Bowl to Stay Slim, 1958

Growing up in the 1960s, I can remember bowling being a very big deal.  The leagues that met weekly to compete were an important social function for many people in my community.  My parents didn’t bowl, but the parents of a friend were in a league so I often went with them to the lanes.  I learned to bowl (badly) and was never any good at it, but as I said, the social part of it was really the point.

In 1958 Brunswick, a maker of bowling supplies, published this booklet that was aimed to encourage women to take up the sport.

Bowling is a graceful, rhythmical sport.  A fun sport that’s not strenuous yet so good for the figure.

Marion Ladewig really was a professional bowler.  Here she is on What’s My Line? where she actually stumped the panelists.

The booklet is full of photos of attractive – and slim – women bowling, intermingled with dieting tips and how to score the game.

Here we have Mrs. Ladewig helping a young woman pick out a ball.  One thing I did not realize is that “Shoes are made for both right and left-handed bowlers…”  I’m left-handed, and I can’t ever remember being offered left-handed shoes.  Not surprising since I always considered myself lucky if they actually had the right size for me.

Of course the booklet would not be complete without an ad for Brunswick equipment.  I was especially interested in the shoes, mainly because bowling shoes can be a bit of a problem to accurately date.  I’d sure like a pair of the Princess Brunswick, in red, please.

The back cover has one last reminder, that bowling is a fun activity for the entire family.

In my bowling file I found another booklet, which is less soft-sell, more sports-minded.  I only picked it up because it is labeled “Compliments of Misty Harbor.”  I thought that was an odd sponsor considering Misty Harbor was a maker of rain coats and jackets, not something one would wear while bowling.

And once again, here is the bowling team from 1956.  I find it interesting that all the advertising booklet women are wearing skirts and dresses, but the real bowlers are outfitted in slacks.


Filed under Proper Clothing, Shoes, Winter Sports

10 responses to “Bowl to Stay Slim, 1958

  1. Mod Betty is a fan of bowling – at least in theory! Where I’m from we do Candlepin bowling where the ball is about the size of a large softball, and the only time I saw those “big ball bowling” balls was either on The Flintstones or Laverne & Shirley. Now living in a non-New England state, that’s the only option we have and MAN are they heavy! I guess you get your upper body workout!


  2. Well Lizzie, I think your offhand comment “in my bowling file” says it all! You really should open the Fuzzy Lizzie Museum one of these days. People would flock to it. Some time ago I found a fun photo of older women bowling, one in a skirt and the other in pants. Here’s the post:


  3. I used to make fun of bowling as a retro thing, then started spending the winter in a city where sometimes the only thing to do with a child on a sleeting Saturday is go to Kings Back Bay bowling alley. Now we’ve all gotten pretty good. But I wish I had a pair of those vintage shoes to wear, instead of the nasty “pleather” rentals they offer!


  4. I took bowling as my P.E. credit in college one summer. It was so much fun! I ended up having to get myself a glove because, after bowling for a couple hours a day for a few days in a row, my hand just could not hold onto the ball without a little help and I kept dropping it on the back swing, hehe. I also have my own pair of shoes but they aren’t nearly as cool as a red saddle shoe!

    I wish the leagues didn’t seem to own all the lanes at the real bowling alley (“real” meaning not a family party chain place that is overpriced) where I live because I would love to keep it up.


  5. Carrie

    Wonderful images, Lizzie! I was in a bowling league as a teen in the early 70s. The “bowl to stay slim” angle was long past, but bowling was still very popular–even as a Sat nite date destination, since they served beer! No cool bowling shirts, though.

    What a shock when I moved to New England and found only candlepin bowling, which only seems a lot easier!


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