by Russ Jensen



     Well, once again it's time for me to report on the three pinball and

coin-op shows which are put on annually in Southern California and Arizona.

They include the "Collector's Fun Fair", the "Arizona Pinball Show", and the

new "Coin-op Super Show" now in it's second year.


     This year the three shows were held in very close time proximity to each

other; the first two being only one week apart, and the last one slightly

over 2 months after the first.




     This year the "Collector's Fun Fair" returned to the location where

(except for the very first year in 1979) it had been held for many years,

until about two years ago when they tried moving it around Southern

California.  I, as well as many others I know, are glad the show has returned

to the Pasadena Exhibit Center in Pasadena California.


     This year's Fun Fair was held on Saturday and Sunday, May 29 and 30,

1993.  I went to the show on Saturday together with my good friend, pinball

and jukebox collector/enthusiast Ron Tyler.  After a pleasant freeway drive

of about 60 miles, Ron and I arrived at the show site.


     The overall size of the show (number of exhibitors) appeared to be a

little smaller than it used to be, but I believe this might have been due to

the fact that some of the exhibitors had dropped out in the past due to the

show changing locations.  But I think this will possibly improve in the

future if the show will just stay put.


     As far as older pingames at the Fun Fairs (or any other coin-op show for

that matter) are concerned, their numbers are shrinking.  Not too many years

ago pingames from the 1930's were a fairly common sight at the Fun Fair -

this year there was only one!


     There was also only one pin from the Forties (but it was a real

'classic'), but games from that decade have always been fairly rare at Fun

Fairs.  This year there were no games from the Fifties (also a rare decade in

past years), only two from the Sixties, and four electro-mechanical pins from

the 1970's.  In addition, there were fifteen solid-state pins at the show,

outnumbering their electro-mechanical cousins by almost 2 to 1.


     As far as dealers were concerned, there were only three at the show that

had more than one pingame.  Herb Silvers' Fabulous Fantasies booth had a good

selection of pins to choose from as always.  These included three 1970's

electro-mechanicals as well as four solid-state models.


     Another dealer, Mullikin Amusements, had one 1960's and one 1970's

electro-mechanical plus five solid-state machines.  Bob Nelson's Gameroom

Warehouse from Wichita, Kansas, had the only 1940's pin at the show (but more

about that later) in addition to three solid-state games.


     Other dealers having one pin each were Jim Tolbert and Judy McCrory's

For Amusement Only booth (which also sold a wide variety of pinball parts, as

well as books) who had one electro-mechanical pin from the 1960's, and Metal

Form Products who had the only 1930's pin at the show.


     I will next describe four of the most interesting older pins at the





     The earliest game was a 1932 vintage pin called SHUFFLE BALL, which was

not totally complete (if I remember correctly part of the plunger assembly

was missing), put out by an outfit called Western Manufacturing Company

according to Rob Hawkins and Don Mueting's new book Pinball Collector's



     This was a somewhat typical "pin and ball game" of the period.  It is

interesting to note that, in addition to the usual holes marked with point

scores, there were several holes marked with playing card suits.  Without the

instructions for the game, however, it is hard to say how these specially

marked holes figured in the play of the game.




     A real 'classic' pin at the show was the famous HUMPTY DUMPTY put out by

Gottlieb in December 1947.  This game, of course, was famous as it was the

first pingame to use "flippers" (or "flipper bumpers" as they were called in

the original advertisement for the game).


     Flippers were invented by Gottlieb's chief game designer of the time Mr.

Harry Mabs.  A few years later Harry went over to Williams and continued his

fabulous pin designing career with that company.


     HUMPTY DUMPTY, as did many of the Gottlieb games to follow, had a grand

total 6 flippers - two sets of three on each side, each set operated by one

coil.  This resulted in weak flipper action; but if you were lucky it was

possible to return the ball to the top of the field by flipping from one

flipper to the one above it, etc.


     The artwork on HUMPTY DUMPTY I am sure was done by the great Roy Parker

and was a true "work of art".  The game at the show had a new reproduction

backglass (produced by Herb Silvers, by the way) but it really made the game

look fine.




     One of the two 1960's pins at the show was a very nice 1968 model -

Gottlieb's DOMINO.  This was not the only pin to have that theme, buy the

way, as Williams put out another DOMINO back in 1952!


     The backglass artwork is interesting as it shows a young couple sitting

in a field of large dominos.  A domino set-up is also shown on the lower half

of the playfield.  The DOMINO at the show appeared to be in very good



     The other 1960's pin at the Fun Fair was also a 1968 Gottlieb.  PAUL

BUNYAN was a nice example of the two player games of the period.  From the

looks of the playfield PAUL BUNYAN appears to be an interesting game to play

with it's numerous pop-bumpers, targets, rollover channels and eject holes.


     The following is a chronological list of the pingames at the 1993 Fun



           PINGAMES AT THE 1993 FUN FAIR


NAME                     MFG                 YEAR    PRICE      

_______________________  _____________       ____    __________

SHUFFLE BALL             Western Mfg.        1932    ?          

