Production[ edit ] The Tevis novel had been optioned several times, including by Frank Sinatra , but attempts to adapt it for the screen were unsuccessful. Director Rossen's daughter Carol Rossen speculates that previous adaptations focused too much on the pool aspects of the story and not enough on the human interaction. Rossen, who had hustled pool himself as a youth and who had made an abortive attempt to write a pool-themed play called Corner Pocket, optioned the book and teamed with Sidney Carroll to produce the script. The film crew built a dining area that was so realistic that confused passengers sat there and waited to place their orders. All of Gleason's shots were his own; they were filmed in wide-angle to emphasize having the actor and the shot in the same frames.
Jackie Gleason “The Hustler” 11″ x 14″ Shadowbox | Elite Home Gamerooms – Florida's Game Supply
The nine ball plops into the side pocket, the cue ball hits one cushion and stops near the center spot. Big as a water tower but light on his feet, with a diamond ring on a pudgy finger, the fat man moves around the table. For 31 consecutive hours, with an almost incredible repertoire of masse shots, bank shots, gather shots, and combinations, with just enough English and the right amount of draw, he has been defending his reputation as the best there is. He chalks up and shoots again. The 15 ball slams into the corner and disappears. Minnesota Fats is still the greatest pool shark in the world. A man of understated power, Minnesota Fats is played, curiously enough, by Jackie Gleason, and where audiences might have arrived expecting a million laughs from the most celebrated buffoon ever to rise through U.