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And Em. From In Our Own World Podcast. My Coutura Podcast Network and Coca-Cola celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month with incredible content creators like Patty Rodriguez. I was born in East LA, and I remember growing up, there was a small little shack in the apartment we lived at. And I would make that shack into a television studio. And there I would play pretend. I would pretend that I was a news reporter. And that's how I would spend most of my afternoons, pretending and imagining that one day I would be able to tell our own stories. Listen to Out of the Shadows, hosted by Patty Rodriguez and Eric Galindo on the iHeartRadio app or wherever you get your podcasts. Brought to you by Coca-Cola, proud sponsor of the MyCoutura Podcast Network.
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Vanguard Marketing Corporation distributor. This is Lee Habib, and this is our American Stories. The May 22, 2011 Joplin tornado remains one of the costliest tornadoes in American history. Despite this, the disaster brought out the best in many people wanting to help in any way they could. One of those people was Thad Bieler, who found a unique way to lend a hand to his fellow neighbor by founding the National Disaster Photo Rescue Organization, a group which seeks to reunite people with their lost photographs after disasters like Joplin.
Take it away, Thad. Well, I am Thad Bieler. I live in Carthage, Missouri and am from Joplin, Missouri, grew up there. I have multiple generations of family that have grown up in Joplin. I spent a great deal of time in the church. I grew up in the church, love the church. I have spent time as a pastor and ministered to people there of all generations.
It's been a wonderful part of my life, and it's what brought us here today to talk about the photo work we've done. It was a Sunday night. It was six o'clock, and we had Bible study at the church in Carthage, and my parents live in Joplin. I knew the weather was getting bad, and I was on the phone with my dad, and he was describing how the clouds and the atmosphere looked. I looked outside and began to see some of it in Carthage, which was kind of a green look to the clouds and to the sky. And come to find out that was ground being churned up.
While I was talking to my dad, I lost connection with him on his cell phone, and I tried several times to get a hold of him. I was concerned, but not terribly concerned because tornado sirens are something that we're very used to here. We don't necessarily react in a frantic manner, but we are always elevated during that time. When I turned on the weather channel, I see Mike Bettis standing in front of what was left of the St. John's Hospital in Joplin. And we began to see insulation, things dropping out of the sky all over Carthage.
For most people, they would be concerned because of what they were seeing. What maybe most would know is that my parents were directly west of the hospital, about a mile, which means that the tornado had passed over their house before it got to the hospital. So as I talked to my wife, I said, you know, I'm going to come home here shortly.
And I said, we're going to have to go to Joplin because I really didn't know. Finally, I got down there and it was dark by then. And it was like driving into a tunnel without lights.
I got to the end of the lights, of the street lights, and the lights of my truck just didn't seem to penetrate the darkness. I could see trees everywhere, cars turned upside down, power lines down everywhere. There was the smell of gas and there were fires and every single landmark from road sign to mailbox was gone.
People are crawling out of their homes. There were people up and down the roads wandering around as if they just didn't know where they were. People were lost. They were in their neighborhood, but they were lost.
But I got to them and they were fine. What was God's great miracle in their life was they didn't have a basement in their home. They're on a single story house and the neighborhood is loaded with trees. Well, it just so happened that the big, huge oak trees that surrounded their home all fell on the roof of their house. And if you've ever seen how a tornado works, it finds its weakest point of these structures and that's how it blows the roof off.
Well, it kept the roof from blowing off except for a couple of areas of home. So when I see them, of course they're ecstatic to see me. I'm glad that they're okay. I'm thankful that everything's fine. And I'm going, by the grace of God, you're still here because the neighbor's house, all that was left was the center stairwell.
So I spent time trying to assess their needs. They weren't hurt. They were unharmed. We settled them down, got them a place to be, and then I come back the next day. And wow, when you come back the next day, you thought you didn't know it in the dark.
You really don't know it in the day. There's a toaster in the kitchen with half a tube before driven through it. But what was amazing and that hit me, not knowing what I know today, was I walked down the hallway of my parents' house and the same things that were on the wall and had always been on the wall when we grew up were still there. And that was the pictures, our photographs, our family photos. Our family photos were there and sitting there untouched, had not been moved, weren't turned cockeyed, not even touched. And down the hallway, I went into a bedroom which was at the far end and I looked out the window and it hit me right then.
