THREE SHOWS 1992
by Russ Jensen
Like I did last year, I have again decided to report on three coin-op
shows in one article. The first show is the Spring 1992 edition of the
"Collector's Fun Fair", and the second the annual Arizona "Pinball Show".
The third show I will report on, unlike last year, will not be the Fall
edition of the Fun Fair. Instead this year I will tell about a new coin-op
show to come to California, the "L.A Vintage Coin Machine and Advertising
Show and Sale" put on by Bill and Roseanna Harris, past publishers of COIN
The Spring Fun Fair was held, like last year, at the Anaheim Stadium
Exposition Center in Anaheim California on Saturday and Sunday, April 4th
I left my house Saturday morning for the approximately 90 mile freeway
drive to Anaheim. On the way I heard a traffic report on the radio that
indicated a section of the freeway comprising the most direct route was
closed due to a traffic accident. Knowing the L.A. freeway system as I do
(having seen it being constructed as I grew up) I quickly decided on an
"alternate route", using other freeways, and arrived at the show site
shortly after the 1 PM starting time for the show.
Before describing some of the pingames at this show, let me start by
giving a run-down of the quantities of machines which were for sale from
each decade. From the 1930's there were only 3 games, none from the 40's,
and only 2 each from the 50's and 60's. From the 1970's there were 9
electro-mechanical pins and 5 solid-state games. In addition, there were
11 solid-state games from the 1980's, plus a few assorted new and almost
new games from the current decade.
As far a dealers were concerned, there were only 4 that had more than
one or two games. Fun Fair regular, for the past 4 or 5 years, Herb
Silvers had his usual booth which was set up "side by side" with the
offerings of Bill Cowles.
Herb had 2 nice 1970's era electro-mechanicals, in addition to 6 good
solid-state machines. Two of the latter were early Stern machines which
are somewhat rarer than most solid-state machines from other manufacturers.
Herb's machines, as in the past, were all in very nice condition.
Bill (who incidentally covered the show for a popular pinball
collector's publication) had 4 nice 70's electro-mechanicals, including the
popular Williams SPACE MISSION. In addition, he had a 'partial' Atari TIME
2000 solid-state game with a missing backboard. The game was still
playable, however, since all the scores on this game were displayed on the
Arizona collector/dealer Don Westphal, also a regular at several past
Fun Fairs, had several nice machines for sale. He had one of the 3 1930's
games at the show, a near 'mint' 1937 payout pingame by Exhibit Supply
called BAZAAR. That game had been offered for sale at several past shows,
but this time it was sold to another dealer at the show, Neil Jamison from
Wichita, Kansas. In addition to that rare game, Don had two nice 'pitch
and bat' baseball games and 5 nice solid-state pins.
The last of the larger displays of pingames was that of Wichita
dealers Bob Nelson and Neil Jamison. Neil brought along a real nice 1950
Bally 'one-ball horserace' game (one of the two 1950's pins at the show)
TURF KING. This game was especially unique because Neil had converted it
into a 'direct coin payout'. In addition to that game, Bob and Neil had
three solid-state pins for sale, including the first 'multi-level'
playfield game, Williams' BLACK KNIGHT from 1980.
In addition to the two older games mentioned above, there were three
other pre-1960 pingames at the show, two from the 1930's and one from the
1950's. These were owned by other dealers who had only one or two pins for
One of the two 1930's pins there was the first Ballygame, BALLYHOO,
from 1932. This game has appeared for sale at several past Fun Fairs as
well as other coin-op shows. The other Thirties pin was a small counter-
top pin called BABY GRAND made by a company called A. M. Walzer in 1932.
The other older pin at the show was, however, much more interesting.
It was Williams' 1951 horse race motif pingame, HAYBURNERS. This was the
first in a series of "horse race pins" put out by Williams over the years,
each of which had some form of 'mechanically animated' horse race, either
on the playfield (or beneath it in one case) or behind the backglass.
As with all of these games, hitting bumpers or crossing rollovers on
the playfield caused one or more of the horses to be mechanically advanced
toward a "finish line". In some of the later games of this type a
'selection' for winner was chosen at the start of the game (usually
randomly by the machine, but in one case by the player himself), the object
of the game being to get that horse to come in first.
In this game, however, there does not appear to be any such
'selection', the player probably just deciding for himself which horse he
wants to win, or perhaps betting against a friend. At any rate HAYBURNERS
is an interesting and fairly rare pingame from the early 1950's.
The following is a complete chronological listing of all the pingames
at this show:
PINGAMES AT THE SPRING 1992 FUN FAIR
NAME MFG YEAR PRICE
----------------------- ------- ------- ------
BALLYHOO Bally 1932 250?
