Although there have been many different cinematic pictures that have included the game of billiards and pool, in the opinion of professional billiards tables and movie historians, the best movie that features the art of billiards is the 1961 classic film The Hustler, directed by Robert Rossen, starring Paul Newman and Jackie Gleason. It was also nominated for 6 Academy Awards including Best Picture and Best Actor in a Leading Role. But here is some other trivia that you might not have known:
Century Billiards is also connected to The Hustler. The Hustler was filmed on location in New York City and back in 1961, my family (my grandfather Pat Senior and my great uncle Jack) were working for the Brunswick Corporation, the company hired to do all the service work on all the pool tables in Ames Billiard Parlor on the second floor of the Hotel Claridge Times Square. You may or may not recall that is the hotel where The Hustler takes place.
While working on set, they were fortunate to cross paths with Willie Mosconi, the great pool legend, who was brought in as technical adviser and stand-in for the actors. We maintained a great personal relationship with him over through years until his death.
During the filming of the movie, sensational Actor Paul Newman who played the main character, Fast Eddie Felson, would practice daily with Willie Mosconi for several hours a day. Newman enjoyed learning the game and began to do quite a bit of shooting on his own personal pool table in Central Park West. My grandfather Pat Senior installed a Brunswick Gold Crown I. Newman actually became a good pool player and did most of his own shooting in the actual movie. Willie Mosconi was brought on to shoot the more challenging, impressive shots (such as the massé shot) with the camera focused mostly on the table.
For many billiard enthusiasts, the star of the show was Jackie Gleason, who portrayed the character Minnesota Fats. Gleason, who was a phenomenal pool player in his own right, did all of his own shooting in the entire movie. My family became very friendly with Gleason and performed service and repairs on his personal custom Anniversary model table that Brunswick had built just for him.
As time goes on, my family recalls many of the all-time great shooters that we have had the pleasure of working with in NYC such as Willie Hoppe, Cisero Murphy, Luther Lassiter, Jimmy Caras, Irving Crane, Joe Balsis, and Cue Ball Kelly.
What makes Century Billiards stand out from other companies is that we are truly a family owned and operated company that not only has passed down knowledge of the pool table industry but also great stories. Talk to a pool table expert today!