THREE SHOWS 1991
By Russ Jensen
Ever since 1981 (with one exception - 1983, I believe) I
have been reporting on the Annual "Loose Change Fun Fair" around
this time. Since the show's inception in 1979, it has been an
annual event each Fall; up until 1990 when they added an
additional Spring show. I was unable to attend the Spring 1990
show, but this year I did attend the Spring as well as the Fall
Also this year, two other changes have occurred in the Fun
Fair. First of all, Dan Meade (publisher of LOOSE CHANGE
magazine, and founder of the Fun Fair) sold out his interest in
the show to his partner in the show's production for many years
Canning Enterprises of Maywood CA, a long-time promoter of
antique shows and "swap meets" in Southern California. This also
resulted in "Loose Change" being dropped from the show's name.
Secondly, the location of the show was moved from the
Pasadena Exhibit Center, where all but the first show in 1979 had
been held. Many people, including myself, were not pleased with
this since we had come to like the location which had convenient
parking, familiar surroundings, and a close-by hotel where out-
of-town visitors to the show could stay. You were also within
easy walking distance to at least one restaurant. The Spring
1991 show was held in Anaheim Stadium, and the Fall show at the
Long Beach Arena.
This year, as I said, was my first visit to the Spring
version of the Fun Fair and I found the "turnout" of old pingames
to be rather disappointing. Shortly after that I had the
pleasure of attending for the first time, the Pinball Show in
Phoenix Arizona; and finally in late September, I again visited
the Fall edition of the Fun Fair. I am going to describe all
three shows here, including lists of the pingames which appeared
at each show.
THE SPRING 1991 FUN FAIR
As I said previously, the turnout of older pingames at this
show was quite disappointing to me. There were no games from the
1930's (compared to 7 in Fall 1990); only 1 game each from the
40's, 50's, and 60's (compared to 2, 6, and 5 respectively in
Fall 1990). The showing for 1970's electro-mechanicals was quite
a bit better with 7 (there were the same number in Fall 1990).
There were also 11 solid-state pins from the 70's and 80's
combined. In addition, there was one "toy bagatelle", the date
of which I was unable to ascertain.
This lack of pins was partly attributed to the lack of
dealers offering pingames for sale at the Spring show. Herb
Silvers, as usual, had a good showing of pins, although dominated
by solid-states, and his booth was again a "center of 'pin
activity'" at the show. Arizona dealer Don Westphal also had a
nice display of pinball and baseball games. The other dealer to
have more than one pingame for sale had his games disassembled,
setting on end, and I never saw any one manning the booth.
The 1940's game at the show was Gottlieb's 1948 game
BUCCANEER which came out around October of that year, just after
Gottlieb's well-known series of "fairy tale" games (which started
with the first flipper game, HUMPTY DUMPTY). The six flippers of
these games had given way to four on BUCCANEER. The game had a
three kickout hole arrangement in the center of the playfield,
and a 1 to 6 numbered bumper series.
The sole 1950's game at the show was Williams' mid-1955 game
SMOKE SIGNAL. The artwork on this game of course had an "Indian
motif". The backglass was in very good condition, but the
playfield, sad to say, was extremely poor. This game appeared to
have a "spell name" feature and the "gobble hole" which was
popular with pin manufacturers around this time. It is also
interesting to note the 3 posts between the flippers which would
seem to give the player a much better chance of not "draining"
the ball. I wonder if these were original on the game, or added
by someone who later had the game in his home?
The following is a chronological list of the pingames I saw
at the show:
PINGAMES AT THE SPRING 1991 FUN FAIR
GAME MANUFACTURER YEAR
-------------------- -------------- -----
BUCCANEER Gottlieb 1948
KING OF SWAT (BASEBALL) Williams 1955
SMOKE SIGNAL Williams 1955
BASE HIT (BASEBALL) Williams 1967?
PLAYTIME Chicago Coin 1968
CASINO Chicago Coin 1972
WINNER Williams 1972
TRAVEL TIME Williams 1973
TOP SCORE Gottlieb 1975
BLUE CHIP Williams 1976
EIGHT BALL (SS) Bally 1977
FREEDOM Bally 1977
HOT TIP Williams 1978
DOLLY PARTON (SS) Bally 1979
GORGAR (SS) Williams 1979
STELLAR WARS (SS) Williams 1979
XENON (SS) Bally 1980
CENTAUR (SS) Bally 1981
FLASH GORDON (SS) Bally 1981
JUNGLE LORD (SS) Williams 1981
SPEAKEASY (2-PL SS) Bally 1982
SPACE SHUTTLE (SS) Williams 1984
RAVEN (SS) Gottlieb 1986
5-IN-1 ELECTRIC ? ?
After that disappointing showing of old games at the Spring
Fun Fair, I decided that if the situation did not greatly improve
by the Fall show I might discontinue my coverage of the show,
especially if they kept moving around.
