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THRICE PERFECT, ONCE SCORNED
John Garrity
November 15, 1982
Glenn Allison was sure that he'd bowled the first official 900 series, but the American Bowling Congress said uh-uh, the lanes weren't legit
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November 15, 1982

Thrice Perfect, Once Scorned

Glenn Allison was sure that he'd bowled the first official 900 series, but the American Bowling Congress said uh-uh, the lanes weren't legit

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We cannot make decisions based on sentiment or popularity.
—BURT KELLERMANN
Assistant Secretary-Treasurer,
American Bowling Congress

This is the story of a man who wants immortality and a bureaucracy that says he can't have it.

Glenn Allison is a 52-year-old liquor-store manager from Whittier, Calif. He has sad eyes and a warm smile. Allison works a 60-hour week at Ron's Wines 'n' Spirits on Leffingwell Avenue in Whittier, on the border between Los Angeles and Orange counties. There he sells margarita mix to young women in shorts. They have no idea that Allison is a retired professional bowler—a winner of four ABC championships, five Professional Bowlers Association titles, and a member of the ABC Hall of Fame. He doesn't tell them.

He follows the Rams, the Dodgers and the Lakers on a portable TV he keeps behind the counter; he smokes a pack and a half of Carltons a day, drives a 1968 Buick and plays golf at a municipal course on weekend afternoons. He's a self-described "three-time loser" in marriage, which may account for the sad eyes, and he lives in a house that's owned by his older brother, Bob, and his sister-in-law, Wilma.

On Thursday nights he bowls with his relatives.

Allison's run at immortality began at nine o'clock on the night of Thursday, July 1, 1982 with the first frame of Anchor Girl Trio League play at the La Habra 300 Bowl. Before he threw his first ball Allison had, à la Babe Ruth pointing at the centerfield fence, told his girl friend, Jessie Thompson, he'd roll her a 300 game for her birthday. At nine sharp he bowled a strike.

At about 9:30, Bob Allison, a 61-year-old design engineer for a tool company, left Wilma in the bowling alley's restaurant, promising to be right back. Every few minutes she heard muffled cheers over the din of falling pins. She wanted to go see what was happening, but she had no money to pay the tab. When Bob did come back, he was flushed and excited. "Glenn just threw a 300 game!"

Wilma hustled to the lanes, leaving Bob to pay the check. She found Glenn standing before Lanes 13 and 14, chatting with her son, Ron. Glenn had already bowled two frames into the next game—both strikes. With a glass of Crown Royal in one hand and a close-lipped smile of contentment on his face, he appeared totally relaxed. He greeted Wilma and nodded to Jessie, "anchor girl" for the opposing team on the lanes.

"It isn't fair," Wilma said. "I've never seen a 300 game!"

"Well, there's always the chance I'll throw another," Glenn said.

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