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Old 11-11-2013, 09:14 AM
Gameface Gameface is offline
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Default Five Points Bowl and Other SoCal Action Circa 1970

First off, I'm new (lurked forever) so let me thank all the powers that be for running a great site.

Now then let's get down to business. As a kid, my father would often tell me his war stories about growing up in a Pool Hall/ Bowling Alley. The hustles, colorful characters, gambling, etc. Being a denezin of El Monte, CA that meant Five Points. He would often say that he attended Arroyo High School, but graduated from the Five Points School of F*cking lol.

Moving right along, I was mesmerized as a kid hearing stories about Alibi Al, Curly (Dice Mechanic), Joe Vissey, Keith McCready, Popcorn, Waterdoggy, and many more. I remember him pointing out Keither to me at Santa Anita. It was my 10th B-Day.

Long story short, I'd love to be regaled with any and all stories about the action scene. More importantly however is sharing the stories with my old man; of his favorite stomping grounds back in the day.

One of the first tales I heard involved Bucktooth and his trusty mop/broom handle. My pops, and most of the room emptied out on the feller getting to shoot with his shaft only. They was wrong. The 'Tooth busted the joint with broom stick. Apparently him furiously chalking the "tip" was really quite the site.

Last edited by Gameface; 11-11-2013 at 09:25 AM.
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  #2  
Old 11-11-2013, 10:05 AM
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jrhendy jrhendy is offline
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Originally Posted by Gameface View Post
First off, I'm new (lurked forever) so let me thank all the powers that be for running a great site.

Now then let's get down to business. As a kid, my father would often tell me his war stories about growing up in a Pool Hall/ Bowling Alley. The hustles, colorful characters, gambling, etc. Being a denezin of El Monte, CA that meant Five Points. He would often say that he attended Arroyo High School, but graduated from the Five Points School of F*cking lol.

Moving right along, I was mesmerized as a kid hearing stories about Alibi Al, Curly (Dice Mechanic), Joe Vissey, Keith McCready, Popcorn, Waterdoggy, and many more. I remember him pointing out Keither to me at Santa Anita. It was my 10th B-Day.

Long story short, I'd love to be regaled with any and all stories about the action scene. More importantly however is sharing the stories with my old man; of his favorite stomping grounds back in the day.

One of the first tales I heard involved Bucktooth and his trusty mop/broom handle. My pops, and most of the room emptied out on the feller getting to shoot with his shaft only. They was wrong. The 'Tooth busted the joint with broom stick. Apparently him furiously chalking the "tip" was really quite the site.
I will start off with Alibi Al and Joe Veasey. They came to town together and had us convinced Al was the player. Took a whle but we finally figured out Joe was the much better player and Al was an action freak who would gamble on anything. I never booked a loser against Al playing pool and quickly learned Joe was too good. Al taught me to play tonk and won some of it back.

Curly was from Texas and his old friend Indian Joe Monzingo opened up a room called The Golden Cue in Rosemead that was another action spot, especially after Five Points Bowl slowed down. The room moved to So. El Monte in the 80's and is still there. Curly used the bump with the dice off a board and anytime a dice game started, they called Curly to bust it.

I met Curly and Joe at an old room called The Smoker in El Monte in the 60's. Probably knew your dad too.
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Old 11-11-2013, 10:32 AM
Gameface Gameface is offline
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John, my dad definitely remembers you. I asked, then later showed him some of your YouTube stuff.

Curly and Russell, who iirc was his protege are absolute legends in the L.A dice world gone-by. You certainly never woulda known it by looking at Curly anyway. Checking payphones for change, halfway mumbling random shit.

Alibi Al, and his goofy nickname was used to teach me not to complain and make excuses as a kid. I never confirmed if he was as much of a sniveling, winer as I was told.

Ohh yeah, and Hendy, my dad was known as "Bogus Bob" although he didn't refer to himself as such.
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Old 11-11-2013, 12:08 PM
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jrhendy jrhendy is offline
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John, my dad definitely remembers you. I asked, then later showed him some of your YouTube stuff.

Curly and Russell, who iirc was his protege are absolute legends in the L.A dice world gone-by. You certainly never woulda known it by looking at Curly anyway. Checking payphones for change, halfway mumbling random shit.

Alibi Al, and his goofy nickname was used to teach me not to complain and make excuses as a kid. I never confirmed if he was as much of a sniveling, winer as I was told.

Ohh yeah, and Hendy, my dad was known as "Bogus Bob" although he didn't refer to himself as such.
Al wasn't a whiner, except when he was going off and explaining to his backer about how bad the rolls were going. If your dad ever bet on him, he heard plenty of it.

He was pretty treacherous, as were most of the guys on the road, but was a ball to be around. I spent some time at Santa Anita Racetrack with him, and he loved the horses. Last time I saw him, years ago, he was running blackjack games in cowboy bars in Oregon. He was sporting a big diamond ring and was running pretty good.

Say hi to Bob for me. Ask him if he remembers Molly Bee at Arroyo.
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Old 11-11-2013, 01:20 PM
Frank Almanza Frank Almanza is offline
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Originally Posted by Gameface View Post
First off, I'm new (lurked forever) so let me thank all the powers that be for running a great site.

