Bellflower Ca. circa 1971

baby huey

Verified Member
Joined
Oct 29, 2008
Messages
1,544
Bellflower Billiards was a haven of great players and lots of action for a couple of years around 1971. As the premier all night room, many a great player showed up for the happening each night. Here's just a few of the players who were there; Cole Dickson, Dr. Bill, Ritchie Florence, Wade Crane, Ronnie Allen, Eddie Burton, Ray Booth, NY Blackie, Alibi Al, Hawaiian Brian, Larry Liscotti, Larry Hubbard, Mike Siegal, Denny Sercey, Kieth MeCready and many more. The action table was the front snooker table where friday nights six ball ring game started off at $5/10 then would finish up early monday mornings sometimes at $20/40 or higher. The players moved in and out of the game all weekend with lots of stakehorses. As a young player I took a few shots in that six ball game but I just couldn't pull off a win. Those greats shot too straight. Larry Liscotti made the big money. He was just an awesome position player on that table. I believe over the course of a year he made 100K clear and took it all back to New England. Being an LA guy, this room was the best continous action I remember. Oh, there were were other rooms around the country where big scores were made but this room had action nonstop on every table all the time. As a shortstop, I was around another 50 or so shortstops so the woofing and matching up was an ongoing never ending stream of gaming each other. In earlier threads I've mentioned the Hollywood action but when it came to after hours nothing was better than Bellflower.
 

Island Drive

Verified Member
Joined
May 1, 2011
Messages
4,301
Didn't that room have and upstairs area?
The pool room itself, had allot of dark wood is a brief memory.
Also, the 5x10 table, was that the table that ended up at Hard Times after the room closed?
I played at Hard times on the 5x10 One time, there was a non famous player, that wore blue jeans, an older man that was great on that table.
I also remember hitting a ball into the lower left foot pocket.... I heard a murmur from the boys as it dropped. Humm I said to myself.
I checked the pocket and if the ball went in too slow, the cushion nose would pinch/stop the ball from entering. The opening was smaller than the ball.
 

mr3cushion

Verified Member
Joined
Sep 17, 2008
Messages
6,295
Jerry, I would of thought, Bob 'Black Bart-Big Bob' Ogburn would be in the thick of that action on a snooker table. I watched him play many times on that 6x12, super tight golf table at, The Congress Bowl in North Miami. He always got the cheese!
 

Dennis "Whitey" Young

Verified Member
Joined
Jul 8, 2017
Messages
2,040
I seen a pay pool game last 6 days, Cole won it. he He was the straightest shooter IMO at that time. Keith @ 14-15 yrs old would come and rob the table, then had to leave around 11 because of age curfew, but his stroke was so smooth and effortless, he made it look easy and with shape.

I'd go in there around midnight. One night during the period when Fred Whalen's 14.1 tournament was on, I went into the Palace and it was standing room only. There must of been 300 people in there, action on every table w/ wall to wall sweaters. The problem was that unless you were right close to a table you could not see the action for the cig smoke was so crazy thick.
The 5 x10 snooker table was one great table. One day Tweety Pie said watch this, and he froze the ob to the 2nd diamond long rail and ran it all the way down the rail right in the hole, and said; "now that is just one beautiful table"! He was right, it played so well, the cloth stayed so perfect year after year, as did the 6 x12. Whitey
 
Last edited:

Island Drive

Verified Member
Joined
May 1, 2011
Messages
4,301
Jerry, I would of thought, Bob 'Black Bart-Big Bob' Ogburn would be in the thick of that action on a snooker table. I watched him play many times on that 6x12, super tight golf table at, The Congress Bowl in North Miami. He always got the cheese!
I stayed in that area for a few weeks, 1968 Congress.... it was the first time I ever saw a 6 x12, with the rakes leaning upright against the walls, didn't even know they existed. I played a guy in there Bug Eyed, he wore bright, flashy green pants with a flashy matching shirt. I caromed at least five nine balls in during our $20 a rack game. He was a pretty good player, just that day on the Gold Crowns? I had the best of em. Dark hair and a round head, loooooooong time ago. I did see Diliberto in there, and was told at the time, he was also a great boxer.
 

