April 18, 2006 19:00
PBS will air “A League of Ordinary Gentlemen” on the station’s Independent Lens series hosted by Edie Falco on Tuesday, April 25 at 10 p.m. (check local listings).
The DVD version of the movie was released on March 21 and later that week two of the films’ focal points – Walter Ray Williams Jr. and Pete Weber – faced off in the title match of the 2006 Denny’s World Championship.
Their rivalry has been a big part of the recent resurgence of pro bowling, which is documented in this highly entertaining film.
Though never the sport of Kings, at one point in time, bowling occupied a perfectly respectable place in the pantheon of American sports. When Eddie Elias convinced the country's top 33 bowlers to kick 50 bucks into a communal pot in a banquet hall in Syracuse, NY, in 1958, the Professional Bowlers Association was born.
ABC began televising PBA tournaments in 1962, and as the lead in to Wide World of Sports, Chris Schenkel's Saturday afternoon bowling telecast was for many years one of the highest rated sports programs on television. By the late 90's, that reign had ended. “A League of Ordinary Gentlemen” chronicles the resurgence of the Tour when three former Microsoft executives bought the league and set out to reinvent its image.
The film focuses on former PBA President and CEO Steve Miller and four of his charges: Weber, Williams, Chris Barnes and Wayne Webb: professional bowlers at very different places in their careers, and their sometimes funny, sometimes sad adventures on tour as professional athletes...albeit the Rodney Dangerfields of professional sports.
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