My folks have their pictures and the neighbor doesn't even have a house. So the question comes is, where did it all go? And you're listening to the voice of Thad Bieler, Joplin, torn to shreds on May 22nd by a monstrous tornado. 167 people lost their lives, more property damage than anyone would care to witness. When we come back, more of Thad Bieler's story, Joplin's story, here on Our American Story.
Our American Stories dot com. Soon millions will make Medicare coverage decisions for next year and UnitedHealthcare can help you feel confident about your choices. For those eligible, Medicare annual enrollment runs from October 15th through December 7th. If you're working past age 65, you might be able to delay Medicare enrollment depending on your employer coverage.
It can seem confusing, but it doesn't have to be. Visit UHCMedicareHealthplans.com to learn more. UnitedHealthcare, helping people live healthier lives. I know everything there is to know about running a coffee shop, but for small business insurance, I need my State Farm agent. They make sure my business stays piping hot and I stay cool and confident. See, they're small business owners, too, so they know how to help you best. State Farm is in your corner and on it. Like a good neighbor, State Farm is there.
Call your local State Farm agent for a quote today. Doing household chores can already be time consuming and tedious, and there's nothing more daunting than facing piles and piles of laundry that need to be done. I mean, that can be overwhelming for anyone. So, if you want to get those larger laundry loads done right and get back to your life, try All-Free Clear Mega Packs. All-Free Clear Mega Packs are bigger packs with two times the cleaning ingredients compared to a regular pack so that you can tackle any laundry load without the worry. All-Free Clear Mega Packs are also 100% free of perfumes and dyes and they're gentle on skin, which is great for any family's sensitive skin needs. My family, we definitely have sensitive skin. So, the next time the whole family gets home from long vacation or you get the kids back from summer camp or whatever the situation is that's caused this big pile of dirty clothes, just know that All-Free Clear Mega Packs, they have your back.
Purchase All-Free Clear Mega Packs today and conquer any laundry load for all fabric types. And we return to our American stories and the story of the National Disaster Photo Rescue Organization as told by its founder, Thad Buehler. Let's continue with the story. It is hard to know what is important in life until you no longer have it. Our memories are caught in snapshots all over our home and we realize that without those snapshots, we are losing part of our memory. And I am sitting there walking through that from 100 feet with the neighbors of my parents going, oh my gosh, all of those memories, all of those snapshots, they no longer have them.
And we still do. You feel blessed but all at the same time, you weep for them because even though you have the joy of knowing you still have it and you still have your family, there are people who lost their lives. And then to think on top of that, maybe they were safe and maybe they were okay, but now they can build their house but they no longer have that great wedding fixture that's sitting over the mantle or their children's pictures of when they were born and mama cradling them or memories at church, baptisms.
None of that. We grieve that because there's nothing that takes the place of that picture. The people may be standing beside you, but the moment in time that those folks were together in that moment is gone. Well, as communities come together, some communities come together better or quicker than others. In the Joplin disaster, people came from everywhere and they came quickly and they wanted to help. Local communities wanted to help and just do something to make a difference. The people at the church wanted to do something. Most of them older weren't able to get out and pick up pieces of wood and debris, but they could do something to try to help their neighbors and that's when we had a gentleman come by the church and said, I found a photograph in my yard.
And he said, what am I supposed to do with it? And that's when, truly, when the idea of the National Disaster Photo Rescue was born. We started asking questions and we saw on Facebook good and tending people from everywhere trying to connect these pictures that they were finding in their neighborhoods, in their backyards, in their farm fields, out in the street. They were picking them up as they were trying to help people.
They were posting them on Facebook hoping that someone would see them so they could get them back. I sent an email, a blanket email off to the American Red Cross. I had no idea what I was doing. I basically said a prayer before I sent it and I said, God, if this is supposed to go somewhere or this means something, then bear fruit from it. And so three days later, I got a call from a gentleman. His name was Michael. And Michael said, I heard that you were interested in trying to return photographs. And he says, I've been looking for people that want to do the same thing.
And he says, I will help you if you want to do this. So with his help, with learning to do press releases and the right equipment and how we were supposed to scan, I don't know how he knew all these things. And I will tell you, if you're a faith believer at all, Michael walked with me from about June of 2011 through Christmas Day of 2013. That was the last correspondence I heard from him. And several times after that, I wanted to go back and tell him thank you and that I appreciated all the work and everything he had done, but he had disappeared. I went back to the American Red Cross and I said, I'm trying to find Michael. And they looked and searched through everything. And long story short, Michael doesn't exist with the American Red Cross.