THE ARIZONA "PINBALL SHOW"
In June 1990 a group of Arizona collectors decided to put on
an all pinball show in the Phoenix area. The advertisements for
the show sounded very tempting, but the thought of the 100 degree
plus temperatures (I HATE HEAT!!), especially if I drove in my
non-air conditioned car, finally caused me to decide to stay
This year, however, I was made "an offer I could not
refuse". A couple of weeks before the Arizona show my good
friend Sam Harvey called and told me a young couple he knew were
driving their van to the show and offered to take Sam (and me if
I wanted to come) along with them. Well, the thought of being
driven there (after I drove the 60 or 70 miles to Sam's house) in
an air conditioned van sounded OK to me, so I said "yes".
On the day of the start of the show, Friday June 14, we left
Sam's house with those young pinball fans, Pat Feinauer and his
girlfriend Angie, just before noon. Sam's mother, who lives a
few houses down from Sam, graciously packed some delicious tuna
salad sandwiches for all of us, and with the sodas that Pat and
Angie brought along we did not have to stop for lunch. The ride
was quite nice with all that pleasant company and good food, and
before we knew it we had arrived in the Phoenix area.
After a little problem finding our way to the hotel (the map
provided with the show brochure left a lot to be desired) we
arrived at the hotel which was located in the Phoenix suburb of
Scottsdale. The hotel was a very nice resort type hotel; after
all, Scottsdale is a well-known winter resort area. After
checking into our rooms we went directly to the Exhibit Hall to
join the festivities, which had started several hours earlier.
Before I start describing the show, let me first remark that
this show, unlike the annual Pinball Expo in Chicago, had no
seminars (well, actually there was one on Saturday which dealt
only with solid-state game systems). For this reason I could
"relax" more, not having to take copious notes, and have more
time to enjoy the games, and to visit with the great "pin people"
who were there.
Speaking of good people, during the show I got to meet,
among many others of course, two people whom I had wanted to meet
after reading articles and letters by them in Pinball Trader and
Pingame Journal. These two were fellow Southern Californian Bill
Cowles and Oklahoma collector Bart Bush who incidentally had a
very nice display of pingames which he had brought with him all
the way from Oklahoma.
Of course, I also got reacquainted with many old pinball
friends, including one I had not seen for many years, Jim
Tolbert. Jim, back in 1978, had published a small magazine
called "Amusement Review" in which I started my "writing career".
It was nice seeing Jim after all those years.
The Exhibit area consisted of two large rooms, with the
second being sort of an "overflow area" and also where the new
GILLIGAN'S ISLAND machines, which were used in the pinball
tournament, were located.
The pingames on display in the exhibit area could generally
be grouped into three categories: games which were "on display"
for viewing and playing (but knot for sale); games for sale which
were also set up to be played; and finally, "as-is" machines at a
lower price which were not set up.
The machines ran the gamut from a few early games from the
1930's, through some 50's and 60's classics, to 70's electro-
mechanicals and the later (right up to 1991) solid-state
machines. If one wanted to play a game from almost any era it
was possible at this show (although games from the 30's and 40's
were very limited).
Before I describe a few of the "classic" pingames to put in
an appearance at the show, I want to digress for a moment on
something of a personal nature. My sister Suzanne, it turns out,
now lives in Tucson, Arizona not too far away from Scottsdale.
Well, at my invitation, she and her husband Tom drove up and met
me at the Exhibit Hall Saturday morning. After my showing them
around the hall we had a nice lunch in the hotel coffee shop. My
sister still remembers the old pingames I had when we were
growing up. It was nice to be able to visit with them as I don't
get to see them too often.
Well, back to the games! Probably the earliest game there
was a small, brightly colored "pin-and-ball" game, FLASH. It was
probably produced in 1932, but I am unsure of it's maker. A
similar Bally game of 1932, GOOFY, was also shown.
A game from the 30's, whose operation was very interesting
to me, was Exhibit's 1937 payout pingame, BAZAAR. When the
player inserted a coin, a group of "score values" would randomly
light up on the short backboard. When the one ball was shot, the
bumpers it hit increased a score projected on the backboard. If
his final score matched any of the score values which were lit at
the start of the game, the player would receive a coin payout of
2 or more nickels, depending on the "odds" which also were lit at
the start of the game. A very novel game indeed!
Skipping to the 1940's, there were two nice games from 1949.
Gottlieb's BUTTONS AND BOWS certainly must have been named after
the popular song of the same name from the Bob Hope movie
"Paleface", one of my favorite movies and songs when I was a kid.
The backglass art featured an old western town with a fancy woman
walking down the street in her "buttons and bows". The playfield
had two "reverse action" flippers near the bottom, just above the
game's only eject hole. A rollover button in the center of the
playfield was used to advance the game's "bonus feature".
The other 1949 game was Chicago Coin's PIN BOWLER. This
appears to be a very nice bowling theme pin, having a "bowling
score system" as well as standard scoring. It too had the
"reverse action" flippers at the bottom of the field. This was
one of the best looking Chicago Coin games I have seen as far as
the artwork was concerned. Chicago Coin woodrail flipper games
are fairly rare compared to other company's games.
