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Saturday, July 29, 2017


Tales from the Hall – Part II

As the center of the universe for many of my generation, the pool hall on Baptist St. provided many a necessity for a young man. The fact that you might actually get into a game of pool was secondary to the camaraderie that could be had by just showing up. It was where everyone met on a Saturday to make plans for the upcoming evening and night. It was not a hang-out for ne’er-do-wells as was usually the case with a pool hall. The clientele consisted of future presidents of large companies, future doctors, lawyers and people who genuinely contributed to the betterment of society.

The real surge came in the spring of 1962. That was when the movie, The Hustler, came out. It starred Paul Neuman and Jackie Gleason. I saw it six times and savored every viewing. C. R. Hook relates that he saw it with a date and after the movie they were going to the old English Grill on Main St. to use the phone. Their path took them past the pool room and the sound of the balls clicking together took precedence over any interest he had in the girl. Such was the magic of the game.

C. R. told another amusing story about O. J. Brittingham. It seems it was just before Christmas and O. J. was the Santa Claus in the little house on the Court House lawn. O. J. was shooting a game of pool when he realized that he had to go on duty at Santa’s house. He simply went out to his car and came back in with his Santa suit and proceeded to change right there. Remember, there were no women in the pool hall. He then walked right out of the pool hall and up Main St. to Santa’s house. C. R. said that about two hours later he and a friend were walking up Main St. to go to Read’s Drug Store to get a soda. As they were walking past Penney’s, which was right across Main St., C. R. heard Britt’s raspy voice inquiring where they were going. When they told him Read’s, he said “Well, bring Santa back two packs of Luckies”.

In those days we followed the pool players from the major players such as Minnesota Fats (Rudolph Wanderone), Luther (Wimpy) Lassiter, Willie Mosconi and Jimmy Caras to the local favorites. It seemed like every town had their “player”, and when two of them got together it was glorious. They would square off and the match would last for hours. Just being a spectator was a real treat.

I’m sure there are a million more stories that can be recalled from the long ago experiences in “The Pool Hall”.


Anonymous said...

We had some decent pool halls in Delmar,but my favorite was in the upstairs of what is now the Old Mill Crabhouse.Long before the restaurant came along there were various businesses in that building,ranging from a hardware store to some sort of a feed store.I believe the feed store was in operation when the pool hall was upstairs,but someone from Delmar might chime in and correct me.

Anonymous said...

Remember Mr. Lane (first name ?) and Squirrel ?

Anonymous said...

Harland, I think

George Chevallier said...

Harlan Lane is correct. Squirrel's real name was Early Childress. Along with Raymond Nichols and Snake, they held down the fort. Those were the days.

Don Skidmore said...

i have some old memories when my grandpop would take me to the pool hall and Red's barbershop went many a saturday with him to johnny&sammies to meet with his cronies many leaders of the community showed up there for coffee

Don Skidmore said...

and who remembers little mikes pool hall in snow hill?

Anonymous said...

Rack....Bassett Lol