BABY GRAND A.M. Walzer 1932 175
BAZAAR Exhibit 1937 SOLD
TURF KING (1-BALL) Bally 1950 1300
HAYBURNERS Williams 1951 650
AIRPORT Gottlieb 1969 350
COSMOS Bally 1969 750
LINE DRIVE (Baseball) Williams 1972 1000
PRO POOL Gottlieb 1973 650
OXO Williams 1974 500
SKY RIDER Chicago Coin 1974 500
STRATO-FLITE Williams 1974 500
ATLANTIS Gottlieb 1975 ???
BOW AND ARROW Bally 1975 275
TOP SCORE Gottlieb 1975 625
SHIP AHOY Gottlieb 1976 600
SPACE MISSION Williams 1976 400
EIGHT BALL Bally 1977 750
TIME 2000 (BACK MISSING) Atari 1977 200
PLAYBOY Bally 1978 395,800
STARS Stern 1978 550
METEOR Stern 1979 700
STAR TREK Bally 1979 795
BLACK KNIGHT Williams 1980 750
FIREPOWER Williams 1980 495
BLACK HOLE Gottlieb 1981 650
EIGHT BALL DELUXE Bally 1981 650
FATHOM Bally 1981 650
VECTOR Bally 1982 800
FAREALLA Zacaria 1983 800
COMET Williams 1985 650
RAVEN Gottlieb 1986 800
ROAD KINGS Williams 1986 550
SPACE STATION Williams 1988 950
ADDAMS FAMILY Data East 1991 NEW
STAR SERIES (Baseball) Williams ?? 1250
DELUXE BATTING CHAMP (BB) Williams ??? 650
LATE SS's, BANZAI RUN,ETC VARIOUS VARIOUS HIGH
After scouring the show to see what all in the way of pingames and
associated items were available, my friend and fellow collector Sam Harvey
and I decided to leave the show and have dinner with our friend Pat
Feinaur. Pat had been unable to attend the show because he had to work
that afternoon at the game arcade in which he was employed.
After following Sam for about 10 miles (over freeways, side streets,
and even a "back alley") we arrived at the arcade when Pat was just getting
off work. The three of us then went to a local restaurant for dinner,
during which the tab;e discussions centered, of course, around pinballs.
After this nice ending to the evening, I got into my car and made the
long freeway trip back home to Camarillo.
THE 1992 ARIZONA "PINBALL SHOW"
The second show I will report on is the 3rd edition of the annual
"Pinball Show" held in Scottsdale, Arizona. Although this was the third
year of the show, I have only attended the last two. This year the show
was held on Friday and Saturday, June 12th and 13th. This show is the
biggest all pinball show west of the Mississippi and is really great!
As I did last year, I again traveled to the show with my friends Sam
Harvey and Pat Feinaur, this year, however, we traveled by air.
On Friday morning I drove the seventy or so miles to Sam's house and
Pat did the same. Sam's mother, who lives down the street, then kindly
drove the three of us to the Ontario, California airport where we were to
board our flight to Phoenix.
Getting through the "metal detector" at the airport proved to be
somewhat of a problem. When I walked through it buzzed. After trying
several times (after removing my watch, and even my belt) still no luck.
Finally, the security people asked me and Sam (who also did not "pass the
test") to stand aside and wait.
After about 5 minutes, during which time we heard the machine buzz for
almost everyone who passed through, the security people finally came over
and told us that we could go on to the plane, offering us no further
explanation whatsoever. I think the machine must have been malfunctioning.
I almost, however, forgot to retrieve my watch which they had on their
After the short flight to Phoenix we were met at the airport by two
fellow collectors, Jay Stafford from the local area and Tucker Flandrena
who had come to the show all the way from Iowa.
After arriving at the hotel and checking into our room, we proceeded
directly to the Exhibit Hall. Upon entering the lobby area I noticed that
my good friend Don Mueting and his wife Ann had already set up their table
to sell Don and Rob Hawkins' latest pinball reference book "Pinball
Resource". That book, incidentally, I reviewed in the previous issue of
Throughout the Exhibit Hall hours of operation I spent quite a bit of
time sitting at their booth talking with Don and his wife. They also
kindly exhibited copies of my book, "Pinball Troubleshooting Guide", at
their table and as a result I sold several copies.
The Exhibit Hall this year, as it was last time, consisted of two
rooms. The main room was the primary exhibit and playing area and had two
double-sided aisles loaded with pingames for viewing, buying, and playing.
The machines ranged in age from a couple from 1932, through the 1940's and
1950's, quite a few from the 1960's and 1970's, as well as many solid-state
games from the Eighties and Nineties.
The second room contained the booths of a few more dealers with more
pins, parts, paper, etc., and the new Williams GETAWAY games which were to
be used for the pinball tournament to be held in connection with the show.
