Bally's BIKINI - IT'S "OK"



     If the question were asked, "what type of electro-mechanical

pingame had the most complicated circuitry?", the answer would

most certainly be the "In-Line" or "Bingo" pinball.  And of these

games the most complicated variety would be those known by bingo

pinball aficionados as the "OK Games."


     Having been fascinated by bingo pinball circuitry ever since

I was a teenager (I sent for, and received from Bally, a

schematic and instruction manual for their 1953 bingo YACHT CLUB

way back then) obtaining my first "bingo", MIAMI BEACH, in the

mid seventies was a great thrill.  When I replaced that game a

few years later with KEY WEST, a much more sophisticated "turning

corners" game, I felt I had made another step "up the ladder."

But, ever since I learned what they were a few years back, I have

yearned for what I considered to be the "ultimate bingo pinball",

an "OK bingo".


     Well, not too long ago my dream was realized when a Los

Angeles area free-lance dealer in coin games, Mr. Paul Crain,

made me "an offer I could not refuse" and supplied me with my

dream, an "OK bingo pinball", Bally's BIKINI by name.  The game

was in good "as-is" condition and complete, except for a few

missing relay armatures which Paul supplied.  After several

months (I was only able to work on the game a few hours each

week), and much study of the additional circuitry that these

games had above their earlier predecessors, I was able to put

this game into good working condition and it now holds a prime

position in my collection of classic pingames.


     The backglass, by the way, showed some signs of peeling and

had a few small areas of missing paint.  After a little "touch-

up" with model paints I applied Steve Young and Gordon Hasse's

new product "Cover Your Glass" and it worked great!  I now have a

glass that cannot deteriorate in the future.  One hint I might

mention for those of you who use this product is to make

absolutely sure your touch-up paint is completely dry before

applying "Cover Your Glass", otherwise the wet paint will be

somewhat spread by the sealant.


     Before talking about the features of BIKINI, I thought it

might be in order to briefly describe the "evolution" of some of

the features that make up the "OK bingo".


     "Advancing Odds" (that is, payout odds which either

increase, but never decrease, or which remain the same with

insertion of additional coins) were first introduced in "bingo

pinballs" with SPOT LITE in 1951.  This feature had however been

used in the "one-ball horserace" pinballs (the predecessor of the

"bingo") since Bally's CITATION in 1949.


     "Three-color lines" (red, yellow, and green), with separate

odds for each color, became a standard feature beginning with

Bally's BROADWAY in 1955, although some multi-color schemes were

used in a few older games.  A separate set of payout odds was

displayed on the backglass for each of the three colors, and the

player could score 3, 4, or 5 in-line winners for each color

independently (ie, a winner scored on one color line would not

preclude a similar winner scoring on a different colored line.



'Magic ScreenS'


     A major evolution in "bingos" came about in late 1958 with

the introduction of what was referred to as the "Magic Screen" in

Bally's CARNIVAL QUEEN.  Up to this point (except for MIAMI BEACH

which had a gimmick which added extra columns to the card) all

bingos, that I know of, had one or more 5 by 5 number "bingo

cards" on their backglasses; some games, however, also had 3 by 3

number "super cards" in addition to the regular 5 by 5 cards.

The "Magic Screen" was also a 5 by 5 number card, but had a

moveable "overlay" which changed the scoring patterns on the



     When a new game was first started the "basic screen"

appeared which allowed only "in-line" scoring (3 to 5 numbers in

a row on either a vertical, horizontal, or diagonal line) as was

the case in earlier games.  These lines were also of three colors

(red, yellow, and green) with corresponding sets of payout odds

for each color on the backglass as previously described.


     The "Magic Screen" overlay, however, also had additional

"columns" containing various "scoring patterns" which could be

moved in front of the bingo card.  As each new column was exposed

to the player, one of the columns on the opposite side of the

card would disappear.  When five or more new columns were

exposed, the original "in-line" scoring lines would have

completely disappeared exposing an entirely new pattern.


     In order for a player to qualify to move the screen he must

(from depositing extra coins a the start of a game) light up one

or more letters ('A', 'B', 'C', etc) on the backglass.  Each

letter lit (and like all bingo "multiple coin features" they lit

in a "pseudo-random" fashion as extra coins were deposited) would

allow the player to move the screen an additional position, but

only during the period of play when movement of the screen was

allowed.   Buttons on the front rail of the machine (labeled

"Left" and "Right") allowed the player to control movement of the

screen, but only between the positions for which he had first



     These new positions of the screen added columns which

contained colored "scoring sections" instead of the normal "in-

line" scoring patterns of the "basic screen".  And, as was

mentioned earlier, as each new column was exposed, one of the

original "in-line" columns would disappear.  Besides these

"sections" being of various shapes, scoring a winner within a

given colored section required only that a certain number of card

numbers be lit in that section which need not all be adjacent in

the section (as opposed to "in-line" scoring in which the 3, 4,or

5 numbers required to score must all be adjacent in the same



     The addition of "Magic Screens" to bingo machines became a

very popular feature with players as it gave them several

advantages.  If a player had qualified for screen movement, he

always had the opportunity of changing the screen position up

until he shot the fourth ball (and sometimes as late as after

shooting the fourth or fifth ball if he also qualified for these

extra "advantages" during "multiple coin play" at the start of

the game).


