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BOWLING'S BIG LEAGUE—A $14 MILLION DOLLAR GAMBLE
Rex Lardner
October 30, 1961
Hyped-up rules, new lanes and new gimmicks make bowling a novel spectator sport prospect
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October 30, 1961

Bowling's Big League—a $14 Million Dollar Gamble

Hyped-up rules, new lanes and new gimmicks make bowling a novel spectator sport prospect

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The two leadoff men in the premiere match between the Broncos and the Gladiators were Carmen Salvino and Jake Charter, respectively. Charter, a stocky, dark-haired man, blinked several times, crouched low, stalked up to the foul line and bowled. He left the 7 pin. Salvino, a devout believer in the application of body English, leaped high in the air as he rammed a strike. Apparently having trouble with his concentration, Charter got only a single strike, winding up with a 167. Salvino, cavorting, falling to his knees in supplication and otherwise trying to guide his hook by extrasensory remote control, got a 205 and one match point for his team. The bowlers in their laneside chairs shouted encouragement, and the fans cheered the conversion of a difficult split like a crowd at Yankee Stadium or sighed when a slow 10 pin collapsed. In the end the Broncos slaughtered the Gladiators 22-2, and when the match was over, a smiling Sanford pronounced himself pleased not so much at the Texas victory but at the reaction of the fans. "They knew just when to holler, didn't they?" he says. "They really went for that Salvino. Especially when his body English started working. Notice how he made those eight strikes in a row right at the finish? That's what I call showmanship."

Whether the 30 million American bowling fans that Sanford is counting on will consider it a show worth paying for is open to question, but the odds look good.

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