HUMPTY DUMPTY            Gottlieb            1947    1,500      

DOMINO                   Gottlieb            1968    800        

PAUL BUNYAN              Gottlieb            1968    395        

GRAND SLAM               Gottlieb            1972    795        

NIP-IT                   Bally               1972    1,350      

HOKUS POKUS              Bally               1975    895        

SPACE ODYSSEY            Williams            1976    650        

SPACE INVADERS           Bally               1979    1,995       

BLACK HOLE               Gottlieb            1981    695        

CATACOMB                 Stern               1981    695        

PHARAOH                  Williams            1981    595        

COMET                    Williams            1985    600        

CYBERNAUT                Bally               1985    900        

PINBOT                   Williams            1986    995, 1,095 

MELTDOWN (HEAVY METAL)   Bally               1987    995        

SPACE STATION            Williams            1988    1,395      

FUN HOUSE                Williams            1990    2,195      

SILVER SLUGGER           Gottlieb            1990    1,195      

SIMPSONS (THE)           Data East           1990    1,695, 1800

TIME WARP                Williams            1990    425        

GILLIGAN'S ISLAND        Bally               1991    1,995      

TWILIGHT ZONE            Williams            1993    4,295      



     As far as the overall presence of items at the show (other than pins)

jukeboxes probably dominated.  Slots seemed to be next, followed by vintage

advertising items.  There were also several dealers selling phonograph

records, and my friend Sam Harvey, as usual, could be found much of the time

looking through old Rock and Roll 45's.


     On the way home my friend Ron and I made a couple nostalgic (at least

for me - I'm a very nostalgic person) detours.


     First, we visited an electronic surplus store, C & H Sales, (also in

Pasadena) which I frequented when I was a young teenager way back in the late

1940's.  At that time they were mostly selling World War II surplus items.


     When we walked into the store it looked to me almost exactly as I

remembered it looking four decades earlier.  It even appeared that there were

possibly some items on the shelves left over from the war.


     After that, we made a little bigger detour to my old neighborhood in

Glendale, California.  We drove past the house where I lived during the war.

It still amazes me how that neighborhood has hardly changed in fifty years!


     After all that nostalgia it was time to head for home.




     The 1993 edition of the Arizona Pinball Show was held on Saturday and

Sunday, June 5th and 6th.

     The format this year was a little different than in the past when the

show was primarily a Friday and Saturday affair, with  Sunday set aside for

the exhibitors to  pack up.  Sunday was also a time for show attendees to

attend an open house held by local operator/collector Dann Frank and his

lovely wife.


     This year, with the show not officially closing until Sunday afternoon,

there was somewhat of a conflict between show activities and the  Frank's

traditional open house.  And for me, this schedule change was even more

inconvenient, as I shall explain.


     Two years previous I had the good fortune to be offered a ride by a fine

young man, Pat Feinauer, along with my good friend and roommate Sam Harvey.

Last year Sam, Pat, and I traveled by air and got a good economical air fare.


     This year, however, Pat was unable to attend, and Sam was offered a ride

with another friend who did not have any room for me - so I was on my own as

far as transportation to Phoenix was concerned.


     Driving was out of the question as my car is not air-conditioned and

traveling across the desert in June was not advisable.  When I checked the

air lines I found that the only reasonable fare I could get required I leave

Friday morning (the show did not officially start until Saturday, as I said)

and leave around noon on Sunday (before the show was over and before the

Frank's party even started).  Any other flights would have required one-third

as much additional fare.


     I also had the problem (and additional cost) of getting to and from both

airports.  That problem was solved on my end by getting my daughter Cheri to

drive me to the airport Friday morning and pick me up on Sunday afternoon.

I was told, however, that the shuttle fare between the Phoenix airport and

the hotel was ten dollars each way!


     Well anyway, on Friday morning I boarded the plane for the approximately

one hour flight to Phoenix.  Seated next to me was a very nice middle-aged

couple from Sunnyvale California who were on their way to visit the Grand



     The man, who told me he was born in Spain, loved to converse and when I

told him I was a pinball collector he told me that someone who lived down the

street from him was building an addition to his house to house his pinball

collection - but he didn't know the person's name.


     He did tell me the name of the street he lived on which I wrote down on

a piece of paper.  The street name, Kenniwick, sounded familiar but I just

couldn't remember who lived there.  I later asked several people at the show

who were from Sunnyvale if they knew who lived on that street, but nobody

seemed to know.


     Well, sometime after I returned home I found that street name in my

pocket and eventually realized that a fellow named Michael Sands (who I had

talked to on the phone and met last year in Arizona) lived on Kenniwick.

It's truly "a small pinball world!"


     After arriving in Phoenix I found the airport shuttle service which

drove by the Safari Resort Hotel where the show was located.  The bad news

was that the fare was ten dollars!  When I arrived at the hotel it was about

noon and I was told that my room would not be ready for about two hours.

