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View Full Version : Remembering Dorothy Wise Part 3 & Conclusion



L.S. Dennis
09-11-2003, 12:29 AM
This will be the last segment of this aricle regarding my wonder memories of Dorothy Wise


MOSCONI & CO.

When big name players went on the road to perfom in exhibitions, they always faced off against the top local player. On the San Francisco peninsula, that meant Dorothy Wise, and I saw Dorothy play exhibition matches at Sequoia Billiards against Joe Procita, Jimmy Caras and Willie Mosconi. For my friends and I seeing players of that caliber was just short of seeing God. We'd see the ammouncenemts and wouldn't sleep at night waiting for these events to happen. We were there waiting when these players walked in the door of Sequoia Billiards.
The big name players always won these matches, and it ws always a great show. I remember Caras had a high run going when he hit 125 to win. Then, for the benefit of the crowd, he kept shooting to see how far he could go. Willie Mosconi was ll business, Caras was very personable.. He demonstrated some fundamentals before going into his trick shot routine, and spent some time urging kids to enjoy the sport. I remember Caras executing a length of the table draw shot. We kids thought we'd never see anything like that again.
.
JIMMY WISE

Dorothy's husband Jimmy had one of the best strokes I've ever seen. After Dorothy played her match with Joe Procita, Joe stepped to the billiard table and asked the crowd if they had any particular 3-cushion shots they'd like him to attempt. No one had any, until Jimmy came out from behind the counter and set up a complicated shot. Joe looked it over and said, "That's very tough, I don't think it can be made, but I'll try." He tried four times and failed. Jimmy asked, "Do you mind if I try it myself?" Joe graciously said, "Sure." Jimmy made the shot on the first attempt. He had an amazing stroke.
I enjoyed Jimmy's dry sense of humor. Once, Jimmy put a ball directly in front of a pocket and said to me, "I'll give you $15 if you can make this ball." I immediately took him up on it and knocked the ball in. He pulled the ball from the pocket and examined it. "You didn't make this ball," he said. "This ball was made in Chicago in 1941." (They were and old set of clay balls)

LAST MEETING

As kids of that age will do, after several years I found new interests, and I drifted away from pool for a while. The last time I saw Dorothy was in 1967 or '68. I had taken up archery and was practicing at an indoor range in Mountain View California, at a rec center that also had pool tables. Dorothy was there doing a promotion of some sort and, of course, greeted me kindly. Dorothy and her opinion of me must have meant a lot to me, because I remember that I felt like a traitor standing there with a bow in my hand.
Dorothy Wise was wonderful to me during the years I spent playing and learning the game at Sequoia Billiards. I'm very grateful to her and to Jimmy. To this day, deep down, I feel bad that I wasn't holding a cue the last time I saw her.

(Born in Spokane, Washington in 1914, Dorothy Wise was a seminal figure in women's tournament pool. In her early years, there were few national tournaments for women. As the winner of many state and local competitions, she became the self-proclaimed world champion. Then, beginning in 1967 when the Billiard Congress of America staged it's first national women's tournament, Dorothy won five consecutive U.S. Open titles. She was inducted into the BCA Hall of Fame in 1981, and died at the age of 80)

Note: I hope you've enjoyed reading this as much as I have enjoyed recalling these wonderful memories.
L.S.Dennis

=k=
09-11-2003, 07:46 AM
thank you for sharing. i will try to attempt to tell one of my local stories. k

Rod
09-11-2003, 09:57 AM
Thanks for the story LS. Everyone likes a good pool story. I don't recall ever seeing Dorothy play. I lived in the LA area about 4 years.

