So You Want To Be A Pro?
 Then you better read the
 25th anniversary edition
    of this 1983 article




( This is a reprint of an article that appeared in three 1983 issues

of Bowling Highlights, Denver Colorado –Jim Chestney, publisher)





    The following is a 3-part story.  But, like all tales, it is based on

an element of fact.  How much fact? Let your imagination decide.

Any resemblance between the names of the characters, and real

persons, living or dead is purely coincidental.  And,  if you believe

that - I’ll sell you a bridge… (…at the touch of a button)




The Cast:

THE PBO…  Professional Bowlers Organization

PBO Founder… Eddie E. Liar

PBO Commissioner… Joe Anti-moral

PBO Director… Hairless “Juice” Goldwig

AC-DC  TV Announcer… Chris Stinkel

AC-DC  TV Color Man… Nielsen “B.O.” Bourbon

PBO Lane Maintenance Directors…  Lane Marshall & Al  E. Gator

Bowling fan and tourist…  Joe Bowler – and countless other

bowlers and weirdos.



    Our story begins on the palm-lined sandy beaches on a resort

island in the Florida Keys.  Lane Marshall and Al  E. Gator, are

sipping on pina coladas under a large umbrella, shielding them-

selves from the hot tropical sun.  Lane and Al have served as

lane maintenance directors for the PBO for the last ten years.

      “Al, maybe we went too far to prove our point.  If the PBO

catches up with us they’ll shoot us, Eddie E. Liar will have us for

lunch! ”  (Eddie is the Founder of the PBO).

      Al chuckled nervously.  “ Maybe.   Or, maybe they’d pay us a

hundred grand or so, to keep quiet and not let the cat out of the


     Lane eyed his pina colada passionately.   “One thing’s certain,

the bowlers would love to hear what really goes on out there.

And I’m sure they’re wondering after watching last week’s show.”

     A voice from behind their view startled them.  “Did I hear you

say bowlers?”  Lane almost choked on an ice cube.  A balding

overweight man in his early forties stood there in checkered

bermuda shorts, his white legs reflecting the sun to a point that

Al’s eyes were watering from the glare.  “Hey, I know you guys.

My name’s Joe Bowler.  You are the PBO lane men, right?”

    The strain had been too much.  The rich Jamaican rum was

starting to act like a truth serum, and the boys ached to share

the weight of the heavy secrets on their chest.  “We used to be

the lane men.  We quit last Friday.  Did you see the TV finals on

Saturday, Joe?”  Al was squeezing his glass so tightly it seemed

it would break any second.

     “ No,  just the first few games of qualifying. I’m a bowling nut,

but my wife didn’t want to spend our whole vacation in a bowling

alley.  Why, who won? ”

     The question seemed to almost bring on an anxiety attack,

and Al ushered the dark-tanned cocktail waitress for two more

pitchers of coladas.  “And hurry!” he added, tipping her five


     “I’ll tell you who won in time, but first I’ve got to tell you the

events that lead up to the thing.  It started back in the sixties,

the dawn days of the PBO.  Very little was understood about lane

conditioning.  When someone won, like Fully Rollwick or Carmel-

corn Saliva,  it was simply assumed that they were bowling the

best that week.  But, sometimes it happened that nine or ten of

the sixteen finalists were left-handed, and since only ten lefties

were entered, common sense told us they couldn’t be bowling

that good.  So we studied the lanes, and hired Big Hogloo to

control the lefty-righty thing.  If there were too many lefties after

the first block or two of qualifying, well, he’d just slop a little oil

out there on the left side.  Well,  then we found out that some

weeks there would be 14  full-rollers in the 16-man finals, and

some weeks there’d be no full-rollers.  And, some weeks every-

one in the finals were down-and-in players, and some weeks they

were all swingers.  So the situation had to be studied in depth. 

Sam Blocker was put on the staff.  During the ensuing years the

PBO learned how to make sure that if 16% of the bowlers were

left-handed, 16% of the total purse would go to them at the end

of the year.  If the swingers were making too much money,  the

down-and-inners would soon catch up.  The PBO was learning

with leaps and bounds, how to control the lanes, and yes, even to

determine the winners.  And that’s when Eddie E. Liar came up

with this crazy idea.”

     Joe Bowler looked puzzled.   “ What idea was that ??? ”


PBO PLOY - PART 2                   

     Joe was puzzled.   “ What idea was that, Al ??? ”

     “ Image, ” Lane broke in.   “ Image. ”

     Joe Bowler was totally confused.  Lane was plucking the

feathers from the ornamental bird on his pina colada stir stick.

“ You see, Eddie was thinking,  ‘ Who cares about equality in

Bowling.  What really matters is the Nielsen ratings.  And AC-DC

TV.  That’s where the big bucks are! ’  And how do you have the

highest ratings?  It’s Image.   Surveys have shown that when

certain interesting colorful bowlers are on the show, the ratings

soar.  But get some drab ho-hum dude on there, and it’s disaster.

And image is much more than raw bowling talent, it’s much more.