     I then decided to go across the street to the large mall to eat lunch,

and finally went to a movie to pass the time.  After the show I went back to

the hotel and checked into my room.  My roommate Sam Harvey had not yet

arrived.  I then went to the exhibit hall area to register for the show.


     When I first tried to enter the exhibit area the lady at the

registration table told me that we were not allowed in until the next morning

as exhibitor "set up" was in progress.  But, after taking pictures of the

classic pingames on display in the lobby, I managed to quietly slip into the

hall - and I don't believe I was the only show attendee to do so.


     My roommate Sam arrived later that evening, and we again paid a brief

clandestine visit to the exhibit hall.  Later in the evening we visited with

a nice couple from Montana, discussing pinball related items for a couple of



     Saturday morning, after taking advantage of the hotel's free Continental

Breakfast, we went to the Coffee Shop for our real breakfast.  Upon entering

the restaurant we ran into Steve Kordek, the Director of Game Design for

pingame manufacturer Williams/Bally/Midway and we ended up eating together.


     We had some very nice discussions with Steve during the meal and sat

talking for about an hour.  After that we went to the exhibit hall, this time

entering as welcomed visitors.


     The exhibit hall, as it had been at past shows, consisted of two rooms -

 a main room where most of the games for playing and display were set up, and

a second room containing some additional games, parts and supplies dealers,

and the tournament area for the pinball tournament connected with the show.


     Tim Arnold also had an area in this second room for his 2nd annual

charity "rat raffle" with a place to buy tickets and a display of the prizes

to be given away, including a 1970's pinball machine.  Unfortunately, due to

my odd-ball plane schedule I was unable to be present for the Sunday

afternoon drawings, but Tim assured me that if I won anything he would send

it to me.  I didn't.


     As far as the pingames on sale or for display (and playing, of course),

here is a brief run-down of the number of games representing each decade.

There were two pins from the 1930's, none from the 1940's, six from the

1950's, and nine from the Sixties.


     There were also 15 electro-mechanical and 6 solid-state pins from the

1970's, 33 games from the 1980's, and 11 from the current decade.


     There was only one "wood rail" pin offered for sale at the show (the

others being for display only).  That was a "classic" pin, Gottlieb's 1953

game SHINDIG, which was not in very good condition (backglass, playfield, and

cabinet).  My friend Sam Harvey finally decided to buy it because of it's

"play appeal" hoping to be able to restore it.  It was a very hard decision

for Sam, but he finally bought it and took it to our room.


     Now for a brief description of some of the more interesting pingames at

the show.




     One of the two 1930's pins at the show was Daval's BLUE STREAK from

1934.  This game was advertised as being entirely mechanical.  It had two

mechanical ball diverting devices on the playfield referred to as "turrets"

in the original advertisement for the game.  The "action" of the game was

described as follows:


     "...each TURRET skill shot automatically zips right over the Next High

     Score and gradually opens the gate for the BIG SCORE - "3 Cushion" skill

     shot Lower TURRET.  OUT BALLS RETURN to become FREE PLAYS for the

     skillful players."


     Those "turrets" worked in such a way that the first ball landing in one

goes into the lowest scoring pocket of the associated group.  Each successive

ball landing in the same "turret" is diverted into the next higher scoring

hole.  You must admit that for an entirely mechanical game this was quite an

intriguing play feature.




     One of the cleanest early pins to be displayed this year was one of the

two games displayed in the lobby of the exhibit hall.  I believe it was from

the collection of show host Bruce Carlton.  It was Williams' 1953 pin TIMES



     The artwork on the game, undoubtedly done by veteran pinball artist

George Molentin, depicted that famous area of Manhattan.  It is interesting

to note that the "million" scoring panels were the upper windows of the large

building on the left-hand side of the backglass.


     The playfield was replete with 6 bumpers (all appearing to be "pop

bumpers") as well as 5 "trap holes" which were used on some pins of the

period.  Balls landing in one of these holes would score 500,000, but remain

there until the next game.  Each hole also had an associated number (between

'1' and '5') which was apparently associated with the lighting of the four

"SPECIAL WHEN LIT" rollover lanes on the field.



     TIMES SQUARE appeared to be in near perfect condition and I'm sure was

a very interesting pingame to play.




     Another interesting game on display this year was Bally's 1970 pin SEE

SAW.  What made this particularly interesting was the presence of a prototype

version (or "whitewood" as the pin designers call them) of the same game

sitting side by side.


     The "whitewood" is the pin designer's playable "mock-up" of his design

on which he plays to test out the playability of his "brain child".  It is

called a whitewood, of course, because there is no artwork on the playfield.

It was indeed interesting to see these two "versions" of SEE SAW side by





     An interesting and quite rare solid-state pin on display at the show was

Stern's CUE from sometime in the early 1980's.  This game was owned by ace

collector Tim Arnold (the "charity king").