gulfportdoc

Verified Member
Joined
Jun 25, 2004
Messages
10,188
Bellflower Billiards was a haven of great players and lots of action for a couple of years around 1971. As the premier all night room, many a great player showed up for the happening each night. Here's just a few of the players who were there; Cole Dickson, Dr. Bill, Ritchie Florence, Wade Crane, Ronnie Allen, Eddie Burton, Ray Booth, NY Blackie, Alibi Al, Hawaiian Brian, Larry Liscotti, Larry Hubbard, Mike Siegal, Denny Sercey, Kieth MeCready and many more. The action table was the front snooker table where friday nights six ball ring game started off at $5/10 then would finish up early monday mornings sometimes at $20/40 or higher. The players moved in and out of the game all weekend with lots of stakehorses. As a young player I took a few shots in that six ball game but I just couldn't pull off a win. Those greats shot too straight. Larry Liscotti made the big money. He was just an awesome position player on that table. I believe over the course of a year he made 100K clear and took it all back to New England. Being an LA guy, this room was the best continous action I remember. Oh, there were were other rooms around the country where big scores were made but this room had action nonstop on every table all the time. As a shortstop, I was around another 50 or so shortstops so the woofing and matching up was an ongoing never ending stream of gaming each other. In earlier threads I've mentioned the Hollywood action but when it came to after hours nothing was better than Bellflower.
Great story, Jerry. I was only in there once. I drove down with Hollywood Jack and a couple of other guys from Chopsticks Billiards in the Valley. We were all pilled up, and looking for action. Well, THEY were. I just went along for the ride. Like you say, it was wall to wall action. I think RA was there, Popcorn, Coke, Tony Ola, etc. I believe it was in '70 or '71. Great memories, but that sh*t would kill me today!..:oops:
 

jrhendy

Verified Member
Joined
May 24, 2004
Messages
4,777
Didn't that room have and upstairs area?
The pool room itself, had allot of dark wood is a brief memory.
Also, the 5x10 table, was that the table that ended up at Hard Times after the room closed?
I played at Hard times on the 5x10 One time, there was a non famous player, that wore blue jeans, an older man that was great on that table.
I also remember hitting a ball into the lower left foot pocket.... I heard a murmur from the boys as it dropped. Humm I said to myself.
I checked the pocket and if the ball went in too slow, the cushion nose would pinch/stop the ball from entering. The opening was smaller than the ball.
The table that ended up at Hard Times was the 6 x 12 ‘Big Bertha. When all the champions were playing pay ball on th 5 x 10 out front, many of the lo tier players were playing golf or liability snooker on Bertha.

Jerry is right, you never knew who you would see there. Seems like every champion in the country came through CA sooner or later.
 

jrhendy

Verified Member
Joined
May 24, 2004
Messages
4,777
Bellflower Billiards was a haven of great players and lots of action for a couple of years around 1971. As the premier all night room, many a great player showed up for the happening each night. Here's just a few of the players who were there; Cole Dickson, Dr. Bill, Ritchie Florence, Wade Crane, Ronnie Allen, Eddie Burton, Ray Booth, NY Blackie, Alibi Al, Hawaiian Brian, Larry Liscotti, Larry Hubbard, Mike Siegal, Denny Sercey, Kieth MeCready and many more. The action table was the front snooker table where friday nights six ball ring game started off at $5/10 then would finish up early monday mornings sometimes at $20/40 or higher. The players moved in and out of the game all weekend with lots of stakehorses. As a young player I took a few shots in that six ball game but I just couldn't pull off a win. Those greats shot too straight. Larry Liscotti made the big money. He was just an awesome position player on that table. I believe over the course of a year he made 100K clear and took it all back to New England. Being an LA guy, this room was the best continous action I remember. Oh, there were were other rooms around the country where big scores were made but this room had action nonstop on every table all the time. As a shortstop, I was around another 50 or so shortstops so the woofing and matching up was an ongoing never ending stream of gaming each other. In earlier threads I've mentioned the Hollywood action but when it came to after hours nothing was better than Bellflower.
I loved to play Ray Booth. There was a lot of conversation and we played 9 ball, one pocket and three cushion. One pocket, one handed and two handed. He was out here from Florida and not a champion, but a good player. I heard his best game was on a bar table. I doubt there was $100 difference one way or the other after playing 5/6 times.

