Mark Blumenthal

A Cambridge Story

Before he became an expert in bridge and a writer, Eddie Kantor was very highly ranked in US table tennis. While he was in the Boston area for In the 1970 nationals somebody arranged for him to play a student from Hong Kong going to the Massachusetts Institute of Technlogy. A group of us went to watch.
The table was set in a very small room in a basement with exposed pipes sometimes in the way. They certainly were not ideal conditions, but they had to sufice. From what I remember, Eddie narrowly won a long game. As we waited in the car I  could see Eddie and and the student in conversation.
Finally Eddie got in the car, and we left.
Eddie said, “It’s hard to believe. I’ve been a hustler my whole life, and he’s trying to hustle me!”






Pink PigDecember 13th, 2008 at 4:21 am

ISTR he also played an exhibition with Sami (nee Sammy) Kehela. I think I watched that. I don’t remember if it was in Boston, though.

Judy-Kay WolffDecember 13th, 2008 at 6:37 am

Challenge table tennis matches were not uncommon for Eddie — even back in the Sixties when Norman arranged for him to take on his first bridge partner — now retired judge, Burrell Ives Humphreys. With Eddie’s sense of humor, loveable personality and modest demeanor (though multi-talented), he was an attraction wherever he went.

My favorite Eddie Kantar story happened about ten years ago. After Edgar passed away, Norman had little interest in the bridge scene so I convinced him it would be a welcome change of pace to take a non-bridge vacation in L. A. When we arrived, we contacted Yvonne and Eddie who suggested we meet at Venice Beach for dinner. The only beaches Norman and I were familiar with were Atlantic City (before gambling) and Asbury Park (where they played bridge in rocking chairs). Eddie recalls the look on our faces (particularly Norman’s) when we alit from the arriving taxi and surveyed the scene ahead. I suppose Norman and I, being very ‘straight’ middle class conformists, were taken back by the ‘unusual’ mode of dress of the people parading before us — but even more aghast at the variety of hair colors … green, blue, purple, orange and bright red. Blonde, auburn, black and gray were shades of the past! I suppose that is why Howard Johnson’s claim to fame was producing ice cream in twenty-eight different flavors!

Mark BlumenthalDecember 13th, 2008 at 7:22 am

It turned out the student was ranked fourth or fifth in the US but about ninth in Hong Kong. At that time Eddie was past his prime in table tennis.

Zack FunaroJuly 19th, 2011 at 9:45 am

When I originally commented I clicked the -Notify me when new comments are added- checkbox and now each time a comment is added I get 4 emails with the identical comment. Is there any method you may remove me from that service? Thanks!

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