     CUE was supposed to be the last pingame designed by pinball legend the

great Harry Williams before his untimely death in 1983.  This game, I'm sure,

had the most bumpers of any solid-state game - 15 "dead" bumpers representing

the 15 balls in a game of pool.


     It also had a single "pop-bumper", labeled "CUE", to represent the cue

ball in a pool game.  CUE was sure an unusual game for the period - but

Harry's designs were often out of the ordinary.




     Another extremely rare (very low production) solid-state pin (also owned

by Tim Arnold) was Gottlieb's 1982 game GOIN' NUTS.  This game boasted six

pop-bumpers, strategically placed on the playfield - quite a large number for

any digital pin.


     The artwork on GOIN' NUTS was also quite unusual.  It depicts a number

of comical looking squirrels holding acorns, fitting right into the 'theme'

of the game.


     The following is a chronological listing of the pins appearing at the

show for sale/display - all available for the playing enjoyment of show





   NAME                            MFG            YEAR  PRICE

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


   BLUE STREAK                     Daval          1934  NFS

   BEAM LIGHT                      Chicago Coin   1935  NFS

   KNOCK OUT                       Bally          1950  NFS

   BEACH CLUB (BINGO)              Bally          1953  25

   SHINDIG                         Gottlieb       1953  250

   TIMES SQUARE                    Williams       1953  NFS

   SWEET ADD-A-LINE                Gottlieb       1955  NFS

   KEY WEST (BINGO)                Bally          1956

   '57 BASEBALL (BASEBALL)         Williams       1957  NFS

   BIG INNING (BASEBALL)           Bally          1958

   WORLD FAIR                      Gottlieb       1964  350

   DODGE CITY                      Gottlieb       1965  NFS

   HI-DOLLY                        Gottlieb       1965

   PARADISE                        Gottlieb       1965  NFS

   BUCKAROO                        Gottlieb       1966  NFS

   CENTRAL PARK                    Gottlieb       1966

   PITCH & BAT (BASEBALL)          Williams       1966  650

   DIAMOND JACK (AAB)              Gottlieb       1967  NFS

   KING OF DIAMONDS                Gottlieb       1967  NFS

   AQUARIUS                        Gottlieb       1970  RAFFLED

   SEE SAW                         Bally          1970  NFS

   SEE SAW (WHITEWOOD)             Bally          1970  NFS

   STRAIGHT FLUSH                  Williams       1970  NFS

   VAMPIRE                         Bally          1970  NFS

   ROUND UP                        Bally          1971  NFS

   UPPER DECK (BASEBALL)           Williams       1973  750

   BOW AND ARROW                   Bally          1974  295

   FLIP FLOP                       Bally          1974  495

   SKY RIDER                       Chicago Coin   1974  400

   300                             Gottlieb       1975  150

   ABRA-CA-DABRA                   Gottlieb       1975

   DYN-O-MITE                      Allied Leisure 1975

   CAPTAIN FANTASTIC               Bally          1976  700

   SPACE ODYSSEY                   Williams       1976  395

   STRIKES AND SPARES              Bally          1977  650/OBO

   DISCO FEVER                     Williams       1978  100

   DISCO '79                       Allied Leisure 1979

   FLASH                           Williams       1979

   SPACE INVADERS                  Bally          1979  525

   TRI ZONE                        Williams       1979  300

   BLACK KNIGHT                    Williams       1980

   FLASH GORDON                    Bally          1980

   GALAXY                          Stern          1980  325

   CATACOMB                        Stern          1981

   CENTAUR                         Bally          1981  695

   MEDUSA                          Bally          1981  850

   GOIN' NUTS                      Gottlieb       1982  NFS

   ORBITER I                       Stern          1982  NFS

   THUNDERBALL                     Williams       1982  2200

   CENTAUR II                      Bally          1983

   SPACE SHUTTLE                   Williams       1984  390

   SPY HUNTER                      Bally          1984  425

   TOUCHDOWN                       Gottlieb       1984  NFS

   COMET                           Williams       1985  550

   SORCERER                        Williams       1985  495

   HIGH SPEED                      Williams       1986  550

   HOLLYWOOD HEAT                  Gottlieb       1986  450

   PINBOT                          Williams       1986  795

   RAVEN                           Gottlieb       1986  500

   ROAD KINGS                      Williams       1986  775

   STRANGE SCIENCE                 Bally          1986  850

   F-14 TOMCAT                     Williams       1987

   FIRE!                           Williams       1987  795

   HEAVY METAL MELTDOWN            Bally          1987  495

   LASER WAR                       Data East      1987  525

   BAD GIRLS                       Gottlieb       1988  650

   BANZAI RUN                      Williams       1988  1525

   CYCLONE                         Williams       1988  795

   BIG HOUSE                       Gottlieb       1989  695

   BLACK KNIGHT 2000               Williams       1989  1375

   HOT SHOTS                       Gottlieb       1989  750

   JOKERZ!                         Williams       1989  895

   CUE                             Stern          198?  NFS

   FUN HOUSE                       Williams       1990

