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12-31-2003, 05:14 PM
Month-long program focuses on creator of The Hustler

Walter Tevis penned what is arguably the greatest novel ever written about the game of pool.

"He actually created the pool hall industry, almost," Kowars said. "After that movie, bowling alleys started putting pool tables in and Brunswick got six months behind on producing tables."

Tevis' book also inspired a number of pool players active in the late 1950s and early 1960s to claim to be the inspirations for the characters of "Fast Eddie" and "Minnesota Fats."

The best known of these false claimants was an overweight man named Rudolph Wanderone, who appropriated the name "Minnesota Fats" and began collecting billiard endorsement deals and netting appearances on televised matches with Willie Mosconi, Utley Puckett and Luther Lassiter, among others.

Wanderone, particularly, frustrated the creator of "Minnesota Fats."

Tevis insisted, Kowars said, "that later editions of The Hustler carry a preface that said 'I made up Minnesota Fats just as Walt Disney made up Donald Duck.'" He insisted that any later publications say that Rudolf Wanderone was a fraud and that Minnesota Fats was a figment of his imagination ... in the world we live in today, Walter would have probably sued (Wanderone) and won money."

When Wanderone died in 1996, Kowars published an article in Billiards Magazine reiterating Tevis' disclaimers regarding the bogus "Minnesota Fats."

http://www.thisweeknews.com/thisweek.php?edition=common&story=thisweeknews/010104/common/News/010104-News-356442.html