In the 20's,
there were no sanding machines to ensure that the lanes were level
and smooth. Lane resurfacing was done by one man on his hands
and knees handplaning and leveling the lanes. This tedious process
could take several days before the lanes were ready to be shellaced.
at the Abbot Alleys for three years, and moved with Frank Panvini
to the Commodore Lanes in 1930. Frank Panvini had a vision for
five pin bowling and designed and owned the Commodore Lanes. Here
at the Commodore Mitz was a cashier and learned and fed off Panvini's
vision and experience and honorably lived up to Panvini's legacy.
shoes were not available in the early years and bowlers wore blakies
over their street shoes. In 1938 the Commodore Lanes was the first
centre to introduce rental bowling shoes.
In 1932 Mitz
recalls a gentleman riding on horseback coming from the Pantages
Theatre and tying up his horse to a telephone pole outside the
lanes. This gentleman was Roy Rogers, and apparently not a bad
bowler either. Mitz Nozaki and long time employee, Pearl Mckee,
have rented shoes to Clark Gable, Jack Benny and Buster Crabb.
During World War II, Mitz was interned to Blind Bay at the Shuswap
Lakes in B.C.for seven years before returning to the Commodore
Lanes and his passion for the game.
In 1962 Frank
Panvini passed away and Mitz bought the Commodore Lanes and became
one of the biggest influences to 5-pin bowling in Vancouver and
B.C. In 1990 Mitz Nozaki retired from the game of 5-pin bowling
at the age of 77 along with long time employee Pearl Mckee. During
his ownership of the Commodore Lanes Mitz established a number
of Vancouver's strongest and most competitive 5-pin bowlers. the
Commodore Lanes were always well maintained and some of the most
incredible scores were posted during his ownership. (See stats
for the 25 years of the Commodore All-Star League). The bowlers
knew Mitz as an exceptional man and he had the ability to remember
everyone's name, even if he only met you once a year earlier.
He was well liked and respected by all, making him one of the
most successful proprietors during his time. Many of the "experienced"
bowlers recall Mitz and how he was a major influence to game of
of us who love the sport of 5-pin bowling, and maybe too young
to remember the accomplishments of Mitz Nozaki... we thank you
for your dedication and commitment to the game. Mitz Nozaki passed
away in June 2004.