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Champion Willie Mosconi Touts Growth of Pool's Popularity

Jan. 8, 1962 - “The Hustler,” the movie about pocket billiards, usually called “pool,” is still in theatres. But if you’d like to see one of the main characters “live,” go to New York’s Julian’s Academy at 136 East 14th Street. Willie Mosconi (pictured left with Paul Newman), the world champion, who was a technical adviser and performer of some of the picture’s fancy shots, is playing a match there with Onofrio Lauri of Brooklyn, the 65-year-old New York State titleholder. The match started yesterday afternoon before a crowd that jammed Julian’s exhibition area. Mosconi, who has won the world championship 17 times since 1941, is a 48-year-old Philadelphian. He runs a billiard parlor there, but spends most of his time traveling to put on exhibitions with emphasis on “impossible” trick shots.“The game has become a great one in the homes of the nation,” said Mosconi today. “Hundreds of tables are being sold every week and we now have 14 million players. With this background for spectators, I believe tournament play will be more successful than ever.”

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