In addition to the games that were set up in the main room, there were
a number of older games for sale which were not set up for play, but
propped up against the wall. (See photo of GUYS - DOLLS)
I will now give brief descriptions of several of the older pins to
give some idea of the variety of pingames presented.
Gottlieb's ROUND UP, which came out late in 1948, was a good example
of an early wood-rail flipper game. This game did not have 'pop-bumpers',
although they were introduced by Williams on SARATOGA about a month
earlier. The game did have a form of 'build-up bonus', had three kickout
holes and an 11 number sequence, a feature used on many pins since the late
1930's. The ROUND UP was in pretty good condition, except for the
backglass which could be replaced.
Another unusual pin at the show was Chicago Coin's BLONDIE from mid
1956. Chicago Coin wood-rail flippers are quite rare today. Unlike ROUND
UP, this game had two 'pop-bumpers', plus four standard 'dead bumpers'.
BLONDIE, however, had no kickout holes, having instead a 'gobble hole' in
the center of the playfield, a feature found on many pins in the mid
1950's. The game also had a 10 number sequence. BLONDIE was only in
'mediocre' condition and was offered for sale "as is".
A classic mid-60's pin which was at the show was Gottlieb's WORLD FAIR
from 1964. The WORLD FAIR at the show was in almost 'mint' condition, and
was a very colorful and 'action packed' little pin.
Another very nice 1960's pin shown was a great example of the 'add-a-
ball' pins first introduced in the early 1960's to get around certain local
and state laws forbidding 'free games' ('replays') on pinball machines.
Gottlieb's FLIPPER POOL, from late 1965, was one of those machines.
Instead of awarding 'free games' for skilful play, these games allowed the
player to shoot more balls. Other than that, the play of these games was
not that much different that their 'replay' cousins. The FLIPPER POOL at
the show was in excellent condition.
The final game I'm going to show is another Chicago Coin piece. I
again decided to show it as Chicago Coin pingames are not seen too often
today. SOUND STAGE, from mid 1976, was one of the last of the Chicago Coin
pins, the company being bought up by long-time coin machine industry
executive Sam Stern shortly afterward, with it's name being changed to
Stern Electronics. This game, incidentally, was offered as a raffle prize
in a special charity raffle, but more about that later.
The following is a chronological list of pingames which were in the
Exhibit hall this year:
NAME MFG DATE PRICE
_________________________ _____ _____ _____
BALLYHOO Bally 31-12 ?
BUMPER Bally 36-12 300
FORMATION Genco 40-08 600
MELODY Bally 47-11 250
LADY ROBINHOOD Gottlieb 48-01 1200
CINDERELLA Gottlieb 48-03 250
BUCCANEER Gottlieb 48-10 250, 750
ROUND UP Gottlieb 48-11 -
COLLEGE DAZE Gottlieb 49-08 450
KING ARTHUR Gottlieb 49-10 750
NEVADA United 49-10 -
PIN BOWLER Chicago Coin 49-11 -
STAR SERIES (BASEBALL) Williams 49? 900
JUST 21 Gottlieb 50-01 -
ROCKETTES Gottlieb 50-08 650
HAYBURNERS Williams 51-06 -
CHINATOWN Gottlieb 52-10 650
GUYS - DOLLS Gottlieb 53-05 650
STAGE COACH Gottlieb 54-11 350
WISHING WELL Gottlieb 55-09 650
HOT DIGITY Williams 56-05 750
BLONDIE Chicago Coin 56-06 300
ROCKET SHIP Gottlieb 58-04 DISPLAY
GOLDEN BELLS Williams 59-02 -
ATLAS Gottlieb 59-05 -
ALOHA Gottlieb 61-12 250
THREE COINS Williams 62-02 175
RACK-A-BALL Gottlieb 62-12 OFFER
SWING ALONG Gottlieb 63-07 -
SWEETHEARTS Gottlieb 63-09 850
WORLD FAIR Gottlieb 64-04 -
HEAT WAVE Williams 64-07 200,625
FLYING TURNS Midway 64-? -
BIG LEAGUE (BASEBALL) Chicago Coin 65-04 700
BUCKAROO Gottlieb 65-05 1050
BANK-A-BALL Gottlieb 65-07 -
FLIPPER POOL Gottlieb 65-10 -
PARADISE Gottlieb 65-11 375
CENTRAL PARK Gottlieb 66-04 OFFER
KICKER Chicago Coin 66-08 325
HOT LINE Williams 66-09 500
KING OF DIAMONDS Gottlieb 67-02 -
APOLLO Williams 67-06 150, OBO
SING-A-LONG Gottlieb 67-09 400
LADY LUCK Williams 68-03 -
PALACE GUARD Gottlieb 68-03 650
DOMINO Gottlieb 68-10 400, 550
SPIN-A-CARD Gottlieb 69-02 325
EXPO Williams 69-10 450
SEVEN UP Williams 69-12 450
CAMELOT Bally 70-02 450
JIVE TIME Williams 70-04 125
ROCK 'N ROLL Williams 70-04 250
DOODLE BUG Williams 71-03 -
FOUR MILLION BC Bally 71-05 -
FIREBALL Bally 72-02 1200
WINNER Williams 72-02 400
TWIN JOKER (LIKE BINGO) Bally 72-06 -
PRO FOOTBALL Gottlieb 73-02 300
GULF STREAM Williams 73-05 75
TIME ZONE Bally 73-05 650
UPPER DECK (BASEBALL) Williams 73-05 1000
NIP IT Bally 73-07 350, OBO
JUMPING JACK Gottlieb 73-08 RAFFLE
TRIPLE ACTION Williams 74-03 100
TOP CARD Gottlieb 74-09 SOLD?