   PHANTOM OF THE OPERA            Data East      1990  1350

   BRIDE OF PINBOT                 Williams       1991

   CUE BALL WIZARD                 Gottlieb       1992  NEW

   DRACULA (BRIAN STOKER'S)        Williams       1992  NEW

   GETAWAY                         Williams       1992  NEW

   WHITEWATER                      Williams       1992  NEW

   JURASSIC PARK                   Data East      1993  NEW

   ROCKY AND BULLWINKLE            Data East      1993  NEW

   STREET FIGHTER II               Gottlieb       1993  NEW

   TWILIGHT ZONE                   Bally          1993  TOURNEY



     During my many hours of visiting the exhibit hall I roamed around

checking out all the games, playing a few (I'm just not much of a player

anymore) and visiting with old friends and new pin fans who I met for the

first time.


     One such couple I met were from Tucson Arizona.  Both the husband and

wife loved pins - in fact the lady may have even been more interested in pins

than her husband, she even seemed to be interested in doing game maintenance.


     They told me that, among other games, they owned a Bally BEACH CLUB, a

1953 model 'bingo pinball'.  When they said they needed a schematic and

manual for the game I tried to find one for them from the dealers at the



     I first checked the box of schematics offered for sale by Jim Tolbert of

For Amusement Only with no avail.  But, a little while later I found, in the

main room, the whole machine with a schematic and manual - the whole

"shooting match" for sale for only $25


     I found the people; told them about what I had found; and we began to

search for the owner.  After awhile he was located and they bought their

schematic and manual with a whole pinball machine to boot!


     Jim Schelberg, publisher of the all pinball magazine PinGame Journal,

was one of the people having a booth in the exhibit hall.  Jim was kind

enough to help me sell some of my "Pinball Troubleshooting Guide" books so I

could make a little extra money.  Thanks Jim!


     Saturday night was the annual banquet.  After a nice dinner, show

producer Bruce Carlton got up and first thanked us for coming to the show.

He then thanked the people from pingame manufacturer Williams/Bally/Midway

for coming and providing their new pins for the show tournament.


     Steve Kordek of Williams/Bally/Midway then came up and thanked Bruce for

putting on a fine show.  He then introduced a young lady who was the

company's Western Area sales representative.


     Following that, Steve praised all the company's personnel for doing such

good work and producing such great games.  He then introduced

Williams/Bally/Midway's ace game designer Pat Lawlor who was to be the

banquet's featured speaker.


     Pat began by thanking Bruce for inviting him to speak at the banquet,

adding that it wasn't easy to follow last year's speaker, fellow designer

Steve Ritchie.


     He then told us that he had never been that far West before, and that it

was wonderful to get away from the Chicago weather for awhile.  He said that

the sun finally came out when they reached Oklahoma.


     Pat then told two funny stories about his trip.  First he told about

entering a small town in Oklahoma which had a sign with a picture of a pretty

woman on it.  The sign read "WELCOME TO HOOKER OKLAHOMA".


     He then told of another sign advertising a cafe which read "Bob's

Restaurant - Famous For Warm Beer and Bad Service", Pat quipping "that's

really what you call 'truth in advertising'".  He then added that that was

something like a pingame with a sign reading "bad shots and no fun - insert


     Next Pat began telling us about himself, and how he got to where he is,

saying that his background was both sketchy and varied.  He then said that he

wanted to remind us that pingames were basically entertainment devices which

"cut across several technical boundaries" - adding that pingame designers

must satisfy a world-wide audience


     Pat said that at one time he was a video game designer but eventually

lost his job.  For awhile after that he told us he did real-time computer

software design.  He then told of meeting Larry DeMar, who he referred to as

"the unsung hero of pinball software".  Pat remarked that a whole lot of what

you see in pingames today are Larry's inventions.


     Pat then told about getting the original idea for his game BANZAI RUN.

He said he told Larry that he had a real crazy idea - wanting to put a

pingame in a backglass.  To this he said Larry replied "when do we start?"


     Pat said that they built a model of the game in his garage and when they

showed it to the people at Williams they really liked it and decided to build

it.  Pat then named all of his other designs: EARTH SHAKER, WHIRLWIND, FUN

HOUSE, and ADDAMS FAMILY - adding that there will be "more to come".


     Pat next told us that he first got involved in the  coin-op industry

back in 1980, working for a small Chicago outfit which did work for Bally.

He then said that sometimes people ask him "did you go to school to learn

pinball design - or what?"  He said he would reply "or what".


     Pat then remarked that "nothing can teach you this", adding that modern

games incorporate a wide variety of disciplines.


     Going back to his past, Pat said that at one time or another he has

worked in sales, did mechanical repairs, managed people, did real-time

software design, tended bar, and designed both video and pinball games.  He

told us that learning about many different things helps you when you want to

entertain people.


