSON BOWLING. I REQUESTED LANE 1 AND RAN OUT A STRIKE ALL THE WAY TO LANE 112. IT HAS TO BE THE LONGEST RUN-OUT STRIKE IN HISTORY. I TRAVELED AS A SALESMAN AND WOULD STOP IN ON MY WAY THROUGH THE AREA. YOU LITERALLY COULD NOT HEAR PINS FALLING ON LANE 1 WHEN STANDING ON LANE 112. THE MECHANICS ROOM WAS LOCATED BEHIND LANE 55…WHEN A MACHINE MALFUNCTION OCCURRED THE PINCHASERS WOULD SIT ON A CHAIR ATTACHED TO A TRACK THAT WOULD ELECTRONICALLY TAKE THEM TO THE LANE.
IT WAS A INTERESTING EXPERIENCE TO SAY THE LEAST.
My mom ran the house from when it opened till it closed. I grew up there. She had worked at an 8 lane house in Metuchen, so 66 lanes was huge. The addition of 46 more a few years after was mind blowing. It was the largest house in a row without a post, and I don’t think there was ever one that surpassed it. I worked there as a lane man in the early 70’s and it took over 5 hours to condition the lanes each night. I shot my first 300 there in 1979. If you bowled during the week, Sally Carpenter probably gave you your paper score sheet and lane. On saturday nights there would be a 2-3 hour wait for an open lane. Good times.
HELLO BRIAN….I JUST WONDER IF I MET YOU DURING MY TRAVELS THROUGH NORTH JERSEY. I LIVED IN LINDENWOLD AND BOWLED AT MAPLE LANES IN MAPLE SHADE, N.J. THAT’S GOING BACK TO 1975 THROUGH MID 1978. I BOWLED IN SEVERAL PBA REGIONAL TOURNAMENTS IN THE 70’S. IN 1979 I PURCHASED MY FIRST CENTER IN THE MIDWEST AND 8 YEARS LATER MY SECOND CENTER. I SOLD BOTH CENTERS IN 1996 AND RETIRED IN PHOENIX. I GOT MY PBA CARD AND WAS GOING TO GIVE THE SENIOR TOUR A TRY BUT I GUESS I WAS BURNED OUT FROM WORKING 17-18 HOURS A DAY, 7 DAYS A WEEK IN THE BOWLING CENTERS. I STOPPED BOWLING AND IN 2008 I MOVED TO GUADALAJARA, MEXICO WHERE I CURRENTLY RESIDE. I STILL BOWL AND AT THE AGE OF 70 NOW, I FINISHED WITH A 219 AVERAGE. TOUGH LANES…..NOT! HOW OLD ARE YOU NOW AND ARE YOU STILL BOWLING? DO YOU STILL LIVE IN NEW JERSEY? WOULD LIKE TO HEAR FROM YOU. MARTY
I lived in Metuchen most of my Edison Lanes years. I did bowl regionals and a few tour stops around Jersey around the early 70’s. My mom actually got to bowl in the ’62 BPAA All Star tournament in Miami Beach. My mom sponsored me with Sally’s Tab Service that my dad started in the early 60’s. We tabulated scores every week on “computers” (the size of a building) and sent back results for the following week. I averaged over 200 for 30 years and quit at 48 when the “short” oil crap started and balls hit $200. I recently purchased a new ball and shoes and am giving it another try at 67 (breaking in shoes sucks). I actually did it for my wife who does retail third party merchandising and got a mystery shopper for some bowling houses around here in Venice, Fl.(below Tampa).I bowl a game, have a rum and coke, some popcorn and they pay us to do it. I got to bowl in Jersey with a lot of the legends at that time, and right after I moved to Altamont Springs, Florida in ’83 I joined a league – with Earl Anthony. Cool. Still looking for a part time job in a local center. Giving it another shot. Always loved the game. Good to hear from a fellow bowler.
