View Full Version : Memorable encounters because of pool

Fran Crimi
02-03-2003, 12:18 PM
Anyone ever have any memorable encounters because they play pool? I've had a few but there's one that sticks out most in my mind that I'll never forget.

Typical day at the local pool room. All the regulars were there, including Gus the limo driver in his favorite spot at the video poker machine. Gus called me over and asked me to play a hand for him, maybe bring him some luck. As luck would have it I pulled a royal straight flush. He won $700 and was thrilled. Pure luck. He would've gotten it if he played the hand himself. So he kept after me that evening to buy me dinner. Said he wouldn't sleep until he repaid me, so I finally agreed to get it over with.

We get into his limo at 11PM and he says he knows just the place. We pulled up in front of a pretty famous Italian restaurant that was obviously closed. I said, "C'mon Gus, let's go. It's closed." He said, "It's open for us," and got out and knocked on the door. A guy peeked out and let us in. Gus told me to wait in the lobby while he went to talk to the boss. I figured, OK, this is cool. He's the driver for the owner of the restaurant.

Gus comes back and takes me into the dark restaurant. I notice there's a table on the other end with several men sitting around. But it's dimly lit and I can't tell much of anything. We sit on the opposite end and Gus gets up and says, "Be right back." He goes over to the table, comes back and says, "The boss wants to meet you."

Now I'm getting a little leary of this whole thing, especially when on the way over, he tells me to keep my hands in sight at all times. Uh-oh.

He takes me to the middle of the table where about 12 guys are sitting, and positions me next to one of the men and says, "Boss, this is Fran." The guy looks up at me and I find myself face-to-face with John Gotti. I thought, holy crap. This can't be happening.

We chit-chatted for a minute; he never cracked a smile and all I could think of was about keeping my hands in sight. Then he dismissed me and said "Enjoy your dinner."

I wanted to kill Gus. Who could eat after that? Then a few minutes later a guy came over from Gotti's table and told Gus the boss wants to talk to him. By this point, I was sure I wouldn't get out alive. After a few minutes Gus returned and said, "The boss said you're OK and you should bring in an autographed picture of yourself and we'll put it on the wall next to Sinatra." LOL! Sure. Over my dead body.

So, we ate, (well Gus ate, I picked) and I kept wondering if this was the night the raid was planned. LOL

We left and I was glad to make it back alive. Never did give Gus that picture.


L.S. Dennis
02-03-2003, 12:56 PM

Great story!, are you still friends with your limo driver
Take care

02-03-2003, 01:34 PM
I'm speechless.

What if he had kissed you on the cheek and said "Uh.. I gotta use the pisser" /ccboard/images/graemlins/grin.gif ?

Wally~~imagines Fran saying "Can we just go to Nathan's?"

02-03-2003, 03:08 PM
LOL, Tell him to use the womens, you think there is something bad in the mens room...Then run like hell. /ccboard/images/graemlins/smile.gif


Scott Lee
02-03-2003, 04:57 PM
Fran...YIKES!!! What a story! LOL So the Don thought youse was ok? Fughedaboutit! Like you said...get the Fugouttahere! LOL I always KNEW you had wise guy connections!...now the truth comes out! Great story!


02-03-2003, 04:59 PM
Fran, you should have asked him to loan you a couple of dimes. He might have given it to you at a good rate. /ccboard/images/graemlins/smirk.gif

Scott Lee
02-03-2003, 05:23 PM
Fran...This is not about me, but it is from pool, and it is a mememorable encounter...

