Joe Falcaro

Not many people can watch a bowling match. About 250 were sitting last week in the little L-shaped stand extemporized behind and down one side of Dwyer's Broadway alleys in Manhattan, watching Joe Falcaro and Joe Scribner shoot for the world's championship. An exciting moment had arrived, a climax that had been nine days brewing, half the time in Detroit, where the match started, but Scribner paid no attention to the shouts that followed each little wooden thunderstorm as his strikes took the pins. A tall, tightlipped, plainly dressed fellow, looking more like a sexton than a sportsman, he bowled with a quick yet automatic motion and uncanny accuracy at the spot between No. 1 and No. 3 pins which a bowler must hit if he means to clean his alley. Joe Falcaro could hardly sit still while Scribner bowled, and when his own turn came he capered with excitement while the ball was on its way and gesticulated triumphantly or angrily after it had struck. At intervals he cried, 'Atta boy, Joe!"

Falcaro had won the fifth block. He had been 38 pins behind when it began, but he won it by 195. Then Scribner started. Bowling as duffers bowl in their dreams, he made the scorer put down for him again and again that little mark in the corner of his card which means that a bowler has taken all ten pins with his first ball. He had pulled up to within 46 of Falcaro. Even Falcaro's black-eyed friends, habitués of "Falcaro's Recreations," the alley and indoor golf course he runs with his brother and brother-in-law in a Manhattan suburb, had to give Scribner a hand. The pin-boys were glaring at Falcaro because in his nervousness he bowled so hard that the pins were flying every which way. He made his score safe again, and though Scribner won the last block it made no difference. Total pins were what counted for the title and the winner's cut of the purse—Falcaro 12,932, Scribner 12,803

Most unfortunate bowler at last week's Congress was famed Joe Falcaro, who has bowled 37 perfect games in 24 years.

Eight years ago, beady-eyed little Falcaro, whose right thumb is approximately twice as big as his left, won bowling's nearest equivalent to a true U. S. championship— the match-game title, for which claimants can challenge the holder. He promptly retired to his Manhattan bowling academy, hung up a sign advertising himself as the "undefeated match-game champion." Eager to prove that a high-class bowler really can win the A. B. C. individual championship, Champion Falcaro last week set out for the Congress on the first day, fractured his wrist when his taxi hit another car. He got the date of his appearance postponed a month, went home to wait for his wrist to mend.

Joe Falcaro was known as "Chesty," not because he was a big man physically but because he was a proud, forceful, and feisty competitor. He was one of the pioneers in conducting exhibitions and performing trick shots. Andy Varipapa, known as ,the greatest "Trick Shot Artist" and "the Clown Prince of Bowling," credited Falcaro with giving him his start to fame.