Now then let's get down to business. As a kid, my father would often tell me his war stories about growing up in a Pool Hall/ Bowling Alley. The hustles, colorful characters, gambling, etc. Being a denezin of El Monte, CA that meant Five Points. He would often say that he attended Arroyo High School, but graduated from the Five Points School of F*cking lol.

Moving right along, I was mesmerized as a kid hearing stories about Alibi Al, Curly (Dice Mechanic), Joe Vissey, Keith McCready, Popcorn, Waterdoggy, and many more. I remember him pointing out Keither to me at Santa Anita. It was my 10th B-Day.

Long story short, I'd love to be regaled with any and all stories about the action scene. More importantly however is sharing the stories with my old man; of his favorite stomping grounds back in the day.

One of the first tales I heard involved Bucktooth and his trusty mop/broom handle. My pops, and most of the room emptied out on the feller getting to shoot with his shaft only. They was wrong. The 'Tooth busted the joint with broom stick. Apparently him furiously chalking the "tip" was really quite the site.
I played plenty in that area in the sixties and seventies and I played every player mentioned here (maybe I'll start a beat list) and only losing to Don Watson. I did get the last two from Keith. Can you post a picture of your dad. I'm sure I must have known him. Frank "the barber" Almanza

Last edited by Frank Almanza; 11-11-2013 at 01:37 PM.
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Old 11-11-2013, 03:18 PM
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SJDinPHX SJDinPHX is offline
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I met Curly and Joe at an old room called The Smoker in El Monte in the 60's. Probably knew your dad too.
John or Frank,

I know the action moved around a lot in the LA area. And as you know, I did not go down there often.. I do remember, in the late 50's, early 60's, the Wonder Bowl was a pretty regular hangout for all the scuff's back then... Harry the Horse used it as his home base for several years.

My question is, what was the flow back then ?.. Did Five Points or Tropicana, precede, come after, or were they active during the Wonder Bowl years ?..A real young Popcorn usually steered me around, on the rare occasions I went down there. In those days, he pretty much hung out at Hollywood and Western. (downstairs) Remember I moved to Texas in late '62, and for the next 30-40 yrs., rarely got to LA !

My memory is getting worse daily, but I don't remember ever being in any of the joints you guys are talking about... Help me clear the cobwebs a little, as to where the action was, and when ???

Thanks, Dick
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Old 11-11-2013, 05:05 PM
Gameface Gameface is offline
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^^ Frank, he remembers you also. By the way he loved the pics of your home room that were posted up. I must say you did a hell of a job. When I see him later ill see if he's cool with being outted to the world. The only thing he's trying to sneak up on is the OTB Window.

Y'all were so lucky to be able to F**K off a good portion of life's earlier years at such high quality action spots. I can't even claim there was 24hour Carnival of Hustlers and Gambling where I was busy wasting my potential.
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Old 11-11-2013, 11:18 PM
Joe Spinella Joe Spinella is offline
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I think you are talking about a guy I went to school with at Arroyo. His name was Bob Curtello, I think thats how it was spelled He hung out at five points, I hung out at pool hall on Valley blvd called Karom and Cue. If this is the same Bob I am thinkig of, I last saw him at Santa Anita race track,we were about 18 or 19 years old. He came up to me and said, Joe I got a hot horse The name of the horse was MIghty Gun. He showed me his tickets. I looked at the tote board his horse was 80 to 1 I laughed and said good luck. Well the horse came in and paid $162 and change. I have told that story at least 162 times. If this is the Bob I think I know tell him hello, If not please ignore this reply
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Old 11-12-2013, 12:47 AM
Gameface Gameface is offline
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I think you are talking about a guy I went to school with at Arroyo. His name was Bob Curtello, I think thats how it was spelled He hung out at five points, I hung out at pool hall on Valley blvd called Karom and Cue. If this is the same Bob I am thinkig of, I last saw him at Santa Anita race track,we were about 18 or 19 years old. He came up to me and said, Joe I got a hot horse The name of the horse was MIghty Gun. He showed me his tickets. I looked at the tote board his horse was 80 to 1 I laughed and said good luck. Well the horse came in and paid $162 and change. I have told that story at least 162 times. If this is the Bob I think I know tell him hello, If not please ignore this reply


You nailed it Sir. Even got light-weight close on the spelling. He says hello and great to hear from you. Oddly enough you popped into his head outta no-where, very very recently. I shit you not. Still going to the track here and there. Missed photo in the 4 hole of a super at GG today. It paid $60K. Unusual Talent: 20-1. Singled in all P3/ P4/ etc: AirBall . Hey had my $17 to win tho. Left a little winner. Can you believe GG had a $60K SuperFecta!!! Jesus know he won't shut up running me down Joe Spinella memory lane

Last edited by Gameface; 11-12-2013 at 12:55 AM.
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  #10  
Old 11-12-2013, 01:04 AM
beatle beatle is offline
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alibi al played quite well but always dogged it for more than 50 a game. he couldnt beat anyone that played for that. he also tried to change his nickname to international al. it worked for all newer people to meet him.
i doubt al ever accumulated more than ten thousand in his lifetime.
overall he was or is a great guy and fun to be around. he mellowed out and was a decent guy and pretty trustworthy later on.
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