HOLA BRIAN…..I HAVE SOME VERY GOOD FRIENDS IN MELBOURNE, FLORIDA ON THE EAST COAST THAT COMPETE EVERY ONCE IN A WHILE. JOHN DONOVAN IS AN EXCELLENT PLAYER. MAYBE YOU HAVE HEARD OF HIM. MANY OF THE PROS HAVE BOWLED IN MY CENTER DOING EXHIBITIONS IN THE MIDWEST AND PROMOTING THE THEN PBA MILLER OPEN. NELSON BURTON JR., WALTER RAY WILLIAMS (WHO I ACTUALLY PLAYED HORSESHOES WITH), MARSHALL HOLMAN, RANDY PEDERSEN AND CHRIS WARREN. DALE TRABER (CURRENTLY ON THE SENIOR TOUR) WAS MY DOUBLES PARTNER IN MANY EVENTS. HIS BROTHER DAVE, ACTUALLY WORKED FOR ME IN ONE OF MY CENTERS…..WE’LL LEAVE IT AT THAT??? IT’S GOOD TO HEAR THAT YOU ARE GOING TO GIVE IT ANOTHER TRY. MY REALIZATION IS THAT MY BODY CAN’T SEEM TO DO THE THINGS THAT MY MIND TELLS IT TO DO….GUESS IT’S OLD AGE. SPEAKING OF TOURNAMENTS, (NOT THAT I WAS) HAVE YOU EVER COMPETED IN THE FAMED PETERSON CLASSIC IN CHICAGO? WOW, WHAT AN EVENT! THAT WAS GREAT FUN!!! KEEP ME POSTED ON YOUR BOWLING.
The Peterson was a great trip only because we bowled on a saturday, and on friday it rained so we went to the horse track and I won a bunch of cash. The tournament memory was not as good and the one thing I remember was there were no dots on the approach and no arrows on the lanes and every lane was different. I made a mark on an approach with a pencil and our scorekeeper stood up and erased it. I worked for John Vargo at his tournament at Edison for many years and kept score for some big names that didn’t like the 4 pound pins that he used. I did well in the regionals and cashed 11 out of 13. But with a family it was too expensive to do it for a living. The tour stop was at Edison Lanes I think around ’67 and I got to be the paddock boy (gopher) and met all the big names. I think that was my favorite time. I bowled about 8 frames for the TV crew setting up Saturday morning and Billy Welu showed me how I looked on TV -cool. A good friend of mine growing up lives near Orlando and we get together when we can and talk bowling stories. See ya!
THAT’S A REALLY COOL STORY OF YOUR TRIP TO THE PETERSON IN CHICAGO. I REMEMBER RUSS, ONE OF MY BOWLERS WHO AVERAGED AROUND 210 MADE HIS FIRST TRIP TO THE FAMED EVENT ON MY SQUAD. I ALWAYS HAD A SQUAD ON MONDAY, MARTIN LUTHER KINGS BIRTHDAY. I ALWAYS STARTED ON LANE 1-2. RUSS WAS ON LANE 3-4…HE THREW HIS FIRST BALL AND GETS A STRIKE…..TURNS AROUND AT THE FOUL LINE AND HOLLERS….”THIS AIN’T SO TOUGH!” HE HAD 14 IN THE THIRD FRAME. IN I THINK ’92 I SHOT 1589 AND MISSED A 10 PIN ON LANE 16…..I THINK 1616 WON THE TOURNAMENT. THOSE WERE GOOD TIMES! I’LL BET YOU AND I COULD GO ON FOREVER TELLING BOWLING STORIES. IN MY FIRST ARTICLE I NOTED THAT FROM MEMORY THE PINCHASERS RODE ON A CHAIR ATTACHED TO A TRACK THAT WOULD TAKE THEM TO THE RESPECTIVE PINSETTER MALFUNCTION……DID I REMEMBER CORRECTLY? WHAT REMINDED ME OF THE EDISON LANES ERA WAS FOR SOME REASON I WAS WATCHING OLD VIDEOS OF I BELIEVE THE 1974 PBA TOURNY AT EDISON WITH JOEY BERARDI AND MARSHALL HOLMAN AT THE YOUNG AGE OF 19. SALVINO WON THAT TOURNAMENT DEFEATING DON MC CUNE IN THE FINAL MATCH. DID YOU KNOW THAT IN THE EARLY 70’S DON MC CUNE WAS USING A CHEMICLE CALLED “MEK”, METHOL ETHOL KEATONE (SP?) WHICH CHANGED THE HARDNESS OF THE PLASTIC BALL COVER CONSEQUENTLY GIVING THE BALL MORE HOOK POWER. MC CUNE’S FATHER-IN-LAW WAS A CHEMIST AND CAME UP WITH THE FORMULA. SOON MANY PLAYERS WERE USING THE SAME CHEMICLE. THE DUROMETER WAS BEING USED IN ALL PBA EVENTS TO CHECK THE HARDNESS OF THE BALL. PLAYERS WOULD FINISH THEIR SQUAD AND THERE WOULD BE A LINE TO THE BATHROOM…….THEY WOULD PUT THEIR BALLS IN THE TOILET AND KEEP FLUSHING IT SO AS TO BRING UP THE HARDNESS LEVEL. THAT’S WHAT MADE MC CUNE A GREAT PLAYER IN THE EARLY 70’S. LOOK FORWARD TO YOUR NEXT REPLY.