I've done everything I can to find him. So all of this has been put together with the help of so many people and faith believing people, people in the community just want to help. Our first picture photograph that we gave back was the first of September of 2011. And it was such a big homecoming for these folks to get the picture back because they lost their mother.
Well, our local TV station, bless their hearts, was so helpful. And they would put three or five images that we selected every day on an afternoon and evening broadcast. One photograph in particular was actually a picture of pictures. And if you have one of those long mirrors that goes on the back of your bedroom door, someone had taken this green frame, removed the mirror and placed photographs.
There had to be a hundred pictures on that frame. The next day, I received a phone call from a lady who says, I think you may have my pictures. She said, I saw it on the evening broadcast and I have to come and pick them up.
Will you be there where I could pick them up tomorrow? And I said, yes. I didn't know specifically what she was referring to because she was so anxious to just come and pick it up. The next day, she walks in and introduces herself and she says, the photograph I'm looking for actually is many photographs and it's in a green frame.
I said, ma'am, we have your pictures. And she broke down. She could not hold it.
And what I didn't understand more than just about the photographs and the fact that we had it was it was the only picture of her grandfather that was remaining was a little picture in the center of that frame with him and a hat and a vest. Her life was on and in that frame. And she says, I got my life back. I don't know how else to describe a situation where you give somebody something back and they say I got my life back because she did. And it was a blessing to me to know that I can make such a difference over one frame in somebody's life. It changes you when you hear stories like this. It changes you as a person. First of all, you're so grateful and thankful to be there for them.
You're thankful for your own life. And you realize just how important these little seemingly unimportant pieces of paper put people's lives together. By the way, we are still giving away pictures to this day. Ten years later, we're still giving them back.
In total, in Joplin, we've reunited right at eighteen thousand and four hundred photographs with over a thousand families. But for us, it's never been asking for something in return, only being willing to give to others. So many times as a pastor, we tell our congregations that we need to be neighborly to those around us. Sometimes we find it easier to give money to someone who's going to a foreign land to spread the word of God than it is to be across the street from someone who's our neighbor to ask them if you need God.
This is a ministry that completely takes away that veil. We're not there trying to get money because we don't ask for anything. We're not asking for their time. We're not asking for anything except for them to have something that is so special back. What Jesus did on the cross was to give his life and ask for nothing in return. When we give something and ask for nothing in return, I don't know a more Christlike thing.
It is exactly what we're supposed to be in the shadow of the cross. And a great job by Monty on the production and a special thanks to Thad Bieler. And to find out more about the National Disaster Photo Rescue, go to nationaldisasterphotorescue.org.
Thad Bieler's story here on Our American Story. Soon millions will make Medicare coverage decisions for next year. And UnitedHealthcare can help you feel confident about your choices. For those eligible, Medicare annual enrollment runs from October 15th through December 7th. If you're working past age 65, you might be able to delay Medicare enrollment depending on your employer coverage.
It can seem confusing, but it doesn't have to be. Visit uhcmedicarehealthplans.com to learn more. UnitedHealthcare, helping people live healthier lives. I know everything there is to know about running a coffee shop, but for small business insurance, I need my State Farm agent. They make sure my business stays piping hot, and I stay cool and confident. See, they're small business owners too, so they know how to help you best. State Farm is in your corner and on it. Like a good neighbor, State Farm is there.
Call your local State Farm agent for a quote today. Doing household chores can already be time consuming and tedious. And there's nothing more daunting than facing piles and piles of laundry that need to be done.
I mean, that can be overwhelming for anyone. So if you want to get those larger laundry loads done right and get back to your life, try All-Free Clear Mega Packs. All-Free Clear Mega Packs are bigger packs with two times the cleaning ingredients compared to a regular pack so that you can tackle any laundry load without the worry. All-Free Clear Mega Packs are also 100% free of perfumes and dyes and they're gentle on skin, which is great for any family's sensitive skin needs. My family, we definitely have sensitive skin. So the next time the whole family gets home from long vacation or you get the kids back from summer camp or whatever the situation is that's caused this big pile of dirty clothes, just know that All-Free Clear Mega Packs, they have your back.
Purchase All-Free Clear Mega Packs today and conquer any laundry load for all fabric types. And we continue with our American stories. Canada is an independent nation and not a part of the United States, most likely because of smallpox. During the Revolutionary War, the most dangerous place for a Continental Army soldier was not on the battlefield, but rather within an encampment. In fact, fever and infections from smallpox killed more soldiers than any wounds suffered in battle. And because smallpox was common in England, most British soldiers had already been exposed and were immune, but the disease was less common in America and the average Continental soldier was not. Here to tell the story is William Federer.