It’s charisma.  You’ve either got it, or you haven’t.  Take Ernie

Schyecchel.  He can dress up like Evil Kneivil or Julie Andrews

and he’s still going to be a duck.   No charisma, no image. ”             

     A bikini-clad beauty wiggled by, stopping Lane’s flow of

thought.  Al took over.

     “So that’s when Eddie bought this computer. State of the art.

Cost three million five!  It can do everything but make love.  So

Eddie, and Joe Anti-moral, the PBO Commissioner, Sam Blocker,

and some of the best programmers in the world, sat down and

figured out how to make this thing work…

     Before long, they were doing amazing things.  If they wanted

Earl Unearthly on the show, but no other lefties, the IBM would

punch out the appropriate dressing type, quantity, distance, and

shim settings.  Presto, enter Earl the Squirrel!  If they wanted

Mork Wrath and Herschel Showman, there they were. ” 

     Joe Bowler was getting very uneasy.  “ Are you telling me

when my idol, Mike Turban wins, that it’s a fix, a hoax? ”

     Al was sucking hard into a pitcher of ice cubes.  The rude

sound prompted Lane to usher the girl for a new pitcher of

coladas.  “ Mike Turban is an exception.  He bowls well in spite

of the computer.  Remember, he has God on his side. ”

     Joe nodded.   “ That’s right,  Mike’s a preacher. ”

     “No, no, not that God! ”  choked Al.   “I mean Bull Taylor,  his

bowling coach.  With Bull’s help, Mike can hit a fourth of a board

nine out of ten times.  But most players don’t have Turban’s

talent.  They’re at the mercy of the computer.  And that computer

will do what Eddie has trained it to do.  Get the highest Nielsen

ratings.  Earl brings the highest ratings, so Eddie’s made him

Bowler of the Decade.  The viewers love Herschel, too,  even

though he’s a bad boy.  They identify with his violent temper and

rack-kicking. & Mork Wrath, they love to watch him twist it up! ”

     Joe protested,  “ But lately you see new faces every week. ”

     “ Now you’re catching on! ”  There was mania in Al’s eyes.    

     “ They got bored with Unearthly.  After 200 TV appearances,

it’s like watching Father Knows Best reruns.  The folks want new

faces, they’re hungry for new blood.  Herschel Showman gets

great ratings so Eddie lets him make the show most every week.

Eddie can’t stand him, though, so he won’t let him win. He makes

the show, loses, and goes off to pout.  It’s driving him bananas. ”

      Joe couldn’t believe what he was hearing.  “Are you telling

me, then, that all these new dudes winning each week, that it’s

all planned? ” 

      Lane was getting blitzed on the rum.  His eyes went out of

focus.  “Right on, man.  Eddie E. Liar is trying out new winners to

see if they have that certain image.  Every week it’s someone

new.  Gary Skidball,  Art Trash,  Skim Milker,  Sal Who-am-I, Norm

Fluke, …the list goes on and on.  To-be Contrary got the highest

ratings.  He’s got an Ultra-Brite smile and jumps six ball racks at

a time.  They love him.

     “ So you still haven’t said why you quit. ”      Al threw an ice

cube.  “ Wouldn’t you quit?   We remember when bowlers won! 

Fully Rollwick would split boards.  Dick Rubber would create his

own area with his finely tuned footwork and timing.  Now, there’s

no game left, just politics.  So we had our fill and quit.  But before

we left, we gave them a week of bowling they’ll never forget! ”

     By now Joe was so shook he poured himself a drink, and

looked at Al and Lane with wild, starry eyes.

     “ What the hell did you guys do ??? ”


PBO PLOY PART 3  -  “Button, Button, who’s got the Button? ”


     By now Joe was so shook he poured himself a drink, and

looked at Al and Lane with wild, starry eyes.

     “ What the hell did you guys do ??? ”

     “ We couldn’t just leave knowing how they were manipulating

the bowlers and the viewers.  We had to put a monkey wrench in

their machine.  And where else to make the “exit la grande” but

at Don Smarters’ Bowl in Miami …the $400,000 Burger Queen

Open!  “ Do you remember last time Burger Queen sponsored an

event? ”

      Joe was a die-hard fan.  “Sure, who doesn’t?  Randy Bigmouth

won.  And when Chris Stinkel asked him what he was going to do

with all those greenbacks he said  ‘I’m sure the hell not going to

buy any Boppers with it!’”

       Lane gulped down a half a pack of Rolaids, then summoned

the girl for two more pitchers of drinks.  But this time, instead of

coladas, it was tequila sunrises.  “ That coconut juice will kill

you. ”  He looked intense. “ Yes, that was a dark day for the PBO.

They lost one of the biggest sponsors they ever had.  Last year

Burger Queen president, Wally Whaler called Eddie, and said,

‘ All is forgiven.  We’d like to sponsor the richest PBO event ever.’

Eddie swore that he’d treat them like gold.  So what’s the last

thing he’d like to see in Miami? ”

       Joe’s eyes were like silver dollars.  “ You guys didn’t ?! 

Oh no,  Randy made the show ?! ”

       Al giggled,  totally blitzed,  Joe was afraid he’d pass out

before the story was told.  “ You ain’t heard nothin’ yet. 