STRATO FLITE Williams 74-10 250
MYSTIC GATE (BINGO) Bally 74-12 700
KNOCKOUT Bally 75-04 100
WIZARD Bally 75-05 1100
SPIN OUT Gottlieb 75-08 225
ABRA-CA-DABRA Gottlieb 75-11 495, OBO
CAPTAIN FANTASTIC Bally 76-06 200, OFFER
EVEL KNIEVEL Bally 76-07 450
SOUND STAGE Chicago Coin 76-07 RAFFLE
GRAND PRIX Williams 76-12 150
LOST WORLD Bally 77-02 325
POWER PLAY Bally 77-02 450, OBO
STAR TREK Bally 78-01 295
KISS Bally 78-04 580
SINBAD Gottlieb 78-04 250
DOLLY PARTON Bally 78-10 400
FLASH Williams 79-01 400, OBO
SPACE INVADERS Bally 79-05 600
METEOR Stern 79-09 ?
XENON Bally 79-11 595
BUCK ROGERS Gottlieb 79-12 200
FIREPOWER Williams 80-03 595, OBO
EIGHT BALL DELUXE Bally 80-09 475, 550
MEDUSA Bally 81-02 1000
PINK PANTHER Gottlieb 81-03 400
SPECTRUM Bally 81-04 800
BLACK HOLE Gottlieb 81-10 375
CATACOMB Stern 81-10 ?
HYPERBALL Williams 81-12 350, OBO
MR. & MRS. PAC MAN Bally 82-05 600
PUNK Gottlieb 82-11 400
FIREPOWER II Williams 83-09 -
FIREBALL CLASSIC Bally 85-02 -
COMET Williams 85-09 500, 600
HIGH SPEED Williams 86-01 -
RAVEN Gottlieb 86-02 550
GENESIS Gottlieb 86-08 550
GOLD WINGS Gottlieb 86-10 550
PINBOT Williams 86-10 750
STRANGE SCIENCE Bally 86-10 750
MONTE CARLO Gottlieb 87-01 ?
HEAVY METAL MELTDOWN Bally 87-08 650
SPACE STATION Williams 88-01 -
SECRET SERVICE Data East 88-03 950
FUN HOUSE Williams 90-12 2000
SIMPSONS Data East 90-12 2500
TERMINATOR II Williams 91-07 -
OPERATION THUNDER Gottlieb 91-12 -
HOOK Data East 91-12 -
GETAWAY Williams 92-04 -
LETHAL WEAPON 3 Data East 92-?? -
After viewing and playing games in the Exhibit hall, and conversing
with many of the pin fans there, may friend Sam and I, with a small group
of other 'pin buddies', walked across the street for dinner. The mall
directly across from the hotel featured an area containing several small
'stands' serving various types of foods (Mexican, Pizza, Deli, etc.)
allowing each of us to choose the type of food we wanted for dinner. After
eating we all returned, of course, to the Exhibit Hall to finish out the
The next morning (Saturday), after having breakfast, we again returned
to the hall for more pinball fun. Around noon my sister and niece, who
lived about 100 miles away in Tucson, came to the show to see me. After
giving them a brief tour of the Exhibit Hall we had lunch in the hotel
coffee shop, having a very enjoyable reunion.
One of the highlights of "Saturday afternoon at the Exhibit Hall" was
the unusual "rat raffle" conducted for charity by the 'infamous' Tim Arnold
from Las Vegas. By now Tim's many charitable exploits involving pinball
are well known among the 'pinball community'..
Tim's raffle gave away many prizes, donated by various individuals,
including a grand prize of your choice of one of two pinball machines
(Chicago Coin's SOUND STAGE mentioned earlier or Gottlieb's JACK IN THE BOX
from 1973). Other prizes included a myriad of items such as backglasses,
books, magazine subscriptions, and other items all related to pinball.
