TWO SHOWS - 1994


                         by Russ Jensen




     For the past couple years about this time I have been doing

an article called "Three Shows" which covered the "Loose Change

Fun Fair", the "Arizona Pinball Show", and the "Coin-op Super

Show".  Well, this year it's a little different.


     First of all, I was unable to attend this year's Fun Fair

because it was held during my vacation.  I might not have

attended anyway, as it was moved back to one of my un-favorite

locations, the Anaheim Stadium Exhibition Center.


     Also I did not attend the 1994 "Arizona Pinball Show",

opting instead this time to attend the new "Wild West Pinball

Fest" held a couple months earlier than the other Arizona show.


     I did, however, attend Roseanna Harris' "Coin-op Super Show"

held early in January.  So this years it's "Two Shows".




     The first 1994 edition of Roseanna Harris' COIN-OP SUPER

SHOW was held on January 8th and 9th at my favorite show

location, the Pasadena Exhibit Center in Pasadena California.

This year the show was held earlier than usual due to the new

California antique slot machine collector's law.


     The newly revised law, effective January 1, 1994, allows

ownership of slots 25 years old or older (previously it was pre-

1954).  This meant that the Bally electro-mechanicals from the

mid to late 1960's were now legal to collect.  Since I have

always wanted to own one of those, I decided this show would be a

good chance to check the prices to see if I could afford one.


     I again decided, as I have done a couple of times recently,

to ask my old friend Nat Ross if he would like to go with me.

When I called him he said he would like to go but told me he had

already planned to attend a meeting that day of an organization

he belonged to - The National Sheet Music Society.  However,

since that show was also in Pasadena - and late in the

afternoon - we decided we would both attend both events.


     Well, I drove to Los Angeles and picked up Nat at his

apartment, and we then drove to the show site in Pasadena.  After

entering the show area it was plain to see that slots dominated

the show - but, of course, that was to be expected.  There were,

however, a few pingames at the show, but more about that shortly.


     After briefly checking the prices of Bally electro-

mechanical slots at the bigger dealer's booths (such as L.A. Slot

Machine Co.), I determined that the prices for these machines

seemed to range from about $1200 up to around $1500.  This, I

thought, was a little high for me.


     After roaming around for awhile, I came upon a dealer who

had two nice looking Bally's, but they both were already sold.

When I asked him what he had gotten for them, and he told me

$800, I remarked that I would have probably bought one at that



     He then told me that he might run into some more which he

could sell for around that price, so he took my name and phone

number.  He did live about 300 miles away from me but said he had

a girl friend in the Los Angeles area and could possibly deliver

one to me if he found one.


     A little while later I ran into a fellow, Ray Dier, who I

first met at the first edition of this show a couple of years

ago.  When I told Ray that I was interested in a Bally electro-

mechanical slot for around $800 he told me he knew someone who

once had a Bally which he was willing to sell for about that

amount.  He told me he would contact the man and call me

afterwards; more about that later.


     Now to the pins.  I counted a total of six pingames at the

show; most, if not all, in the booths of Herb Silver's "Fabulous

Fantasies" and Jim Tolbert's "For Amusement Only" outfits.  As

far as decades of manufacturer were concerned, there was one

model per decade for the 1940's, 1950's, and 1960's, and three

from the 1970's.


     The 1940's pingame at the show was Gottlieb's SHARPSHOOTER

from mid 1949.  The backglass had a carnival shooting gallery

theme.  The 9 "targets" in this shooting gallery were numbered

'1' through '9'.


     There were 7 numbered bumpers near the top of the playfield

which, when hit by a ball, lit the corresponding 1 through 7

targets on the backglass.  Two "scoring rubbers" at the bottom of

the field would light the correspondingly numbered '8' and '9'



     Lighting all nine targets on the backglass apparently lit

the kickout hole just below the flippers for "special" replay

scoring.  And, of course, high scoring of points could also

reward the player with free games.


     The 1950's pin at the show was Williams 1957 game JIGSAW.

This was one of only three pins I know of having a jigsaw puzzle


     The first of these, Rockola's 1933 mechanical marvel

"(WORLD'S FAIR) JIGSAW", had a jigsaw puzzle in the center of

it's playfield depicting a map of the 1933 Chicago World's Fair.

Balls dropping into playfield holes mechanically turned over

pieces of this puzzle.  Approximately four years later that same

company came out with another jigsaw pin (this time with a

backbox); a rare game called JIG JOY.


     Williams' JIGSAW, two decades later, had a special jigsaw

puzzle display in it's backbox.  Pieces of this puzzle could be

"put into place" by the player getting balls to cross a myriad of

roll-over switches on it's very complex playfield.


     This game appeared to have some fascinating scoring

features.  The JIGSAW at the show was in excellent condition and

was priced accordingly.


     The following is a chronological listing of the pingames at

the show:


GAME                     MANUFACTURER        YEAR      PRICE


SHARPSHOOTER             Gottlieb            1949      1600

JIGSAW                   Williams            1957      1295

TROPIC ISLE              Gottlieb            1962      1900

CASINO                   Chicago Coin        1972       575

NIP-IT                   Bally               1972       875

OLD CHICAGO              Bally               1975       800


     To me the prices seemed rather high, especially for the

later games from the 1970's.