Your recollection of the pinchasers riding the “Chair” is correct, but before they had the trolley, in the original house, they used bicycles to get around. I believe that was the first finals Don McCune made and I went to Newark airport on Saturday to pick up his wife who flew into Newark. I had my trusty ’59 Corvair. One of the players that was making the “soakers” got his hands burned very badly by a fire while using that chemical and the ABC and PBA banned it. I weighed balls for the Kegler tournament at Edison and the balls would sweat out 3-4 ounces of weight in the air conditioning. I had balls come in that were really cold that people had put in the refrigerator in the snack bar. My ball driller would call me when he got in a yellow dot that was a “bleeder”. He did find me a good one that I had 2 games on and shot my first 300 with bowling with my son in a sunday morning league.
Brian and Marty–
After reading your exchange of emails, I’ll share my own Petersen Classic story. I was on vacation in 1996, and got a flat on the rental car in Douglas, Wyoming. I got to talking with the guy who was fixing the tire. I said that I was from Chicago, and asked if he’d ever been there, 1,000 miles away. He said once, to bowl in the Petersen Classic. When I mentioned that I wrote for “Bowlers Journal,” he looked at the name on my credit card, and said “My God–you’re Dr. Jake!” My wife still kids me that I’m a celebrity in Wyoming.
HOLA…..I HAVE READ MANY OF DR. JAKE’S ARTICLES. I WISH YOU COULD WRITE AN ARTICLE “WHERE ARE THEY NOW” SO WE COULD BE KEPT ABREAST OF OUR YOUTHFUL HEROS. I ESPECIALLY ENJOYED THE ARTICLES REFERENCING THE MATCHES THAT TOOK PLACE IN NEW YORK IN THE WEE HOURS OF THE MORNING. BRIAN YOU MENTIONED THE YELLOW DOT “BLEEDER.” IF MEMORY SERVES ME CORRECTLY THE “HOT” SERIAL NUMBER TO LOOK FOR WAS “5 Y”. REMEMBER THE “SUR-D”, NOW THAT WAS A POWERFUL BALL. I WONDER HOW THAT BALL WOULD COMPARE TO TODAY’S BALLS ON SYNTHETIC LANES? MAYBE DR. JAKE CAN SHARE SOME INSIDE INFORMATION.!
Someone gave me a Sur-D and I gave it away because it was too soft. You could put your fingernail into the cover. There is an undrilled yellow dot on E-Bay and they want $400 for it. Any yellow dot that came with the plastic box liner stuck to the goo on the ball was good. I had one of Brunswick’s first plastic balls (Crown Jewel) and it was junk.