Almost since the Exhibit Hall opened, Tim had been selling raffle
tickets for $2.00 each (or 3 for $5.00). Tim's comical gimmick (he always
has a comic touch to all his undertakings) was that after filling out your
ticket you had to stuff it into the posterior of a black rubber rat, which
was then placed in a long drum.
By the time of the drawing, the drum was so full of rats that it could
not be used. Instead, it's entire 'rat contents' was dumped in a big pile
on the floor and a young boy was chosen to randomly select the 'winning
rats'. Well, the drawing drew quite a crowd, was a lot of fun for all, and
netted over $1000 for charity - nice going Tim!
Saturday night was the finals of the pinball tournament and, of
course, the banquet. The tournament lasted quite a bit longer than
expected so many who did not watch it sat at their tables and talked
pinball until the tournament ended and the finalists and viewers were ready
for the banquet.
Two of the winners, the winner of the women's division, Barbara
Slayton, and the second place winner of the open division, Lyman Sheets,
ended up sitting at our table, discussing tournament play during the meal.
When it was time for the banquet festivities, one of the show hosts,
Bruce Carlton, got up and introduced long-time industry personage, Steve
Steve congratulated Bruce and his fellow show promoters Mark Pratt and
Jan Bradbury for putting on such a good show. This drew a round of
applause. Steve said that he had brought six of his people from
Williams/Bally/Midway with him from Chicago.
Bruce next came back and announced the tournament winners, in both the
'open' and 'women's' divisions. Our roommate, Pat Feinaur, incidentally,
took third place in the 'open' division. Bruce next thanked all for coming
to the show, and for bringing games, then thanking his partners. He then
introduced local operator/collector Dann Frank to introduce the guest
speaker Steve Ritchie.
Dann began by saying that he had known Steve for quite awhile, he then
remarked, "If you play pinball you have probably played a Ritchie game".
Dann next told us that a list of Steve's designs "read like a catalog of
all the best digitals", naming HIGH SPEED, FIREPOWER, TERMINATOR 2, F14
TOMCAT, and GETAWAY as just some examples.
Dann next told us that Steve started at Atari as a technician doing
wiring harnesses, then went up to Engineering doing design of test
fixtures, and finally to the pinball prototype lab where he learned the art
and craft of pinball design.
Dann then told us that Steve's first Atari game was ATARIAN, a wide
body game featuring rotary flippers, but which was not too successful.
The next year, he told us, Steve developed his own game at night and showed
it to his supervisor who rejected it. Dann then said that Steve next took
the game to the company President, Nolan Bushnell, who ordered it made.
This was AIRBORNE AVENGER which was a mild success.
After that, Dann went on, Steve was given more freedom to design, and
his next game was SUPERMAN. Later, Dann told us, Steve Kordek heard of him
and offered him a job at Williams, adding "the rest is history".
Dann told us that he first met Steve at a coin machine trade show in
1980. He then said that in those days there were no "pinball shows" like
today, pin fans having to spend big money to go to coin machine industry
trade shows if they wanted to mingle with industry people or see the new
Finally, Dann said that when Steve was a kid and was asked what he
wanted to be when he grew up, he answered "a mad scientist in a toy
When Steve got up he began by correcting Dann's last statement, saying
that he didn't say that; it was what his fellow 8th graders said he would
be. He then said that he was going to touch on his games a little.
Steve told us that he had to do "a lot of 'grunt work' before getting
into design." When he first started at Atari he said there were a lot of
good looking girls there and thought to himself "this is going to be fun".
He next told of AIRBORNE AVENGER which he did with a fellow named
Eugene Jarvis who he said was a good designer. Steve said he didn't like
the score reels in lower arch but company wanted it that way. After many
whitewoods, he told us, the design finally came together.
Regarding his job offer at Williams, Steve said he thought "this is a
real pinball company; displays, backglasses, a real factory - awesome!"
His first game at Williams he said was FLASH. Next, he told us, he worked
on STELLAR WARS which he said was a "pain". Steve said that the company
wanted a wide body fast, which took about one month on the drawing board.
After playing the whitewood he said he discovered many bad things, so the
next day he started all over!
FIREPOWER II, Steve said, took 13 months to make. He then told of
playing it one night when "it seemed I could do no wrong". With
HYPERBALL, he said, they had problems on the assembly line and the company
President helped straighten them out.
Steve then told us that he moved back to California for awhile working
on video games, but shortly afterwards Williams got him to come back to
Chicago, where he did HIGH SPEED with Larry DeMar and then BLACK KNIGHT.
He said that Larry was "a most powerful programmer".
