Andy Varipapa Exhibit to Open at Museum

by Bob Johnson 0

On March 27, a new exhibit based on the life and career of Andy Varipapa will open at the International Bowling Museum and Hall of Fame in Arlington, Texas.

The charismatic Varipapa gained fame in the early part of the 20th century as a trick-shot artist, and brought bowling to the big screen in the first bowling film short, “Strikes and Spares,” in 1934.

Varipapa was a leading instructor and exhibition bowler, one of the first to make nationwide tours. His bowling ability often was overshadowed by his trick shooting, but his achievements on the lanes have been almost legendary.

At age 55, he won the 1946 All-Star tournament, and the following year became the first to repeat as All-Star champion. He also won the BPAA Doubles in 1947 and 1948 with fellow Hall of Famer Lou Campi. He was inducted into the ABC Hall of Fame in 1957 in the Superior Performance category.

Varipapa never slowed down, continuing his famed exhibitions and remaining in the spotlight until his death. The exhibit will feature a short film, items from the museum's collection and recently donated items from Andy Varipapa II and John LaSpina. It will run through June 24.

Bob Johnson

Bob Johnson has received more national writing awards than any other bowling writer — close to 70 over the course of his 40-year career. He began at age 16 as a staff writer and then assistant editor for the weekly Pacific Bowler newspaper in his native California, and within three years was writing feature stories for Bowlers Journal. He has written for the magazine ever since, except for a five-year span when he was hired as the founding editor of another magazine. He moved to Chicago in 2000 and spent 13 years in the Windy City, including five as Bowlers Journal’s Editor. In 1975, Johnson received the Robert E. Kennedy Award as California’s top undergraduate high school journalist. Five years earlier, on the lanes, he had shared the Bantam Division Doubles championship in the Orange County Junior Bowling Association Championships. Today, he continues to work full-time for Bowlers Journal as its Senior Editor, to write his popular “Strikes Me” column, and to edit Luby Publishing Inc.’s weekly business-to-business Cyber Report.

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