He is a nationally known speaker, best-selling author and president of Amerisearch Inc., a publishing company dedicated to researching America's heritage. Take it away. Smallpox is 10 times more terrible. The quote from John Adams is, "'Disease has destroyed ten men for us, where the sword of the enemy has killed one.'"
This was in a letter John Adams wrote to his wife, Abigail, April 13, 1777. During the Revolution, soldiers were plagued with typhoid, yellow fever, and smallpox, which an estimated 30% of the soldiers became infected with. So the soldiers were living in tight quarters, and so the diseases could spread easily, and they didn't always have proper sanitation. So this largely began when the British evacuated Boston. The British had occupied Boston for nine months, and when they finally left Boston, they left their infected soldiers behind. So spreading across the continent, smallpox epidemic killed an estimated 145,000 settlers and Indians. Fortunately for General George Washington, he was immune to smallpox, and by this time he's 19, he accompanied his older half-brother, Lawrence Washington, to the island of Barbados, and he gets smallpox. The year is 1751. Washington recovered, and he came back to America.
His older brother died, and George inherited Lawrence's estate, and the rest is history. But now he's immune to smallpox, and so when the army gets the disease, he can go amongst the army and not be affected. On July 4, 1775, Washington cautioned against travel around Boston. He said, as there may be danger of introducing smallpox into the army. Now, they didn't know about diseases. It wasn't until the middle 1800s that you had Louis Pasteur and the microscope and discovering viruses and so forth. So they weren't sure how this spread. Even John Adams, when he would write letters to his wife Abigail, she would insist that he smoke the letters.
What's that? Well, they would write the letter and put it in a box and light a little fire underneath of it, and they thought maybe the smoke will kill the virus. On December 15th of 1775, George Washington explained to Joseph Reed, Smallpox is in every part of Boston, a surety against any attempt of ours to attack. If we escape the smallpox in this camp, it will be miraculous.
Every precaution that can be taken to guard against this evil. On December 4th of 1775, Washington informed Congress that the British were sending civilians infected with smallpox out of the city. So Washington said, by recent information, General Howe is going to send out a number of inhabitants. A sailor says that a number of these coming out have been inoculated with the design of spreading smallpox through the camp. So the British, back when they did have Boston for those nine months, the word was that they were intentionally infecting people with the smallpox and intentionally sending them out to George Washington's troops. On January 1st of 1777, British ships sailing under a flag of truce released 400 American prisoners who were suffering from smallpox.
They released them at Connecticut's Milford Harbor. So you think, oh great, here's the British like one of those prison ships and they're going to let some Americans go. Well, the ones that they let go are infected with smallpox.
Within a month, 45 had died along with one of their caregivers, Captain Stephen Stowe. The British officer, Duncan, had suggested, as cited in a book published in 1777, dip arrows in matter of smallpox and twang them at the American rebels. This would disband these stubborn, ignorant, enthusiastic savages. Now Quebec, Canada, may have been captured by Americans in December of 1775, and Canada then could have become part of the United States had it not been for smallpox. American Captain Hector McNeil told of a congressional committee investigating the failure of the Army's expedition to Canada. He said smallpox was sent out of Quebec by British Governor Guy Carleton, inoculating the poor people at government expense for the purpose of giving it to our Army. So the situation was General Benedict Arnold. He had been a hero up to this point before he flipped and became a traitor, but Benedict Arnold was leading an American army up to Canada, and they could have captured Montreal, they could have captured Quebec, but he reported that nearly 1,200 American troops at Montreal where they were camped were suffering from smallpox. So out of his 1,200 men, he only had 500 that could fight.
So here you have a General Sullivan, he's got militia, they're supposed to go up and join this army, and they're like, oh, we don't know if we want to join it. You have all these people sick and dying of smallpox. General Gates conceded, as fine an army as has ever marched into Canada has this year been entirely ruined with smallpox. The line of retreat extended nearly 13 miles distance and a great part of them sick with smallpox. John Adams wrote from Philadelphia, June of 1776, our misfortune in Canada are enough to melt a heart of stone. The smallpox is 10 times more terrible than Britain's, Canadians and Indians together.
This was the cause of our precipitate retreat from Quebec. They did develop a method of inoculating where the pox would scab over, and they would scrape the scab and get powder from it, and then they would blow it up somebody's nose. The threat of smallpox did not lessen until widespread inoculations were called for by Dr. Benjamin Rush. Rush was a member of the Continental Congress where he signed the Declaration of Independence. He is considered the father of American medicine.