     Pat then said that he wanted to talk about how pingames had changed over

the years - and particularly during the past five years.  He then started

describing what he called "an abbreviated history of pingames".


     He began by quipping "pinball starts - and Steve Kordek is there".  This

drew a round of applause.  He said the early games did not have flippers -

the ball only bouncing around - and came from the Nineteenth Century game of



     Pat then said that the first pingames seemed "revolutionary" to the

public.  Shortly after the introduction of pins, he went on, the designers

decided they had to come up with "new challenges" - an example of which, he

said, was the introduction of lights.


     He then remarked that when a person comes up to a new pingame he should

be made to say to himself "what will it do?"  Pat said that throughout the

history of the game "building blocks" were created by designers to improve

the game.


     During the 1950's and 1960's, Pat went on, there was an influx of

mechanical devices on pingames - including animation in backglasses.  This,

he said, gave the people "new things to look at".


     Going back to his past once again, Pat told us that he was born less

than four blocks from the Williams plant, but moved away, never knowing at

that time that Williams even existed.  When he was young, he went on, he

liked pingames because he always looked at a new game and wondered "what does

it do?"


     Getting back to history, Pat remarked that in the 1970's pins began to

change from emphasis on a lot of mechanical parts to more emphasis on ball

kinetics - ie. "how does it roll?"  He told us that fellow designer Steve

Ritchie was "the master of kinetics".


     Then, Pat said, in the latter part of the Seventies, the micro-processor

came into pingames.  This, he said, allowed pins to have "complicated rules".

Electro-mechanical games, Pat went on, could only employ relatively simple

logic, space and power considerations severely limiting their logic.  Pat

then added that he has a high regard for those games.


     Micro-processors, Pat told us, could run at millions of cycles per

second, and the memory they employ allowed for almost unlimited game rules.

After awhile, he remarked, "rules took over for awhile".  He said that this

might have resulted in a potential player thinking to himself "I don't see

what it does - and i don't want to know."


     By 1980, Pat told us, pingames had become extremely convoluted.  He said

that dedicated pinball players love the game "because it's pinball".  This,

however, he said is not so with the average player.


     Pat then told of video games almost killing pinball.  He told of a court

case where Bally tried to keep all other pingame manufacturers from using

micro-processors.  If they had won, he remarked, Williams and other pin

manufacturers might not be in business today - adding that modern pinball

history hinged on the outcome of that court case.


     On the subject of "why video was king?" Pat told us there were several

main reasons.  First, he said, the game was "revolutionary" - you could

actually "play your TV!"  He then said that video games could "grab hold of

the player".


     This was, he continued, primarily due to the fact that video games could

"tell a story".  Pat said that they had "a limited story line" that the

players could relate to.  Pins, on the other hand, were missing that



     Pat told us that during the period between 1981 and 1983 the video game

manufacturers could not produce machines fast enough; players could not

deposit coins fast enough; and the operators couldn't empty the coin boxes

fast enough!


     He then told of Bally once setting an industry record by producing 1200

Ms PAC MAN video games in one day!, the plant running 24 hours a day at that

time.  Pingames, at that time, Pat said were essentially "in a vacuum"

created by the inrush of video games.


     Then, Pat continued, came SPACE SHUTTLE which he said was "a throwback

to the past" and again inspired the question "what does it do?"


     After that, he said, came Steve Ritchie's HIGH SPEED which Pat told us

had a "story line" everyone could understand.  Next came PINBOT which he said

had "lots of mechanical things on the playfield" and was very popular in



     After again mentioning his own first game, BANZAI RUN, which he said got

him a permanent job with the company, Pat started talking about his next

design, EARTH SHAKER.  He said that when he first told of his idea of making

a game with an earthquake theme management seemed a bit nervous.  Pat then

told us that he has said a hundred times "our great strength at Williams is

that  management leaves us alone".


     He continued, saying that once you tell management your idea for a new

game they'll usually let you alone - adding "they always give you just enough

rope to hang yourself".


     Pat ended that subject by remarking that he has great respect for

Williams' management, adding that at most other companies management holds

meetings and assigns tasks when they want to produce a new game.


     Getting back to EARTH SHAKER, Pat told of it's first test in an arcade.

He said it was on the 2nd floor of a two story building and when the game was

first started the whole floor shook.  When this happened, Pat told us, all

the kids started running for the game so they could put money into it.  He

then said that EARTH SHAKER  was "fun to do".


     When he came up with the idea for his next game, WHIRLWIND, Pat said the

company's lawyers were afraid that someone might get something in their eye

from the fan on top of the game.


     Pat then said that his next game, FUN HOUSE, took "one more step" toward

allowing the player to interact with the machine.  He told of Larry DeMar's

first seeing the model for the dummy's head (called "Rudy") used on the game

and commenting that it seemed "too big".


     Pat then quipped that with FUN HOUSE, if a bar patron was to ask "what

do you do with it?", the answer should be "hit him!" - referring to "Rudy".

He then told us that the game was a great success and had a large production



     At that point Pat said that he would like us to think about something.

