View Full Version : Did you know this about "The Hustler" ?

05-02-2004, 04:51 PM
May 2, 2004
Typecast as a Pool Hall

. Didn't they shoot the pool scenes in "The Hustler" somewhere in New York?

A. Indeed they did. The classic 1961 pool movie, starring Paul Newman as Fast Eddie Felson and Jackie Gleason as Minnesota Fats, used the Ames Billiard Academy in Times Square, a second-floor loft at 160 West 44th Street, at Seventh Avenue, for its on-location pool hall.

Just off camera during the weeks of shooting was Willie Mosconi, then the national pocket billiards champion, who shot for Newman in the close-ups (Gleason, a hustler himself, did his own shooting). Mosconi also had to set up shots easy enough for the actors to polish off when the scene called for it.

The pool hall was deliberately dirtied up to help underscore the film's seedy mood, with a cracked-paint job, knee-high spittoons and a faded poster reading "Please do not spit on the floor." In fact, the real Ames played host to the New York State three-cushion championships in the 60's. (For some players, three-cushion is to pocket billiards as Dom Perignon is to Night Train.)

New York added real larceny to the local color during the shooting: two municipal electrical inspectors were arrested and charged with trying to shake down 20th Century Fox to overlook any electrical violations on the set.

Changing pastimes and the decline of Times Square took its toll on Ames. "The place later became a hangout for those just kicked out of the movie houses at 4 in the morning," the owner, Abe Ames, said in July 1966, when the poolroom closed its doors. Furthermore, all the hustlers were playing elsewhere in big-money tournaments, thanks in part to the success of the movie that Ames helped bring to life.

A high-rise tower occupies that block, and the poolroom's corner now houses the studio for the ABC show "Good Morning America."

And here's a piece of trivia for would-be hustlers: The film's working title during the New York shooting was "Sin of Angels."

05-03-2004, 08:46 AM
When I first started playing, I use to go to a seedy poolroom called Julians on 14th st (since torn down) they use to claim the Hustler was shot there. ( I think they might have bought the old Ames 'Billiards' sign?) I believed it... but later learned about Ames.
Thanks for posting this info, it was fun to read all the details.

By the way my friend bought the 'Billiards' sign, when Julians closed, and has it stored at his family's home in Long island. Wonder what it would be worth if it really was once the Ames sign...? I think there is a shot of it in The Hustler...but I may be imagining that...
It just says Billiards and I may have a picture, as I used Julians once for a photo shoot. I'll look for it and see if I can post it.

05-03-2004, 09:46 AM
I read the Julians was the place also, so you could be right. The entry way had a unique look in the movie, do you remember if they looked the same? That posted story came from a newspaper story in the NY Times I think and any story in the newspaper can be full of inaccuracies. Also there were several pool rooms in the movie, maybe Julians was in a different shot and not the one in the beginning with Fats. The way they shoot movies can be strange. In the movie Smoky and the Bandit II there is a scene where they go down a alley next to a building of mine, I watched them shooting the scene. In the movie, when they come out of the other end of the alley it was shot in a different city where they liked the way that street looked better. In the back of my alley is a parking lot. That could be the case with the Hustler. The outside may be a different place from where they shot the inside scenes. Both stories may be correct. In the movie Harry and son with Paul Newman, there is one scene where they are on Los Olas Blvd. in Fort Lauderdale Fla, then a few minutes later they get to the beach and there are cliffs in the background. That scene must have been shot I California and edited like it was all in one place. That is how movies are made.

#### leonard
05-03-2004, 10:14 AM
My mentor Joe Canton,Watervliet,NY set what CueBall Kelly thought was a Worlds Record of running 100 or better in every match he played at Julians in the early 50s. He played there for 6 weeks straight weeks.

He was playing so good that Julians tried to arrange a match with Willie Mosconi. Willie had heard how well he was playing and would not play him on a 4 1/2x 9 only a 5x10.

That put Joe at a height disadvantage being just 5ft3 not that Willie towered over him.####

06-09-2004, 03:13 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote PQQLK9:</font><hr> May 2, 2004

Just off camera during the weeks of shooting was Willie Mosconi, then the national pocket billiards champion, who shot for Newman in the close-ups (Gleason, a hustler himself, did his own shooting). <hr /></blockquote>

An additional tidbit about Willie Mosconi... he wasn't just off camera and more than his hands were in the movie. He was the guy in Ame's that Gleason told "Hold the Stake, Willie".

Also, being the one to always enjoy mistakes in films, there is one shot where Newman calls a 12 ball corner pocket, and obvious bank shot, hits the twelve, banks it into the four and makes the four. The shot looked so good that they didn't edit it out and if you listen, you can hear him say "Twelve ball, corner pocket" and the four goes center. Didn't catch this on my own, but finally after wearing out more than one VHS copy of "The Hustler" got it on CD and they point these things out in the Extra Menu Items on the CD.


Up WAY too late reading backwards in the boards...

06-09-2004, 04:02 AM
Howdy folks,
Thanks for bringing back some memories.
Back then I did not realize Julians was a seedy place.In early 80s I lost 2 dollars to a guy who looked like homeless man.We played 8 Ball for 1 dollar a game.I could not afford any more losses and I quit.cheers

06-09-2004, 06:38 AM
Thanks for the Info on the CD. I will now buy it.

Chris Cass
06-09-2004, 07:20 AM

They named it Famous Julians since the movie.



06-09-2004, 12:13 PM

To add one more, Newman told me the movie was a 41 day shoot. Now it seems it takes that long just to set up. He still couldn't chalk a cue correct! LOL


06-09-2004, 12:23 PM
Also when Gleason shoot the trick shot where he calls the ball out of the rack in the corner near where he is shooting, it looks like the cueball scratches but they cut it just before the ball goes in. I think there are some problems with the time line the first time they play as well. I would have to see it again.

06-09-2004, 04:33 PM
Very interesting stuff.

Also, there's more here:


Steve Lipsky
06-09-2004, 04:45 PM
Popcorn, I've noticed that too about the scratch and it's always driven me crazy, lol.

- Steve

06-11-2004, 03:26 AM
Hi Malice:

Thanks for the trivia address.

I heard (probably on a talk show) that during the shoot Newman played Gleason for $50.

Gleason won easily.

But Newman was a great practical joker....

He paid off in pennies!!!