A true "classic" pingame of the 1950's at the show was
Gottlieb's QUEEN OF HEARTS from 1952. The backglass artwork was
so striking that pinball aficionado Steve Young chose it to make
a poster from a few years ago. This was certainly a prime
example of the great playing card theme games for which Gottlieb
was so famous. It also featured five of the "gobble holes" which
were used quite extensively during the mid Fifties, and the
flippers were facing in the right direction too!
Another fairly rare "gobble hole Gottlieb" at the show was
their 1954 game LOVELY LUCY. It has been rumored that the then
popular "I Love Lucy" TV show was the inspiration for this game,
but the face on the backglass sure doesn't look like Lucille
Ball! This game had a "number sequence" employing 5 "dead
bumpers" and a "nest" of 3 pop-bumpers near the top of the
playfield, in addition to it's 5 "gobble holes".
Another rare 50's flipper game to be seen was Gottlieb's
(SWEET) ADD-A-LINE dating from 1955. This game only had two of
the dreaded "gobble holes", but boasted four pop-bumpers. It's
"number sequence" feature was apparently connected with the eight
lines of four numbers depicted on the backglass, but exactly how
this worked I don't really know. It's obviously Roy Parker
backglass had that artist's usual "comical touches".
Probably the most unusual and rare flipper game of the
1950's to appear at the show was Bally's 1956 game BALLS-A-
POPPIN'. This beautifully restored machine was the pride and joy
or Arizona collector Jay Stafford. For quite some time is was
rumored that this was the only flipper game Bally put out in the
mid 1950's while they were concentrating on their "in-line"
I myself discovered, while looking at back issues of
BILLBOARD magazine several years ago, that Bally produced two
other flippers during that era: CIRCUS, which was almost
identical to BALLS-A-POPPIN'; and CARNIVAL, which used "score
reels" for scoring instead of "lighted panels" as were used on
the other two.
BALLS-A-POPPIN' got it's name from the fact that at one
point in the game it was possible to have many balls in play at
once (I believe the maximum was 7 or 8), this being the first
true "multi-ball" pingame. Sam Harvey's friend Pat (who had
driven us to Arizona) was so intrigued with playing this game
that he insisted on Sam getting his own CIRCUS working as soon as
possible after returning home.
There were many "classic" 60's pins at the show such as
Gottlieb's SLICK CHICK, BOWLING QUEEN, BUCKAROO, and BANK-A-BALL,
just to name a few. But the game I have chosen to describe is
the first pingame I bought in the early Seventies after my
interest in pinball was revived at that time.
The game is Williams' 1966 pin EIGHT BALL. This game was an
excellent "pool theme" game with a 15 pool ball sequence feature.
A novel semi-circular "run-around" in the center of the playfield
provided a little added action. The artwork on both the
playfield and backglass well depicted the pool game motif.
There were also, of course, many electro-mechanical pins
from the 70's (more than any other era in fact) at the show, and
many solid-state games as well. But, I won't attempt to describe
any of these "later games". The following is a chronological
listing of all the games that were there:
PINGAMES AT THE 1991 ARIZONA PINBALL SHOW
(AIS) - "AS-IS" CONDITION NFS - NOT FOR SALE
NAME MFG YEAR PRICE
_________________________ ___________ _____ _____
FLASH ? 32
GOOFY Bally 32
BAZAAR Exhibit 37 600
FORMATION Genco 40 600
BALLY HOO Bally 47
TREASURE CHEST Exhibit 47 125
BUTTONS AND BOWS Gottlieb 49 NFS
PIN BOWLER Chicago Coin 49 400
FIGHTING IRISH Chicago Coin 50 650
HAYBURNERS Williams 51 600
DOMINO Williams 52 NFS
JUMPING JACK (UPRIGHT) Genco 52 95
QUEEN OF HEARTS Gottlieb 52 NFS
LOVELY LUCY Gottlieb 54 NFS
SOUTHERN BELLE Gottlieb 55
SWEET ADD-A-LINE Gottlieb 55 NFS
BALLS-A-POPPIN' Bally 56 NFS
DELUXE OFFICIAL BASEBALL (AIS) Williams 57 150
FALSTAFF Gottlieb 57 NFS
MAJESTIC Gottlieb 57 500
CYPRESS GARDENS (BINGO) Bally 58
SHORT STOP (BASEBALL) Williams 58
MISS ANNABELLE Gottlieb 59
UNIVERSE Gottlieb 59
SLUG FEST (SS BASEBALL) Williams 5?