     At about 2:30 we decided to leave the show.  All in all the

show was very good, with a good number of dealers, despite the

lack of many pingames.  But, as I said earlier, the emphasis for

this edition was supposed to be slots - and it certainly was.


     After having a late lunch at a Chinese fast food place, Nat

and I headed for the sheet music meeting which was held on the

campus of a local community college.


     One of the features of the meeting was a sheet music auction

to which I even contributed a few pieces I had around the house,

making a few bucks in the process.  The guest speaker of the

afternoon was a show-business music arranger who had done

arranging for people such as Ricky Nelson - a very interesting



     I met a lot of very nice people there, including the club

secretary who I found out not only had a couple pingames, but she

also had a copy of my book - proving once again that it certainly

is "a small pinball world".  Attending this show was something

different for me, although old-time popular music has always been

of interest to me ever since I was a young teenager.


     After the meeting was over in the early evening I drove Nat

back to Los Angeles and then headed for my home.




     Well, I finally got a Bally slot machine - but not for

several weeks after the show.  Later that weekend Ray called me

saying he talked to his friend about the slot, but he said he

wasn't sure he still wanted to sell it.


     About a week after that I got a message on my machine saying

to call the same fellow regarding his slot.  When I called him he

said it was a Bally and he would sell it for $850.  But when I

asked what model it was he said he didn't know, but would look.


     After awhile he told me he discovered that it was not a

Bally at all, but was a Seeburg.  Since there was no

documentation that I know of on those machines - but there was on

the Ballys - I decided I did not want to pay that much for a

"odd-ball brand".


     After another false alarm - a machine Ray thought was in

good condition by wasn't - Ray called me one evening saying he

had found a good Bally model 809 nickel "fruit machine" that I

could have for $850.  After telling me he would even bring it to

me to look at (a trip of about 70 miles) that evening I said



     Ray and his wife got to our house a little over an hour

later and set up the machine.  I decided it was exactly what I

was looking for and bought it on the spot.  I later discovered it

needed a little electrical work, but since that's my "forte" (and

I had a good book on those machines) it wasn't too much of a

problem.  And besides, I learned quite a bit about the circuitry

and how the Bally electro-mechanicals work.


     Since then I bought another great book on Bally electro-

mechanicals written by Marshal Fey, and my good friend Phil

Anderson in Reno gave me an original Bally service manual, so

documentation wise I am really in good shape.  I love my machine

and enjoy playing it in the evenings - so your's truly is now (at

least somewhat) "into slots".




     Last year at Pinball Expo '93, Arizona pinball

operator/collector Dann Frank was touting a new pinball show he

was planning to hold in the Phoenix area in the Spring of 1994.

This sounded kind of nice to me at the time since it's not quite

so hot in Phoenix that time of the year (I might even be able to

drive).  So I sort of decided I might attend.


     Well, when the time for that show drew near I received a

special invitation from Dann, including a custom "historian"

badge.  I decided I would definitely attend the show.


     My friend Sam Harvey (who also received a special invitation

and badge) and I decided we would either fly or drive together.

One of the airlines was offering a "two-for-one" fare to Phoenix

at that time which sounded good to us.


     Well, when we investigated we found there was only a limited

number of seats available on that deal and those were already

booked in advance.  So we decided we would drive together in

Sam's mother's car.


     On the morning of Friday, April 30, I drove to Sam's house

(about 80 miles) and within a half hour after I arrived we were

off for Phoenix.  We had a very pleasant drive, the time passing

pretty fast as we listened to Sam's great "doo-wop" rock-and-roll

tapes - some great music indeed!


     The weather was great - in the upper 70's or low 80's, I

believe.  We stopped for lunch in Blythe, California, on the

California/Arizona border.  After a couple more hours of driving

and listening we arrived at the Sahara Resort Hotel in

Scottsdale, the site of the show, around 4 PM.


     After checking into our room we headed for the Exhibit Hall

for the "Friday evening preview", admission to which was free to

anyone spending two nights at the hotel.  When we entered the

hall we found that many games, and several dealer's booths, were

already set up - others being in the set-up process.


     From the number and quality of games we could see it looked

like we were in for a good show.  We wandered around the hall for

several hours looking at games and renewing old pinball

acquaintances - people we feel like are "family".


     When dinner time came we went out to eat with a small group

of "pin buddies".  We went to a nice restaurant a few blocks

away.  The place had a "sports motif" with a large collection of

sports photos and memorabilia displayed on all the walls

throughout the large dining areas.


     The food was very good - they specialized in barbecued ribs,

by the way - but the prices were somewhat high, but I guess that

was to be expected.  We all had a nice meal with much good

pinball conversation - a relaxing interlude.


     We then returned to the Exhibit Hall for awhile for more

looking around and visiting.  Many stayed quite awhile longer I

am sure, but as for me, after about an hour or so I went up to



     The next morning we got up and first went to the special

room where the hotel offered a free Continental Breakfast.  The

very friendly gentleman who served us remembered us from other

shows we had attended in past years.  After that, Sam and I went

to the hotel coffee shop for our "regular breakfast". 


     After eating we went to the Exhibit Hall for the Saturday

session.  When we entered I noticed that Dann had a special deal

going with the local Big Brothers/Sisters organization.  Any "big

brother/sister" who brought their "little brother/sister" to the

show got a free admission for the kid.  In addition, that

organization held a raffle at the show of a pinball machine, all

proceeds going to that charity - good idea Dann!