Rod

HALHOULE
09-17-2003, 08:21 PM
WHEN DOROTHY PLAYED IN REDWOOD CITY, THE BEST PLAYERS THAT HUNG AROUND THE PENINSULA WAS CERTAINLY NOT DOROTHY. DENNY SEARCY AND RONNIE ALLEN WERE TWO THAT FREQUENTLY APPEARED IN REDWOOD CITY. BOTH OF THEM WERE FIRST CLASS PLAYERS, AND WAY OUT OF DOROTHY'S CLASS. AND THERE WERE TONS OF FIRST CLASS PLAYERS AT COCHRAN'S IN SAN FRANCISCO JUST 30 MINUTES AWAY.YOU KNOW, DOROTHY ONLY PLAYED STRAIGHT POOL. HER HIGHEST RUN IN COMPETION WAS 35. LOOK IT UP IN THE TOURNAMENT RECORDS.INCIDENTALLY, WHEN DOROTHY WON THOSE, SOME OF THE TIMES THERE WAS ONLY 6 PLAYERS COMPETING. LOOK,I KNEW DOROTHY AND JIMMY VERY WELL FOR 30 YEARS. DEE HULSE AND I WENT INTO DOROTHY'S PLCE A THOUSAND TIMES. EVERY TIME WE PLAYED AGAINST DOROTH, SHE LOST. SHE NEVER WON A MATCH. I LIVED IN SAN MATEO. ONLY TOOK 10 MINUTES TO GET TO THEIR POOLROOM. OH, BEFORE I FORGET, AL THE PLUMBER, AND TOM RYAN THE COP, ALSO BEAT DOROTHY LIKE A DRUM. LET'S NOT FORGET SAX DAL PORTO. HE WAS ONE HELL OF A PLAYER. THE PERSONS I NAMED HERE COULD NOT HOLD A CANDLE TO SAX IN STRAIGHT POOL. SO, DOROTHY WAS A SWEET AND LOVELY, AND I LOVED HER DEARLY, AND WAS ONE 0F HER CLOSEST FRIENDS. BUT LETS KEEP THE FACTS STRAIGHT HERE.

HAL

Popcorn
09-17-2003, 08:59 PM
Do you have anything good to say about anybody? Do you have anything positive to offer?

NH_Steve
09-18-2003, 05:36 AM
Popcorn, he did say plenty positive, even about Dorothy. He just put her pool skills into perspective from his point of view.

For positive things to offer, he's perhaps the most senior aiming coach in pocket billiards, having coached everyone from top pros to beginners. He's got a very long track record of contributing to the pool-playing community. That's serious contribution to offer, and I welcome him to the board!

Aboo
09-18-2003, 10:55 AM
He may have a list of credentials a mile long, but Popcorn is right about his attitude and the way he comes across.

He comes across very aggressive and negative. This is the 2nd or 3rd time he's posted aggressive, contradictory arguments to nice, memorial posts of others.

Wether he's right or not as far as playing skill goes, the "bah! you don't know what your talking about!" style of writing just rubs me the wrong way.

stevelomako
09-18-2003, 11:24 AM
Ain't this sweet! Someone writes a story about a memory he had growing up, something important to him that he wanted to share, something everyone could read and let go. Then Grandpa comes along and pisses on it. REAL NICE!

Can't wait for somebody to post a nice memory they have (if there is one) of the Great Hal Houle and someone comes along as say's "Hah, he's just a bitter, broken down old coot that life passed by. Never amounted to anything, a wannabe that never was".

That would be real nice wouldn't it? Think about it.

Steve

NH_Steve
09-18-2003, 12:27 PM
"Pisses on it" and"old coot" are pretty strong words -- as I read his post all he did was disagree with the impression left in the previous post regarding Dorothy Wise's skill level, and to a certain extent, Richie Florence's. Meanwhile he was effusive in praising a whole bunch of other players. All from his own first person observation.

Need we attack and try to drive off every single actual 'expert' -- which Hal Houle is -- that posts on this board because we disagree with some aspect or other of how they express themselves ?