MERRY-GO-ROUND Gottlieb 60
BOBO Williams 61 500
FLIPPER FAIR Gottlieb 61 NFS
FASHION SHOW Gottlieb 62 NFS
LIBERTY BELLE Gottlieb 62
SLICK CHICK (AIS) Gottlieb 63 400
SWING ALONG Gottlieb 63 NFS
BOWLING QUEEN Gottlieb 64
HAPPY CLOWN Gottlieb 64
ALPINE CLUB Williams 65
BANK-A-BALL Gottlieb 65
BUCKAROO Gottlieb 65
COWPOKE Gottlieb 65 800
EIGHT BALL Williams 65
FLIPPER POOL Gottlieb 65 NFS
LUCKY STRIKE Williams 65 350
A-GO-GO Williams 66 200
MASQUERADE Gottlieb 66 600
APOLLO Williams 67
KING OF DIAMONDS Gottlieb 67 NFS
MAGIC CITY Williams 67
SING ALONG Gottlieb 67 500
HEARTS AND SPADES Gottlieb 69 550
BASEBALL Gottlieb 70 600
CARD TRIX Gottlieb 70
FLIP-A-CARD Gottlieb 70
FLIP-A-CARD Gottlieb 70 250
SEE SAW Bally 70 500
STRAIGHT FLUSH Williams 70 200
SUSPENSE Williams 70 225
TRAIL DRIVE Bally 70 250
ASTRO Gottlieb 71 450
BIG FLIPPER Chicago Coin 71 250
EXPRESSWAY Bally 71
EXTRA INNING (AIS) Gottlieb 71 100
FOUR MILLION B.C. Bally 71
FOUR SQUARE Gottlieb 71 375
LOVE BUG Williams 71 250
CASINO Chicago Coin 72
FAN-TAS-TIC Williams 72 350
FIREBALL Bally 72 1200
FLYING CARPET Gottlieb 72 200
GRANADA Williams 72 75
GRAND SLAM Gottlieb 72 175
LINE DRIVE (BASEBALL) Williams 72 995
SPANISH EYES Williams 72 250
SPANISH EYES Williams 72 300
DARLING Williams 73 350
HIGH HAND Gottlieb 73 200
JUBILEE (AIS) Williams 73 100
MONTE CARLO Bally 73 NFS
NIP-IT Bally 73 NFS
ODDS AND EVENS Bally 73 NFS
TRAVEL TIME Williams 73
BIG BRAVE Gottlieb 74 275
BOW AND ARROW Bally 74 300
BOW AND ARROW Bally 74 350
ABRA-CA-DABRA Gottlieb 75 75
ATLANTIS Gottlieb 75 200
ATLANTIS Gottlieb 75 400
EL DORADO Gottlieb 75 125
FAST DRAW Gottlieb 75
OLD CHICAGO Bally 75
PAT HAND Williams 75 450
SATIN DOLL Williams 75 150
WIZARD Bally 75 650
ALADDIN'S CASTLE Bally 76
BUCCANEER Gottlieb 76 200
CAPTAIN FANTASTIC Bally 76 600
CAPTAIN FANTASTIC Bally 76 1200
CARD WHIZ Gottlieb 76 250
FLIP-FLOP Bally 76 325
HOLLYWOOD Chicago Coin 76
PIONEER Gottlieb 76 350
SURFER Gottlieb 76 350
CLEOPATRA (SS) (AIS) Gottlieb 77 50
DISCO Stern 77 250
EIGHT BALL (SS) Bally 77 250
EVIL KNIEVEL Bally 77 175
MATA HARI Bally 77
NIGHT RIDER Bally 77 225
BLACK JACK Bally 78 325
JOKER POKER (SS) (AIS) Gottlieb 78 50
LOST WORLD (AIS) Bally 78 100
PHOENIX Williams 78
SINBAD (SS) (AIS) Gottlieb 78 150
STRIKES AND SPARES Bally 78
DOLLY (PARTON) Bally 79 550
FLASH Williams 79
GORGAR (AIS) Williams 79 150
GORGAR Williams 79
KISS Bally 79
METEOR Stern 79 450
PARAGON Bally 79 450
PARAGON Bally 79 300
SOLAR RIDE (AIS) Gottlieb 79 50
STAR TREK Bally 79
STAR TREK Bally 79 175
STELLAR WARS Williams 79 400
SUPER SONIC (AIS) Bally 79 150
TRI-ZONE Williams 79 350
ALIEN POKER Williams 80
ASTEROID ANNIE Gottlieb 80
BLACK KNIGHT Williams 80 350
SEAWITCH Stern 80
SILVERBALL MANIA (SS) (AIS) Bally 80 150
SPACE INVADERS Bally 80 250
TORCH (SS) (AIS) Gottlieb 80 50
XENON Bally 80 450
CAVEMAN Gottlieb 81
EIGHT BALL DELUXE Bally 81 600
EIGHT BALL DELUXE Bally 81
HYPERBALL Bally 81 450
MEDUSA Bally 81
BMX Bally 82
DEVIL'S DARE Gottlieb 82 300
VECTOR Bally 82
JACKS TO OPEN Gottlieb 83
ATILLA THE HUN Game Plan 84 75
SPACE SHUTTLE Williams 84
COMET Williams 85
EIGHT BALL CHAMP Bally 85
EIGHT BALL CHAMP Bally 85
FIREBALL CLASSIC Bally 85
SORCERER Williams 85
GENESIS Gottlieb 86
GENESIS Gottlieb 86
GRAND LIZARD Williams 86
PINBOT Williams 86
RAVEN Gottlieb 86
F-14 TOMCAT Williams 87
BACK TO THE FUTURE Data East 90
CACTUS JACK'S Gottlieb 91
GILLIGAN'S ISLAND Williams 91
CAR HOP Gottlieb 9?