     I'm sure the youngest attendee to the show was 10 month old

Jennifer Stathatos whose family had the room below ours at the

hotel.  When I remarked to her mother Terry how her baby was

peacefully sleeping through all the pinball noise, she said that

Jennifer had heard the same at home, even while she was carrying

her, and was used to it by now.


     In addition to a couple of local people, dealers at the show

included Jim Tolbert and Judy McCrory's "For Amusement Only" from

Berkeley, California; Bob Nelson's "Gameroom Warehouse" from

Wichita, Kansas; and Herb Silver's "Fabulous Fantasies" from Los



     Pinball author and advertising flyer dealer/collector Bill

Kurtz from Ohio had a booth selling his books and flyers and

publicizing his up-coming new large illustrated coin machine

book.  Bill has not been seen at a pinball show for many years

and it was nice to see him again.  He was also to be the featured

speaker at the evening banquet - but more about that later.


     There was a good assortment of pingames in the hall for

sale, viewing, and of course playing.  As far as the decades of

manufacturer were concerned there were 2 from the Thirties

(strictly mechanical), 1 from the Forties, 5 from the Fifties,

and 32 from the Sixties.  From the 1970's there were 23 electro-

mechanicals and 13 solid-state pins.  There were also 34 from the

1980's and 16 from the current decade.


     One of the more interesting earlier pins at the show was

Williams' 1955 game PETER PAN.  This was one of several pingames

that company put out around that time with a special type of

"match feature".


     If a player deposited a second coin before beginning a

game - with only one coin the match feature worked in the

traditional way - the game was set up to look for a "match" after

each ball (instead of only the last ball).  If the player was

lucky enough to match on all five balls - a very rare situation,

I might add - he won a large number of replays.


     In order to accommodate this feature the game's replay

counter displayed 3 digits instead of the usual two.  This second

coin super match feature, and the high counting replay counter,

made these games candidates for gambling payoffs, and this

provided at least a little competition to the "bingo pingames"

prevalent at that time.


     Williams, by the way, was not the only company around that

time to offer a "second coin bonus feature".  For a short time

Gottlieb put out a few games with what they called a "double

award" feature.  On these games the depositing of a second coin

would cause any replays earned by the player to be doubled.


     The PETER PAN at the show was in excellent condition, and

was priced accordingly.  The artwork was most likely by prolific

pinball artist George Molentin.


     Another interesting pin at the show was Williams' BEAT TIME

from 1967.  The backglass artwork, done by pinball artist Jerry

Kelley, showed a four man rock group called "The Bootles",

obvious caricatures of "The Beatles".  The game itself is not

particularly special, however, except for that tie-in.


     A rarer game, I am sure (this is only the second one I have

seen), at the show was Bally's BALLY HOO from 1969.  That name

(but only written as one word), of course, was the name of the

game that got the company started back in 1932 - in fact the

original BALLYHOO was named after a popular satire magazine of

the time, and the company then named after the game.  By the way,

there was another BALLYHOO made by the company in 1947.


     The 1969 BALLY HOO was a four-player pin, it's predecessors,

of course, both being only single-players.  The artwork on this

BALLY HOO, featured a circus motif, promoted, I am sure, by the

popular usage of the word "ballyhoo" denoting a "noisy shouting

or uproar".  The game's playfield was of the asymmetrical design

prevalent on most Bally pins of the period.


     The following is a chronological listing of the pingames at

the show:




NAME                          MFG             DATE     PRICE

--------------------------    --------------  -----    --------

BALLYHOO                      Bally           1932     NFS

WAMPUM BANK                   Sunnisam Games  1932     NFS

CITATION  (1-BALL)            Bally           1949     600

PALM BEACH (BINGO)            Bally           1952

ARABIAN NIGHTS                Gottlieb        1953     NFS

PETER PAN                     Williams        1955     950

BALLS-A-POPPIN'               Bally           1956     NFS

CYPRESS GARDENS  (BINGO)      Bally           1958     NFS

JUNGLE                        Williams        1960     450

WORLD BEAUTIES                Gottlieb        1960

FOTO FINISH                   Gottlieb        1961     NFS

SLICK CHICK                   Gottlieb        1963     1500

STAR JET                      Bally           1963     NFS

ROYAL FLUSH                   Gottlieb        1964     NFS

TENTH INNING (PITCH & BAT)    Williams        1964     NFS

APOLLO                        Williams        1965

BANK-A-BALL                   Gottlieb        1965     1500

COWPOKE                       Gottlieb        1965

KINGS AND QUEENS              Gottlieb        1965     NFS

POT-O-GOLD                    Williams        1965     200

SKY LINE                      Gottlieb        1965     NFS

CENTRAL PARK                  Gottlieb        1966     850

EIGHT BALL                    Williams        1966     NFS

TV BASEBALL  (PITCH & BAT)    Chicago Coin    1966

BEAT TIME                     Williams        1967     200, 450

DERBY DAY                     Williams        1967

DIAMOND JACK  (AAB)           Gottlieb        1967     NFS

KING OF DIAMONDS              Gottlieb        1967

TWINKY                        Chicago Coin    1967     175

ALL STARS  (PITCH & BAT)      Chicago Coin    1968

DAFFIE                        Williams        1968     NFS

LADY LUCK                     Williams        1968

ON BEAM                       Bally           1968     NFS

ROYAL GUARD                   Gottlieb        1968     350

BALLY HOO                     Bally           1969     NFS

EXPO                          Williams        1969     NFS

GALAHAD                       Bally           1969     250

GRIDIRON                      Williams        1969     NFS

SEVEN UP                      Williams        1969

ZIP-A-DOO                     Bally           1969     300

AQUARIUS                      Gottlieb        1970

FOUR MILLION BC               Bally           1970     NFS

SEE SAW                       Bally           1970     NFS

SEE SAW  (WHITEWOOD)          Bally           1970     NFS

SUSPENSE                      Williams        1970     NFS

VAMPIRE                       Bally           1970     NFS

ROLLER COASTER                Gottlieb        1971     275

CASINO                        Chicago Coin    1972

MONTE CARLO                   Bally           1972

WILD LIFE                     Gottlieb        1972

HIGH HAND                     Gottlieb        1973     NFS

JUBILEE                       Williams        1973

JUMPING JACK                  Gottlieb        1973     400

TRAVEL TIME                   Williams        1973     NFS

LUCKY ACE                     Williams        1974

TRIPLE ACTION                 Williams        1974     NFS

HI DEAL                       Bally           1975     450

OUT OF SIGHT                  Gottlieb        1975     600

BLACK JACK (SS)               Bally           1976     350

CAPTAIN FANTASTIC             Bally           1976     1600

GRAND PRIX                    Williams        1976     NFS

PIONEER                       Gottlieb        1976     NFS

PLAYBOY                       Bally           1976     NFS

SURE SHOT                     Gottlieb        1976

TOLEDO                        Williams        1976     200

HOT TIP  (EM)                 Williams        1977     350

JACKS OPEN                    Gottlieb        1977

MUSTANG                       Gottlieb        1977     NFS

SOLAR CITY                    Gottlieb        1977     250

STRIKES AND SPARES            Bally           1977     NFS

DISCO FEVER                   Williams        1978     75

KISS                          Bally           1978     NFS

STRANGE WORLD                 Gottlieb        1978     NFS

VOLTAN                        Bally           1978     NFS

GORGAR                        Williams        1979     NFS

SPACE WALK                    Gottlieb        1979     NFS

TOTEM                         Gottlieb        1979

ALIEN POKER                   Williams        1980     NFS

EIGHT BALL DELUXE             Bally           1980     NFS

FATHOM                        Bally           1980     NFS

FIREPOWER                     Williams        1980     450

FLASH GORDON                  Bally           1980     NFS

PANTHERA                      Gottlieb        1980     350

SPIDERMAN (THE AMAZING)       Gottlieb        1980     NFS

BLACK HOLE                    Gottlieb        1981

CENTAUR                       Bally           1981     NFS

MEDUSA                        Bally           1981     NFS

PHAROH                        Williams        1981     NFS

SPECTRUM                      Bally           1981     NFS

BABY PAC-MAN                  Bally           1982     NFS

HAUNTED HOUSE                 Gottlieb        1982

THUNDERBALL                   Williams        1982     NFS

GRANNY AND THE GATORS         Bally           1983

JOUST                         Williams        1983

READY, AIM, FIRE              Gottlieb        1983     NFS

PENNANT FEVER  (PITCH & BAT)  Williams        1984     NFS

GRAND LIZARD                  Williams        1986     NFS

PINBOT                        Williams        1986     NFS

ROAD KINGS                    Williams        1986     350

STRANGE SCIENCE               Bally           1986

F-14 TOMCAT                   Williams        1987

FIRE                          Williams        1987

HARDBODY                      Bally           1987

MONTE CARLO                   Gottlieb        1987

BANZAI RUN                    Williams        1988     NFS

CYCLONE                       Williams        1988

ESCAPE FROM THE LOST WORLD    Bally           1988     NFS

TAXI                          Williams        1988     850

TIME MACHINE                  Data East       1988     1095

BIG HOUSE                     Gottlieb        1989     695

ELVIRA                        Bally           1989     1400

FUN HOUSE                     Williams        1990     NFS

SIMPSONS (THE)                Data East       1990     1195

CACTUS JACK'S                 Gottlieb        1991     NFS

CAR HOP                       Gottlieb        1991

HARLEY DAVIDSON               Bally           1991

FISH TAILS                    Williams        1992     TOURNEY

GETAWAY (THE)                 Williams        1992     NFS

STAR WARS                     Data East       1992     NFS

INDIANA JONES                 Williams        1993     TOURNEY

JUDGE DREAD                   Bally           1993     SHOW

POPEYE                        Bally           1993     SHOW

STAR TREK (NEXT GENERATION)   Williams        1993     NFS

TWILIGHT ZONE                 Bally           1993     SHOW

WIPE OUT                      Gottlieb        1993     SHOW

RESCUE 911                    Gottlieb        1994     SHOW

TOMMY                         Data East       1994     NEW



     At around noon on Saturday, as has happened in past years

when I attended pinball shows in Phoenix, my sister and her

husband drove up from Tucson to have lunch with me.  When they

arrived, we, along with my roommate Sam Harvey, walked to the

large mall across the street from the hotel to eat.