Remember what was so unique about the Miami open ? ”

       Joe thought back.  “ Well, they let special non-members bowl

who had given a lifetime of service to the PBO.  A one-time

honorary chance to bowl with the pros. ”

       Right Joe.  There was Hairless Goldwig, the PBO Director,

Chris Stinkel, and a dozen or so representatives from the

companies who sponsor all the big ones, year after year.  Like

Wally Whaler of Burger Queen, and Rolly Hills of Miller Stills, and

B.F. Good-and-rich from Tireblown Rubber.  They’re all about 165

shooters. ” 

       Joe was getting impatient.  “ Please Al, get to the point! ”

       Lane looked over, obviously slurring.  “ The point is,  Joe,

that this time we decided who we wanted on the show, fed the

computer lots of data on these fellas, and out came the lane

conditioning printout.  By the time Eddie E. Liar and Joe Anti-

moral got wind of what was happening, it was too late.  They

flew to Miami, but we had already split.  We also took the

necessary precaution of changing the entry code on the

computer, so they couldn’t change the programming.  By the time

they got programmers out there, the semis were over.  The top 5

were decided for the next days’ TV show. And here’s how it was;


  1. 1. Randy Bigmouth;   2. Wally (two-hands) Whaler;

3. Chris Stinkel;   4.  B.F. Good-and-rich;   and of course,

5.  Mike Turbin. ”


So Eddie and Joe pondered the dilemma.  Great damage had

already been done.  With these yo-yo’s on the tube, the Nielsen

Ratings would drop just below Big Time Wrestling.  But if anyone

won the title other than Mike Turban, they’d be laughed out of

the country.  If Bigmouth won again, God knows what he’d say

about those hamburgers!  So they punched in the new data.  The

IBM printer clicked out new instructions for Saturdays’ lanes… ”

      Lane was one toke over the line.  He stretched out on the

sand and passed out.   Al took over.   “ You see, this computer is

so smart it knows that Turban likes to point it right up at ’em. 

And it can give a 3 board area to the pocket, and yet shut out

anyone with a bigger hook or different angle. ”  Joe’s jaw was

gaping, and he stood there listening, saying nothing.  Al went on.

“ Eddie and Joe were so panicky they overdid it.  Right out of the

box Turban shoots 279.   His “opponent” shot 106.  This poor guy

was humiliated.  He was just a 160 shooter, no match for the

computer.  So then Turban took on Stinkel.   The really sad part

of Stinkel bowling on TV is somebody had to take his place with

B.O. Bourbon.  Dave Biles was sick, so they called in Howard Co-

star.  Talk about fallen Nielsen Ratings!  Twice Co-star called the

Burger Queen president a common street bum.  Stinkel bowled a

respectable 189.     But guess what Turban shot? ”

     Joe made a couple of odd, grunting sounds.    “ A 300 !?! ”

The crowd was going nuts.  The vice-president of Truly Worthless

Hardware was on hand to present the $50,000 check.   He smiled

faintly, but you could see from the veins popping out in his neck

that he was about to have a stroke.  So now Turban bowls this

Wally Whaler.     Whaler shot 128.    Guess what Turban had? ” 

Joe looked like some Frisco freak on a bad trip.   “ Another 300! ”

This time the hardware guy goes straight to a pay phone and he’s

not smiling.

     So now it’s the grande finals:    Turban and Bigmouth.

Turban is hitting a splinter every shot.  And while E. Liar is having

this heated conversation with the hardware guy, Mike keeps

stringing ’em.  Turban had the match won, so Anti-moral had the    

security guards escort Turban’s coach, Bull Taylor, out the door,

hoping to destroy his bid for a third perfecto, & another $50,000.

Didn’t work.    Crunch, crunch, crunch.    Three 300’s !!! 

The Truly Worthless Hardware man threw his drink in Eddie E.

Liar’s face.  And Randy Bigmouth, was he hot!  145, and never hit

the pocket. ”

     Joe was mumbling something incoherent.  “ It’s not over yet! ”

Lane broke in, sobering up for the final act.    “ Howard, had the

audacity to call Randy up for his 2nd place check.  “ This $30,000

will buy you a lot of Boppers,  right Randy? ”   All he got out was,

“ I’ll tell you what you can do with those Boppers… ” when Eddie

came running down the approach,  jumped three ball racks, and

tackled Bigmouth like Mean Joe Greene.  “ Say it and I’ll kill you,

you *M<X%!>!$!X!/G!!  blankety-blank !! ”  It was such a mess that

AC-DC TV blanked out 20 million sets,  putting them on terminal

technical difficulties. They never did come back for the wrap-up!”


No one said a word for ten minutes. You could hear the ice melt.

Finally, Joe asked weakly, “ What are you guys gonna do now? ”

     Lane looked at Al.   They felt better getting this load off their

chests.     Al smiled at Joe.     “ Lay low for awhile, maybe go to

Sweden for an identity change.   Down the road,  who knows ??

Maybe get involved with a respectable sport… like,  Ice Hockey

or Roller Derby...       



*Ed. Note: Jim Chestney is also, a former PBA national member.          


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