Saturday evening was set aside for the banquet. After a
pretty nice meal, one of our hosts got up on the platform to
begin the after dinner program. He began by thanking the people
who came from "far away", especially the young man, Dave Dutton,
from England who won the show's pinball tournament, and his wife;
another fellow from there; and two gentlemen who came from
He then introduced Pinball Expo producer Rob Berk so he
could tell us what to expect at the up-coming Pinball Expo '91 in
Chicago in October.
Rob began by remarking that this year there would be "lots
of surprises". He then introduced his co-producer Mike Pacak to
tell us what would be happening in the Expo's Exhibit Hall.
Mike said that one "special surprise" would be the game
auction to be held on Sunday, and that it would have a minimum of
150 pinballs (as well as other types of games) and would probably
last until 4 or 5 PM. Mike then said that this would be "the
grandest year for exhibits" at the Expo.
Rob then gave us a brief run-down on the lectures which had
been set up to that point. He ended by congratulating the
producers of the Arizona show for putting on such a fine
At that point the featured speaker, Tim Arnold, was
introduced to tell us about his extensive pingame collection, and
the special plans he has for it. Tim began by joking that this
was the first banquet he had ever attended where "the waiters
were better dressed than the guests", a reference to the fact
that most of us were casually dressed, probably due in part to
the high temperatures.
Tim then fired up the slide projector to show us slides of
various games in his collection throughout his talk. He said the
games he would show were from one section of one floor of the
collection and consisted mostly of games of the 40's and 50's.
He said that the colored backgrounds of the pictures indicated
which heads were from complete games and which were only
Tim then began relating his personal history. He said he
started in the coin machine business in 1969 with a "bubble gum
route", and bought his first pingame in 1972. By 1976, he went
on, he had his own arcade in a college town in Michigan.
Tim then told us that when video games started getting
popular there was "money all over the place". At that point, he
said, he started buying old pingames, including some entire
collections such as the large Barry Nye/Pat Hamlett collection
and another in South Carolina.
At the present time, Tim told us, he has approximately 500
pingames and is in the process (now about 50 percent complete) of
moving them from Michigan to his new home in Las Vegas. He gave
us his phone number in Vegas and told us that if any of us was
ever in town to give him a call and he would even pick you up
downtown and take you to his country home.
Tim said he was moving the games himself and is removing the
backglasses and packing them in separate boxes for safety. He
said he also had about 180 crates of parts, telling us that he
had in the past bought parts from several large distributorships
which were going out of business.
Tim then told us that his new house in the country was
approximately 3400 sqft., and had 1200 sqft. of garage space. It
also had a tennis court, he went on, which he was going to build
a building over and use to house many of his games, saying that
this would result in around 7800 sqft. of display area. This he
said would give him space to set up 300 to 400 games, adding that
he might enlarge it later to double the capacity. He then
remarked that that part of the country was "a good dry, safe, and
secure place" to keep games.
Tim next told us that he will first set the bodies and heads
on the tennis court to check for "proper matches". After that he
told us he would start refurbishing each game in a shop area set
up in one of the garages.
Each backglass, he told us, would be treated with "Cover
Your Glass", but no attempt would be made to "retouch" them. The
cabinets would be cleaned and waxed, but again no modification of
the paint, unless the entire cabinet had been repainted by an
"amateur". Tim then remarked that most of his effort will be on
the "workings" rather than the "esthetics" of the games.
The next step, Tim Went on, would be what he referred to as
"test marketing", which he said would be done in "small steps".
If the public "rejects" the project at any point, he said, he
would abandon it and just keep the games for himself.
First, Tim said, he planned to start a "not for profit
fraternal club" as defined by the IRS, which he described as "a
non-profit organization without all the paper work". All money
taken in, he explained, is given back to charity with none
returned to the members which simplifies IRS reporting. Tim next
told us of some ideas for a name for the organization, most of a
The requirement to join the organization was said to be one
dollar and a driver's license; these being "something of value"
and a "form of identification" to keep out the "riff-raf". The
club's monthly meetings, Tim said, would be held in his "tennis
court", with all games set up for Quarter play and all money
taken in going to "the charity of the evening". There would also
be a monthly tournament with a trophy for the "monthly champ".
Tim then said that he may also place a few of his old games,
set up for Quarter play, in what he called "nice, quiet
locations" (a "family pizza parlor", for example). He said this
way he could get some "feedback" to see if people will play old
games. The profit from these games would of course all go to
charity, and this would be stated on a sign on each game.