     The mall had an area with tables surrounded by small stands

serving various types of foods (Pizza, Mexican, Deli, Chinese,

etc.).  We each got the food of our choice and sat down together

to eat it.  After enjoying our lunch and good conversation we

returned to the Exhibit Hall.  After showing my visitors around

the hall for about a half hour they left to return home.


     Now a few words about the "special events" which Dann Frank

thought up to make the show more enjoyable to all.  Those

consisted of the "Pinball Rodeo" and "Tag Team Pinball".


     The "Pinball Rodeo" was divided into five "events" in which

each of the participants could score "rodeo points" depending on

their ranking in the event (1st Place - 10 points, down to 8th,

9th, or 10th Place - 1 point).


     All show attendees could participate in the rodeo for free;

the person accumulating the highest number of points in the

combined events being crowned "1994 Pinball Rodeo Champion".

Several events utilized specially modified pingames as described



     One rodeo event, "Pinball Poker", was played on a modified

pingame where the numbers on the score reels were replaced by

playing card symbols.  Players attempted to get the best "poker

hands" by changing these "cards" by hitting playfield targets

which were wired to advance the various score reel positions.


     A second event, "Video Pinball", consisted of trying for the

highest score on a 1978 Atari video game by that name.  A third

rodeo event, dubbed "Sudden Death", was to get the highest score

on a modified Williams' TOUCHDOWN (1967) pingame without getting

a ball into a special "sudden death" hole which ended the game.


     Another rodeo event was called "Wild West One-Ball".  This

consisted of playing one ball on Gottlieb's 1967 pin KING OF

DIAMONDS, trying to get as many of the 13 playing cards as

possible on the backboard, the winners of the event being the

persons scoring the most cards.


     The last rodeo event, "Crazy Eight-Ball", consisted of

trying for the highest score on a 1982 Bally EIGHT BALL DELUXE

pin which was modified with special large curved "banana



     In addition to the "Pinball Rodeo" events another "fun

feature" of the show was what Dann dubbed "Tag Team Pinball".

Players participating in this event formed two person teams each

team with a chosen comical name.  This event utilized a specially

modified 1977 Gottlieb MUSTANG pingame, which had a bell mounted

on top of the backbox wired to ring when a player hit certain

"targets" on the playfield.


     When a team was up to play, one member played the game while

his teammate stood behind a "tag line" drawn on the floor five

feet behind the game.  If the player caused the bell to ring he

must immediately let go of the game and run back and tag his

teammate who then runs up and tries to continue play before the

ball "drains."  This continues until all five balls have been

played by a team.


     There was also a "penalty system" in connection with the

play, involving two other tag lines located even further away

from the game.  The four top scoring teams participated in final

play-offs at the banquet.


     And Saturday night was the night of the "Wild West Banquet".

After a nice meal of western barbecue we settled down in our

seats to hear banquet guest speaker pinball author and brochure

collector Bill Kurtz who had come all the way from Ohio (the

farthest anyone had come to the show, I believe).


     Show host Dann Frank got up to introduce Bill.  He began by

remarking that when Bill's name is mentioned many pin players

would say "I've heard of him".  This, Dann went on, could be

partially due to the books he has written, but, he added,

"there's more to the story".


     Dann then told us that part of the reason we were there

today was due to our guest speaker's "vision" ten years earlier

when he was one of the founders of the Chicago "Pinball Expo".

Dann then remarked that the apparent success of his show was due

to a "core of dedicated collectors/players" which seems to grow

each year.


     He then asked us to imagine what it was like back in 1985

when the first Expo was thought of.  Dann said that Bill and the

other Expo founders had to have wondered if enough people would

come to make their show successful.


     He then commented that, of course, there were because the

Expo was successful.  Dann then added that he hoped Bill would

tell us what it was like - dealing with that "unknown quantity"

when deciding if they wanted to go forward with the show.


     Dann then mentioned Bill's two published books - "Pinball -

The Lure of the Silver Ball", and "Slot Machines and Coin-op

Games".  He then announced Bill's forthcoming new book which

would be somewhat expensive (around $60), but would be worth it

due to it's approximately 450 photos of coin machines, many of

which will be in color.


     After remarking that he hoped Bill would touch on the things

that make pinball important to all of us, Dann said that possibly

Volume II of Bill's new book might be out around 1998.  He then

said there would be a Question and Answer Session after Bill's

talk.  At that point Dann introduced Bill, which drew a round of



     Bill began by saying that he wanted to take a moment to

thank Dann for putting on such a good show - drawing another

round of applause.  He then remarked that we were all here due to

the "common ground" of pinball collecting.


     Bill then commented that the hobby really didn't exist 20

years ago.  He then said that pinball collecting is a lot

different from collecting such things as stamps and coins.


     When you tell a person you collect pins, Bill went on, their

first reaction is usually "why do you need more than one?" Twenty

years ago, he continued, there was really no established core of



     In those days, Bill said, operators didn't even think of

selling their old games for home use, many going to the dump and

eventually being bulldozed.  This is why, he said, the survival

rate for older games today is only about 5 or 10 percent, making

it tough to find certain pins.