BRIAN….YOU ARE RIGHT ABOUT THE SUR-D BEING ABLE TO DENT THE COVER STOCK WITH YOUR FINGERNAIL. MY TEAMMATES PRESENTED ME WITH A SUR-D FOR CHRISTMAS. BOTH MY CENTERS HAD A HIGH SCORING CONDITION WITH PLENTY OF OIL IN THE CENTER. I HAD A COUPLE OF 300 AND AN 800 WITH THE SUR-D…BUT SOON IT STARTED TO CRYSTALIZE AND I HAD TO DUMP IT. YOU MENTIONED THE BRUNSWICK CROWN JEWEL….IN ABOUT 1967-68 (I THINK) I BOUGHT MY MOTHER A RED CROWN JEWEL. SHE WAS ONLY A 160 AVERAGE BOWLER SO SHE LIKED THE COLOR AND THE FEEL OF THE BALL. I PERSONALLY NEVER THREW ONE. THERE IS A OLD “CHAMPIONSHIP BOWLING” FILM FROM THE LATE 60’S WHERE AL SAVAS BOWLED WITH A CROWN JEWEL ON TV. IN ’65, AL SAVAS WAS ONE OF MY TEAMMATES. A VERY QUIET PERSON WHO DRANK A LOT AND GAMBLED MORE. HE ACTUALLY WAS NOT FUN TO BOWL WITH….KINDA A LONER. FOR CONVERSATION, NED DAY GAVE ME BOWLING LESSONS WHEN I WAS 13 YEARS OLD. I ALSO BOWLED WITH NED DAY JR. IN JUNIOR LEAGUES. JR. WAS 175 AT 14 YEARS OLD AND HAD A VERY COCKY ATTITUDE WHICH UNFORTUNATELY CARRIED INTO HIS ADULT LIFE AND SAD TO SAY PERISHED BY IT AS WELL. IF YOU ARE NOT FAMILIAR WITH NED DAY JR. CAREER, HE WAS A JOURNALIST AND EVENTUALLY A TV NEWSMAN IN LAS VEGAS. HE CLAIM TO FAME (IF THERE IS SUCH A THING) WAS THAT HE WENT AFTER THE VEGAS MOB……THAT’S A HUGE “NO-NO”!!!
The Crown Jewel came out when I was 15 and it was my first fingertip ball. I shot 602 with it the first time I used it and never broke 600 again. They came out with the durometers to check hardness and the ball was 10 points different around the cover. That explained the way it behaved badly on the lane. My mom was my coach but the funniest was when she had to get certified by the AJBC to teach kids. She had to stand at the line and throw the ball with no steps. She averaged 160 in duckpins and over 190 in regular 10 pins but couldn’t get a strike standing at the line. At one time we had over 500 kids bowling on a saturday morning leagues at Edison.
WOW…THAT’S ONE HELL OF A JUNIOR LEAGUE. AS I MENTIONED IN ONE OF OUR PREVIOUS CONVERSATIONS, I LIVE IN GUADALAJARA, MEXICO. THERE ARE 8 MILLION PEOPLE IN THE CITY AND SURROUNDING AREA WITH ONLY SEVEN BOWLING CENTERS, THE LARGEST IS 42 LANES. SAD TO SAY THERE WAS NOT ONE JUNIOR LEAGUE IN THE CITY. I LITERALLY BEGGED THE OWNER TO START A JUNIOR LEAGUE ON SATURDAY MORNINGS. HIS CENTER IS ONLY 4 YEARS OLD AND FINALLY AFTER THOSE 4 YEARS HE AGREED TO HAVE HIS STAFF START PROMOTING A JUNIOR LEAGUE.. THEY HAVE 24 KIDS FOR A 24 LANE CENTER. WHAT’S WORSE IS THAT THE CENTER IS LOCATED IN A SHOPPING MALL AND HAS ABOUT 300 KIDS THAT BOWL ON THE WEEKENDS WITH THEIR FAMILIES. THE STAFF IS VERY LAZY AND IT IS IN MY OPINION A DISGRACE TO THE INDUSTRY…..AND WE WONDER WHY THE SPORT IS DYING A SLOW DEATH. IF IT WERE MY CENTER I WOULD FIRE THE ENTIRE STAFF. I SUGGESTED THAT THEY USE THE SELLING METHOD OF THE 60’S AND GO LANE TO LANE TALKING TO THE PARENTS. I GUARANTEE YOU THAT WITH THAT MANY KIDS ON A WEEKEND I WOULD HAVE AT A MINIMUM A 10 X 3 IN ONE WEEKEND. THE ENTIRE CENTERS OPERATION IS RIDICULOUS. BRIAN, YOUR MOM SOUNDS LIKE SHE WAS A REAL GO-GETTER AND LOVED THE BOWLING BUSINESS! THAT’S GREAT BECAUSE TO DO A GREAT JOB YOU NEED TO HAVE DETERMINATION…… BUT MOST OF ALL YOU NEED “PASSION!”