He said that everything he had been describing is "evolutionary" - built on

something that had come before.   Pat then remarked that pingames can no

longer be revolutionary, only evolutionary.  The only risk in designing

something evolutionary, he went on, is the risk that people might not think

it's pinball.


     Pat next talked about the difference in play characteristics between

wide-body games and smaller size playfields - adding that Williams is "on a

roll" with the current playfield size they were using.


     At that point Pat started discussing the economic side of game

production.  He said that in addition to the approximately 6 people who are

part of the game design team, there is also a support staff of about 50 more

involved with the assembly line, etc.


     He then said that there were large tooling costs involved in the

production of the molded plastic parts used on the playfield.  After telling

us that Williams has about 1600 employees, Pat told us that a conservative

estimate of the overall cost of getting a new game into production (design

through getting onto the assembly line) is approximately ONE MILLION DOLLARS!


     Pat said that because of that the designers have to be careful what they

do - and have to be somewhat conservative.  He then remarked that every

designer is charged with the partial welfare of the 1600 employees, because

if he makes a mistake in judgement (a bad design) it could result in people

being laid off.


     At that Point Pat presented a short slide show showing various stages of

the production of a game - from initial drilling of the playfield at the

start of the assembly line to the finished games sitting on the shipping



     After the slide show Pat asked for questions from the audience.  When

asked why "Rudy" (the dummy's head on the playfield of his hit game FUN

HOUSE) has an obnoxious voice, Pat answered that he usually uses pleasant

voices on his games but he wanted Rudy to sound like a real ventriloquist's

dummy.  He then quipped that he wanted Rudy to be "the kind of guy you

wouldn't want your sister to go out with".


     Pat was next asked how much lighter the "power ball" (a special ball

used in one of his latest games) was than the  standard ball?  Pat replied

that it was only slightly lighter.  He then said they instituted a world-wide

search for that ball and that it was machined from a special ceramic material

like is used on valves in the NASA Space Shuttle.


     A "Twilight Zone" enthusiast from the audience asked Pat why a gum-ball

machine was used on the game TWILIGHT ZONE when he knew of no episode on the

TV show which used one?  Pat replied that he took some "creative license",

adding that many show episodes dealt with "everyday objects" such as the gum



     When asked if the dummy Rudy every scared people, Pat told of a lady at

the plant who, after hearing him over and over during game testing, said it

sounded "nightmarish".  Pat then told of the impersonator they used to do

many of their game voices.  He also mentioned the fact that the "game rules"

for many new pingames are "posted" on computer bulletin boards.


     Pat was next asked if new pinball ideas ever get canceled?  He replied

"yes", saying that sometimes the designer himself cancels it if he determines

that his idea was just not as good as he thought - or in rare cases when

company management gets "nervous" about a design.  Pat then added that in any

case canceling of a design in progress is never done "lightly".


     Pat's talk ended with him answering a few more questions regarding how

things are done at Williams/Bally/Midway.  During these discussions Pat again

emphasized that the company's management was always cooperative when it came

to new game designs.


     After Pat's talk Bruce got back up for a few minutes for some final

remarks.  He encouraged show visitors to participate in Tim Arnold's charity

raffle.  Finally, Bruce reminded everyone to fill out the "ballots" they were

given when they registered for the show to vote for the "best game" and "best

game restoration" at the show.


     When the banquet was over the exhibit hall was reopened for awhile and

we all roamed around some more visiting with other pin people and playing


     Sunday morning when the exhibit hall opened again I went back for one

last visit before having to leave for the airport for my early flight home.

I was also very disappointed that this same flight problem caused me to miss

the annual open-house at the Dan Frank's, a highlight for me at the past two



     Reluctantly I finally left the show, after saying farewell to all my

good friends, and boarded the shuttle bus for the airport.  This time it only

cost me $7.50 (vice $10) because another hotel guest shared the ride with me.


     My return trip to Burbank airport was quit uneventful.  After landing my

daughter picked me up in my car and we drove home.  All in all, I enjoyed the

show very much even though it was somewhat cut short for me due to the

transportation problems I mentioned earlier.




     The final show I'm going to report on is the second edition of the

"Coin-op Super Show" put on by COIN SLOT ex-publisher Roseanna Harris.  This

year the show was held in the Pasadena Exhibit Center (the same location as

the Fun Fair which I previously described) which, as I said earlier, is in my

opinion a very good location for such events.


     This year the Super Show was held on Saturday and Sunday, July 31 and

August 1.  The evening before the show I all of a sudden got the idea of

contacting an old friend of mine who I hadn't seen in over 10 years and see

if he would like to accompany me to the show.  My friend, Nat Ross, was not

a coin machine enthusiast, but was a record collector and old movie buff and

shared my interest in things from "the good old days".


     Saturday morning, before leaving home to drive to Pasadena, I tried

calling Nat who lived in Los Angeles but he did not answer.  But, after

driving part way to Pasadena, I tried again and this time go a hold of him.

