Minnesota Fats was quite a character and lived in the Hermitage Hotel in downtown Nashville for more than six years. I think my parents took me there once when he was in the lobby and they quickly steered me away because they knew they’d never get me back.
Mosconi, however, was the better player, and had a straight pool record of 526 consecutive balls that was unmatched and unbeaten for sixty-five years.
How do I adjust the tracking on this computer?
Also it was probably unintentional on Serling’s part but The Twilight Zone episode “A Game Of Pool” nicely captures, in broad strokes, the differences between Wanderone and Mosconi. On one hand there’s “Fats Brown”, wonderfully played by Jonathan Winters, who’s easygoing and says that even though he was a dedicated pool player he also took time to enjoy life. Being dead he has a bit of an advantage but his approach is much more casual. On the other there’s Jesse Cardiff, played just as well by Jack Klugman, who’s serious and devoted to pool above all else. He knows he’s the better player but it irks him that he doesn’t get the acknowledgment.
Life imitates art. Outside of serious pool players and historians I bet more people would at least recognize the name “Minnesota Fats” than have ever heard of Willie Mosconi.
This video serves as a reminder to all the young’ns who were born after the 1970s what a pre-Baldwin babe magnet dreamboat Howard Cosell was. He was on every night, primetime, with either stuff like this, MNF, his own variety show (you could look it up), or as a guest on talk shows. This Howard McDreamy Cosell was everywhere.
I learned John Lennon had been killed from Howard Cosell. That dude was everywhere.
He even took a turn hosting SNL which was hilarious because it was so damn weird.
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