Steve next told us that F-14 TOMCAT took 8 or 9 months, and BLACK
KNIGHT 2000 took around 13. After that he said he did ROLLER GAMES, but
added, "I don't even want to talk about that one". He next talked about
the TERMINATOR 2 license game, which he said Roger Sharpe made possible,
remarking that it was "'outrageous' - more than you can believe".
Steve then told us that people often ask how he goes about designing a
game. He said that he starts with a drawing with flippers, slingshots,
etc., saying that he doesn't believe in "messing with flippers and drain
lanes", but maybe he might in the future. Steve then said he next works
around the outside of playfield, from left to right.
'Smoothness', Steve told us, was what he considered to be the most
important design consideration (combination shots, etc.). The next step,
he said, was having the whitewood made, today on a computer controlled
After that, Steve went on, you play the whitewood for a week to a
month or so, and also get opinions on it from others at the plant, which he
said was important. Steve then told about some of the good people at the
plant. He said that Dwight Sullivan was another good programmer, and then
spoke of a 68 year old mechanical engineer who he said had a wealth of
experience. Greg Freres, Steve said, he considered to be a "powerful
As for the kinds of games he likes to design, Steve told us "I don't
do 'cute', I like macho games". He then said he wanted to talk about Mr.
Kordek, saying that he visits Steve's office about once each day for
anywhere from between 15 minutes to 5 hours. Steve said he appreciates Mr.
Kordek because of his wealth of experience, saying that he has "little
'fixes' you wouldn't believe", adding that he really appreciates Steve's
Regarding Williams management, Steve said that they were "really
interesting people", some of which are ex designers. Many times, Steve
told us, they would tell him that something he has planned for a new game
is too expensive to produce, telling him to take it out.
After he does that, Steve went on, they would play the game again and
then tell him to put it back in. When this happens, he said, he puts his
original feature back, but adds even more! When they play the game again
they usually like it and it gets produced that way.
Steve then told us that a good game "must have many interesting
features to make it sell and fun to play", but that the designer also must
consider the cost to produce the machine because the "bottom line" is to
make money for the industry.
At that point Steve said it was time to present his "slide show". The
show consisted of many photos taken in the Williams/Bally/Midway plant,
primarily of various people who worked there, Steve telling us some
interesting facts about many of them. Interdispersed with these photos
were shots of various motorcycles, Steve's other love.
When his slide show was over Steve paid tribute to the show's
producers and thanked Dann Frank for taking care of him while he was in
town. He then thanked all of us for coming to the show. Steve ended by
telling us "I'm just a regular guy".
Show host Bruce Carlton next came back up and thanked everyone for
coming also, He then asked that the local collectors bring more pins next
year. Bruce next reminded us of the upcoming "Pinball Expo '92" (which,
incidentally, I will provide complete coverage of in the next issue). He
then introduced Expo producer Rob Berk to tell us about his show.
Rob first told Bruce, Mark, and Jan, "you did a wonderful job", and
that he and Mike Pacak enjoyed themselves very much. He then told us that
they had an exciting show coming up in November at the same place as last
year. Rob then introduced his co-producer Mike Pacak.
Mike told us that they would have twice the exhibit hall space they
had last year. He also said they would again have an auction (although
there were many pro's and con's about when it should be held), and that we
will be touring the Gottlieb/Premier pinball plant.
Mike ended by telling us that they would again have an autograph
session and an art contest (which would be expanded over last year), an
expanded tournament (including a "youth division"), and a "pinball skill
The banquet ended with a special presentation to Steve Kordek for his
55 years in the industry!
On Sunday there were no 'official' show activities. But, like last
year (and maybe even the first year - but I don't know), one of the local
collectors, Dann Frank and his wife, held a 'pinball open house' at their
"House of Pinball" from about noon into the evening. In the morning, and
part of the afternoon, Sam, Pat and I hung around the Exhibit Hall during
the breakdown of the exhibits waiting for a ride to the open house which
had previously been offered to us by exhibitors Steve Engle and his wife
The open house was again a very nice gathering with many games to play
from the Frank's fine collection and much 'pinball conversation'. In
addition, there was also some good food and punch available provided by our
Well, after enjoying the open house for a little while it was soon
time to head for the airport. Again Steve and Laura drove us there where
we boarded our plane for California.
During our return flight Sam and I both got into conversations with a
man sitting across the aisle from us. It seemed we had several things in
common with him. He and Sam were both quite knowledgeable about rock music
of the 50's and 60's (incidentally, besides Sam being a pinball collector
he also collects 45 RPM records, having over 10,000 of them), and also he
and his wife owned a small computer software company so he and I talked
about the future of the computer business.
When we arrived back at the Ontario airport a quick phone call brought
Sam's mother to pick us up. After the short ride to Sam's house (with a
brief stop at a fast food place) I got into my car for the approximately
hour and a half drive home. So ended another enjoyable weekend at the
Arizona "Pinball Show".