Burton and Richie got into it in one of the pay ball games one time. The house rule was you payed immediately after balls were made and the player who made them was done shooting. Burton made a ball then missed and left an almost hanger and it was Richie‘s turn. Richie got down to shoot it and Burton layer his cue down in front of him and said pay up. Richie shot anyway and missed. After missing he punched Burton, who ran over to the counter, picked up some pool balls and fired one at Richie, missing his head by a few inches. That broke up the game for the day, but they were back at again the next day.
 

Billy Jackets

Verified Member
Joined
Sep 3, 2011
Messages
1,650
I was in Southern Calif in the mid 70s I remember going in a place about middle afternoon, there was no one there but the house man, I asked him if any body came in that gambled and he said , theres a guy sleeping under the last table that will play for up to 100 a game nine ball, I said , lets let him get some rest , and went back where I came from . I went in one big room in LA and I didn't see anybody I even remotely dreamed I could beat playing . Nobody seemed to ever miss, I knew that was not my spot if I wanted to keep eating. In retrospect, if I was ever going to be a real pool player, I should have moved next door to that place.
 

beatle

Verified Member
Joined
Jun 21, 2009
Messages
2,674
i used to go to bellflower mostly to see who was who so i could avoid them if i ran across them in a bar. same with congress in miami.
danny was a great fighter and never lost a fight. he had to give it up because his hands were weak and easily broke bones or something like that. he could throw a golf ball a country mile.
 

baby huey

Verified Member
Joined
Oct 29, 2008
Messages
1,544
What I really liked about Bellflower was the deals I got picking up cues from busted players. I could pick up cues for peanuts. But I also fell victim as well losing many a cue myself. To answer some earlier questions, Black Bart was there for a period. Hawaiian Brian, my partner, played Bob many a time. Brian got the cash in the end. What was funny to watch was 6'5" Bob playing 5'5" Brian. Bob would not play Brian 'climbing on the table' after their first match.
 

Jeff sparks

Verified Member
Joined
Apr 2, 2015
Messages
3,113
Bellflower Billiards was a haven of great players and lots of action for a couple of years around 1971. As the premier all night room, many a great player showed up for the happening each night. Here's just a few of the players who were there; Cole Dickson, Dr. Bill, Ritchie Florence, Wade Crane, Ronnie Allen, Eddie Burton, Ray Booth, NY Blackie, Alibi Al, Hawaiian Brian, Larry Liscotti, Larry Hubbard, Mike Siegal, Denny Sercey, Kieth MeCready and many more. The action table was the front snooker table where friday nights six ball ring game started off at $5/10 then would finish up early monday mornings sometimes at $20/40 or higher. The players moved in and out of the game all weekend with lots of stakehorses. As a young player I took a few shots in that six ball game but I just couldn't pull off a win. Those greats shot too straight. Larry Liscotti made the big money. He was just an awesome position player on that table. I believe over the course of a year he made 100K clear and took it all back to New England. Being an LA guy, this room was the best continous action I remember. Oh, there were were other rooms around the country where big scores were made but this room had action nonstop on every table all the time. As a shortstop, I was around another 50 or so shortstops so the woofing and matching up was an ongoing never ending stream of gaming each other. In earlier threads I've mentioned the Hollywood action but when it came to after hours nothing was better than Bellflower.
Keith was only 13 or 14 then, he tried to get in the ring game, but we wouldn’t let him play.... great action room...
 