NH_Steve
09-18-2003, 12:33 PM
Aboo, personally I am much more "rubbed the wrong way" by posts that personaly attack another poster -- just because they don't like something about either what they said or how they happen to express themselves -- such as the post I responded to.

Plenty of regular CCB inner circle unspoken CCB club members are VERY quick to hack away at new posters who come along that happen to see things differently or express things differently. Apparently it's okay to call another poster bullsh*t names, but it is not okay to disagree with how terrific a player D Wise was????

Guess i don't get it.... /ccboard/images/graemlins/mad.gif

Fred Agnir
09-18-2003, 12:49 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote Aboo:</font><hr> This is the 2nd or 3rd time he's posted aggressive, contradictory arguments to nice, memorial posts of others.
<hr /></blockquote>In defense of Hal, most of the time he feels so compelled to post something is when he reads something that he believes is comically misleading.

Not that anyone agrees with him, or anything.

Fred

Aboo
09-18-2003, 01:16 PM
And I agree with you. I was not trying to personally attack him. I was just voicing my opinion on the tone of his posts.
Personal attacks are a bit silly on a message board.

But would it not have been "easier" to read, had he said...
"You know, Dorothy WAS an awesome pool player! I saw some folks play around that time/place that might have been even better. Like Aboo, man was he great!... etc..."

Same point, MUCH easier on the eyes... Especially the Aboo part... hehehe

RedHell
09-18-2003, 01:20 PM
I tought the post was a little aggressive as well. Tho I didn't think it warranted any comment or attacks...

And one more point, tho Hal probably ignore this, capitals are used for yelling on the net. To my eye, it made it even more aggressive.

Fran Crimi
09-18-2003, 01:34 PM
Dennis, thank you for your wonderful tribute to Dorothy. She shot pool in an era when women pool players were laughed at and mocked. We had several conversations where she told me how she was constantly being told that she belonged in the kitchen rather than on a pool table.

The fact that she raised her skill level to a new level for women players was a testament to just how strong she was. Regardless of what others may say about her skill, Dorothy set new standards for women competitive players and we owe her pioneering a great deal of respect.

I'd like to see some of the people who diss her skill play under the same type of pressure she played under. It would be a joke.

Fran

RedHell
09-18-2003, 01:46 PM
[ QUOTE ]
Regardless of what others may say about her skill, Dorothy set new standards for women competitive players and we owe her pioneering a great deal of respect.
<hr /></blockquote>

Fran,

Once again you are the paradigm of graceful wisdom...

bolo
09-18-2003, 02:13 PM
It is safe to say you will never be in the hall of fame.
Who the hell are you anyway, I have been around and I never heard of you? How about a rundown of your records.

NH_Steve
09-18-2003, 08:50 PM
Like his screen name says, he's Hal Houle -- and in fact, he is 'somebody'. And in anycase, when did he imply anything about reaching the hall of fame? And that he set any records? Is that a new criteria for posting here? If it is it certainly disqualifies most of us...

Hal was there , I'd say that qualifies him to question L.S.Dennis's statement that "...they always faced off against the top local player. On the San Francisco peninsula, that meant Dorothy Wise".

I enjoyed L.S.'s story too -- as well as his others, but ferchrissake, isn't Hal entitled to -- in his words -- "keep the facts straight", since in his first hand observation she was not the top local player on the SF peninsula?

And what about your qualifications, bolo? You have such a strong opinion, you must have been there too, right?

Steve --&gt; may not be 'anybody', but knows who Hal Houle is...

NH_Steve
09-18-2003, 09:03 PM
But knowing that the guy is about 80 years old -- and still contributing to the pool community -- AND young enough in spirit to be posting on the internet -- couldn't we cut him just a little slack?

stevelomako
09-18-2003, 10:16 PM
Do yourself a favor and read his post again, then read it again, then take a little more time and read it again slowly.

Now tell me you don't think he pissed on the guys memory of Dorothy.