     Bill then commented that collecting coin-ops really started

in the early 1970's - juke boxes first, then pins later.  In the

mid Seventies, he went on, Pete Bilarczyk started publishing his

"Pinball Wizzard News" (yes folks, he spelled it with two Z's),

the first pinball "magazine".


     This, Bill continued, started getting collectors from

different areas of the country in touch with each other.  Many

collectors at that time (and I know it was the case with me) he

commented, didn't realize how many other pin collectors there

were.  It also helped collectors in different areas find games

which were more prevalent in other sections of the country.


     In the early 1980's, Bill next told us, Steve Young came out

with his excellent pin-pub "Pinball Collector's Quarterly" which,

he said, helped even more to get collectors in touch with each

other.  After that, he went on, there were other coin-op

magazines such as Jim Tolbert's "Amusement Review" (the

publication, by the way, responsible for launching this writer's

"pinball writing career").


     Bill then told us that in the mid 1980's he was part of a

pinball club in the Ohio area along with Rob Berk and others.  He

said they came up with the idea that there might be similar

groups in other parts of the country and thought maybe they could

stage some sort of "pinball convention".  He said they really

didn't know at that time what would happen if they did - a sort

of "shot in the dark".


     In the Fall of 1984, Bill continued, they sent out a

questionnaire to about 50 or 60 pin people they knew of asking if

they would attend such a convention.  He told us they got back

about 25 positive responses, but decided to attempt the project



     Bill said they chose Chicago for the show site for two main

reasons.  First, because the pinball manufacturers were all

located there, and secondly it was centrally located in the



     As the time for the show approached, Bill said they wondered

what would happen if only 25 people actually did show up.  Well,

he went on, the show was successful and the tenth show is coming

up later this year.  He then commented that the Expos brought

collectors even closer together - many seeing each other in

person for the first time at one of the shows.


     Bill next told of the beginning of another great pinball

publication, Dennis Dodel's "Pinball Trader", which started up in

the Spring of 1986.  He then commented that the hobby has changed

dramatically in the past two years.


     He then told us that things that seemed impossible ten years

ago are now fairly common.  One example of that Bill told us was

"reproduction backglasses".  He said that due to these more games

can be "salvaged" which in the past could only be used as "parts



     As to what's in the future for pinball collecting, Bill said

it's hard to say what people will collect - remarking that the

hobby is constantly changing.  As an example, Bill told us that

today people are beginning to collect more "personalized" things

such as original pinball art which he said in the past nobody

seemed to want.


     Bill then told us that he wrote his book, "Pinball - The

Lure of the Silver Ball" (with coauthor, Englishman Gary Flower),

back in 1988.  He said it was the first pinball book to be

published since around 1979.  Bill then added that at that time

he tried to bring new information into the hobby, including

something on the newer solid-state pingames.


     In the 1982/83 period, Bill next remarked, the coin machine

industry trade magazines were predicting the end of pinball -

with pingames possibly ending up only in museums.  But, he

continued, pinball made a comeback in the mid 1980's.


     Bill next told about his later book, "Slot Machines and

Coin-op Games".  He said it was the first book dealing with other

collectable coin-ops.  Bill then remarked that many pinball

collectors also have a few other types of games such as bowlers,

baseball games, gun games, etc.  These, he said, were the kind of

machines he also tried to cover in his book.


     Bill then told us he had recently completed work on his

forthcoming book, which he said could be out early in July.  He

said that he tried to make it the "ultimate book for coin-op

collectors".  It will be fairly expensive, he went on, but will

have photos that many collectors will like to see.


     We were then told that some of those rare photos would be of

such pins as Bally's SIX SHOOTER (a six player pin), Game Plan's

LOCH NESS MONSTER, and Bally's BMX.  Bill then said that photos

of two rare Gottlieb solid-state pins, KRULL and GOIN' NUTS,

would also be shown.  He said many of those games have never been

shown in a book before.


     Bill then told us that his publisher decided to do the book

because he felt that there was a growing interest in collectable

coin-ops these days.  Also, he believed that there is a lot of

interest in nostalgia which would lead to support for that type

of book.  Bill then said that the publisher wanted this book to

be "the book that would define the hobby".


     At that point Bill began to discuss what he called "the good

and bad things" about how the pinball collecting hobby has

progressed in the past 10 to 20 years.  One of the good things he

said was that it was easier for people to find pins they were

looking for due to cross-country connections and the pinball

shows which have sprung up, adding that it is also easier today

to find needed parts and to obtain repair assistance.


     As far as "negatives", Bill began by saying that some people

in recent years have attempted to "dominate the hobby".  He said

that 10 or 15 years ago a collector would sell a game he didn't

particularly like to another collector at a low price.  Now, he

continued, they will often hold on to that item for speculation.

Also, Bill went on, hoarding of certain games nowadays makes it

more difficult for some collectors to find what they are seeking.


     All in all, Bill then commented, the hobby has come a long

way and he thinks in the next couple years there may be more

significant changes.  He then remarked that prices for some pins

have risen dramatically recently, but he feels that they should

begin to stabilize.  Bill then said that prices probably won't

come down very much in the future, and probably will never again

be as low as they were several years ago.


     Finally, Bill told us that he thinks the hobby has a long

and promising future, commenting that 15 or so years ago a show

like this would have seemed impossible because no one would

believe that pinball people would come together from different

areas to attend a show.  All of us there, he finally commented,

prove it is a serious hobby and here to stay, with the number of

conventions growing even more in the future.


