BENSINGER'S POOL HALL CHICAGO IL
The pool hall had beautiful side lighting. As it fell on the host of characters — office-workers, serious players, blue-collar guys and pool-sharks alike .
Chicago was once one of the preeminent pool hotspots in the United States. Though New York had, at the towering height of pool's popularity in the 1920s, up to 5,000 poolrooms, at least one eyewitness said Chicago topped even that. In a 1972 book named for him, self-described "billiard bum" Danny McGoorty told historian Robert Byrne, "Believe it or not, in the early 1920s in Cook County, Illinois, there were 5,200 licensed pool halls. A lot of them were one- and two-table joints in barber shops and cigar stores and so on, but that is the number of licenses there were, and shows how popular the game used to be. In the Chicago Loop alone - where there is not a single poolroom today - there were twelve big layouts, each with no less than forty tables."
In the early 1930s, green felt goliath Willie Mosconi could outdraw the Bears, and, from 1948 to 1951, he defended the world championship in a specially-constructed arena on Navy Pier. And, for years, we had Bensinger's, which may have been the best-known billiard parlor in the country. Recollected by Mosconi, in the book "Willie's Game," "It was a magnificent place, with velvet curtains and original oil paintings on the walls. An open, wrought-iron cage elevator took you up to the second floor where the tournament games were held. At night, you were surrounded by the glow of neon lights from Chicago's Loop until the games were ready to begin." And he didn't even mention that Bensinger's had a third story; one each for pool, billiards and snooker. This pool paradise, on Randolph opposite the Oriental Theatre, closed in 1960. A smaller, scaled-back Bensinger's survived the sixties in a rundown basement at Clark and Diversey, but in the early 1970s relocated again, to a second-story room nearby on Broadway. It closed for good less than two years later. To a great extent, pool in Chicago has followed national trends. By some estimates, skewed by boosterism and the inherent difficulties of counting pool sharks, in the 1920s, twenty-two million people played the sport. During the Depression, pool was hit hard, as all sports were, but failed to rebound afterward, with player numbers dropping to three million by the late 1950s. In the 1960s, the phenomenal success of the movie "The Hustler" sparked a resurgence; in 1962, one year after the movie's release, seventeen million players again enjoyed the sport. It didn't stick, though, and player numbers declined until, in 1986, "The Color of Money," the locally-filmed sequel to "The Hustler," again got the balls rolling. The Billiard Congress of America currently estimates that more than forty million Americans enjoy pool, "ranking it among the top participation sports." Comparing these figures against census counts, pool is far more popular now than in the sixties, and about 75 percent of what it was in the 1920s.
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Short-Sleeve Unisex T-Shirt
This t-shirt is everything you've dreamed of and more. It feels soft and lightweight, with the right amount of stretch. It's comfortable and flattering for both men and women.
• 100% combed and ring-spun cotton (heather colors contain polyester)
• Fabric weight: 4.2 oz (142 g/m2)
• Shoulder-to-shoulder taping
USA: 3-5 business days
Canada: 5-10 business days
World: 10-20 business days
Within Europe 5-10 business days
Your order will be sent out on average within 3-5 days of ordering.