THE L.A. VINTAGE COIN MACHINE AND ADVERTISING SHOW AND SALE
Ever since the Fun Fair went from an annual to a semi-annual affair,
and moved out of the Pasadena Exhibit Center, I have noticed that the
number of vintage pinball machines at that show have been greatly reduced
lessening my personal enjoyment of the show. In addition, the new
locations for the show, both in 'stadium' type arenas, and far from local
restaurants, etc., have also detracted from my past enjoyment of the Fun
Fairs. (I have recently heard a rumor, however, that the show may move
back to Pasadena, and also go back to an annual format next year. If so
we'll see if that helps; I will surely like that better.)
So this Fall, when I heard that Bill and Roseanna Harris were going to
hold a coin-op show in Pomona the week before the Fall Fun Fair, I had
pretty well made up my mind to go to their show and skip the Fun Fair
altogether. Then about two weeks before the show I got a personal phone
call from Roseanna inviting me to her show and offering me a complimentary
pass to the show, including the show 'preview' which normally costs $30
extra. Well, I certainly couldn't turn down that offer, especially when
she told me that Dick Bueschel would also be there (his first trip to
California in over 10 years), so my mind was made up.
The show was held on Saturday and Sunday, October 10 and 11, and I
decided to go on Saturday. My sister, who was visiting me at the time,
happened to have a friend who lived less than five miles from Pomona so she
decided to accompany me on the 70 or so mile drive, visiting with her
friend while I attended the show.
After dropping my sister off at her friend's place, I proceeded to try
and find the L.A. County Fairgrounds where the show was being held. I
hadn't been to the fairgrounds since I was a young teenager (many years
ago), but I finally found it. The grounds had been expanded quite a bit
over the years and now you park in a large parking lot and are transported
on a tram to the various venues.
When I arrived at the show I was greeted by Roseanna who told me that
Dick Bueschel was over near the wall. Well, at first I could not locate
him after making a 'quick pass' through the hall. Finally I found Dick
busily taking pictures of the goodies there. Also, during my hunt for
Dick, I found Marshall Fey who was sharing a booth with him and said hello
The hall was rather large and there were quite a few exhibitors. Many
of these dealers had juke boxes and related items, and many more had slots.
Dick and Marshall's booth featured the books and magazine with which they
both were associated. Pingames, however, were in the minority.
The dealer with the largest number of pingames was Don Westphal from
Arizona who has shown games at all the recent Fun Fairs, plus the Arizona
Pinball Show which I previously described. Don had five pingames and two
upright 'flasher' gambling games, one with an interesting dice game motif
which was called DANCING DOMINOS.
Another dealer had an 'as is' ICE FROLICS bingo pin. Los Angeles area
collector/dealer Herb Silvers had only two pingames at this show, Bally's
1972 hit MONTE CARLO and Williams' 1988 solid-state pin CYCLONE.
In addition to those pins,, Herb had a beautifully restored Williams
baseball machine and a nice Chicago Coin basketball game. While talking to
Herb he told me of his plan to open a game showroom in the San Fernando
Valley, also telling of possible future plans for starting a pinball
collector's show in the L.A. area. On both these projects I wish him luck!
One dealer had two early pins along with other coin machines and
related items. One of these games was THE MIDGET, a small counter-top 'pin
and ball game' from a Los Angeles manufacturer, the E.E. Junior Co. The
other counter-top pin he had was PLAY ROU-LETTE, a square machine with a
colorful playfield made by an outfit called National Games. Both games
were probably made in 1932.
There was also an interesting little game at the show, which while
really not truly a pingame, had an interesting play concept and was also a
game I had been briefly associated with in the past. This game, owned by
Long Beach dealer Ray Dier, was called WHIZZ and was put out by Genco in
1946. It was a fairly short machine with a vertical playfield somewhat
resembling that of a Japanese Pachinko machine. The player was given 10
balls per game which he launched upward to then fall down the field.
At the bottom of the field are 10 vertical slots numbered '1' through
'10' into which one or more balls could end up (all 10 balls have to end up
in these slots, but several balls could land in the same slot - and often
do). The object of the game is to get balls in as many consecutive slots
(starting with '1') without an "open" number.
At the end of the game the player would get a score (indicated in
thousands of points on the glass, similar to score panels on the pingames
of the day) each 1000 representing one free game. The amount of this
"score" (and hence the number of free games) was a function of how long a
sequence the player was able to complete (all 10 numbers being a 'jackpot'
This little game was especially interesting to me because several
years ago I repaired one for a friend. I had it in my house for several
months, and after fixing it spent hours sitting on the floor playing this
fascinating and challenging little machine.