     At that point Bill asked for questions from the audience.

The first question asked was the name of Bill's new book.  He

answered "Arcade Treasures".


     Bill then told us the book would have 450 photographs,

approximately 275 of which are pingames, with many being in

color.  He then remarked that it will feature only "amusement"

games - no gambling machines or juke boxes - adding that it

should contain "something for just about everybody".


     The next question asked was how many people attended the

first Pinball Expo in 1985?  Bill answered that is was about 125,

remarking that there were more than that at this show.  He then

said that he and the other Expo founders "held their breath" when

they planned the first show, commenting that they originally

planned it to be "a one-shot affair".


     Bill then remarked that there were a lot of changes to their

original ideas for the show.  He then cited as an example that

the name was originally planned to be "Pinball Collector's

Exposition" but was shortened to simply "Pinball Expo".


     My friend Sam Harvey next asked how many others at this show

had attended the first Expo in 1985?  Bill asked that those

people raise their hands - there were only 5 or 6 of us.


     Bill was next asked how the Expo originators convinced

Williams Electronics to provide new pins for use in the first

Expo tournament?  Bill answered that it was not easy, the game

manufacturers at that time having a resistant attitude toward

participating in such an event.


     Bill then remarked that they probably asked themselves

"what's in it for us"?  He said that this was because they knew

that most of the people attending would be collectors, while they

were used to dealing with distributors and operators.


     The first Expo "set the stage", Bill went on, the

manufacturers seeing how many collectors there actually were.  He

said that they could see that many of these people were also

serious players and that they should "treat them right" as they

were the final users of their games, and without them there would

be no market for their products.


     Also at that time, Bill continued, pingames were beginning

to make a resurgence and the manufacturers were "riding high"

with production up.  So they thought that kind of show might just

be "a good promotion" for them.


     Also, Bill went on, some of the game designers were also

collectors and some of them helped convince their companies to

support the shows.  He said it was a "hard sell" at first, but

the timing was right, adding that if they had attempted it in

1983 the manufacturers might not have gone for it.


     Bill was next asked if he thought there might ever be any

"reproductions" of pinball machines?  He replied that the closest

thing to that he had ever seen was Bally's FIREBALL CLASSIC,

which they put out in 1986, which was patterned after their

famous 1972 pin FIREBALL.


     Bill went on to say that the first FIREBALL was one of the

most collectable pins ever and that in 1986 Bally thought if they

reproduced it they might come up with another "winner".  But, he

continued, many of the players in 1986 had never seen the

original game, and pinball had changed a lot in 14 years.


     Bally discovered, Bill told us, that "you have to keep

moving ahead".  He then described the differences in the action

of a 1972 pin versus how games had progressed by 1986.  Bill said

that the old design just didn't translate well and the players in

1986 just didn't like the resulting game.


     Getting back to the question regarding possible future pin

"reproductions", Bill said that after Bally's bad experience with

FIREBALL CLASSIC there probably would be no more similar

attempts.  He then added that the closest that they might come

could be "updates" of past games such as HIGH SPEED being

updated as "HIGH SPEED II", THE GETAWAY - a new game similar to

an older one, but with a few additional things added.


     Finally, Bill commented that we may see a few games based on

popular games of the past, but saying that Arcade games translate

better into new versions than pins do.  So, Bill remarked, don't

expect to see many old pins "re-engineered" in the future.


     The next question dealt with "foreign language pins".  Bill

began by saying that there were some games sent to foreign

countries which were the same as U.S. games but with foreign

translations of some of the playfield or backglass words.  He

said he had never seen any of these games himself, only their



     Bill then said there were some foreign "bootleg" copies of

American games, like a 1979 version of Williams' FLASH - a

single-player pin called STORM.  He then said that for foreign

markets either of two things often happen.


     First, Bill told us, a company such as Williams might sell a

"license" to a foreign manufacturer - the "legal way".  The

"illegal way", he went on, is that some foreign outfits illegally

copy an American pin, making minor changes to it, and take their

chances that the American manufacturer won't take any action

against them.


     Bill then told us that in this latter case it is very

expensive for the U.S. company to sue a foreign outfit, and even

if they did they probably wouldn't get very much.  Therefore, he

added, it would cost the company more than it was worth to fight



     As an example of an illegal foreign copy Bill told of an

Italian manufacturer in 1987 coming out with a "conversion kit"

to translate another game into a copy of Gottlieb's 1986 pin ICE

FEVER.  He then added that many of these "conversion kits" are

done in people's basements or garages and therefore very hard to

track down.  Bill then commented that foreign games seldom make

their way to the U.S.


     Sam Harvey then asked if Bill saw much chance of collectors

making overseas contacts to obtain foreign pinball flyers?  He

also wanted to know why it seems to be harder for American

collectors to get copies of overseas flyers than for foreign

collectors to obtain our flyers?


     Bill began by telling us that the pinball collecting hobby

is developing at a slower rate in Europe, the European collectors

being "a few years behind us".  He then added that they never had

many older pins in Europe, especially 1950's woodrails.


     After remarking that in Europe old pinball flyers hardly

exist, Bill told us that he has a good "pipeline" for flyers from

some of the European manufacturers.  He then went on to say that

as collecting grows in Europe American collectors will be

developing more overseas contacts, and material from Europe will

become more readily available in the future.


