Chicago pool hall maintains magic from decades-old Hollywood film

CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) - It’s been nearly 30 years since legendary director Martin Scorsese used our area as a blank canvas for his pool hall fable “The Color of Money."

From Fitzgerald's in Berwyn to Navy Pier, Chicagoland was just as much a star in the film as Paul Newman and Tom Cruise were.

But if you’re looking to travel back in time, one shooting location has maintained that magic that Scorsese saw three decades ago: Chris’ Billiards.

For Bruce Perry, who was on set for Scorsese’s sequel to “The Hustler,” there’s no question as to why the director would have chosen Chris' Billiards in Portage Park for a crucial scene in the film.

It’s real.

While the film was originally set to be shot in Canada, most of the tables there were snooker tables, not pool tables. So production manager Dodie Foster, who was from Chicago, was able to bring Scorsese to our city and point him in the right direction.

Using practical locations like Chris' Billiards, rather than building sets, helped Scorsese’s production come in both ahead of schedule and under budget.

But lifelong patron Arthur Dimanno, who also got to be on set during filming, has a unique perspective on his memories because he was also on the New York set of the film’s 1961 predecessor, “The Hustler.”

Chris’ Billiards is littered with memories of the film’s production, but their faded colors stand as a reminder that life goes on. It may not look like much upon first glance, but it’s the home of Hollywood history.

In the end, it’s like “Fast” Eddie Felson said.