Like I said, people could have just read the guys story and let it go.....it's HIS memory of her and HIS story, not the LEGENDARY HAL HOULES' where he makes sure to add that he beat on Dorothy a THOUSAND TIMES!! So what!! What did that have to do with the guys story?

I'd rather see him start a thread on his own and tell some stories about what he's seen instead of stepping on someone else's toes.

bolo
09-18-2003, 10:45 PM
I knew Dorothy and played her a few times in the practice room at the US Open in Chicago. Could I beat her, of course I could, she was pretty limited, but so what. I liked her and she played good for the level of women that were playing at that time. Regardless, In light of how the original poster told his story, it was a low class thing the way Mr. Houle replied. There was no need to, at least in response to that poster, to say what he did, other then as a sad attempt at self importance. My comment regarding the hall of fame meant just that, she "IS" in the hall of fame, where as Mr. Houle is nobody and will just be a forgotten. His post may even have been a little cruel, he must be a real creep. Beyond that, I have nothing more to say on the subject.

NH_Steve
09-19-2003, 05:04 AM
Now he's cruel and a creep too? You just can't lay off, can you? Personally I'd rather have one legendary aiming coach -- Hal Houle -- posting here than a hundred 'nits' who don't know what they're talking about arguing over the best system, how-to, who beat who, the adventures of Kato /ccboard/images/graemlins/wink.gif, yadayadayada
sheesh

bolo
09-19-2003, 07:54 AM
Sounds like he is your kind of guy.

NBC-BOB
09-19-2003, 09:19 AM
I enjoyed reading your story.
Thank you

L.S. Dennis
09-19-2003, 09:30 AM
Thanks for the nice words Fran!

Gees, I never thought my simple memories of Dorothy would have stirred up so much controversy.

I too remember many of the players who came around during that period of time. Certainly she would not have beaten Ronnie Allen or Sax, But she did beat Dee Hulse, and George (the painter) Williams and Robert Nakasora and many others.

Also keep in mind that Dorothy was already around 50 years old and wore glasses during that period of time in the early sixties.

I'm sure Mr. Houle has his memories of that period of time and I respect them, but if he thinks that Dorothy never beat Dee Hulse I wonder if he also remembers the staight pool tournament board results which hung over the counter at Sequoia Billiard; it read 1) Dorothy Wise 2) Dee Hulse 3) George Williams 4) Robert Nakasora.

SPetty
09-19-2003, 01:43 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote bolo:</font><hr> I knew Dorothy and played her a few times in the practice room at the US Open in Chicago. Could I beat her, of course I could, she was pretty limited, but so what. I liked her and she played good for the level of women that were playing at that time.<hr /></blockquote>Just so some of you might be able to see how others see things...

In my eyes, what you just said is exactly what Hal Houle said in his post. I didn't read any bit of hostility or pissiness into Hal's post - I just read his words. He said exactly the same thing you just said. Period.

Some of you read or interpret hostility, pissiness, coolness, arrogance, elitism, etc. into posts that isn't ever intended by the poster. Stop it. Just read the words.

RedHell
09-19-2003, 02:06 PM
I did cut him some slacks, like I said, I didn't think I needed to respond or attack him like certain did.

bolo
09-19-2003, 02:08 PM
The difference is I did not initiate it and point it at the person who made the original post. In my post I even said he could have posted this in another way. He choose to do it in a way I could only characterize as mean. If you look at the records it is obvious she could not beat a Ronnie Allen or many other players, neither could Jean or Miss. Fisher for that matter. Does that mean you they are lacking in ability. I suppose we should throw stones at Dick Button or any other older competitor who is not at today's standard. If he is your friend I am sorry, I don't think much of him.

TomBrooklyn
09-19-2003, 04:26 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote NH_Steve:</font><hr> Need we attack and drive off every single expert that posts on this board because we disagree with how they express themselves ?<hr /></blockquote>If experience is any indicator: Yes. It's happened time and time again.

