The bowling alley that inspired the location where The Dude, Donny and Walter faced off against Jesus Quintana and his crew could be yours. Cove Bowling Lanes in Massachusetts is up for sale…and it is said to have been the inspiration for the one in the Coens’ comedy movie The Big Lebowski.
Brothers Joel and Ethan were clearly prodigies from a young age because they attended the wonderfully-named Bard College at Simon’s Rock in Great Barrington, Massachusetts – an ‘early’ college designed for students to enroll immediately after completing the tenth or eleventh grade, rather than after graduating from high school.
It was while they were at this college that they apparently haunted the lanes of The Cove, a great slice of Americana opened in 1960 and which is not just a humble bowling alley – it has “24 lanes, arcade, cocktail lounge, snack shop, pro shop and is also home to a large, oddball, indoor miniature golf course and is deeply, not but gently adored” – according to local paper The Berkshire Eagle.
You have until December 15 to get yourself (and the money) together if you want a piece of film history – The Cove has been for sale for several years and will be offered at a foreclosure auction, which will begin at 11 am at the site on Stockbridge Road. And to give you an idea of how many pennies you’re gonna need – the property was offered at $4.5 million in 2011, $3.9 million in 2017 and $4 million in 2018.
The 3.7-acre property contains 26,012 square feet and includes a 24-lane bowling alley and entertainment centre, indoor mini golf, a bar, food stands and an arcade. The property, which has 160 parking spaces, is being offered “as is,” according to the auction notice.
If you need a reminder of the bowling scenes in The Big Lebowski, the main one features El Duderino (Jeff Bridges), Walter (John Goodman) and Donny (Steve Buscemi) watching purple-clad bowling god Jesus Quintana (John Turturro, in a breathtaking performance) make perfect strikes. Turturro’s few minutes of screen-time help make The Big Lebowski one of the best comedy movies ever.
Later Walter gets tetchy about his opponent’s foot being over the line; “This is not ‘Nam, this is bowling, there are rules!” And the bowling alley is also where Sam Elliot’s Stranger delivers the iconic send-off; “Well I hope you folks enjoyed yourselves, catch you later on down the trail. Say friend, got any more of that good sarsaparilla?”
So, get yourself over to Great Barrington, Massachusetts and snap up not just a legendary film location, but also a vanishing vestige of Americana.