Bowl-O-Rama: The Visual Arts of Bowling

H. Thomas Steele, Author Abbeville Press $21.95 (96p) ISBN 978-0-89659-607-8
The narrative of this bowling paean comprises interesting history (bowling may have begun as a religious ritual, was outlawed in England under Henry VIII and turned up among the competitions in the 1936 Berlin Olympics); bad puns (""This book will strike you right and have you rolling in the gutters''); and pop psychology (``Bowling is the harmless sublimation of the terrible human instinct to throw things''). But the bulk of the small book is devoted to more than 200 color and black-and-white illustrations, which stand as a testimony to how seriously some people take their bowling. Graphics designer Steele (The Hawaiian Shirt presents bowling-alley architecture and signs, ornate shirts, furniture, clocks, lamps, salt-and-pepper shakers, and an array of bowling graphics on post cards, pinups and covers of matchbooks, record albums, the New Yorker magazine and packages of condoms. Most of the memorabilia is from the sport's heyday in the '50s, but the author neglects to date many of the artifacts or give an adequate appraisal of bowling in the '80s. (June 16)
Reviewed on: 05/01/1986
Release date: 05/01/1986
Genre: Nonfiction
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