Jeff sparks

Verified Member
Joined
Apr 2, 2015
Messages
3,113
i used to go to bellflower mostly to see who was who so i could avoid them if i ran across them in a bar. same with congress in miami.
danny was a great fighter and never lost a fight. he had to give it up because his hands were weak and easily broke bones or something like that. he could throw a golf ball a country mile.
There was a nine hole track at Johnston City and RA and I played it one day for $500.00 Dr. Bill and Danny D. were there to sweat the game ( Bill might remember this ) and side bet... We came to a par 3 that was 115 yds long... Danny D. said I’ll bet $100.00 a can throw a golf ball and land it on the green... Well I played some baseball and I did the math, that’s 345 feet! It’s like throwing a baseball from the left field wall in Yankee stadium all the way to home plate, on the fly! I said bet! He didn’t even warm up, he just did the standard double hop outfielder throw ice cold and the ball landed in the middle of the green... amazing, I couldn’t believe it... So, Danny could not only fight, he had a great arm also...
 

Dennis "Whitey" Young

Verified Member
Joined
Jul 8, 2017
Messages
2,040
I loved to play Ray Booth. There was a lot of conversation and we played 9 ball, one pocket and three cushion. One pocket, one handed and two handed. He was out here from Florida and not a champion, but a good player. I heard his best game was on a bar table. I doubt there was $100 difference one way or the other after playing 5/6 times.

Burton and Richie got into it in one of the pay ball games one time. The house rule was you payed immediately after balls were made and the player who made them was done shooting. Burton made a ball then missed and left an almost hanger and it was Richie‘s turn. Richie got down to shoot it and Burton layer his cue down in front of him and said pay up. Richie shot anyway and missed. After missing he punched Burton, who ran over to the counter, picked up some pool balls and fired one at Richie, missing his head by a few inches. That broke up the game for the day, but they were back at again the next day.
Yes, you had to pay up immediately, and if that busted you, you still was in the game for your shot, but if you missed you were out. That happen to once, busted but still had my shot left, and the guy left me a slight masse around a ball, and I just barely over juiced it, and I was out.

John I was playing on the #2 table front door side, OP, beside the #1 front table in which two young slim 30 yrs. old tall over 6 ft. that look like each other, were playing OP. It was obviously a prearrange match. They played 1 handed jacked up, and my god, it was if they were playing two handed, and they really were playing unbelievable OP. I was in awe.
Could this have been you, or do you know who these guys could of been, or maybe Jerry knows. I have always wondered who these marvelous one handed OP players were.

I remember one shot in the match I was playing; The guy left me straight in on a diagonal to my hole on the wrong side of the rack, so I drew the cb back to the opposite long rail past the side pocket and 3 rails around the table to get on the right side of the rack for a shot. Nice to have a stroke, and funny how a guy can remember one shot. Whitey
 
Last edited:

jrhendy

Verified Member
Joined
May 24, 2004
Messages
4,777
Yes, you had to pay up immediately, and if that busted you, you still was in the game for your shot, but if you missed you were out. That happen to once, busted but still had my shot left, and the guy left me a slight masse around a ball, and I just barely over juiced it, and I was out.

John I was playing on the #2 table front door side, OP, beside the #1 front table in which two young slim 30 yrs. old tall over 6 ft. that look like each other, were playing OP. It was obviously a prearrange match. They played 1 handed jacked up, and my god, it was if they were playing two handed, and they really were playing unbelievable OP. I was in awe.
Could this have been you, or do you know who these guys could of been, or maybe Jerry knows. I have always wondered who these marvelous one handed OP players were.

I remember one shot in the match I was playing; The guy left me straight in on a diagonal to my hole on the wrong side of the rack, so I drew the cb back to the opposite long rail past the side pocket and 3 rails around the table to get on the right side of the rack for a shot. Nice to have a stroke, and funny how a guy can remember one shot. Whitey
Could have been me Whitey, I was a good one handed player, not great and I was thinner then and Ray Booth was quite thin. I also used to play a thin guy named Ronnie who was the eye in the sky at a local poker club. Richard Cook (Buck tooth) was down there quite a bit in those days and he was a great one handed player, maybe a ball or so under Ronnie Allen.

