Tag Archives: Pool Movies
Posted on 29. Sep, 2008 by Fieldhammer.
Fast Eddie Felson. Cool Hand Luke. Henry Gondorff. Frank Galvin. Butch Cassidy. All smokers. All Dead.
Late last Friday September 26, legendary actor and salad dressing entrepreneur Paul Newman died after a lengthy battle with lung cancer. Newman was a heavy smoker on and off screen until the 70′s when he quit the habit.
Fast Eddie lights up and chalks up.
Newman’s most famous role is well known to pool players. Even in 2008 it is common to hear quotes from both “The Hustler” and “The Color of Money” tossed around amidst playful woofing.
It is hard to believe the tremendous impact on the industry that “The Hustler” and “C.O.M.” had on the billiard industry. Just in the Twin Cities, pool room count with 20 or more tables increased in number more than tenfold between 1986 and 1988. This can be attributed to the 1986 release of “The Color of Money”.
Newman wasn’t a pool player before filming “The Hustler”. Released in 1961, it caused a pool boom 25 years before “Color”. Based on Walter Tevis’ fictional novel of the same name, Fast Eddie Felson stalks big money straight pool action with Minnesota Fats played by the late Jackie Gleason.
Notice the late Willie Mosconi at the far left of the frame. A dominant force in 14.1 for years, Mosconi played the part of “Willie” in “The Hustler”. Relegated to holding the money, he is never seen in frame with a cue in his hand. Mosconi was hired as a technical consultant and was a stand-in shooter for a few of the more difficult pool shots.
In the sequel, Mike Sigel filled the role as technical adviser. Strange that a left handed player himself wouldn’t coach the actors Newman and Tom Cruise to swap positions for the lag shot. Every single time that I’ve lagged for break against a southpaw, I stand on the left. No bumpin’ butts during the lag.
I enjoyed both movies plus a handful of others starring Newman. “Cool Hand Luke”, “The Sting”, and “The Verdict” are three of his best. He will best remembered for the gambling, drinking, womanizing, and hustling role of Fast Eddie Felson. Thanks for the everlasting contribution to billiard history.
“You owe me money!”
I wish his charitable spirit would have endowed a “Hole in the Pockets Gang” pool tour. Wouldn’t it have been grand if loved the game enough to step in and be kinder, gentler, and more honest Keven Trudeau?