The year was 1966, and Jack White was doing an exhibition at an AFB up near Bangor, Maine. He had done one show at the rec center for the noncoms, and was planning another later that evening at the officer's club. He was resting in the VIP quarters when the phone rang. The person on the other end says, "Mr. White, the President (Johnson) wonders if you would do a trickshot show for him?" Naturally, Jack figures this is some kind of joke, and says, "Yeah, RIGHT!"
The officer says again, "No sir! This is on the level! President Johnson is here on the base and heard about you!"
Still Jack does not believe the guy, so he says, "Alright, send over a limo, and some Secret Service agents!", thinking that they won't be able to carry the joke any further. In an hour, a black limo pulls up outside the VIP quarters, and out step 3 Secret Service agents. The one in charge tells Jack to get into the car, and they will take him to the President, who is waiting in an adjacent hanger.
Jack walks in, and there is a 9' pool table set up, with several hundred chairs arranged around it. Every seat is filled, and the front rows are FILLED with all kinds of generals, and top brass! Right in the middle was Pres. Johnson. He stood up to shake Jack's hand, and Jack was, of course, slightly shell-shocked (who wouldn't be? LOL).
Anyway, the president had a habit of slapping his leg, laughing, and saying "G*d D*mn S*n of a B*tch!" every time Jack would make a trickshot! Needless to say, Jack did his usual great show, and everybody was happy! Later, the President told Jack that he'd like him to "come on down to the White House" the next day. Jack told him, "Mr. President, it would be my honor...BUT, I am already booked at suchandsuch university...and my word is my bond!" Can you imagine?...saying no thanks to an offer to visit the White House? Then Jack said, "but...if you send a plane for me (to Boston), I'll come the next day!" So, Jack does his show the next day (he was still in a military vehicle), and headed down the Mass. Pike for Logan Field in Boston. When they got on the Turnpike, Jack's driver told the tollbooth attendant that they were in a hurry, because the President was sending a plane for Jack, in Boston. The attendant told them to turn on their lights and siren, and haul ass down the Pike! LOL Apparently he called ahead, because when they got to Logan Field, it was ALL blocked off! LOL They had to drive up on the sidewalk to get to the terminal.
There were police and military MP's EVERYWHERE! The attendant had misunderstood what they had told him. He thought the President was coming, when he was just sending a plane for Jack! Everyone at the airport thought that the president was showing up unannounced! LOL What a fiasco!
Jack got on the plane, flew down to Washington, and did another show for both Lady Bird and President Johnson in the White House basement, where they had four Brunswick GC's. It just goes to show ya...you NEVER know who you're gonna meet, when playing a game of pool!

Scott Lee

02-03-2003, 06:58 PM
Hi Fran,
U are lucky to meet best dressed man in USA.I always liked him.I was very sad when he was imprisoned and sad again when he died.Cheers

02-03-2003, 07:31 PM
Holy mackerel!! First a gangster and then a Democratic politician! I don't know if pool could survive this kind of news. Let's just keep it among ourselves. Okay?

Fran Crimi
02-03-2003, 08:05 PM
Wow! That's some story. LBJ in the flesh. So they've got 4 tables in the White House basement, eh? Well hell, Scott, you and I got to get ourselves an invite by George Debyeh (Translation: George W.)


Fran Crimi
02-03-2003, 08:10 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote L.S. Dennis:</font><hr> Fran,

Great story!, are you still friends with your limo driver
Take care <hr /></blockquote>

Hi Dennis. No, he disappeared a few months later when the boss was convicted. Don't know what happened to him.


Rich R.
02-04-2003, 05:49 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote L.S. Dennis:</font><hr> Fran,

Great story!, are you still friends with your limo driver
Take care <hr /></blockquote>

<blockquote><font class="small">Quote Fran Crimi:</font><hr>
Hi Dennis. No, he disappeared a few months later when the boss was convicted. Don't know what happened to him.

Fran <hr /></blockquote>
The witness protection program is a wonderful thing. /ccboard/images/graemlins/blush.gif /ccboard/images/graemlins/grin.gif /ccboard/images/graemlins/tongue.gif

02-04-2003, 06:26 AM
"Uncle Tony Time!"
Get out the flashlights-we're going crabbing-ha ha ha
/ccboard/images/graemlins/laugh.gif /ccboard/images/graemlins/laugh.gif /ccboard/images/graemlins/laugh.gif

