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10-16-2019, 05:18 AM

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Originally Posted by FranCrimi View Post
I think Walderone had it wrong. It wasn't Tevis who used him as a basis for Minnesota Fats. I think it was Gleason. They were both from New York and both hung out in pool halls and probably knew each other, or at least, knew of each other. Many of Gleason's mannerisms in the film were similar to Walderone's, particularly a neck twitch.
Ever read the original incarnation of the Hustler story from Playboy magazine in 1957?

The character who would become Minnesota Fats in the Hustler had a twitch. The story was slightly different, with the original character not being suave and smooth. He was a twitchy suspicious criminal type.


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10-16-2019, 05:26 AM

Where would our senior members here put fatís Fargo? 750?
  
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Well Put!
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Well Put! - 10-16-2019, 05:46 AM

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Originally Posted by evergruven View Post
armed only with stories
and past-prime youtube vids
I see pool in fats

just because he talked a lot
doesn't mean he couldn't play
even now, with st. peter racking
fats is still working a crowd
here on mortal earth

Well put! Fats will be remembered long after others with better formal records are forgotten! People around pool tables in bars are still saying he is the best pool player ever. He did make a very solid middle class living out of pool year in and year out. How many players then or now can make that claim?

When I think of all the skills and knowledge a pool player needs both on and off the table, Fats might be the best! I watched part of I think the first Wide World of Sports match between the two last night. Fats got Mosconi hot enough to bet anything Fats wanted to bet on the rest of the event! Willie threw his wallet on the table one event, maybe this one. Fats said play for a thousand. Peeled a thousand off a wad of cash and he still seemed to have a lot more than he peeled off!

You know things were getting bad when I tell you Howard Cosell was playing peacemaker!

Watched several of the Fats/Mosconi events and some of the "Legends" events. That was the kind of fun pool I think even nonplayers would watch. Put Fats and UJ Puckett on the same table and that was great entertainment! Not sure which was the greater showman, I'm not even sure who won, one thing for sure, the crowd won!

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10-16-2019, 06:02 AM

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Originally Posted by ShootingArts View Post
Well put! Fats will be remembered long after others with better formal records are forgotten! People around pool tables in bars are still saying he is the best pool player ever. He did make a very solid middle class living out of pool year in and year out. How many players then or now can make that claim?

When I think of all the skills and knowledge a pool player needs both on and off the table, Fats might be the best! I watched part of I think the first Wide World of Sports match between the two last night. Fats got Mosconi hot enough to bet anything Fats wanted to bet on the rest of the event! Willie threw his wallet on the table one event, maybe this one. Fats said play for a thousand. Peeled a thousand off a wad of cash and he still seemed to have a lot more than he peeled off!

You know things were getting bad when I tell you Howard Cosell was playing peacemaker!

Watched several of the Fats/Mosconi events and some of the "Legends" events. That was the kind of fun pool I think even nonplayers would watch. Put Fats and UJ Puckett on the same table and that was great entertainment! Not sure which was the greater showman, I'm not even sure who won, one thing for sure, the crowd won!

Hu
If it wasn't for "The Hustler" nobody would have ever heard of him. I know a gentleman who traveled the road with Fats and Squirrel back in the day. I asked him just how good he played and he said Fatty was a decent 1p player but a grade-A match-up artist. He either ducked top players or got the game in his favor. When the movie came out he claimed MF was based on him, a statement Tevis flat-out denied. Fats lived the rest of his life of the "fame". A showman for sure.
  
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10-16-2019, 06:03 AM

Hu, appreciated your post very much with one tiny disagreement-I would put Fats earnings at above middle class for that time in history.

I was a kid in the forties. Very few guys carried a wad like Fats and banks weren't trusted because of what happened with bank closures in the Depression.

He was upper middle class or better, financially.
  
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10-16-2019, 07:03 AM

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Originally Posted by garczar View Post
If it wasn't for "The Hustler" nobody would have ever heard of him. I know a gentleman who traveled the road with Fats and Squirrel back in the day. I asked him just how good he played and he said Fatty was a decent 1p player but a grade-A match-up artist. He either ducked top players or got the game in his favor. When the movie came out he claimed MF was based on him, a statement Tevis flat-out denied. Fats lived the rest of his life of the "fame". A showman for sure.
Exactly. He was good at making winnable games. And he took advantage of the fat man movie character opportunity and exploited the hell out of it, as any respectable opportunistic hustler would do.

However, as with most full-time gamblers who play on their own cash, nobody really knows how much money is won or lost. From their mouths you only hear about the wins. Winners often exaggerate their winnings while losers downplay their losses.

But I gotta give Wanderone props for his love of action, for his love of the game, and for his ability to capitalize on an opportunity that brought him fame. Well, he was never really famous...it was the name "Minnesota Fats" that became famous, that fictional character portrayed by Gleason. When pool players think of Minnesota Fats they don't picture a gloating Rudolph Wanderone going around setting up games he can win, living out of a car or motorhome. They picture the suave and refined Jackie Gleason, living the "good life" of a gambler, just like in the movie.

I imagine by the late 1970's there were 100's of decent fat pool players kicking themselves in the ass for not seizing the opportunity to become the great Minnesota Fats.


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10-16-2019, 07:11 AM

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Originally Posted by 3kushn View Post
I saw Fats play a couple hundred games through the 70's & 80's. Taught me some nice 3C shots. Supposedly 3C was his best game but of course no money in it.

Your description of Fat's game is spot on. But of course you know that.