The next step, Tim then explained, would be to get something
like the "center aisle of a mall", a State Fair, etc., and place
about 100 games there for a week or so, also set for 25 cent
play. A "high score contest", he said, would be held for each
game using small prizes donated by the merchants. Tim told us he
thought he could make between 1 and 15 thousand dollars for
charity by this method. He then added that he could "stand and
observe" what games people would play. Also, he thought of
having some sort of drawing, the names and addresses of the
entrants also being used to start up a mailing list.
The "biggest step" in his plan (the "end of his dream") Tim
told us, would be to get what he called a "permanent clubhouse".
For this he said he would need a large building, in an area zoned
for business, such as an old supermarket or bowling alley, which
he hoped might be "donated" (at least in part) by the owner.
This clubhouse, Tim continued, would be set up as sort of a
"hands-on museum" (a "fun-time arcade") open to the public and
staffed by volunteers. The hours he said would probably start
after 3 PM (so parents couldn't accuse him of keeping their kids
away from school), and close by midnight so they would not be
bothered by the "late night crowd". To enter you would again
have to show a driver's license and be given a badge to be worn
inside. He then referred to this place as sort of a "kinder,
Tim also said that smoking, food, and soda drinking would
not be allowed around the games, but that a special room would be
provided for the "nicotine fiends". He said he really didn't
know whether or not people would play pre-flipper games because
it really hadn't been tried yet. Tim added that this display of
games of different eras would probably be helpful to "pinball
researchers", as well as to game designers who could get ideas
for new games from the great ideas of the past (such as the
"disappearing pop bumper").
Next Tim told us that one of the "main guiding forces" for
him coming up with his plan was that he thought it was stupid to
own so many games and not have them set up. He then mentioned
what he called the "three digit collectors" (those with over 100
games) who only had 20 or so set up for viewing and playing.
Those of us with less than 100 pins he jokingly referred to as
Tim said that since he had the space to set up a large
number of games for playing that was what he wanted to do. He
next told us of a "personal goal" of acquiring all the Gottlieb
electro-mechanical flipper games, of which he now owns a little
more than half. He handed out to us a hand-written list of the
electro-mechanical flipper games by Gottlieb and Williams, with
an indication of which he had and which he was looking for. Tim
then said if we find anyone "throwing out" any of those games to
please save it for him.
Finally Tim said if any of us have any comments on his plan
(either pro or con) to get in touch with him, either in person or
by phone, saying he would also be available at the Expo in
October. (Author's note: more about Tim's "charitable exploits"
when I report on that show next time.) Tim then remarked that he
thought his plan could be "a lot of fun".
Tim then thanked the show promoters and turned the podium
over to Rob Berk to add a little more about the up-coming Expo in
Chicago. Rob then gave us some information on the plant tour and
the proposed banquet guest speaker.
At that point Williams/Bally/Midway's Steve Kordek was
called up to say a few words. After remarking that his talk
would be short because he had an early morning golf date, he
congratulated the show's producers which drew a round of
Steve next thanked Tim for the nice backglass slides he had
shown during his talk, remarking especially about Roy Parker's
art and his portrayal of women. He then remarked that he wished
that he had sat down with Roy when he was still alive and
discussed his work with him.
The other great old-time artist, George Molentin, Steve said
was still alive but very sick at the time. He then related to us
a sad story about how George had recently thrown out some old
records he had from both the old Reproductions outfit and
Advertising Posters listing all their artists and which games
each one had done. He remarked what a gift that would have been
to one of us pinball historians, adding that he would have liked
to have that himself!
Steve then began talking about Williams' "disappearing pop
bumper" which they had used on a few games in the late 1950's,
remarking that GUSHER (one of these games) was one of the
company's better games of the past. He then told us that they
had been thinking about using such a device on their current
games, but that the added manufacturing cost of 30 to 45 dollars
per game made it somewhat impractical, although he added that it
was possible that this might be done sometime in the future.
Steve next said that he was really enjoying the show and
visiting with all the attendees. He said that his company was
doing everything they can to build great games, but that he
couldn't tell us what they were currently working on. He then
remarked that he thought that their current game, GILLIGAN'S
ISLAND, was a "sleeper". He said that this show was really fun
and that he hoped that we could all attend the Expo in Chicago in
Steve ended by telling us that he hoped he would last
another year or two, remarking that he and his wife had recently
celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary.
Finally, one of the show's producers got up and told us that
this year's turnout was bigger than last year and that they hoped
next year would be even better. He then remarked that many
people commented that they would like to see more parts available
for sale in the exhibit hall, asking exhibitors to try and bring
some next year. He then thanked all for attending and said
"let's all go back to the exhibit hall and play some pinball!"
Sunday morning, after loading up the van with the two games
that Sam and Pat bought (there was barely enough room for Sam and
I in the back seat - we had to squeeze past a game cabinet to
get into the vehicle), we drove to the home of local collector
Dan Frank, who was holding an "open house" for show visitors. A
sign outside Dan's house proclaimed it the "House of Pinball",
which it certainly was.