I did not fool with the big boys, I had three sons by then and was a working stiff who got down there when I could. There were not many that had a job that could beat me playing anything, especially on the snooker table. We had a game almost every Weds that was on Bertha in the back room. It was usually $3 or $5 a point liability snooker and would often go on all night and I would go straight to work in the morning. Even the champions stayed out of that game because it was such a trap table. They might jump in once and a while if nothing else was going on, but usually did not last long. I remember Hippy Jimmy Reid jumped in with hair past his shoulders and playing barefoot. Hawaiian Brian got in once and got so frustrated with the table, he layer a stack of $ on the bench and said take what you have coming. There was no rake, you just got up on the table when you had to. Even at $3 a point you might win $6/800 in an all-nighter game. Tweety and Jimmy Van played around my speed, but always got to drinking.

Great memories.
 

Dennis "Whitey" Young

Verified Member
Joined
Jul 8, 2017
Messages
2,040
John,
Playing on the table beside you jacked up one handed OP players was to much heat for my opponent, since your action drew a herd of sweaters. So my guy wanted to move to another table, I was upset for I had a front row seat, and like I said I was in awe, but what can you do, so I did not get to continue watching this great match up.

One day I seen Danny Gartner setting in there all by himself just checking out the action. I wish I would of talked to him. But in looking up him online then NY Blackie comes up and I see he stayed with Little Al. I was wondering about this; the main players '70 in pay pool was Cole and Little Al, but there was another player I knew as Mexican Al, he shot pay pool really well, any info on him. In appearance he looks similar to NY Blackie which I have never met, could Mexican Al have been an alias.

During the daytime in the Palace I would get lucky sometimes, and sometimes it was tough action. But I got to play Keith and Vern Peterson and a couple other guys pay pool. At that time Vern had sold the Palace to Butch, but I heard that Vern had a great stick at pay pool a few years back. After the game broke up, Vern payed me a compliment saying; "Whitey is playing the best of us". I got a compliment from Jimmy Reid after he watched me playing Popcorn pay pool on the 6 x12; " I just have to say; "I have not seen shooting like this in a long time". I was stoning in balls frozen/jacked up over balls and off the short rails. I only played less than 4 yrs, so do not have that much to hold on to, so those two comments are precious for me.

The tough action would happen when I'd go in there and get onto a table and pretty much I am the only one in there, for there must of been a pipe line to players from Butch, for in comes someone to play me, and you maybe playing a champion. For instance; one day a guy asked me to play 8-ball which was different/weird, and was he ever wired and shot that way, afterwards a guy comes up to me and said; "you just played the guy the won the Vegas 8-ball Championship. It also happened this way when I first met Ernesto, a boy champion like Keith. He was a year or two younger than me, but had been playing many years compared to me. I had, had enough, so I quit, and then he said; "I'll play you left handed", ok, well he played as good left handed, I was so green and such a newbie, he was running with Mataya who was a young champion and watching. One day a guy came in and asked me to play bank pool, that never happened before, but I could match him, Donnie Anderson.

Great memories, especially on the 6 x12 which was in the main room and then moved to the back room. As Keith stated in his HOF speech; " I have to believe it was the Palace and Vern that I attribute to my playing". It was that way for me, I do not know, as a player, what I would of done if it was not for the Palace, for it made it real for me. Whitey
 
Last edited:

12squared

Verified Member
Joined
Mar 14, 2005
Messages
2,061
John,
Playing on the table beside you jacked up one handed OP players was to much heat for my opponent, since your action drew a herd of sweaters. So my guy wanted to move to another table, I was upset for I had a front row seat, and like I said I was in awe, but what can you do, so I did not get to continue watching this great match up.

One day I seen Danny Gartner setting in there all by himself just checking out the action. I wish I would of talked to him. But in looking up him online then NY Blackie comes up and I see he stayed with Little Al. I was wondering about this; the main players '70 in pay pool was Cole and Little Al, but there was another player I knew as Mexican Al, he shot pay pool really well, any info on him. In appearance he looks similar to NY Blackie which I have never met, could Mexican Al have been an alias.

