Monday, September 29, 2008

Pool Hall Reviews

We watched the movie THE COLOR OF MONEY with Paul Newman and Tom Cruise this weekend. It is a movie about playing pool for money. Big money.

The walk up slim stairways to the pool hall and the street level pool hall in the movie reminded me of two places we used to go as teenagers.

We first started playing at the Teenage canteen (T.A.C.) In a short time we moved our fun to the Pastime Billiards on Roswell Street near the corner of Waddell Street. For a while there after enough of us teenagers started playing pool there it was almost like our own little social clubs, BOYS ONLY – not unlike Tubby’s Club in Li’l Lulu comics.

A little fellow by the name of Neal owned pastime and it was very much a mom & pop establishment. When he asked for parental permission slips we willfully gave him the parental permission slip, signed by one of our female school mates. I think a sweet simple minded little cheerleader Nancy M. signed most of the slips.

One time Doctor M., the high school’s official sports doctor saw some of us leave and reported our names to the school. I don’t remember how we got out of that, probably by showing our official parental permission slips signed by Nancy M.

Always looking for new land to conquer we ventured to Red’s Pool Hall near the corner of Lemon and Cherokee Streets. It was dark and gloomy and looked too much like the kind of place if their was a stabbing or shooting there would be no witnesses…. Or at least nobody to claim they witnessed it.

We wanted to see some big time riff-raff kinds of pool halls only Atlanta would have. One night a group of us went to one on Forsyth Street. I was a amazed at the enormous room with a sea of pool tables with the constant clicking of balls. The place stunk of nicotine and smoke. There, like the movie today, they had raised seats against the wall. Probably the same kind of seats that were used for shoe-shine stands. You could see several pool games at once. It was fascinating to see the green money bills peeled off a larger stack and hand the winner. I bet thousands of dollars changed hands in the very short time we were there.

I don’t remember actually playing pool there. It is kind of like swimming in shark infested waters. But we did enjoy watching the skills of pool. It is a game of physics. You have to “eye” your angle your cue ball will hit the ball and knowing the target hit will also reflect at the same angle and predict where it will go, what it will hit to cause another mentally physic formula.

Another pool hall was one block up from the Varsity on North Avenue. We heard about that place and during senior week a few of us cut class, as all other seniors did, had lunch at The Varsity and went to the pool hall up the street. You had to walk up a long narrow stairs to get to the second floor to the pool hall. I wondered how they moved all those pool tables up that long narrow staircase? We did play there. I think they had a different system there for paying there. It has been a long time but maybe you rented your table by the hour.

And deja Vu !!! After we finished our games we went down the stairs out onto the sidewalk and one of us swears Dr. M., the same guy who reported us before, rode by in his car and did a double take. That gave us something to worry about but nothing ever became of it. Well, we always had some fine-mess we were worried about how to explain ourselves out of – back then we were no angels.

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