Admittedly, the tenor of Hal's post strongly contrasted with the warm nostalgic tone of LD's composition. Hal's writings are well known to the old timers on this board to contain strong and uncouched opinions; although by all reports, he is a congenial person to be with as well as a veritable font of information on pool and pool players.

Perhaps unfortunately, it is human nature that many value presentation over content in determining value and acceptance. William Inge once said, "The wise man is he who knows the relative value of things."

Baltasar Gracian, another pretty smart guy once said something like, "A wise man learns more from his enemies than a fool learns from his friends."

TomBk

Fran Crimi
09-19-2003, 06:50 PM
SPetty,

A story comes to mind that reminds me a little of this situation. It was about a testimonial speech that Irving Crane gave at the BCA HOF Induction ceremony for Ralph Greenleaf. We were all waiting in anticipation as the Deacon stepped up to the podium to honor the great Greenleaf. Turns out his entire speech was about how drunk Ralph was all the time and the details of all the matches that he played Ralph and beat him. He left us all sitting there with our mouths open.

Well sure, those were probably the facts as he remembered them. It would have been nice if he at least tried to find something nice to say about Ralph, especially at his HOF induction ceremony. Timing is everything.

Fran

L.S. Dennis
09-19-2003, 08:15 PM
Mr., Houle,

I don't know who you are, in fact in the 40+ years that I've been around this game I've never even heard of you.

I too upon reflection of your post feel that you came off somewhat aggressive, and I'm not sure exactly why.

Look I too remember Dee Hulse in fact I used to see him practically every day when he and Hank where selling used cars at a Rambler dealership and used to come into to Dorothy and Jimmy's place to play at lunch time. Dee was a good player but not a great one. He did lose to Dorothy as the tournament chart results indicated. Sorry!

Regarding your inference as to Dorothy not being able to play, my best recollection of her playing is when she ran 85 on the old 5x10 with the small pockets. Can you lay claim to that accomplishment? I suspect not. If that's not being able to play; then it sounds like you've been out too long in the garden without you sun hat!

Before closing let me just offer you some time-honored advice, 'It's best to keep quiet and be thought a fool than open you mouth and remove all doubt!' I sincerely hope that you heed this advice.

Respectfully
L.S. Dennis

NH_Steve
09-20-2003, 06:11 AM
L.S., I have a whole different respect for your response than I do for those that just called him names -- a man that they know virtually nothing about, who has indeed contributed alot to the sport of pool. I don't get the need for the kind of bashing that unfortunately many CCB regulars seem to be very quick at. (Of course it's the same on any other internet forums -- just the nature of the medium in certain peoples hands)

You write, "I too upon reflection of your post feel that you came off somewhat aggressive, and I'm not sure exactly why."

Maybe that's a clue that you read a bit more aggression in than was actually there. The use of all caps can do that. Plus he didn't start with anything warm and fuzzy --although he did speak very warmly about Dorothy towards the end.

I think he just had a strong reaction to your statement that Dorothy was the best player around at that time. Even you seem to be back-pedaling on that now. Yes, she beat some of those very very good players, but don't you see that an old timer who had first hand knowledge could feel compelled to counter your statement that she was the best in the area?

I loved your story, as well as your others, but when you stick your neck out and write something as fact, it's human nature that someone who sees the facts differently might challenge that.

Hal Houle is a very well known aiming coach -- hell, I'm in New Hampshire and I've heard of him. Some of you guys that haven't apparently never needed help with seeing the ball like I do /ccboard/images/graemlins/smile.gif /ccboard/images/graemlins/smile.gif

Popcorn
09-20-2003, 08:14 AM
Quote
"Hal Houle is a very well known aiming coach -- hell, I'm in New Hampshire and I've heard of him. Some of you guys that haven't apparently never needed help with seeing the ball like I do"

What is an aiming coach anyway? Are you saying you heard of him before these recent internet boards? Be honest, when was the first time you heard of him? I can only tell you, I have been all over the country. I have been around pool for a long time, including many of the major and minor tournaments over the last 30 to 40 years. My memory may not be what it once was but I never saw this guys name on any tournament boards, or heard of him through the grapevine. The pool world is a small world, no player of any note can sneak around undetected. Even those that are not necessarily players, but just guys that hang around, crack pots, stake horses and so on are all known. For what it is worth, before reading his name here, I never heard of him.

