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Comments: Being from the East Coast, and growing up around bowling in the 60s and 70s, I saw my share of action matches. And although I didn’t get up to New York as much as I wanted, I managed to see Ernie Schlegel, Richie Hornreich, Ralph Engan, Fred Lening, Joey Berardi, Jack Winters, Jimmy McHugh, Iggy Russo and some of the other top action stars in action. Remember the fake heart attack when someone was betting both sides and found they couldn’t afford to win the match?… or lose it? It was a great and colorful era…Jim Dressel (editor, Bowlers Journal)
How Action Bowlers.com was started…
It was sometime in the mid 90s when I attempted to find some information and stories about the greatest time period of my life, the 60s when I was a full time action bowler. To my surprise I couldn’t find anything about it using all the major search engines. I was very disappointed, instead of just forgetting about it I started a messageboard and guestbook titled action bowlers.
I received the number one position in Yahoo using those keywords and received lots of traffic. Many of the best known and most famous action bowlers from the past and present including many PBA bowlers visited and left behind nice comments and stories, word of mouth also helped a lot.
Everything was going great and then disaster struck. The company that was hosting my messageboard and guestbook went out of business and I lost all those precious stories, comments and tributes. I was about to give up but a week or so later I started actionbowlers.com, I learned how to create a website and now have the only site on the internet dedicated to all the great actionbowlers past and present. AC butch
I saw the “Action Bowlers” story in Bowlers Journal and just HAD TO interview AC Butch. I finally got a hold of him and we did it. - AC Butch Radio Interview
His Show will be on the internet starting Wednesday, May 2. Each Show is “on” for a week – 24-hours a day. You can access the Show by clicking-on the Phantom Logo on the home page of this site.
I will tell you that AC Butch did a terrific interview, one of the VERY BEST that we have had. He is one of the MOST INTERESTING people in all of bowling.
P.S. This is a GREAT SITE.
The late fifties and sixties were the hay days of action bowling in the metropolitan area.
The large new bowling establishments came to New York for the first time; bowling became much more popular than ever before. This was prior to, and including, the early days of the PBA, (Professional Bowlers Association) when the prize money was really low. Most of the really good area bowlers were action bowlers, even the ones that joined the PBA. Many of the bowling centers were opened 24 hours a day, most of them had house bowlers that would take on the outside hustlers who traveled around looking for easy marks.
Many of the better bowlers became legends in the New York area. You could walk into many bowling establishments any night of the week after midnight, the place would be packed with bowlers and their backers from all over the tri State area looking for the same thing! ACTION. A few hundred people might be there, bookies, shy locks, lawyers, business men, street people, all for the same reason, to watch and bet on some of the greatest bowlers in the world competing against each other, what a sight, occasionally every pair in the house would have a match game going on, at around 3 am or so, any and every night of the week, it was action heaven.
Like sport teams, and horses, the action bowlers had very loyal followings. There were also the backers, many of which had their own stable of bowlers, they would arrange matches and give their bowler a percentage of the winnings, if there were any. They also backed a lot of guys on the PBA tour and took a piece of the pie. New York bowlers were known through out the country as action bowlers. This whole scene started to die out in the late seventies, a lot of the bowling alleys were closing down, the ones that remained open started shutting the doors after the leagues ended for the night, the 24hr day no longer existed. We’ll probably never see these type of bowlers and action again.
They were a very unique breed in a very unique time….butch.
Coincidence or did the PBA finally take my advise?
Read my article below, The PBA, my worst nightmare, posted Dec. 1998,
at which time the PBA visited this site and we exchanged e-mails
The PBA, My Worst Nightmare
My name is AC butch, I’m from Brooklyn NY and I started bowling action in 1957 at the age of 13. These were the great days of bowling before the PBA came along and corrupted it. This site is dedicated to the truly greats of the game, the action bowlers.
The PBA screwed up right from day one; many of the bowlers that signed with them in the early years were great characters loaded with color and personality. The PBA, being the idiots that they are, not only didn’t take advantage of the greatest show on earth, but chose to penalize and strip these people of their natural gamesmanship and emotion. Tennis became so popular because of the bad boys of the game; bowlings bad boys could have made everyone else look like wanna bees. Instead of highlighting what people love to see the most, it was wrongfully taken away from all of us. The greatness of any head to head competition is the unmonitored emotion that goes with it; the PBA turned potential super stars into robots. Bowling always received good ratings, If I were producing the show the ratings would have been spectacular. The guy who initiated the dress code for TV should of been put in jail for robbing the great personalities of the game of their identity, not to mention the huge amounts of additional income they could of earned along with the notoriety they would have received. Because of my love of the game, I watched bowling every Saturday for years, these were the same guys I bowled with and against in my early days, when I would see the Joe College make over the PBA did on them, I wanted to puke, and many times did. While I’m at it, I might as well also blast this organization for being piss poor contract negotiators, how in the world are golf and tennis pros making fortunes, when the most popular game of all is still in the dark ages of prize funds, they should be at the very least, ten times what they are. This site is not for the average bowling fan. It’s for all the people that were involved with the great action bowling of the past, to my knowledge; it doesn’t exist any more, at least not to the extent of what it was. I would like everyone that was, or is, part of the action scene, to share their memories, good or bad, with all the visitors to this site. At present I am working on a motion picture deal with Fine Line Cinema about my life story, the working title is ACTION. It’s about the hay days of action bowling from the fifties through the seventies….
This is my opinion of the PBA organization, not the bowlers, who I think are the greatest.
Clifford Nordquist a.k.a. AC butch
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