02-04-2003, 08:17 AM
About 6 or so years ago when I first started to play seriously I was in L.A. at the old "Hollywood Athletic Club" a great old pool room started in the 20's. It was turned into a disco a few years ago and then went out of buisness, idiots... anyway, A lot of "celebs' played there, and one afternoon I was playing and Anthony Michael Hall (Breakfast Club) came in with two other guys.
While he played his one friend the other asked if I'd like to play, I was maybe a 3 at the time but still pretty good, and beat the guy a few times, while Anthony acted the pool shark with his other friend, winning and being very LOUD about it. So the guy I played said, "Why don't you play her?" he hesitated and then said, "Oh I can't, I got to go!" I was sure he didn't want to get beat in front of his friends by a girl....
My other favorite 'encounter' was in a mini mart, while getting coffee before a tournament a "redneck" guy (sorry, no offense intended to any CCB rednecks) walks in and on seeing my poolcase says in pure amazment "Is that a POOLCASE?", I said yes and then he says (no lie) "You got POOLCUES in there!?!"
/ccboard/images/graemlins/grin.gif /ccboard/images/graemlins/grin.gif /ccboard/images/graemlins/grin.gif

02-04-2003, 07:51 PM
Howdy Cuechick,
We red necks are not that dumb.For your info, we have one of us in White House right now.We rule America.Cheers
Vagabond /ccboard/images/graemlins/cool.gif /ccboard/images/graemlins/cool.gif /ccboard/images/graemlins/cool.gif

Scott Lee
02-04-2003, 08:24 PM
Fran...That was in the 60's! I don't know if they still have pool tables or not. However, I BET they could find one for an exhibition by US! LOL Sounds like a plan!


02-04-2003, 10:00 PM
I'd be waiting for the hail of bullets comming through the front window. All the time planning a place to hide or duck when it happened. That would be uncomfortable to say the least.

One Saturday night at the room I was just talking with some people. I walked towards the front door when I met face to face with Paul Newman. What the heck is he doing here?
I introduced myself while the two other guys with him got a table. Paul excused himself by telling me he had to call Joanne. I thought it unusual he would call her by name.

After his phone call he come back in and went to the back room with his friends. I went back after a few minutes but not until I told a few people not to go back and bother him. I just did not want a crowd there asking him for an autograph etc.

We talked for a bit and he asked me how I played and what my high run was. I told him and immediately he said to his buds I'll take Rod for a partner. One guy said what's the game to which Paul replied Eight ball for 30 a man.
Well that was that, we flipped for the break and started playing.

During the game we talked quite a bit. He was in Phoenix for the Cart races with his two Indy cars. Nigel Mansel had just hit a wall that day in practice. He said the belly pan for the car cost $300,000. Mansel went in the hospital but nothing real serious.

We also talked about the Hustler. He told me it took 41 days to shoot the movie. That sounded pretty short to me but then it was made in 1961.

One of the guys was a character actor that played a part on Brooklyn Bridge a the time. His name was Jim but I don't recall his last name. Well Jim and his partner didn't fare very well, they lost all five games.

When they left I said thank you etc, and I wished Paul good luck at the races. A spanish guy there come up later and asked who was that guy? I said Paul Newman. He gave me a confused look then his eyes lit up and said Paul Newman! I said yes that was him. He told me Paul had bought him a picture of beer. LOL

I found out two things later. A friend across the room had taped us playing. He brought in a camera to tape himself play. What a deal, not only was Paul there but caught on tape.

The second thing, Mario Andretti, driving for the Newman Hass team won the race on Sunday!

I always thought they would be back again because of their good fortune. They were back in Phoenix to race but they never come back to the room. /ccboard/images/graemlins/frown.gif Oh well it was a fun time. /ccboard/images/graemlins/smile.gif

Fran Crimi
02-04-2003, 10:17 PM
Wow! It doesn't get much better than that, Rod. You shooting pool with Paul Newman and getting it on tape! Great story. I see he likes to play the odds in choosing you as his partner. Ha!

I figured there were some really good stories floating around out there. Thanks for sharing it.


Chris Cass
02-05-2003, 12:09 AM

I've met Frank Sinatra at the Blue Max, I also met Donna Summer there too had dinner with them and my parents. I've met, and dealt to the group White Zombie, Richard Wagner, Dommer from coach, the dorito chip girl, Mario Lopez her cheap date, the drill sargent from the movie Platoon, the cyndicate hitman from the Sapranos, some football star that won the Hiesman trophy, local boxers and a few others I can't remember right now.