Quote
"a man that they know virtually nothing about, who has indeed contributed a lot to the sport of pool."

I guess your best defense of him, would be to give us a little history of the man. You seem to know something the rest of us, or at least me, don't. I would be interested.

Scott Lee
09-20-2003, 10:23 AM
Popcorn...Not trying to defend Hal Houle, but truthfully, there are MANY pool 'coaches' out there, who may be unknown outside their own circle, nonetheless provided capable, competent instruction to those looking for it. Hal Mix and Jerry Briesath are well known instructors to many of us in pool's 'inner circle'. However, not that many posters or lurkers here, even know who they are (outside of the regulars). Hal Houle has been associated with pool from a learning side for many decades. Although I may not completely agree with everything he might say, I respect him enough, as a fellow instructor, to give him his due!
All of us here, know that there is no magic pill, nor perfect routine, nor 'secret knowledge' that will instantly make us the poolplayers we want to become. There are many ways to learn this game...and the true students continue to learn the rest of their lives. I know I do!

Scott Lee

Sid_Vicious
09-20-2003, 10:34 AM
Scott...That is a great opinion. Far too many certified instructors, schools, etc. and especially the solo artists teaching this game are much the opposite in opinion, "their way is the only way." I believe that I could learn something from you...sid~~~didn't read popcorn's message, so this is in no way against what he said

Sid_Vicious
09-20-2003, 10:43 AM
Yea Hal's posted her without caps before, obviously knows better, and can't be excused for that error, "Hal, don't do that, we don't like yelling." One gold star removed from the Houle column...sid

Popcorn
09-20-2003, 11:45 AM
I have met Hal Mix, (Is he still around?) and know Jerry Briesath, who has been around forever. Can't say until the net I ever heard of this other guy. What is the deal with his system, he sounds like he wants to help every player with it, yet he is so vague about it. Why not just put it up on a web site for everyone to see and those that find it of value can use it and others are free not to. I will take your word for it as to him being an instructor but he has managed to stay hidden pretty good, does he have a background as a player? Not that that really matters, to be an instructor but I am just curious? I can only judge him from here, but at least here he is certainly lacking in social skills, something that would seem to be a prerequisite to be an effective instructor. He seems to have a pattern of posting, upsetting people, then leaving. I doubt words like I am sorry, or I apologize if I may have offended you, or hurt your feelings, are even in his vocabulary.
I actually question him because of this quote from him in another thread:

"I played everybody I could find, including the guy we are talking about. I happen to be 80 years old, as of August 12 this year. Began playing this game at age 10. I am still playing it every day. That totals up to 70 years of pool playing every day. I have personally seen them all; know how they all played. What their strengths and weaknesses were.The whole enchillada."

If this is true it is hard to believe nobody except a select few, ever heard of the guy. He has played and seen everybody, quite a statement. There must be quite a body of evidence attesting to the greatness he claims although I doubt we will see it, but who knows.

L.S. Dennis
09-20-2003, 06:00 PM
Hey Popcorn,

Ditto on everything you said about this player/instructor. Who knows maybe he's on the level but I like you never heard of him.

Anyway regarding Hal Mix, unfortunately he passed away two or three years ago. He coached the best, Nick Varner Kim Davenport etc. He has some excellent books out, one in particular that's in my billiard library is entitled:

'Hal Mix's Pocket Billiard Secrets'. It's a great book with lots of useful information.