What national TV programs have featured candlepin bowling?
September 26, 2013 7:45 AM   Subscribe

Have any nationally-broadcast fictional TV programs (sitcoms, big 4 dramas, etc) featured candlepin bowling? New England sitcoms seem like they'd be fertile ground for this, but Cheers's From Beer To Eternity is big-ball bowling, and while Google tells me that Newhart had an episode in which Stephanie discovers she likes bowling, I can't seem to find whether it's real bowling or big-ball bowling.
posted by Greg Nog to Media & Arts (11 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
The only candlepin alley that I know of in Vermont was in Brattleboro. It closed at least 15 years ago. I doubt the Newhart show was about candlepin bowling.
posted by Gringos Without Borders at 7:54 AM on September 26, 2013

From Tv Tropes:

Sometimes, a Canadian series will have that country's distinctive five pin variant: five pins with rubber rings around the wide bottom and smaller balls with no finger holes. But neither Canada nor the United States will ever show any other type of bowling (sorry, candlepin and duckpin lovers)

So those guys have never found an example of it, at least. This did lead me to look up duckpin bowling, and those pins are just adorable, so thanks for that.
posted by Think_Long at 8:04 AM on September 26, 2013

I haven't seen the episode myself, but the Simpson's episode My Mother The Carjacker at least mentions it.

I remember seeing that Episode of Cheers as a kid and being pissed that they showed big ball bowling. Cliff also once mentioned he was "down at White Castle." They had lousy fact checkers.

Is this where I can brag that my mom was on Candlepins for Cash back in 1976?
posted by bondcliff at 8:06 AM on September 26, 2013 [5 favorites]

Not exactly what you're looking for, but the film Southie has a candlepin scene. Never seen it on a sitcom, though.
posted by These Premises Are Alarmed at 8:10 AM on September 26, 2013 [1 favorite]

I'd ask the guy who is working on the Small Balls: A candlepin odyssey movie who seems like he's been tracking down a lot of trivia about the sport. And of course, ask these people. I think its really unlikely that Newhart was candlepin, it's really not a thing in Vermont. It gets really tough because for people who grew up in candlepin areas, it was just called "Bowling" and not "candlepin bowling"

Man I can remember when neighbors were on Candlepins for Cash and it was like they were royalty....
posted by jessamyn at 8:26 AM on September 26, 2013 [4 favorites]

I know that Homicide: Life on the Street, featured Duckpin Bowling.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 8:39 AM on September 26, 2013

Best answer: Mentioned, if not shown, in this Saturday Night Live sketch from 1992.

(I saw this originally run, four years before I moved to New England. I have never, ever forgotten it and found it to be hysterically accurate.)
posted by dlugoczaj at 9:09 AM on September 26, 2013 [2 favorites]

Degrassi: The Next Generation featured that funny Canadian bowling in the last season during a class "bowl-a-thon." Couldn't help but wonder what American viewers thought of this, as generally Canada does not exist on this show.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 9:17 AM on September 26, 2013

Mod note: Just answer the question folks.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 9:18 AM on September 26, 2013 [1 favorite]

I can verify (if memory serves) that the Newhart episode featured big-ball 10-pin bowling.
posted by mmoncur at 11:15 PM on September 27, 2013

Response by poster: Thanks, all!

dlugoczaj seems to have come the closest, as candlepin bowling was acknowledged as a thing on national TV, and -- bonus! -- in a way that must have been wicked confusing to non-New-Englanders. She gets best answer, but thanks to all of you for your help!
posted by Greg Nog at 7:59 AM on October 2, 2013

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