Of all those stars, I never felt more impressed and overwhelmed than when, I was playing a team event with a guy from Michigan at the Peoria Casino event. Turned around after shooting and with limited seating saw Fran Crimi in my chair sweating for me.

That was the best feeling. Everyone in the place and the only pro there was watching me play. I was very honored and never forget the tour and the introductions she made for me with her peers. It was a great day and I'll never forget it. Thanks Fran for being my friend. Never knew they had practice tables for the pros in a seperate practice room. With a buffet of goodies. Felt like a pro myself that day.


C.C.~~proud as a peacock design on a Barry Szamboti cue. /ccboard/images/graemlins/grin.gif

02-05-2003, 03:59 AM

You played with Paul Newman???!!! You played with Paul Newman!!!! So, like, how did he play?

Barbara~~~dreams of the opportunity /ccboard/images/graemlins/smile.gif!

Fran Crimi
02-05-2003, 12:22 PM
Hi Vag,

Well, he's a strange role model to have but I know what you mean about him being well-dressed. Even that late in the evening he was wearing a suit. His jacket was off (probably hung up somewhere) but I noticed he had on a crisp white shirt, obviously designer, with perfect creases. Couldn't see his shoes...didn't dare look down that far. But I'd bet they were perfectly shined as well.

I found out later that I was apparently bestowed a great honor in the Costra Nostre circles. They look at something like that as significant as having had an audience with the Pope. LOL


02-05-2003, 01:43 PM
Paul was just one of the guys. Very laid back and personable. His pool game was I'd say a bit above average. He made most of the balls your suppose to make. It was kind of funny, he played with those glasses that are cut off flat on the top. Reading glasses of some sort. Close shots he would look through them and far shots look over them. Of course when he wasn't playing he took them off.

Several times he asked me what to shoot. One of the last games our opponents needed one ball, and the 8 was in front of a pocket. He asked what to do and I said just bunt our ball out in the open. Paul said, but that leaves them a decent bank. I said well better there than risk leaving them a straight shot, besides I'll take my chances on them missing. I guessed right, they missed it pretty bad.

Paul also liked playing with my cue much better than a house cue. LOL It was very enjoyable and the other two guys with him were easy to talk to also. I still think the one guy might have been a friend/body guard. Under 6' but very stocky.

BTW, I asked, then he told me Gleason and him played 4 games of 14-1 while shooting the movie. He said it come out even at 2 games each. Now I have no reason to doubt him other than I asked Paul Newman the pool player! LOL I imagine he use to play somewhat better.

~~~ rod, still needs to have some still pictures made from that tape.

02-05-2003, 01:47 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote Fran Crimi:</font><hr> I find myself face-to-face with John Gotti. I was sure I wouldn't get out alive. I kept wondering if this was the night the raid was planned. <hr /></blockquote> Fran, if you got into trouble maybe you could have made a call to Henry Kissinger's office.

#### leonard
02-06-2003, 07:30 AM
It was 1948 I was 11 years old and watching a Class A baseball game at Hawkins Stadium in Albany. The Albany Senators and the Utica Blue Sox, during the game, Yogi Giamarco for Utica hits a towering homerun over the right centerfield wall at 375, then a 15ft driveway, then a 40ft two story factory and into Mid City Amusement park. The annoucer tells us that the only other person to ever do that was when Babe Ruth played there in 1939.
Move ahead to 1974 I am playing in the US Open qualifer in Newburh NY, they announce the match #### Leonard vs Pat Fleming with the referree as Lou Giamarco. Halfway through
game Francis Murphy, who was with me whispered in my ear that Lou was a great ballplayer, who had played in Albany. After the game which I won by running 43 and out on Pat, I told Lou of seeing his feat. He told me because he was so popular with the fans that it was impossible to move up the baseball ladder, so he qit baseball and was running a dress factory in Newburgh. ####

02-06-2003, 04:41 PM
Couple of great Newman movies you never see on TV: The Drowning Pool (a detective story set in Louisiana) and The Mackintosh Man (a spy story set in England and Ireland).--D.M.