Dr. Rush personally inoculated Virginia Governor Patrick Henry against smallpox, as well as Pennsylvania's troops, resulting in their low rate of illness. So he was doing a little section of the troops here, another section of the troops there, and they would get sick for a little while and recover. So Dr. Benjamin Rush began to make this important contribution against this deadly enemy of smallpox. And a great job, as always, by Greg Hengler on that piece. And a special thanks to William Federer. He is a nationally known speaker, best-selling author, and president of Amerisearch, Inc., a publishing company dedicated to researching America's heritage. And so we learn why Canada isn't a part of the United States.
The story of smallpox and the Revolutionary War, here on Our American Stories. Music Soon millions will make Medicare coverage decisions for next year, and UnitedHealthcare can help you feel confident about your choices. For those eligible, Medicare annual enrollment runs from October 15th through December 7th. If you're working past age 65, you might be able to delay Medicare enrollment depending on your employer coverage.
It can seem confusing, but it doesn't have to be. Visit UHCMedicareHealthPlans.com to learn more. UnitedHealthcare, helping people live healthier lives. Music I know everything there is to know about running a coffee shop, but for small business insurance, I need my State Farm agent. They make sure my business stays piping hot.
And I stay cool and confident. See, they're small business owners too, so they know how to help you best. State Farm is in your corner and on it. Like a good neighbor, State Farm is there.
Call your local State Farm agent for a quote today. Doing household chores can already be time consuming and tedious, and there's nothing more daunting than facing piles and piles of laundry that need to be done. I mean, that can be overwhelming for anyone. So, if you want to get those larger laundry loads done right and get back to your life, try All-Free Clear Mega Packs. All-Free Clear Mega Packs are bigger packs with two times the cleaning ingredients compared to a regular pack so that you can tackle any laundry load without the worry. All-Free Clear Mega Packs are also 100% free of perfumes and dyes and they're gentle on skin, which is great for any family's sensitive skin needs, which my family, we definitely have sensitive skin. So, the next time the whole family gets home from long vacation or you get the kids back from summer camp or whatever the situation is that's caused this big pile of dirty clothes, just know that All-Free Clear Mega Packs, they have your back.
Purchase All-Free Clear Mega Packs today and conquer any laundry load for all fabric types. Music This is our American Stories. Up next, a story from Mark O'Brien who listens to us on KMOXAM in St. Louis. And this story is about one of his personal heroes. Mark is the author of Have Pool Queue, Will Travel, which outlines this true character. Here's our own Monty Montgomery with the story.
Music Pool is a sport with a rich history to it and today it's one of the most popular participation sports in America. And there are countless names which have gone down as the best players of the game, including St. Louis Louis. Here's Mark O'Brien with more on this interesting character. I met Louis when I was 15 and that was in 1970. It was at a small pool room in St. Louis.
I had heard some stories about someone named St. Louis Louis. I heard him over and over again. I never met him. I thought he would be a guy about 50 or 60 years old. And one day I'm in the pool room practicing and a guy about 21 walked in. And you would have thought a celebrity walked in. All the old timers in the pool room, right about the same time, they said, It's Louis. It's Louis. And everybody shook his hand, hugged him, blah, blah, blah. And from that day on, he became my hero. Music Louis was one of the most charismatic people I've ever met.
That didn't have anything to do with pool. When Louis was around anybody, anywhere, at any time, all the eyes were on Louis. He just had a way of making you feel good, smile, laugh.
He was like a magnet. His skills were incredible and he has been called by hundreds of people, maybe the greatest shot maker in pool history. Louis Roberts could cut a pool ball like nobody else could. My gosh, his favorite game was nine ball. And that's a rotation game, one through nine. You have to hit the lowest numbered ball first. And if you make that, you go on to the next ball.
And then when you finally get to the nine and you make it, you win the game. And Louis, if he had an open shot, he would just run out. I mean, he was a stone cold, run out artist. He was amazing, an amazing pool player. Music He was born Louis Francis Roberts in 1950 here in St. Louis, Missouri. A future two time US Open nine ball champion, Louis would actually dominate the sport for over two decades.
Louis's dad purchased a brand new A.E. Schmidt pool table so the six children could have fun while they were at home. Louis had five siblings, two sisters and three brothers, but they had difficulty getting Louis away from the table. As an early teen, Louis became infatuated with pool and practiced for several hours every day. By the time he was 15 or 16, no one in St. Louis could beat him playing eight ball or nine ball. And Louis made his first road partner, Paul Beulis, at Cleveland High School when they were sofa motors.
