THE FALL 1995 COIN-OP SUPER SHOW
by Russ Jensen
Since I had to miss the Spring 1995 edition of Bill and
Roseanna Harris' COIN-OP SUPER SHOW due to a vacation conflict, I
vowed I would not miss the Fail SUPER SHOW. So about a month
before I made arrangements with my good friend jukebox and pinball
collector Ron Tyler to go together since I no longer drive.
This show was to feature a special event, the display of the
first 3-reel payout slot machine, the famous Fey LIBERTY BELL. I
myself had seen that machine several times in the past during
vacation visits to the Liberty Bell Saloon in Reno, Nevada - the
LIBERTY BELL's regular home.
Also this year I decided to see if I could meet my old friend
from Junior High School, Don Stocker, who I had not seen in 44
years! Over a year ago I located Don's phone number via a computer
database which contains all listed phone numbers in the country
with the help of pinball fan Gary Marshall in Mississippi. I had
talked to Don once awhile back and he lived in Pasadena, the city
where the show was held (and also the city where we had attended
About a week prior to the show I called Don to see if he could
possibly meet me at the show. He told me then that he had a
previous commitment that weekend and couldn't come to the show.
Well, the night before the show he called and said he would be able
to meet me after all, so we made plans to contact each other at the
On the morning of the show, Saturday September 23, my friend
Ron and I drove to the show site arriving at just about the time
the doors were to open. We both took advantage of the show's
"senior discount" and entered the show room. The Fey LIBERTY BELL
was clearly visible when you entered the hall.
Upon entering I first went to Roseanna Harris' booth and told
her that my old friend would contact her when he arrived so she
could point me out to him (we weren't sure we could recognize each
other after all those years). I then started up the first aisle to
see what was there, noticing that there were no pingames in that
When I had almost reached the end of the next aisle I heard my
name paged on the P.A. system, telling me to come to Roseanna's
booth. As I started walking toward it I recognized my old friend
Don. We greeted each other and then started back at the first
aisle together so Don could see what was there. My other friend
Ron had previously taken off on his own, especially looking at the
jukebox items at the show of which there were many.
As Don and I were perusing the aisles looking at the various
items on display, Roseanna announced the first door prize winner of
the day. I was surprised to hear that the winner got to actually
play the almost 100 year old Fey LIBERTY BELL. By the time I got
back to where that machine was located, however, he had already
inserted a nickel and pulled the handle, so I didn't get to see
that special event.
As far as pinballs were concerned there were not a great
number at eh show (approximately 16 by my count), being far
outnumbered by slots and jukes. There were two dealers (Herb
Silvers' Fabulous Fantasies and Pat Sheehy's P. and S. Amusements)
which each had a few pins, plus a few other dealers who each had a
single pin in their booths.
As far as the various decades were concerned, there were 4
pins from the 1930's, one from the 1940's (well, maybe not exactly
a pin - but more about that later), one from the 1950's, none at
all from the 1960's. From the 1970's there was one electro-
mechanical pin and 3 solid-state machines. The more modern solid-
state pins shown included 2 from the 1980's and 4 from the current
The two earliest pins at the show were the earliest popular
pins of two of the major manufacturers. BALLYHOO was the pin which
started the Bally company in 1932 and the one at the show was in
excellent condition. There was also a BAFFLE BALL from the same
year, the first successful pingame from D. Gottlieb and Co., which
was also in very nice shape. Two "pioneer pingames" indeed!
There were also two other small 1930's pins there. The
earliest of these was called THE MIDGET put out in 1932 by an
outfit called E. E. Junior Manufacturing Co. The later of the
1930's pins shown was a little game called BULLET put out by the
Pierce Tool and Manufacturing Co. in 1935. Even though made in
that year it was very similar in size and appearance to much
The only 1940's vintage pin-like game at the show was a small
counter-top game called WHIZZ put out by Genco Manufacturing in
1946. While not really a pingame in the true sense of the word,
WHIZZ had some similarities and is quite an interesting little
It has an upright playfield (vaguely resembling the Japanese
Pachinko machines) and utilizes 10 ceramic balls a little smaller
than the steel balls used in most pingames. The player launches
each ball upward, by use of a lever on the cabinet, the ball then
falling down the field, deflected in it's path by various steel
pins mounted thereon.
At the bottom of the field are nine troughs into which all 10
balls eventually land; each capable of holding one or two balls.
The object of the game is to get balls in as many consecutive
troughs (starting with the center trough, and either going to the
left or right) without leaving any empty troughs in between.
If the player succeeded in getting a ball into the center
trough he would score 1000 points (lighted up in numbers at the top
of the glass. Each additional consecutive trough (either to the
left or right) would score an additional 1000 points. Each 1000
points represented one "free game", although I'm sure that in many
locations the player was "paid off" in coins by the location.