Nat told me he was in the process of moving but would be glad to spend a few

hours with me at the show.


     I picked him up at his place and we headed for Pasadena, Nat even

showing me a "short cut" to get there from where he lived.  Along the way we

had a good time getting re-acquainted with each other and reminiscing about

the past.


     When we finally arrived at the show site we parked in the convenient

parking garage and went to the show area.  The exhibitors' booths took up

most of one large room, and the number of exhibitors seemed to be

approximately the same as were at the Fun Fair earlier in the year.  There

were quite a few more exhibits than were at the first Super Show the previous

year in Pomona.


     As we started walking down the aisles viewing the many items offered for

sale we also continued our reminiscing.  We also ran into many of my "pin

friends" who I introduced to my old buddy.  Nat did end up buying an old 78

RPM phonograph record, which, as I said earlier, was one of his passions.


     As far as pingames were concerned, there were only two dealers at the

show with more than one or two pins.  Herb Silvers had his usual booth which

this time featured two electro-mechanical pingames and five solid-state

machines.  Another outfit, "Home Jukebox" of Lawndale California (a Los

Angeles suburb) had four electro-mechanical pingames for sale.

     As far as the decades were concerned, there was one pin from the 1930's,

none from the 1940's or 1950's, and only three from the 1960's.  There were

also four electro-mechanicals from the 1970's and eight solid-state games.




     The only 1930's pingame at the show was Gottlieb's early entry into the

pingame field, BAFFLE BALL, which came out at the end of 1931.  In all the

years I have attended coin machine shows I have very seldom seen any BAFFLE

BALL games being offered for sale.


     This little game was quite well built with nice castings being used for

the 'scoring pockets'.  The "pins" on this "pin and ball game" were quite

tall and added to the attractiveness of the game.  In addition to the four

large scoring pockets on the field, small compartments at the bottom of the

field provided additional scoring opportunities.




     A very interesting 1960's pin at the show was Gottlieb's 1966 classic

HYDE PARK.  This was one of the games that Gottlieb produced especially for

export to Italy.  This is the first time I believe that one of these "Italian

versions" has appeared at a coin machine show.




     Another interesting and beautiful pingame at the show was  Williams'

'classic' SPANISH EYES.  The backglass art on this game is quite unusual and

the artist who did it still seems to be unknown.


     The playfield featured four pop bumpers - three near the top (a fairly

usual arrangement) but with a fourth between the flippers which could send

the ball up to the kickout hole just above the center of the field.  All in

all a very interesting little pin.


     The following is a chronological  listing of all the pingames appearing

at the Super Show.


 NAME                      MFG      YEAR       PRICE     

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

 BAFFLE BALL               Gottlieb            1932        875

 THREE COINS               Williams            1962        500

 CROSS TOWN                Gottlieb            1966        950

 HYDE PARK (ITALIAN)       Gottlieb            1966        400

 OLYMPIC HOCKEY            Williams            1972        400

 SPANISH EYES              Williams            1972        700

 WIZARD                    Bally               1974        825

 OLD CHICAGO               Bally               1975        675

 SILVER BALL MANIA         Bally               1978        550

 CHARLIE'S ANGELS          Gottlieb            1979        500

 NINE BALL                 Stern               1980        850

 LADY LUCK                 Bally               1986        995

 TAXI                      Williams            1988       1350

 TIME MACHINE              Data East           1988       1695

 JOKERZ!                   Williams            1989       1575

 SILVER SLUGGER            Gottlieb            1990       1195


     Ever since we entered the show area I tried to locate show producer

Roseanna Harris to say "hello".  Finally I was able to locate her and I

introduced her to my friend and congratulated her on the quality of the show

and the turnout of both exhibitors and visitors.


     Roseanna asked me if I had heard of the upcoming change in the

California antique slot machine ownership law.  I told her I had not.  She

then proceeded to tell me that effective January 1, 1994, it would be legal

in California to collect slots which were 25 years old or older - as opposed

to the current pre 1954 law.  I told her I was glad that our state finally

had come around to a reasonable law!


     Before leaving the show I stopped by the booth of one of the local slot

machine dealers and picked up a flyer which stated the new law.  My friend

and I then left the show and returned to my car for the drive home.  All in

all I felt that the show was very good with a nice variety of items for sale.


     My friend Nat  also seemed to enjoy the show, even though coin machines

were not "right up his alley".  His love of the "good old days" like mine

made the items at the show interesting to him as well however.


     On the way back to Nat's house we took a detour to his favorite meat

market in South-Central L.A. so he could buy some good German sliced ham.

After arriving back at this place we spend a little more time reminiscing

about old times and old friends.  Finally, I took my leave and started the

drive of about 50 miles back home.


     Well, there you have it, the 1993 edition of my article on three of the

coin machine shows in the West.  Next time, for the 9th year in a row, I will

report on the events at the greatest of all pinball shows - Pinball Expo