Dan's wife had prepared some delicious snacks and there was
also soda and beer available to the guests. The game room was
lined with pins, and there were even a few in other areas of the
house. One bedroom had even been set aside as a storeroom for
parts and supplies. All in all we had a real nice time playing
Dan's games and visiting with him, his wife, and the other
collectors who had accepted the Frank's gracious hospitality.
After leaving Dan's we squeezed back into the van and began
the long drive back to California. All in all, I would say I had
a very enjoyable time, saw some really nice pingames, and got to
relax and visit with many fellow "pinophiles". I think I will
seriously consider attending the Arizona show next year and
strongly recommend it to all pinball fans.
THE FALL 1991 FUN FAIR
After the small "pin turnout" at the Spring Fun Fair, which
I mentioned earlier, I was somewhat apprehensive as to what would
show up at the Fall show. But I decided to give it a try.
I started out plenty early for the approximately 75 mile
drive to Long Beach. It was a good thing I did because I ended
up on the wrong freeway (I hadn't been to Long Beach for awhile)
at the last part of the trip and had to "back track" a little
before arriving at the show site. The parking lot was quite
confusing (no one to direct you where to park after paying the
whopping $5 fee), but I finally found a place to squeeze in
between two trucks.
Another reason for my attending was that my good friend Jack
Atkins from Ogden Utah had told me that he would be there. I ran
into Jack just before entering the show area, and we went in
together and also went to dinner that evening, but more about
The show was held at the Long Beach Arena which was an
indoor stadium. High above the floor where the show was situated
you could see tiers of seats. The floor area for the show
appeared to be a little larger than that of the Spring show (held
in another stadium).
The "pin turnout" in the Fall was somewhat better than for
the Spring show, but still not up to par with the Fun Fairs of
past years. The line-up of games, by decade, went something like
this: 2 from the 30's, compared to none in the Spring; one from
the Forties as in the Spring; 4 and 6 respectively from the 50's
and 60's, compared to only one from each decade in the Spring; 18
electro-mechanicals from the 70's, up from 7 at the Spring show;
and 18 solid-state pins, 11 having been show previously.
As far as pin dealers where concerned, the show was again
dominated by two; Herb Silvers' Fabulous Fantasies from Los
Angeles, and Don Westpahl's Amusement Sales from Glendale
Arizona. These same people definitely dominated the pin displays
at the Spring show.
Mullikin Amusements of Nipomo, California had one 50's bingo
with a broken backglass, some nice electro-mechanicals and some
solid-state games, including Game Plan's SHARPSHOOTER and Stern's
CATACOMB. There was also one dealer selling very late model
games to home buyers who could afford their steep price tags.
The other games (both old and new) were scattered around the hall
in various dealer's booths along with other items.
I shall now attempt to briefly describe a few of the more
interesting older games at the show.
The oldest game at the show was a small, counter-top pin
made in Los Angeles sometime in 1932. This game, called (THE)
MIDGET, was made by an outfit calling itself the E. E. Junior
Manufacturing Company. The game had previously appeared at a Fun
Fair a year or so ago and was a very well built little game of
the simple "pin and ball" variety prevalent in that early year of
the pinball industry. By the way, the only other 1930's pin at
the show was the same Exhibit BAZAAR from 1937 described earlier
from the Arizona show.
The only 1940's game to be seen this time was Bally's 1949
"one-ball horserace" pin CITATION. One-balls have been quite
scarce at past shows, I being only able to remember one other,
Bally's 1950 game TURF KING a year or so ago. CITATION was
noteworthy in "one-ball history" as being the first game of this
type with what were known as "guaranteed advancing odds". In
past one-balls the odds received by a player upon depositing a
coin could possibly be reduced when the next coin was inserted
before playing a game. With this new system the odds could only
either advance or stay the same, a great plus for the one-ball
Of the four 1950's vintage games to be shown, three were of
the "gambling type". They included one of the first "bingo
pinballs", United's ABC from 1951; a Genco "upright" game called
JUMPING JACKS (1952); and another bingo, Bally's 1957 game SHOW
TIME, which unfortunately had a broken backglass.
The Fifties game I have chosen to describe, however, was a
"near mint" example of Gottlieb's 1958 flipper game SITTIN'
PRETTY owned by Herb Silvers. This was possibly the best
condition 1950's woodrail pin I have ever seen. The backglass
art depicted a very colorful "carnival" theme.
The playfield appeared to be "action packed", with four pop
bumpers, two "slingshot kickers", with two flippers in the
customary bottom of the field position. If you look closely at
the backglass you will see that the game had a "skill meter"
('FAIR' up to 'GENIUS') which was found on several Gottlieb games
of the period.
Another interesting item in Herb's booth was a coffee table
made from a late 1930's pingame playfield and cabinet. The
manufacturer's name, Keeney, was indicated on the field, but the
game's name did not appear anywhere. It would have been on the
backglass, which of course, was not used for the table.