Years ago I repaired one of these games for a friend of mine.
After fixing it I began playing it and became "hooked" and played
it for hours on end. WHIZZ is a very hard game to beat! A few
years later Genco produced a series of larger games using the same
The only 1950's pin at the show was a restored Gottlieb ROCKET
SHIP from 1958. This game had been skillfully restored by Herb
Silvers and had a quite high asking price. The only other electro-
mechanical pin at the show was from the 1970's. It was Bally's
HOKUS POKUS from 1975.
The following is a chronological listing of the pingames I saw
at the show:
GAME MANUFACTURER YEAR PRICE
BAFFLE BALL GOTTLIEB 1932 525
BALLYHOO BALLY 1932 550
THE MIDGET E.E. JR. MFG. 1932 575
BULLET PIERCE TOOL 1935 595
WHIZZ (Upright) GENCO 1946 450
ROCKET SHIP GOTTLIEB 1958 2000
HOKUS POKUS BALLY 1975 800
HOT TIP WILLIAMS 1977 450
POWER PLAY BALLY 1977 450
XENON BALLY 1979 995
CYBERNAUT BALLY 1985 795
PINBOT WILLIAMS 1986 850
HARLEY DAVIDSON BALLY 1991 2395
TERMINATOR II WILLIAMS 1991 2495
FLINTSTONES (THE) WILLIAMS 1994 3600
THEATER OF MAGIC BALLY 1995 3600
Now a little more about the extremely rare Fey LIBERTY BELL
slot machine at the show. It is one of only four (I believe) known
to exist and one of the two owned by Marshall Fey, the grandson of
it's inventor Charles Fey. Marshall was kind enough to bring this
extremely rare machine to the show for all to see.
Also on display in Marshall's booth (which was also manned by
his son) was the first one-dollar play gambling machine (also
created by his grandfather) and the Mills LIBERTY BELL slot, the
idea and name of which was "stolen" by Mills from Charles Fey. At
one point in the show I noticed that Marshall had even opened up
his LIBERTY BELL to show it's construction, but again by the time
I got over to it it was "buttoned up" again.
Incidentally, by the time you read this one of the other Fey
LIBERTY BELLs (from the collection of long-time Philadelphia coin
machine operator Stan Harris) will have been sold at auction in
Illinois. When Marshall was asked what he thought it might bring
he said he really had no idea, but the talk he had heard indicated
that the selling price might be in the 150-200 Thousand dollar
UPDATE: On November 15, 1995 the Fey LIBERTY BELL was sold to a
Midwest collector for a bid of $130,000! With auctions fees, etc.
he actually had to pay just under 150 thousand; the highest price,
by the way, ever paid for any coin machine!.
All during my visit to the show I roamed around with my friend
Don looking at different interesting things on display as well as
listing the pingames which were there and taking some photos. I
also visited with other old friends who were at the show, for one
talking with my friend Sam Harvey about our upcoming visit to
Pinball Expo '95 the next month (more about that in the next COIN
SLOT). The friend I had come with, Ron, spent much of his time
negotiating with a couple dealers on a Wurlitzer electric neon
At one point during the show my old friend Don and I sat down
over a soft drink and reminisced about our Junior High School
friendship. We both remembered the day, while hiking in the hills,
that we wandered into the Jet Propulsion Laboratory site only to be
escorted out in a jeep by an armed guard.
While Don and I were visiting I heard Roseanna announce
another interesting door prize. This time it was a copy of a book
to be released in November by Roseanna's company, Royal Bell Ltd.
When I heard her announce the name of the book I was really
surprised. It was LEMONS, CHERRIES, AND BELL FRUIT GUM a history
of the slot machine industry by Dick Bueschel.
The reason I was so surprised was because I had first heard of
that book in an advertisement in a book catalog sometime back
around 1972! The ad said that the book was "coming soon". In a
recent conversation with Dick I found out that he had actually been
working on the book since 1967! Well, it's finally coming out and
I can hardly wait for it as it will give the history of the slot
machine industry right up into the 1990's.
Later, Don, my friend Ron, and I had dinner at the nearby
Holiday Inn restaurant. After dinner we returned to the show for
about an hour and did some last minute looking around. My friend
Ron ended up buying one of the Wurlitzer clocks he had been eyeing
and carried it out to the car when we left.
All in all, it was a very nice show and had a wide variety of
coin-ops and other nice collectables. I will probably be able to
attend the next SUPER SHOW which is scheduled for March 1st through
3rd, 1996 (before my usual vacation time).
After leaving the hall I said goodbye to my Junior High buddy
Don, inviting him to come visit me and my wife at our home. After
that Ron and I drove back home, ending a very enjoyable "coin-op