During a visit to the Bowling Hall of Fame the great Earl Anthony taped this wonderful testimonial video to Andy, celebrating his long career and numerous contributions to the sport of bowling.
Click photo to link to video
This article focuses on Andy’s participation at what would turn out to be his final appearance at the annual ABC tournament. While this 4th-generation photocopy is hard to read (I’m still searching for the original), I was able to magnify it to copy the caption under the photo as well as the opening quote, shown below from Allie Brandt.
“He did more for the game than any other person, was a great competitor and the finest advertisement I ever saw for the game, Anybody who ever said he wasn’t a terrific bowler had to be a bit jealous because Andy knew how to make money at the game” – Allie Brandt
Andy Varipapa, who will be 92 March 31, greets autograph seekers at the Niagara Falls Convention Center last night. The world’s greatest trick shot bowler, who was elected to the American Bowling Congress Hall of Fame in 1957, was a popular attraction in the city on numerous occasions for exhibitions and match games. He was among the celebrities present at ABC Hall of Fame ceremonies.
The Breakfast of Champions is going bowling. Wheaties — known for partnering with A-list sports stars like Michael Jordan and Tiger Woods — for its newest campaign is spotlighting a pro bowler whose heyday was back in the mid-20th Century.
That would be Andy Varipapa, who was known as much for his trick-shot making as his winning. Ads featuring vintage footage of Mr. Varipapa — who died in 1984 — will run during a Professional Bowlers Association event that will begin airing on Sunday on ESPN.
The ads (examples above and below) are part of Wheaties sponsorship of a PBA tournament series that occurs in Maine. As part of the deal, Wheaties will sponsor one of the competing teams, whose members will wear Wheaties bowling shirts. Other brands sponsoring teams include Geico and Barbasol, according to the PBA.
The campaign, which will also get paid digital support, was created in house by brand-owner General Mills.
Air Jordan, this ain’t. But as a marketing play, it’s not a gutter ball, either.
“Bowling happens to be one of those sports that is equally appealing to [baby] boomers and millennials,” said General Mills Chief Creative Officer Michael Fanuele. It is the top participation sport in the U.S. — excluding fitness activities — with about 46.2 million people bowling at least once in a year, according to the Sports & Fitness Industry Association.
“In researching the history of bowling, there was one guy above all else who exhibited the spirit of a champion that Wheaties has always admired and applauded, and so [Mr. Varipapa] became our hero,” Mr. Fanuele said.
Mr. Varipapa was “the supreme bowler of his time and one of the sport’s best attractions for more than a quarter of a century,” according to a New York Times obituary published in 1984, which noted that he was “popular for his trick shots as well as his normal prowess.”
Mort Luby, former editor and publisher of Bowlers Journal International, in 2011 painted a portrait of Andy depicting his cross-country adventures in the early 1930’s as he and fellow bowling stars such as Hank Marino and Nelson Burton Sr. toured America during the depths of the Great Depression on a Brunswick-sponsored tour to promote the sport.
The painting was donated to the International Bowling Hall of Fame and Museum, and along with many other previous paintings by Luby was auctioned at the Bowl Expo in Las Vegas to raise funds for the Hall.
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