Mosconi at Bensinger's

twister

Verified Member
Joined
Oct 13, 2004
Messages
256
Check out this find I recently picked up. It's an old 4x5 negative from 1959 of Mosconi shooting a trick shot called the 'Drunken Sailor shot' (?) at a pool hall located at 29 W Randolph in Chicago, and lo and behold, the pool hall just happens to be the one and only Bensinger's, where it relocated to after it moved from its previous Wabash address and before it moved to the North side. (Pretty sure that's right, but feel free to correct me.) It's pretty rare to find original photos in good condition of well-known pool and billiard players this old, let alone negatives. The photo here is a jpeg from a scan I did of the negative. Anyways, just thought some of you Chicagoans and fellow pool lovers would enjoy it.

Mosconi_drunken_sailor_shot_chicago2.jpg
 

KindlyOleUncleDave

Verified Member
Joined
May 8, 2007
Messages
539
seats and such

seats and such

twister said:
Check out this find I recently picked up. It's an old 4x5 negative from 1959 of Mosconi shooting a trick shot called the 'Drunken Sailor shot' (?) at a pool hall located at 29 W Randolph in Chicago, and lo and behold, the pool hall just happens to be the one and only Bensinger's, where it relocated to after it moved from its previous Wabash address and before it moved to the North side. (Pretty sure that's right, but feel free to correct me.) It's pretty rare to find original photos in good condition of well-known pool and billiard players this old, let alone negatives. The photo here is a jpeg from a scan I did of the negative. Anyways, just thought some of you Chicagoans and fellow pool lovers would enjoy it.
And might a casual observer note the style of seating provided the rail-bird: those chairs were built for long term observation and perhaps some heavy sweating. Contrast this with the no-lumbar-support bleachers considered the 'crem de la crem ' in some establishments .. or barstools .... or icecream parlor iron chairs that dig into the spine.

The room owners of today might wish to take note. Yes, of course seating like that might cost 2 or 3 tables however few large city rooms depend these days upon table time to bust the nut and packing people in to watch quality competition would have to make up that differential in food and drinks.

Idealistic daydreamer? Maybe.

Thanks for the pic.

And a plug .... good seating (best I have seen since the Palace in SF) ... The Jointed Cue in Sacramento, CA
 

SJDinPHX

Suspended
Joined
Dec 7, 2007
Messages
9,226
KindlyOleUncleDave said:
And might a casual observer note the style of seating provided the rail-bird: those chairs were built for long term observation and perhaps some heavy sweating. Contrast this with the no-lumbar-support bleachers considered the 'crem de la crem ' in some establishments .. or barstools .... or icecream parlor iron chairs that dig into the spine.

The room owners of today might wish to take note. Yes, of course seating like that might cost 2 or 3 tables however few large city rooms depend these days upon table time to bust the nut and packing people in to watch quality competition would have to make up that differential in food and drinks.

Idealistic daydreamer? Maybe.

Thanks for the pic.

And a plug .... good seating (best I have seen since the Palace in SF) ... The Jointed Cue in Sacramento, CA
I see all the comfy chairs, but I only see two spectators...I hope they are all up at the counter spending money...:D
 

lll

Verified Member
Joined
Mar 19, 2007
Messages
15,751
willie mosconi jumping the q ball:eek: the straight pool gods mut be rolling over where ever they are (nyc i gyess:rolleyes: )
 

androd

Verified Member
Joined
Dec 10, 2008
Messages
7,292
lll said:
willie mosconi jumping the q ball:eek: the straight pool gods mut be rolling over where ever they are (nyc i gyess:rolleyes: )
Not only the CB, the OB also. I'm betting the CB drew back into the corner.;)
Rod
 

lll

Verified Member
Joined
Mar 19, 2007
Messages
15,751
if anyone has ever seen gradys video where he shows how to jump the object ball to get position all over the table (not a jump q but the q hitting the object ball first) is some demonstration to someone at my level
 

KindlyOleUncleDave

Verified Member
Joined
May 8, 2007
Messages
539
SJDinPHX said:
I see all the comfy chairs, but I only see two spectators...I hope they are all up at the counter spending money...:D
Hell Richard... it IS after all Bensingers. And from F.the Beard's description of the air quality in there those may just be folks who have not yet been tagged and picked up by the meat wagon.

And Damn, you are a brutal tough guy! I'll bet you could take advantage of an idiot and sleep like a baby thereafter.