     After more discussion of conditions and pinball players in

Europe, Bill remarked that in this country there is at least a

possibility of finding almost any pingame you might want.  He

said, however, that is not the case overseas because many older

games were never shipped out of the U.S.


     Bill then told us that overseas collectors are just starting

to get organized.  He then said that magazines and newsletters

are beginning to appear, and that someone in Belgium is trying to

set up a convention sometime in 1995.


     The final question (well, actually is was a comment) came

from Los Angeles area collector/dealer Herb Silvers who commented

that he believes that pinball prices will continue to go up and

not stabilize as Bill had previously suggested.  He said that

this should be especially true with electro-mechanicals, citing

as an example Bally FIREBALL.


     In answer to that Bill began by saying that he thinks higher

pinball prices in the future will depend very much on the

condition of the game.  He then said that there will probably be

fewer "mint" machines and therefore prices on these games will

probably appreciate.


     Bill next remarked that as some collectors get more "fussy"

they will be willing to pay more to get exactly what they want.

So, he summarized by commenting, some pin prices will go up, some

down, and others remain the same.


     At that point Wichita dealer Bob Nelson spoke up saying that

he thinks pingame "market conditions" will cause prices to

continue to increase, adding that it's hard for him to meet the

current demand for pingames.


     Bill then said that that would depend on the age of the

machine.  Nelson replied that "people want games of any vintage".

Bill next commented that there always will be a demand for

certain games so some prices will go up.  Nelson finally made the

comment "there are more collectors every day".


     That ended Bill's talk, including the question and answer

session.  Bill was then given a healthy round of applause.


     As I said earlier, the final play-offs for the "Tag Team

Pinball" event were held at the end of the banquet.  This was

done on stage and was a lot of fun to watch.  The final winning

team was crowned "1994 Tag Team Champions", with awards also

being presented to the 2nd and 3rd place teams.


     At the end of the banquet Dann Frank thanked his co-workers.

He then announced that a 1995 "Wild West Pinball Fest" had

already been scheduled for March 28 through 30.


     After the banquet the Exhibit Hall was again opened until

the "wee hours", this being dubbed by Dann as "Midnight Madness".

Well, I wandered around for an hour or so and then went up to

bed; but many, including my roommate Sam, stayed there several

hours more.


     Sunday morning, after a late breakfast, we returned to the

hall for our final day of visiting, playing, etc.  The previous

evening we were talking to one of the people at our table, David

Vogt, who told us of an interesting old pingame he owned,

Keeney's THRILLER from 1939.  When Sam and I told him we would

like to see and photograph it, he invited us to come to his home

on Sunday.


     Sunday afternoon we found Dave in the hall and he offered to

drive us to his home in the nearby community of Chandler.  After

a pleasant drive we arrived at his home, were introduced to his

charming wife, and led to their basement to view their games.


     After photographing THRILLER, and several more of the Vogt's

fine pingames, and visiting with David and his wife, we were

driven back to the show.  When we arrived we found we had missed

the Big Brothers/Sisters pingame raffle, but found out that none

of us were lucky enough to win the game so it really didn't



     We then made our final "rounds" of the Exhibit Hall as it

was just about time for the show to close.  Before we started

home Sam and I made arrangements with the Stathatos family

(including 10 week old Jennifer) to "caravan" with them as far as

Blythe California so we all could have dinner together.


     After a pleasant trip down the highway for several hours we

stopped in Blythe (on the California border) at a restaurant for

dinner.  During conversation at dinner I again discovered that

"it's a small 'pinball world'".


     When the young lady, Terry, happened to mention she lived in

Torrance California while going to school, I asked her if she had

attended Torrance High?  When she said she had, I then asked her

if she knew my good friend (and pinball enthusiast/author) Rob

Hawkins who has been a teacher at that school for many years?


     Terry told me that, not only did she know him, but she had

once been in one of Rob's "shop" classes.  When I later asked Rob

if he remembered her - she told me her maiden name - he said he

didn't think so, adding that he had had a lot of students in his

approximately 20 years of teaching.


     By the way, Terry also told me she remembered the many

pinball machines Rob and his students had at the school.  In

addition to teaching the kids in his class how to work on the

games, other students could play the games for money at lunch

time, the "take" being used to help finance the school's

Electronics Club.


     Well, after dinner we headed for home.  After several hours

we finally arrived at Sam's house around 1 AM.  I then got into

my car for the approximately hour and a half drive home.


     All in all I had a real good time at the first ever "Wild

West Pinball Fest" and have to say Dann's first show was a

success. As I said earlier, Dann has the second edition of his

show planned for March 28 through 30, 1995.




In my last article, "Pinball Expo '93 (Part 2)", the small

listing of games which was titled "TABLE 1 - PINGAMES AT PINBALL

EXPO '93" should have been labeled "A SAMPLING OF PINGAME PRICES

AT THE AUCTION".  The other larger listing was correctly titled

as it was the listing of the games in the Expo exhibit hall.


Also last time the editors inadvertently left off the photo

credits for the photos of the last seminar speakers and the

banquet speaker.  These photos were courtesy of Jim Schelberg of

PinGame Journal.  Thanks Jim!  Sorry about the omission!