I beat my previous best game of 180 with a 184 today and started wondering if a perfect game, 12 strikes in a row for 300 points, has been televised. The answer is yes, several.
… A handful of 300 games have been broadcast on live TV. Grazio Castellano of Brooklyn, New York was the first to roll a 300 game on live television. This occurred on October 4, 1953 during an Eastern All-Star league session at Newark, New Jersey. (Castellano is a member of the United States Bowling Congress Hall of Fame.) A more recent example of this came in October 2006, when England’s Paul Moor became the first man to register a score of 300 in the Weber Cup (the first 300 on live British television), the annual Europe versus America team challenge event. Australian bowler Jason Belmonte became the first player to ever roll a 300 game in the televised finals of the World Tenpin Masters, defeating Moor in the 2007 event. Tommy Jones had shot a perfect game in each Weber Cup from 2007 to 2009. Two-handed bowler Osku Palermaa bowled a 300 game on a PBA tour in the second bracket.
Through 2012, there have been 22 televised 300 games in title events on the PBA Tour, and two more on the Senior PBA Tour. The first 300 game in a televised PBA event was rolled by Jack Biondolillo in the opening match of the 1967 Tournament of Champions finals (broadcast by ABC). (This was also the first nationally televised broadcast of a perfect game.) The most recent in a U.S. telecast of a PBA Tour event was accomplished by Chris Barnes in a semi-final match of the GEICO Shark Open at the 2011 PBA World Series of Bowling (broadcast in March 2012). In 2009, Wes Malott rolled two 300 games in an ESPN broadcast of the King of Bowling series (a taped non-PBA Tour event featuring PBA players). Ryan Shafer, who earlier in his career tossed the PBA’s 18th televised 300 in a PBA Tour event, also threw his second televised 300 game in a singles match at the Geico PBA Team Shootout, a non-title event broadcast on ESPN, July 2, 2011.
Female bowlers have also achieved perfection in front of a television audience. Ritsuko Nakayama of the Japan Professional Bowling Association became the first female to score a perfect game in front of a national television audience, doing so in Japan on August 21, 1970. Michelle Feldman of the now defunct Professional Women’s Bowling Association became the first female to roll 300 on American national television, when she accomplished the feat in a 1997 Prime Sports broadcast. Cara Honeychurch and Liz Johnson bowled the second and third American 300 games – both in PWBA events. Urara Himeji, Wendy Macpherson and Takiko Naganawa have rolled 300-games on Japanese national television – all during JPBA events.
What floored me was 10-year-old Nolan Blessing who, it seems, bowled a perfect game (without the bumpers). The last frames are on youtube. Okay, I’m no longer impressed by my 184. Would watching perfectly bowled games for an hour before bowling improve a person’s game?