And Paul, luckily, he owned a car. And him and Louis would travel to dozens of area hot spots on the weekends where they won piles of money. As Paul tells it, Louis was a young phenom and rarely, if ever, missed a shot. And Louis always had a ton of energy and was also an accomplished athlete in high school.
He was a star gymnast and a cross country runner. And Louis had only two things on his mind as a young teen, sport activities and pool. When Louis was 17, Louis had a reputation of being unbeatable on a pool table.
Out of town hustlers started showing up in St. Louis, and when they departed, their bankroll had shrunk. One thing that separated Louis from other pool players, gamblers and hustlers, Louis would often refund a portion of his winnings because he hated to see anyone go broke. One other thing, Louis was becoming a dead ringer for Elvis Presley in the looks department, and he loved the attention. On occasion, Louis would walk on his hands around the pool tables at the sports center in St. Louis while reciting verbatim lines from his favorite movie, Scarface. Louis' impression of Al Pacino was spot on. I witnessed feats like those dozens of times as I was the co-owner of the sports center along with my partner, Larry LaBarbera. Larry hired Louis as our house pro in 1988.
Louis left us with dozens and dozens of great classic memories that will never be forgotten. Now, Louis did several trick shot exhibitions at the sports center, and he scared us on more than one occasion. Louis would set up a series of five difficult shots to guarantee he would make them in six shots or less. He then promised everyone in attendance a $5 bill if he was unsuccessful. Sometimes 50 people or more were in the building, and we were on the hook for the payout, me and my partner.
Of course, it made us very nervous, but we never paid out a dime. Louis was a sensational trick shot artist. One of his best shots, it was called the Chattanooga Choo Choo. He would lay three cues on the pool table, and it would make like a train track, and he would pocket four balls. And then the cue ball would go around the table, and it would hop up in the air and come down on this track.
And then it would roll right toward another pocket, the cue ball would, to pocket another ball. That usually got the biggest rise out of the audience whenever he did an exhibition. Louis started winning or placing very high in major U.S. tournaments at age 22 when he won the 1974 Orlando, Florida Open Nine Ball Tournament, and that was versus a large group of other seasoned professionals and road-tested hustlers. And it wasn't just his skill that won him tournament after tournament.
It was also his wit. When your opponent approaches the table and gets down to take a shot, he shouldn't say anything, and Louis never did say anything. But while Louis was shooting, man, he was so talkative. He just might do things to make you nervous without you realizing it. One time some guy came in.
Louis did not know him. The guy asked for a large handicap, and the guy ran the first two racks, and Louis knew he was in a little bit of trouble. So he asked the guy. He goes, Hey, do you inhale or exhale? And the guy said, Well, what do you mean? He goes, Well, you play real good.
I was just wondering, before you pull the trigger, do you inhale or exhale? Well, the guy got so confused, he was struggling to breathe the rest of the match, and he went on tilt and couldn't make a ball after that. Louis beat him. And then there was Louis' debut into the film industry. Well, a blockbuster movie hit the theaters in 1986 starring Tom Cruise and Paul Newman.
The film was titled The Color of Money. When the producers and the directors were gathering a cast of pool-playing teachers, Louis was a no-brainer to be chosen. Louis was a great teacher of the game, and he used to give private lessons for a hefty fee.
So Louis lasted a few weeks on the payroll. Louis and a few other great players gave hands-on instruction to Paul Newman and Tom Cruise. Louis claimed he would have been chosen for one of the speaking parts in the movie, but they told him he looked too much like Elvis. So he can be seen in the movie three or four times, and his name is actually announced at the big tournament, and Louis was very proud of that mention. Louis also mentioned that while Newman had average pool skills, Tom Cruise had never played pool and was more difficult to teach. So naturally, Louis became friends with Paul Newman and Tom Cruise, and Louis had a personal contact phone number for both of them, which he kept in his little black book. On December 22, 1991, Louis apparently took his own life. His untimely death sent shockwaves throughout the billiard industry. Back at our pool room, dozens of former and current players stopped by to pay homage and view the many pictures of Louis that were displayed on the wall right next to his favorite table, pit table number one, Louis' table. Godspeed, Louis, and rest in peace until we meet again in pool heaven. And great job on that piece, Monty Montgomery doing the work. Mark O'Brien, a listener, bringing us the story of St. Louis Louis here on Our American Stories.
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