Better come prepared playing banks or one pocket. Maybe not the best in the world but no pushover. I did see him play Ronnie Allen in St. Louis. I forget the outcome or spot, but remember it as a close game.
In JC Ronnie offered Fats 9-7 and Fats wanted 8-6, so I suspect the spot was something like that, maybe 9-7 on Fat's break and 8-6 on Ronnie's. Ronnie was in with Richie the first day they played and pulled up after that one day. He saw the light.
He told me later that it was a bad game for Richie. Fat's moved too good and banked too good!


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10-16-2019, 07:11 AM

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Originally Posted by jay helfert View Post
It took a very strong player to beat Fats at One Pocket, Banks or Three Cushions and only the champions could spot him. I saw Fats come into a roomful of champions and start woofing and having fun with them. I didn't see a lot of guys trying to make a game with him, and even the ones who did were very careful. He was a top flight gambler who played better the higher the bet and the more the pressure. At Pool, that is. He could be a sucker at cards.
I would've loved to been around in those days! I only know what I've read from the likes of Buddy Hall, Mosconi, and others on how Fats played. Most say he was a better matchmaker than a player. But maybe that's how Fats wanted to be viewed, always keeping his true speed under wraps.


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10-16-2019, 07:13 AM

Hats off to anyone still alive that can truthfully answer this question.

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10-16-2019, 07:13 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by BC21 View Post
Exactly. He was good at making winnable games. And he took advantage of the fat man movie character opportunity and exploited the hell out of it, as any respectable opportunistic hustler would do.

However, as with most full-time gamblers who play on their own cash, nobody really knows how much money is won or lost. From their mouths you only hear about the wins. Winners often exaggerate their winnings while losers downplay their losses.

I was a young fan of the Mosconi vs Fats matches, because I believed then that Fats was the real deal.
When I got older and started reading a bit, I learned it was all bs. Mosconi's beef with Fats stemmed from the fact that Fats established his own stardom by telling the world he was the best, so good there was a movie about him, so good nobody was safe with their cash, etc... And here was Mosconi, a proven world champion that needed no elaborate tales of glory to make people think he was something more than he really was. It's sad, imo, that in order to make a buck Mosconi had to participate in those televised matches with Fats.

But I gotta give Wanderone props for his love of action, for his love of the game, and for his ability to capitalize on an opportunity that brought him fame. Well, he was never really famous...it was the name "Minnesota Fats" that became famous, that fictional character portrayed by Gleason. When pool players think of Minnesota Fats they don't picture a gloating Rudolph Wanderone going around setting up games he can win, living out of a car or motorhome. They picture the suave and refined Jackie Gleason, living the "good life" of a gambler, just like in the movie.

I imagine by the late 1970's there were 100's of decent fat pool players kicking themselves in the ass for not seizing the opportunity to become the great Minnesota Fats.
Well said. Match-up artist and opportunist of the highest order. When it came to playing the game there were a bunch that would run over him. But his "fame" goes on. Ask a lot of people today to name a pool player and Willie Mosconi or Fats will often be first thing they say. They wouldn't know Crane, Caras, Sigel,etc. from the man in the moon.
  
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10-16-2019, 07:20 AM

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Originally Posted by FranCrimi View Post
I think Walderone had it wrong. It wasn't Tevis who used him as a basis for Minnesota Fats. I think it was Gleason. They were both from New York and both hung out in pool halls and probably knew each other, or at least, knew of each other. Many of Gleason's mannerisms in the film were similar to Walderone's, particularly a neck twitch.
Very astute observation here Fran. Gleason and Fats were hanging out in NYC poolrooms during the same time period. I always wondered about that twitch. It made me think that Tevis or Gleason had to know Fats. I was friends with Tevis and he absolutely swore he had never seen Fat's play. In fact he modeled his character more on Eddie Taylor who he did see play in Louisville.

Unlike Cruise, Gleason could play! Danny D. used to play 14.1 with him in Florida and Jackie could still put a couple of racks together.


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10-16-2019, 08:51 AM

Minnesota Fats said of Ronnie Allen, "Anybody who plays him for money ain't got no chance at all."
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10-16-2019, 11:00 AM

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Originally Posted by RiverCity View Post
Ever read the original incarnation of the Hustler story from Playboy magazine in 1957?

The character who would become Minnesota Fats in the Hustler had a twitch. The story was slightly different, with the original character not being suave and smooth. He was a twitchy suspicious criminal type.
That's very interesting. So you're saying that Tevis wrote a short story that would eventually incarnate into The Hustler? Did he specifically refer to a neck or facial twitch? That was pretty much Fatty's trademark for as far back as I can remember. I think it's a Turrets-type thing, rather than something intentional, though.
  
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10-16-2019, 11:06 AM

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Originally Posted by jay helfert View Post
Very astute observation here Fran. Gleason and Fats were hanging out in NYC poolrooms during the same time period. I always wondered about that twitch. It made me think that Tevis or Gleason had to know Fats. I was friends with Tevis and he absolutely swore he had never seen Fat's play. In fact he modeled his character more on Eddie Taylor who he did see play in Louisville.

Unlike Cruise, Gleason could play! Danny D. used to play 14.1 with him in Florida and Jackie could still put a couple of racks together.
Yup. And it wasn't until after the film came out and he saw Gleason's performance that Fatty changed his name.
  
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10-16-2019, 11:13 AM

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Originally Posted by rhinobywilhite View Post
Dean could probably know for sure but I don't think Fats ever had a job. Fats owned a home and drove a nice car.

How many of you current champs can say the same?

By the time he was playing Mosconi on "Wide World of Sports", Fats was well past his prime and Mosconi was in the same boat.

Mosconi still had plenty enough in the tank to whip.Fats pretty easily. People loved Fats for his theatrics.


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