Unfortunatly she was the only one that really went out and promoted it to the kids. We started out with 12 4 man teams when I was about 10 and had over 100 5 man teams when was about 19 and helped my mom on saturday mornings. I started an adult-child league on sunday mornings and that grew to over 40 teams in a few years. It seemed like it went in about 20 year cycles of high and low participation. Leaving for a cruise tomorrow but our ship doesn’t have any lanes on board as several of the ships do now. Back late next week.
If it was a Saturday afternoon you probably didn’t meet my mom, Sally. I grew up at Edison Lanes and she ran the lanes from when it was built (as 66 lanes) to when it finally closed. She usually didn’t work Saturday except for our junior leagues that filled all 112 lanes on Saturday mornings in the winter season.
Hi Brian . . . that was the one and only time I bowled there. I grew up a bit farther south in New Jersey (Monmouth County) . . . rolled my first ball at Red Bank Recreation . . . set pins in Fair Haven . . . but my primary hangout was Perry’s in Long Branch.
I haven’t bowled in a long time but think about it almost every day. Lost all my gear a few years ago (four active balls . . . two double-ball bags) after being up to five nights a week. So many of the centers are gone now and, at 69, I just don’t really have the “fire” to get back at it although a former teammate of mine has been trying to get me out of retirement.
I was 6 years old and started with a duckpin ball with holes and set pins at Metuchen Rec. – all 8 lanes. My mom started there and then went to Edison Lanes. I bowled in a few houses in south Jersey when I bowled PBA Regionals in the early sixties. I quit in 1998 after the lane conditions went to crap after averaging over 200 for 30 years. I restarted a year or so again and am just trying to get back my ball speed I had years ago. I watch this joke on TV they call the “Cameleon pattern” which just means they don’t have a clue what the condition will do next.
Hi Brian . . . At Fair Haven (with spikes . . . no semi-automatics) we had both tenpins and rubber ducks. Since we already had the duckpin balls, one time while visiting my grandmother on Cape Cod, I managed to glom a still-playable set of candlepins and brought them back to Fair Haven. So, at that time, we had three of the five types of bowling in North America.
It was a six-laner in back of a German tavern called the Willowbrook Inn (on River Road). The building is still there to this day but the alleys are long gone.
It was an unusual setup in that the ball return for 1 & 2 was to the left of 1 (along the wall) . . . there was a double return between 4 & 5 for 3 & 4 and 5 & 6 (with the walkway to the pits to the right of 6).
I know exactly what you mean by the bowling on TV these days . . . it’s a carry contest and the players are not very interesting people. They just aren’t making them like Steve Nagy anymore!
I was fairly good friends with Darold Dobs (when he was the top dog in the bowling business) and he frankly admitted that the ABC had “let the horse out of the barn” prior to his arrival on the scene and there was no “putting the genie back in the bottle.” (Enough with the metaphors!)
One of the reasons I haven’t had the urge to return is today’s houses . . . not crazy about the synthetic lanes (even though I scored well on them) and really miss the character of the “real” bowling alleys that I grew up with. It’s too “sanitary” . . . if you know what I mean. There are still a few old “mom and pop” small centers here and there and I love to visit them but they are disappearing too. We recently lost Papp’s over in Bordentown and Long Branch (which had at least four different houses) now has none.
Red Bank Rec burned down a few years ago and was not rebuilt (despite the owner saying that he would). I could name all of the houses in this area that are no more . . . and they outnumber those that are still open.
While bowling was major in my life for a long time, there is just a big empty hole there now.
Most of the houses I grew up bowling in are gone but a few still survive. Carolier in East Brunswick is still around and Majestic in Woodbridge I think is still there. We had ducks in Linden and my mom beat most of the guys. She got to bowl in the Miami 1961 BPAA All Star and that was my first trip to Florida. She averaged over 190 and is in the Middlesex County Hall of Fame.