Brunswick Exhibition Tour in Europe – Bowling Memoirs of Johnny Petraglia

In the early 70’s Brunswick sent the Brunswick staff to Europe for an exhibition tour.  It was a month long and we visited a bunch of countries and cities. So much happened on that trip it would take a book to write it all down. But I’d like to share a small part of it with you.

There were 6 of us that went on this trip.  It was Dave Soutar, Judy Cook (before she was Judy Soutar), Skee Foremsky, Mary De Barberie, Joe Joseph and I. Around the middle of the trip we were in Vienna and finally had a day off. There’s a park in Vienna that has the world’s biggest ferris wheel.  It’s been used in a couple of movies and we decided to go there and take some pictures from the top of the wheel.

I figured we would just get a cab, but Soupy (Dave Soutar) somehow was able to borrow a van.  As we were getting in the van I asked Soupy if he’d been in Vienna before and he said, “No.”  So I asked, “How do you know where you’re going?”  He said, “I’ve got a good sense of direction.”  Right.  We got to the first corner and Soupy pulled over and stopped.  I asked, “What’s the matter?”  He said, “The street signs are in German and I forgot about that – I can’t read German.”  We all laughed and figured we would just go back to the hotel.  But not Soupy, the challenge was on and he was going to try anyway.  Now Vienna has streets for cars and trolley cars.There’s a divider that’s about six inches high so that you don’t cross over and have a collision with a trolley car.  Soupy somehow managed to end up in the Trolley car lane and we were about to have a head on collision.  He somehow went over the 6 inch divider and avoided the accident, while also ruining the bottom of the poor guy’s van that we borrowed.  We somehow made it to the park (I’m still amazed) and went on the wheel.  One thing we noticed in the park that was unusual was every woman with a big chest was wearing a yellow sweater.  It reached the point that yellow sweater became the code word for big chest for the rest of the trip.  “Yellow sweater on lane 6!”  Judy has been wearing a lot of yellow tops ever since!

That night we went to a restaurant called the Rathskeller.  It was a bomb shelter during WW2.  The food was great, but the wine was very strong and without realizing it we got pretty drunk.  I have to explain something about Joe Joseph. Joe (rest his soul) was one of the nicest and low key men I ever met.  He had his own way of saying hello.  You would say, “Hi Joe,” and he would say very calmly, “Are you alright?”.  On the way back to the hotel he was asking everybody, “Are you alright?”.  The people must have thought, “Crazy Americans.”.

The following day we all had a hangover and had to film a TV piece.  The director thought he was the next Cecil B. Demille and was going to win an emmy.  He decided all six of us would throw the ball at the same time and get six strikes.  We tried to explain that the odds were a million to one, but he wouldn’t listen.  After about 15 tries he finally gave up.  He decided he would film us from the front, and then turn the cameras around and film six strikes.  It was taking quite a bit of time to have his crew move all the cameras and lights down lane near the pins.  We were milling around and talking on the approach and he must have been trying to get our attention without success because all of a sudden he yells at the top of his lungs, “ACHTUNG,” which I think means “attention” in German.  We’re all staring down the lane in silence and then Joe Joseph says, “Are you alright mustache?”.  That was a moment frozen in time.  All of us trying not to laugh and the look on the director’s face will be a moment I will never forget.  God Bless you Joe.

cento anni’…Johnny P.

2 thoughts on “Brunswick Exhibition Tour in Europe – Bowling Memoirs of Johnny Petraglia

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *