THE AUGUST 1994 COIN-OP SUPER SHOW
by Russ Jensen
In my article last time ("2 Shows"), I described the January 1994
edition of Roseanna Harris' COIN-OP SUPER SHOW as well as the first WILD
WEST PINBALL FEST held in Arizona. This time I am going to report on the
second 1994 edition of the COIN-OP SUPER SHOW.
That show was held on Saturday and Sunday, September 17, and 18, with
a special "preview" the preceding Friday evening. As has been the case for
the past several shows, the show was again held at my favorite show
location, the Pasadena Exhibit Center in Pasadena, California.
This time my good friend, pinball and jukebox collector Ron Tyler,
decided to go with me - in fact he even drove. So Ron picked me up
Saturday morning and we proceeded to make the approximately one hour
freeway drive to Pasadena.
After arriving at the show site, and parking in the convenient
underground garage, we proceeded to the large area outside the show
entrance. The show had not opened yet so we bought our admission (using
the nice "senior discount") and located my friend pinball collector,
historian, and author Rob Hawkins.
During the previous weeks Rob and I had talked by telephone and agreed
to meet before the show to conduct some "business". First of all, Rob had
borrowed some of my pinball brochures to copy which he returned to me, and
in return brought me some nice color copies of some of his brochures from
his great brochure collection.
Last, but certainly not least, Rob had "scanned" the text of my book,
"Pinball Troubleshooting Guide", into his computer and brought me a copy of
that data on a computer diskette. Something I had wanted for quite some
After completing my pre-show business with Rob, and depositing my
brochures in the trunk of the car, Ron and I entered the show area. The
first thing you saw as you entered the hall was a large roped-off display
of "mint" examples of collectable coin machines, including a beautiful
Gottlieb HUMPTY DUMPTY pingame (the first flipper game, released in late
1947) owned by collector/dealer Herb Silvers.
As we began roving down the aisles looking at all the nice items on
display, by friend Ron was quite interested in the juke boxes and
associated items offered for sale, as well as the pinball related items.
Ron was quite interested in discovering the high prices of many juke-
The first booth we encountered which had pingames was the "For
Amusement Only" booth of Jim and Judy Tolbert which contained three 1970's
vintage pins, plus many pin-related items, including books and parts.
While glancing at the various publications for sale there one book caught
The book cover, brightly decorated with pinball pictures, had only the
single title "PINBALL" in large letters. When I first spotted the book I
thought to myself "what! A pinball book I have never seen before!" I
quickly picked it up and began flipping through it's pages which were
loaded with full color illustrations.
It wasn't long before the mystery was solved. I immediately realized
that I did own the original version of this book, but that was somewhat
different. My book had a soft cover with different illustrations on it and
the text was in German.
I had obtained my copy of the original book from German author
Heribert Eiden at Pinball Expo '93 the past year. I, of course,
immediately bought the English version I just found (and now own both),
which I could not pass up at the low price of only $15.
` Later, after I had seen the rest of the show, I discovered that most
of the other pins there were located in Herb Silvers' "Fabulous Fantasies"
booth. Herb had a total of eight pins on display, including the only
1950's vintage pin at the show, Gottlieb's 1958 two-player pin BRITE STAR.
His other pins included two from the 1960's, one from the 1970's, one from
the 1980's, and four from the current decade.
Other than those on display by Jim Tolbert and Herb Silvers, there
appeared to be only two other pingames at the show. One of those was a
Williams DARTS from 1960 which was almost immediately sold. The other was
Chicago Coin's 1966 game KICKER which was not even set up. When I ran into
my good friend Sam Harvey later he told me several times how he regretted
not buying DARTS for himself.
The following is a chronological listing of all the pins I saw at the
NAME MANUFACTURER YEAR PRICE
BRITE STAR Gottlieb 1958 1495
DARTS Williams 1960 SOLD
PARADISE Gottlieb 1965 795
KICKER Chicago Coin 1966 150
PAUL BUNYAN Gottlieb 1968 695
DROP-A-CARD Gottlieb 1971 500
BON VOYAGE Bally 1974 550
OUT-OF-SIGHT Gottlieb 1975 600
SPACE ODYSSEY Williams 1976 500
LIGHTS! CAMERA! ACTION Gottlieb 1989 995
(THE) SIMPSONS Data East 1990 1495
TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES Data East 1991 1295
CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON Bally 1993 3195
The earliest pin at this show was Gottlieb's two-player game BRITE
STAR which came out in early 1958. Gottlieb had originated the "multi-
player" pingame almost four years earlier with a four-player pin called
Due to having to provide score indication for more than one player, it
was decided to use individual "score reels" for each player rather than the
complicated "light scoring" method used on single-player pingames.
Eventually (around 1960 - the date varied with the manufacturer), however,
the score reels were used on single-player models as well.
The BRITE STAR at the show was in excellent condition The playfield
boasted many scoring features including 4 "pop-bumpers", 2 "slingshot
kickers", and a vertical "roto-target" assembly. All in all it appears to
be a very nice pin indeed.
The nicest and rarest of the 1960's pins at the show was Gottlieb's
1965 game PARADISE. This was also a 2-player pin boasting a very
attractive backglass featuring Hawaiian "hula girls". PARADISE also had
four pop-bumpers. It had a wide-open playfield which contained four
"kickout holes", a feature totally non-existent on BRITE SPOT. The
PARADISE was also in excellent condition.
After we had roamed the aisles for awhile, my friend Ron and I decided
to have a light lunch. After buying a turkey sandwich and soda from the
in-room snack bar we sat down at a table to relax and eat. My friend Rob
Hawkins apparently had the same idea at about the same time and sat down to
While visiting again with Rob I told him about an outfit in
Seattle which, in addition to developing film, will put your photos on a
computer disk at a slight extra charge. In addition, they supply free of
charge the computer software to view them. My new friend, Gary Marshall, a
bingo pinball fan from Mississippi, had recently sent me information about
that company. Incidentally, all the pictures I took at the show were later
processed by that outfit.
(NOTE: While writing this article I received my first set of "pictures on
disk". They really look great!)
In addition to photographing the pingames at the show (which I did not
already have a photo of - I have photos of more than 800 different pinball
machines), I decided to photograph various models of Bally electro-
mechanical slots. This was partially in deference to the fact that I
bought a Bally 809 "fruit machine" shortly after attending the January
version of this show.
Incidentally, at the show I again saw Ray Dier the fellow from which I
bought my first slot. The slot photos I took were also "put on disk" as I
have the idea of trying to set up a computer "slide show" illustrating
different models of the Bally electro-mechanical slots.
When we had seen everything there was to see I went to say goodbye to
Roseanna and Bill Harris and tell them how much we enjoyed the show. We
were told that the COIN-OP SUPER SHOW will continued to be held twice each
year, with the next show scheduled for April 1995.
The show this time was very nice, and I'm looking forward to next
year; possibly both shows, if my vacation doesn't coincide with the April
After leaving the show site, Ron and I made another trip to the old C
& H Sales electronic surplus store at the other end of Pasadena, like we
had done in a past year after attending a similar show in town. Ron wanted
to buy some parts to use in his jukebox restorations. As I believe I
mentioned in a previous article, C & H had been in business since sometime
in the mid 1940's. And as a young teenager in the late Forties I had
visited the establishment several times.
When I told the young man at the counter that I had been in the store
about 45 years earlier, he told us that the same man still owned it and was
73 years old. When I asked if the owner was there that day, the clerk
replied, "no, he only comes in during the week".
After our brief visit to C & H Ron and I began the trip back to
Camarillo. On the way home we decided to stop for a quick dinner at one of
Ron's favorite restaurants.
After Ron dropped me off at home I noticed it was still early enough
to go play bingo with my wife (she had already left). So I went to play;
but maybe I should have stayed home because I didn't win a thing!
Well, next year I will try to attend either one or both editions of
the COIN-OP SUPER SHOW. And, if it keeps growing like it has the past
several years, it will probably be an even better show than it was this
time! Hope to see you there!