I was thinking in terms of modern establishments: the old rooms were not as tuned in to the nonhourly marketing sources .... heck, even the Doctor at the Palace did not have to cut the house in on the dispensary's volume of product moved...... The point is that spending any time observing, even in a nice place like HT Sacramento, is a strain on older bodies and it should not be so as old guys gots all the money (that women have not yet gotten their hooks on...) and will part with it but not through torture.
 

usblues

Verified Member
Joined
Oct 1, 2007
Messages
1,324
practice?

practice?

Judging from the guy sitting closest to Mosconi,is that they he's a workman and they just put those seats up for an exhibition later in the day.Great pic,thanks,Bob
 

fred bentivegna

Verified Member
Joined
Feb 2, 2005
Messages
6,690
The tournament room

The tournament room

twister said:
Check out this find I recently picked up. It's an old 4x5 negative from 1959 of Mosconi shooting a trick shot called the 'Drunken Sailor shot' (?) at a pool hall located at 29 W Randolph in Chicago, and lo and behold, the pool hall just happens to be the one and only Bensinger's, where it relocated to after it moved from its previous Wabash address and before it moved to the North side. (Pretty sure that's right, but feel free to correct me.) It's pretty rare to find original photos in good condition of well-known pool and billiard players this old, let alone negatives. The photo here is a jpeg from a scan I did of the negative. Anyways, just thought some of you Chicagoans and fellow pool lovers would enjoy it.

View attachment 979
29 W Randolph is correct. I attended many of Mosconi's exhibitions at the old Bensingers. In 1959 I was in the US Army in Germany.

A few facts: that bad air was not present in this version of Bensingers. The bad air joint was in a basement on N Clark from 1962 on. "Dank air and musty netherworld," was a fabulous description of that Bensingers by Grady Mathews.

This was the do-dad Bensingers, and was situated not in a cellar but on the 6th floor. The tournament/exhibition room had a floor all to itself, and this is where that pic was taken. A billiard and a pool table were surrounded by bleachers with theater seats.
In its glory days this Bensingers had one whole floor devoted to Billiard tables, another to pool, another to snooker, one for exhibitions, and finally one whole floor for bowling.

Beard

It was at one of those Mosconi exhibs that I had the displeasure of seeing him miss a ball, and then launch his cuestick like a spear into the wall.
 

NH Steve

Administrator
Joined
Apr 25, 2004
Messages
9,237
Yes, thanks for sharing that photo, twister -- great find!!!

Somebody below spoke about this probably having been shot early in the day during set-up, prior to an exhibition. I agree with that.

From a photographer point of view, I can see that there was a very bright light placed somewhere over the left shoulder of the photographer -- bright enough that it completely overwhelmed the usual table lights (notice no shadows under the cushions at all, and only on the back side of the balls). Presumably it was a flash -- although a lot of those old pros did not want their eyes subjected to bright flash while shooting. Modern electronic flashes "freeze" the action a bit more than what I see here, but I imagine the older bulbs might have had a little more linger in their effect...
 

mosconiac

Verified Member
Joined
Jul 22, 2005
Messages
237
Thanks for the photo, Freddie. I pay attention to anything tagged with Willie's name. :D

BTW, a friend of mine opened the Green Rooms in Chicago. You may have stopped in to one of them (there were 3 before he sold out & invested in his next venture). Anyway, he used old theater seats in his rooms. Each row was higher than the previous so all could sit in comfort & have a good view.
 

CaliRed

Verified Member
Joined
Dec 16, 2008
Messages
1,963
mosconiac said:
Thanks for the photo, Freddie. I pay attention to anything tagged with Willie's name. :D

BTW, a friend of mine opened the Green Rooms in Chicago. You may have stopped in to one of them (there were 3 before he sold out & invested in his next venture). Anyway, he used old theater seats in his rooms. Each row was higher than the previous so all could sit in comfort & have a good view.
Just so were thanking the right guy here... thanks for the photo, twister. I love to see the shots of a whole pool room, then if it's high resolution, you can view it as original size and see a whole bunch of cool details. If you have a imagination like I do, you can take yourself back to those days and picture yourself being there on that moment of time.

Hey, I lived out in the country growing up, if you didn't have a imagination, you were in for a lot of boredom.:D Playing with myself, had a different meaning back then:eek:
 
Top