Movies: The Big Hustler Jackie Gleason

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With the show-biz-sporting crowd that collects there. Gleason stands around at the bar, communicating in the limited vocabulary of the milieu: "Pal," "Bum," "Tomato." and "Har-de-har-har." Jackie compares Shor's to "the corner candy store when you were a kid, except instead of Jujubes you've got the booze." The famous story is true that Gleason and the 240-lb. Shor once raced each other around the block, running in opposite directions. Gleason was standing coolly at the bar when Shor puffed in. Gleason had used a cab. but Shor, whose giant brain sometimes takes five, paid off the bet before he came to his senses and realized that Gleason had never passed him.

Shor got his revenge one night when he introduced Gleason to "Mr. Joe Shu-man," explaining that Shuman was a dress manufacturer from Philadelphia and an old Shor pal. Shuman confided that in his spare time he sometimes liked to shoot a little pool. Gleason prides himself on shooting an excellent stick in his own right, and always has (at the age of 13, he became the pool champion of his neighborhood in the Bushwick section of Brooklyn, upholding the honor and petty bets of the Irish kids against the Italian champion "from up the hill"). He invited Shuman to try his skill at a nearby billiard room. Shuman nicked Gleason for $100 in a close game of straight. "I'll bet you another hundred," said Gleason. Shuman then ran through 70 balls righthanded, 30 more lefthanded, and shut Gleason out cold in a 100-point game. "I don't know who the hell I'm playin', but he sure does all right under the name he's usin'," said Jackie Gleason—who had been hustled by Willie Mosconi, the world's pocket-billiard champion (and, later on, technical adviser to The Hustler).

Absolutely Nothing. Jackie Gleason was born in Brooklyn in the winter of 1916. His father was an auditor for the Mutual Life Insurance Co. who sold candy bars to his fellow employees to supplement the family income. His only brother died before Jackie was three, and Jackie was in effect an only child. When Jackie was eight, his father went to work one day and never came home. His disappearance has never been explained. "He was," says Jackie with a quiet smile, "as good a father as I've ever known."

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