During the daytime in the Palace I would get lucky sometimes, and sometimes it was tough action. But I got to play Keith and Vern Peterson and a couple other guys pay pool. At that time Vern had sold the Palace to Butch, but I heard that Vern had a great stick at pay pool a few years back. After the game broke up, Vern payed me a compliment saying; "Whitey is playing the best of us". I got a compliment from Jimmy Reid after he watched me playing Popcorn pay pool on the 6 x12; " I just have to say; "I have not seen shooting like this in a long time". I was stoning in balls frozen/jacked up over balls and off the short rails. I only played less than 4 yrs, so do not have that much to hold on to, so those two comments are precious for me.

The tough action would happen when I'd go in there and get onto a table and pretty much I am the only one in there, for there must of been a pipe line to players from Butch, for in comes someone to play me, and you maybe playing a champion. For instance; one day a guy asked me to play 8-ball which was different/weird, and was he ever wired and shot that way, afterwards a guy comes up to me and said; "you just played the guy the won the Vegas 8-ball Championship. It also happened this way when I first met Ernesto, a boy champion like Keith. He was a year or two younger than me, but had been playing many years compared to me. I had had enough, so I quit, and then he said; "I'll play you left handed", ok, well he played as good left handed, I was so green and such a newbie, he was running with Mataya who was a young champion and watching. One day a guy came in and asked me to play bank pool, that never happened before, but I could match him, Donnie Anderson.

Great memories, especially on the 6 x12 which was in the main room and then moved to the back room. As Keith stated in his HOF speech; " I have to believe it was the Palace and Vern that I attribute to my playing". It was that way for me, I do not know, as a player, what I would done if it was not for the Palace, for it made it real for me. Whitey
Damn right you hang on to those compliments, they are priceless and great memories. Thanks for sharing, Whitey.
 

Dennis "Whitey" Young

Verified Member
Joined
Jul 8, 2017
Messages
2,040
I believe John, Jerry, and Frank who were from the area would generally agree that this era early 70's was not a tournament era, meaning; there was just no tournaments around to go to, nor did pool hall's host tournaments, it was all about hustling. Yes, there was Whalen's and there was a few other straight pool world championships in the mid 60's, of which I went to. I did go to a 9-ball tournament at Paramount Billiards in LB. But these tournaments were mainly not open tournaments. In '73 they had the State 14.1 Championships, Vern Peterson won it, and it was open.

There were to distinct players, tournament players and hustlers. So when Larry Liscotti got invited to Whalen's and did so well, 3rd, I then believe the hustlers felt great pride, that yes we can play with the tourny players, I know I felt pretty proud, and happy for Larry.

So it was much different then, and probably very hard for younger members to realize what it was actually like. 9-ball was such a different game that there is no way a player of today can even imagine just how great a game it was.

I watched the Mosconi Cup action 3 & 4 years back, and I said to myself the players of the early 70's era would not of give up like that. Very few shots were missed at the Palace, they were sharp shooters to say the least but generally not so much that great of shape players with a few exceptions. But who needs that great of shape if you can shoot. But I really never recall a money ball being missed. It just did not happen, a very tough breed!

It is now good to see our players step up and regain the cup!

But as far as the Palace goes, the top players did not match up, Billy Johnson would set there for a month and never get a game. But they would butt heads in pay pool at times. 9-ball was the main game. The quintessential great hustler to immolate would be Hawaiian Brian. I got to see him play a half dozen times and he would not play 9-ball but always 10 ball. For all I know he might of been the person that first started playing 10 ball. But he would always come in and have a match pre-arranged, and I never seen him loose. He pocketed and played shape very clean.

It did not matter if you were a champion, champion beater, or not, they were all hustlers and the amount of money was relevant only in the fact of how fat you were with cash. Sometimes a 10 was as good as a 100, and so forth, it did not matter it was all action. Whitey
 
Top