Ken, in his really outstanding, can’t-emphasize-the-excellence-of-it-enough blog, The Illuminated Donkey, today covers skee-ball, in general, as a topic. He opens with an idle boast concerning his skee-ball prowess, which, via the comments section, quickly escalates to shut-em-down style knowledgeable commentary in which he offhandedy notes both a recent high-score (a shut yer trap 540) and the fack that he’s been kicked out of skee-ball tourneys as a ringer.
Inspired, even rejuvenated by this manly braggadoccio, he waxes grizzled for the benefit of the peanut gallery, with helpful skee-balling tips for the skeeballerati, takes a pit stop by the bingo hall, and then commences to keyboard episode 11 from the well-beloved (but well-nigh-forgot) boy’s juvelilia Guy Sterling, Skee-Ball Champion, originally serialized in Happy Boy magazine in the late 1940s.
Astonishingly, I was able to locate, via a subscription-only sports memorabilia auction site (to which I was able to trade dot-com stock-options for membership a couple years ago), an image of “Guy Sterling” supporting character (and actual professional skee-baller) “Spats” Murphy’s rookie card!
Sadly, no detail was provided on this licensing and crossover pioneer – I trust that New Jersey’s finest will dig up the requisite detail. Inquiring minds want to know!
UPDATE: Since we went to press, Mr. Goldstein has declared it to be Skee Ball Week chez The Illuminated Donkey, and added Episode 12 of the Guy Sterling saga. No word yet on the Skee Ball Week Theme Song.
Episode 12 sheds light on the troubled character of “Spats” Murphy, seen here in a rare rookie tobacco card. History records his astounding reign over the early league days of pro Skee-Ball, and officially, when he retired in 1921 it was due to health concerns. However, in an astounding act of courage, the author of the Happy Boy Guy Sterling serial took on the dirty secret of pro skee ball: gambling. In point of fact, they claim directly that Murphy threw the championship that fateful year.
Finally, I was mistaken above when I referred to the serial as having been originally serialzed in the late 1940’s. Of course (silly me), it was originally serialized in the late 1930’s.