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My Pool Movie Script Begins

Where Willie Checks In, So Hollywood Should

By

Willie Mosconi's smile

Willie Mosconi's smile

Photo courtesy of Focus on Sport/Getty Images

You know, you could have a rocking movie not just about fictional pool hustlers but the real greats of this game. Some of suggested Efren "The Magician" Reyes for such a film. He has the rags-to-riches background, the amazing shots in his arsenal and the gentlemanly demeanor. It was Reyes and the Filipino players who introduced the more courteous customs that all pros follow today in tournaments.

But for my money, there could be quite a movie script or treatment developed from the life and times of Willie Mosconi. May I set a few scenes for you as below? These are all real-world, true-to-life stories of "The Mosc", by the way. You may steal my ideas as long as a get a film or screenwriter's credit. ;)

TITLE OVER: Philadelphia, 1932. The heart of the Great Depression.

INT. THE DUSTY POOL HALL - CONTINUOUS ACTION

Smoke crowds each corner of this Depression-era poolroom. A few old men and some young sports chase the balls around a dozen large pool tables and a few cushion billiards tables.

More smoke from his own cigar covers the face and toupee of DAN WIGGINS, 45 and curls into the view of CHARLIE, 35, as they enter the room and stride towards a tall and lanky BARTENDER, 35, who is cleaning a few glasses with a damp rag.

DAN WIGGINS
LET'S GET SOME, KID.
(Loudly to everyone.)
WHOSE UP FOR SOME NINE BALL FOR CASH?

BARTENDER
MAYBE MY FRIEND HERE AT THE BAR. BUT HE'S GOT BALLS! HIS OWN SET.

We see the back of 19-year-old WILLIAM JOSEPH MOSCONI as he pushes back a mass of thick black hair. He sits at the bar sipping a Coca-Cola, not hunched over like the barflies around him, but tall and erect despite his 5'8" frame, like he owns the world.

DAN WIGGINS
HOW ABOUT IT, BUDDY? YOU WANT A PIECE OF THE ACTION?

Mosconi speaks with a heavy Northeastener's accent, his voice high or nearly so and clipped.

MOSCONI
STUPID GAME.

DAN WIGGINS
HOW'S THAT, NOW?

MOSCONI
(His back is still turned to the camera and to the hustler and Wiggins, his backer.)
I SAID NINE BALL'S A STUPID GAME. (Beat) BREAK A BALL IN, RUN THE OTHER EIGHT. REPEAT. STUPID. BORING. A SMALL GAME FOR SMALL MINDS.

DAN WIGGINS
WHAT'S YOUR GAME THEN, PAL. WHADDA YOU GOT?

MOSCONI
SOME STRAIGHTS MAYBE. SOME ONE POCKET. SOMETHING.

CHARLIE
I DON'T HAVE TIME FOR THAT CRAP. NINE BALL FOR $5 A RACE-TO-THREE AND LET'S GO. I GOTTA DATE TONIGHT, PAL.

MOSCONI
GET LOST. (Beat) PLEASE.

Wiggins and Charlie quietly confer for a few moments before eyeing the bartender who shrugs his shoulders with a "What can I tell you?" expression on his face.

They turn back to Mosconi.

DAN WIGGINS
WHAT'S YOUR NAME THERE, BUDDY?

MOSCONI
WILLIAM.

DAN WIGGINS
WELL, WILLIAM, YOUR PAL HERE AT THE BAR SAYS YOU HAVE THE STONES TO PLAY. BUT I DON'T THINK YOU DO. I'M NOT SAYING MY FRIEND CHARLIE HERE IS THE GREATEST PLAYER IN THE WORLD, AND I'M NOT SAYING HE'S THE WORST, NEITHER. I AM SAYING YOU'RE SCARED TO PLAY HIM--

MOSCONI
--I'M SCARED TO TURN THE POWERS OF MIND AND BODY TO PUSHING BALLS INTO HOLES FOR $5 FOR YOUR ENTERTAINMENT.

DAN WIGGINS
(Long Beat) I SAY NINE BALL'S A MAN'S GAME, CHARLIE'S A MAN, AREN'T YOU, CHARLIE?

CHARLIE
UH-HUH. YUP.

DAN WIGGINS
AND I SAY YOU'RE A BOY, WILLIAM, A SCARED, RUNTY, LITTLE BOY. AFRAID BOTH OF YOUR FRIENDS HERE AT THE BAR WILL SEE YOU EMBARRASS YOURSELF?

Mosconi still does not turn about but his hand pauses in the middle of lifting his glass to drink.

Charlie leans in a bit as if to study Mosconi's profile more closely. He glances at Wiggins, who gets a glint in his eye. He knows he's hit a nerve.

DAN WIGGINS
HOW ABOUT $10 A THROW THEN, BOY? OR MAYBE--MAYBE EVEN 20 DOLLARS. TWENTY DOLLARS FOR THREE-OF-FIVE GAMES. HOW ABOUT IT, SPORT?

Mosconi turns around to look at the fellows for the first time.

MOSCONI
--HOW ABOUT FIFTY THEN?

Charlie and Wiggins work unsuccessfully to suppress little smiles. The fish is on the hook.

CHARLIE
FIFTY A SET? YOU'RE ON, JERK.

MOSCONI
FIFTY A GAME.

CHARLIE
SOUNDS GOOD TO ME, WILLIE. I'M NOT THE ONE WHO'S PAYIN'.

DAN WIGGINS
NO, I AM. OR AM I? MAYBE, WILLIAM, YOU'RE PRETTY GOOD BUT MAYBE MY BOY HERE IS BETTER. YOU'RE ON.

MOSCONI
THEN MAYBE YOU WANT TO RACK THE BALLS FOR ME. AND MAYBE YOU WOULD PUT YOUR $50 ON THE LIGHT.

CHARLIE
AND YOUR FIFTY?

BARTENDER
I'VE GOT IT. YOU GO AHEAD, UH, WILLIAM. I'VE GOT THIS GAME COVERED.

MONTAGE - WE SEE EXCERPTS FROM THE ACTION AS MOSCONI BREAKS THE 1-BALL OR A CORNER BALL IN OFF THE RACK, RUNS OUT TO THE 9-BALL AND WAITS FOR WIGGINS TO RACK THEM UP AGAIN AND AGAIN - WE SEE THE BARTENDER'S "I TOLD YOU SO" GLOATING LOOK AND WIGGINS' FACE TIGHTENING TO A TACITURN MASK as MOSCONI RUNS 13 STRAIGHT RACKS OF NINE BALL WITHOUT A MISS

DAN WIGGINS
(As he pulls a wad of bills from the light atop the action table and tosses them on the bar in front of the bartender.)
THAT'S ENOUGH! WE'RE LEAVING. HERE'S YOUR 650 DOLLARS, DAMMIT.

Mosconi breaks apart his two-piece cue as Charlie begins to step out behind Wiggins, displaying his anger.

CHARLIE
WHAT ABOUT ME, BOSS? YOU HAVEN'T SEEN WHAT I CAN DO YET!

The bartender chuckles as he thumbs through the bills and peels off half to Mosconi.

BARTENDER
And 325 bucks to you, kid. Thanks.

The barflies, who'd turned around the watch the play with interest, turn back to sit in their cups.

MOSCONI
STUPID GAME.

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