Well, to sum up the "pinball situation" at the show, there weren't too
many pins this time but show promoter Roseanna Harris has promised to try
and get more pin dealers to participate in future shows, the next of which
has already been scheduled for April 3rd and 4th at the same location.
The following is a chronological list of the pins at this show:
NAME MANUFACTURER YEAR PRICE
THE MIDGET E.E. Jr. 1932 525
PLAY ROU-LETTE National Games 1932 485
WHIZZ (Upright) Genco 1946 350
ICE FROLICS (BINGO) Bally 1953 -
RACK-A-BALL Gottlieb 1962 625
LITTLE JOE Bally 1971 275
MONTE CARLO Bally 1972 725
KING PIN Gottlieb 1973 250
TARGET ALPHA Gottlieb 1977 275
CYCLONE Williams 1988 1400
ADDAMS FAMILY Williams 1991 2995
Before i finish here, let me tell of several things that happened
during this show.
Well, when the official opening time of 11 AM came around (as I said
earlier I first attended the "preview" which started at 9 AM) my friend Sam
Harvey, who lives in Pomona, showed up. A little while later I took Sam
over to talk to Dick Bueschel and he asked Dick if he wanted to go to lunch
later and also see his pinball collection. Dick thought that was a great
idea and before long the three of us left in Dick's rental car which was
Dick quickly decided that seeing Sam's collection was more important
than lunch, and we first went to the 'mini storage' where Sam had a large
portion of his collection (I don't know how many pingames he has by now,
but it's somewhere between 200 and 400 machines I believe) was stored.
The three bay storage unit was chucked full of pinball cabinets and
backboards with absolutely no room for human ingress.
After leaving the storage place we heeded for Sam's house. On the way
Sam showed Dick some interesting old Pomona homes which Dick enjoyed seeing
After arriving at the house Dick received the 'grand tour' which
included the garage (full of games), the 'pool room' (with a little room
for standing - but not enough for playing pool), and a storage shed in back
of the garage housing minor parts, etc.
Finally, we went into the house. There were pingames in every room
except for the kitchen and one bathroom (the only other bathroom had years
ago been taken over by pinball items). In one room Sam had most of his
extensive pinball literature collection, plus many "new old-stock"
playfields, etc. Sam's house, as you can see, is certainly a "pinball
When we returned to the show Roseanna immediately notified Dick and I
that she was holding an "ask the authors" session at 2 PM in which she had
planned for us to participate. That was a surprise to me, and possibly to
When that session was announced at 2 PM Dick, myself, Marshall Fey,
and coin machine book author/publisher Dan Meade sat down at the table
provided. There was a group of chairs in front of the table but they were
so far away that communication with us 'panelists' would have been next to
impossible due to the noise in the hall.
After we moved these chairs closer to our table, a small group of
people (somewhere between 4 and 8, I believe) gathered around and several
things were discussed by our little group. One subject discussed was the
internal and play principles of the video poker games, the subject of a
recent book by Dan Meade.
The final topic of discussion was brought up by one of the people in
our little audience. He asked if anybody had compiled, or was considering
compiling, a cross-reference of the various slot machine books so a person
could look up a particular model and find all references to it.
The panel told him that that had not been done, and then pointed out
that it would be a big task and would have to be continually updated as new
books came out. That same idea, by the way, has been attempted by at least
two individuals as far as pingames are concerned.
Several years ago a gentleman named Rod Cornelius in New Zealand
started such a computer database, cross-referencing article references in
several pinball hobby magazines. More recently, a young man in
Pennsylvania named Doug Landman has created a similar database which he is
constantly updating, and which soon will include references to pinball
books as well as magazine articles. So far, however, it appears that no
such thing has happened as far as slots are concerned. Hooray for pinball
Also, around that time, my good friends Rob Hawkins and Don Mueting
(authors of the new PINBALL COLLECTORS RESOURCE which I reviewed in the
last issue) showed up at the show. They immediately found a dealer selling
some old pinball brochures, etc., but his prices were quite high. Don and
Rob could only stay for a short time, as they had other matters to attend
to that day, so I only had a brief visit with them in the middle of their
'paper perusing'. A short time later Sam Harvey found the same 'paper
mine' and he dug in right away. Sam loves pinball paper!
Well, it finally came time to leave the show which I had enjoyed very
much. Roseanna invited me back next time and I'm planning to do just that.
On the way home my sister and I stopped at a large shopping mall in
Glendale (where we lived when we were children) so she could do some
shopping. While there we ate in a "Bob's Big Boy" coffee shop, an old
chain of restaurants which is now being phased out after over 50 years of
operation. On a personal note, I have been eating at Bob's since World
War II and will surely miss the famous "Big Boy' hamburger I have enjoyed
all these years!
After that we returned home. I really enjoyed my visit to the L.A
Vintage Coin Machine and Advertising Show and Sale and hope to visit the