Pro Bowlers Tour – 1965 Thunderbird PBA Open – Burton vs. Baca

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22-year-old Nelson Burton, Jr. faces Sam Baca in the second of three round robin matches leading up to the title match against tournament leader Dick Weber at the 1965 Thunderbird PBA Open. Unfortunately, this snippet is the only part of this match that is known to exist. But I figured it was worth posting just because of the vintage footage of Burton, seen wearing his Buddy Holly glasses.

Boy, did those guys play an entirely different game back then.

Chris Schenkel on play-by-play. Billy Welu on color.

Thunderbird Lanes, Wichita, KS. Feb. 20, 1965.

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22 Comments on “Pro Bowlers Tour – 1965 Thunderbird PBA Open – Burton vs. Baca”

  1. Bowling for Dollars was a syndicated package sold to local TV stations. So although the format was the same from market to market, each local station produced its own Bowling for Dollars series. There were as many different hosts as there were stations carrying the series. I wish I’d taped some B4$ episodes when it was on in the market I lived in at the time. The host would have been the legendary Verne “Maybe…YES SIR!!!” Lundquist, who hosted B4$ on WFAA-TV, Dallas. But I didn’t. 🙁

  2. You heard Billy say more direct for Sam compared to Ray Bluth. Maybe that’s why Sam was leaving 5-7 combinations. More common back then for pros than today.

  3. Chick Hearn, the legendary Los Angeles Lakers broadcaster, hosted B4$ on L.A. and San Francisco (KBHK 44) TV in 1978-79. THAT was different. lol! Didn’t know that about Lundquist, but I imagine he was good as emcee.

  4. Chick Hearn was also the play-by-play voice on Jackpot Bowling with Milton Berle, part of the NBC prime time lineup in 1960 and ’61.

  5. A classic video; youtube is amazing and the bowling enthusiasts out there, to see things like this that havnt been seen by myself atleast NBJ has always been a favorite of mine. in 1977 he walked into the arena in allen park ,mi for a tourney with his wife wearing a black mink coat, quite an entry.,thx for posting.

  6. Sam Baca is now the founder of ‘Legends” bowling products and “Lane Master” bowling balls. He is also considered as one of the most influental bowling profiles in the world. Also a Gold certified bowling coach

  7. @TheBrassHole I am not sure when (I guess I could look it up)–“The bowling pins of the 40’s & 50’s were made of wood and ranged anywhere from 3 Ibs to 4 Ibs. In those days with rubber balls a 190 to 200 was a winning average. In the late 60’s the wooden pins were covered with a nylon sleeve at the base and dipped in a white plastic coating before they were decorated with a company’s markings & logos.”–this is part of the reason for the difference.

  8. @TheBrassHole OH, and for those that might not know it, as the follow-up post didn’t post, the nylon coating and plastic coating makes the pins a bot more lively. ALSO, what I have not found yet, is when “double void” pins became popular. Most of the older pins like this were solid all the way through, or might have had only a single void in the middle of them. Later, maybe after the 60s???, they came out with the double voids, making the pins a bit more top heavy making and very lively!

    1. What? its not howling. Its called bowling. It is a sport where everyone makes the devils sign by extending their pointers and pinkies while putting their thumbs, middle fingers and ring fingers in the holes of a bowling ball. What are you talking bout when you say “decades”? Don’t you mean years?

  9. Amen Julia V.  Bluth had a semi-roller with a sharp breaking hook.  His release was near perfect.  The great thing was that he could modify it to get more forward roll when he needed it.

  10. I didn’t know that Sam bowled on the PBA Tour. I only knew him as a laneman for the PBA with Lenny Nicholsen. He later hooked up Lane Masters Inc.

  11. I heard many years ago that Burton actually took the “St. John Line” a step further. Supposedly, he had been bowling poorly and out of frustration, launched the ball straight down the first board. The ball hung precariously on the edge of the lane before suddenly hooking back into the 1-3 pocket. Thus, the “gutter shot” was born. However, I’ve been told more than once that I must have dreamed this.

  12. These guys threw what we later called “Nothing balls”,  balls with little or no striking power, that was later gained due to the tremendous rotation produced by fingertip balls that became popular in the 70s.

  13. I didn’t realize it until I watched a bit more closely, but this has to be one of the earliest telecasts I have seen where 82-70s were in use.

  14. That looks like Andy Marzich on the bench to the bowlers’ left (wearing black and a Don Carter bowling glove), so I guess he was the 5th place/alternate for the finals.

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