By the style of the bumpers it appeared that the game was
probably made between 1937 and 1939. I told Herb that I would
look at my copies of Billboard magazine ads from 1937 and 1938 to
see if I could find an ad for it and identify the game for him.
Well, I did, but with no luck. Then I looked at a roll of
microfilm I had purchased for Billboard during the first part of
1939 and "low and behold" there it was!
The game turned out to be Keeney's UP AND UP which was first
advertised in Billboard in late May of 1939. The ad started out
saying "Well, maybe not 'Ten Billion Nickels'", which obviously
to me was a reference to the anti gambling machine article by
that name which had appeared in Saturday Evening Post only about
one month earlier. That article, by the way, was described in my
past COIN SLOT article "Pinball Literature - Part 1" which
appeared in the Winter 90/91 issue.
Two of the more interesting solid-state games at the show
were Stern's CATACOMB from 1981 (which had a small "pachinko
like" unit in the backboard); and Game Plan's 1979 pin
SHARPSHOOTER, which was designed by industry personage Roger
Sharpe. Other very late model solid-state games at the show
included three of the latest by the "new kid on the pinball
block" Data East Pinball. These included their CHECKPOINT, the
very popular TV show inspired SIMPSONS, and their latest at the
A chronological listing of all the pins appearing at the
show is as follows:
PINGAMES AT THE FALL 1991 FUN FAIR
NAME MFG YEAR PRICE
------------------------- ------ ------ ---------
MIDGET (THE) E.E. JR. MFG. 1932 625
BAZAAR (PAYOUT) Exhibit 1937 800
CITATION (1-BALL) Bally 1949 725
A-B-C (BINGO) United 1951 135
JUMPING JACKS (UPRITE) Genco 1952 135
SHOW TIME (BINGO) Bally 1957 125
SITTIN' PRETTY Gottlieb 1958 2000
FASHION SHOW Gottlieb 1962 600
SWEET HEARTS Gottlieb 1963 525
FUNLAND Gottlieb 1966 500
SING ALONG Gottlieb 1967 600
HEARTS AND SPADES (AAB) Gottlieb 1969 495
SEVEN UP Williams 1969 325
4 ACES Williams 1970 725
JIVE TIME Williams 1970 600
DOODLE BUG Williams 1971 600
FLYING CARPET Gottlieb 1972 450
KING ROCK Gottlieb 1972 650
FLIP-A-CARD Gottlieb 1972 375
CIRCUS Bally 1973 1650
HEE HAW Chicago Coin 1973 600
JUBILEE Williams 1973 500
NIP-IT Bally 1973 600
PRO FOOTBALL Gottlieb 1973 299
SWINGER Williams 1973 500
TOP CARD Gottlieb 1974 395
WIZARD Bally 1975 360
WIZARD Bally 1975 1095
BLUE CHIP Williams 1976 250
CAPTAIN FANTASTIC Bally 1976 650
HOKUS POKUS Bally 1976 700
RAWHIDE Stern 1977 350
6 MILLION DOLLAR MAN (SS) Bally 1978 350
LOST WORLD (SS) Bally 1978 650
GORGAR (SS) Williams 1979 600
SHARPSHOOTER (SS) Game Plan 1979 350
CONEY ISLAND (SS) Game Plan 1980 325
FLIGHT 2000 (SS) Stern 1980 500
BLACK HOLE (SS) Gottlieb 1981 695
CATACOMB (SS) Stern 1981 575
BMX (SS) Bally 1982 550
DEVIL'S DARE (SS) Gottlieb 1982 475
SPEAKEASY (SS) Bally 1982 600
X'S AND O'S (SS) Bally 1983 600
COMET (SS) Williams 1985 1295
CYCLONE (SS) Williams 1988 1895
TAXI (SS) Williams 1988 1895
CHECKPOINT (SS) Data East 1990 2995
SIMPSONS, THE (SS) Data East 1990 2995
BATMAN (SS) Data East 1991 3295
When it got to be time to eat dinner, myself, Jack Atkins,
Sam Harvey, and Sam's friend Pat (yes, the same nice fellow who
drove us to Arizona) decided to go out to eat. We took my car,
and none of us knowing anything about Long Beach, we started
driving around trying to find a restaurant. Well, we finally
found one and eventually got to eat.
When dinner was over we left the restaurant and attempted to
return to the show site. By this time it was dark and the area
was not very well lit. Well, we made a wrong turn somewhere and
ended up on a freeway heading away from our destination. After
deciding we were not going right we found that the next exit was
closed for repairs, but we finally got back onto the surface
After driving for a few minutes we discovered we were back
to the restaurant where we started. This time, however, we found
our way back to the arena. I then let my friends off to go back
to the show, but I decided to start out on the approximately two
hour drive home.
Since the turnout of pingames was a little better than at
the Spring show I decided that I probably would not completely
avoid all future shows, at least not the Fall shows, unless of
course, they really move them far away.