     This gave the player two major advantages.  First, if his

initial balls did not land in holes forming a winning "in-line"

pattern, moving the screen could result in these "losing numbers"

becoming a "winning combination" In one of the additional

"colored scoring sections".  Secondly, if he had a winning "in-

line" pattern, after collecting replays for that winner moving

the screen could result in additional "winners" for the balls he

shot in one of the colored scoring sections.  The only

restriction was that you could not score twice for the same

number of numbers (3, 4, or 5) in the same color.  A final

advantage was that even if the first few balls shot did not

produce either an "in-line" or "section" winner, the screen could

be positioned by the player such that the remaining numbers to be

lit to score a winner were ones which he felt were the easiest to

shoot for.


     All of the colored "scoring sections" on the screen (except

for a special "Blue Section", and an "Orange Section" on "OK

games") were red, yellow and green, like the colored lines on the

"basic screen", and scored according to the corresponding color

odds on the backglass.  One Yellow Section and one Red Section

had stripes on them and were referred to as "super sections".  If

the corresponding "super section feature" was lit on the

backglass, winners in these sections required one less number

than normal (ie. 2 scored as 3, 3 as 4, and 4 as 5).


     The "Blue Section", which contained only 3 numbers, scored a

large number of replays for lighting 2 or 3 numbers, depending on

which, if any, of the special "Blue Section features" were lit

during the depositing of extra coins at the start of the game.

More details on the "Blue Section" and "Orange Section" scoring

will be given during the detailed discussion of Bally BIKINI's



     In addition to the "Magic Screen" features, the great appeal

of "OK bingos" came from their "Futurity Features".  The idea of

these is that something occurring during the play of one game

affected what happened in the next game.


     This idea was used to some extent in earlier pingames, but

not in such a sophisticated manner as in the "OK bingo".  "One-

ball Horserace" pingames in the late Forties and early Fifties

had an "A-B-C-D feature" in which four bumpers, when hit in

sequence, would cause something special to happen (such as

lighting all seven "horse selections") in the next game when the

sequence was finally completed.  A similar idea was used in the

so-called "Spell-Name" feature used on some "One-Balls" and a few

amusement pins as well.


     As far as "pre-OK" bingos were concerned, an example of a

"future feature" was the "Ballyhole feature" in CYPRESS GARDENS

in 1958.  If the "Ballyhole panel" on the backglass was lit

during extra coin play, and the player got a ball into the

"Ballyhole" (number 16), when he started his next game the

letters A-B-C-D-E would automatically light on the backglass

giving him the "Turning Corners" and "Moving Line" features of

the game without having to deposit extra coins.




     Now that the evolution of the primary bingo pinball features

that were used in the "OK bingos" have been described, I will

give the details of how these features were implemented in

Bally's BIKINI


     BIKINI has a "Magic Screen" consisting of the "basic

screen", seven additional screen positions "A" through "G"

(similar to those found in its "non-OK" predecessors), and two

additional special "OK positions" which will be described



     The "A" through "G" positions contain the "colored sections"

as previously described, including red and yellow striped "Super

Sections" and the special "Blue Section".  The two "Super

Sections" Score as normal colored sections unless the

corresponding color "Super Section panel" is lit on the backglass

during extra coin play at the start of the game.  These panels,

when lit, indicate "yellow (or red) super section with black

stripes - 2 scores as 3, 3 scores as 4, and 4 scores as 5".  The

player must have also qualified for screen positions "A" thru D"

to use these features.  Incidentally, "A" thru "D" screen

qualification occurs all at once (ie. you can't get "A" lit

without "B" through "D").


     The special "Blue Section" contains only three numbers which

are shown only if the player has qualified for at least the "F"

screen position.  As soon as "F" (or "G") has been lit during

extra coin play, a special panel on the backglass indicating "3

in Blue Section scores 300" lights; and if the player succeeds in

lighting all three numbers in the "Blue Section" he gets that

many replays.


     Depositing extra coins at the start of a game can also cause

one of two additional panels to light indicating either "3 In

Blue Section Scores 600", or "2 in Blue Section Scores 600"

respectively.  The later panel is extremely difficult to light

and is considered a "prime coup" by bingo pinball aficionados,

especially if the player also gets the balls into the right

holes! As for what numbers a player must get to score in the

"Blue Section";  if he has qualified for the "F" screen position

the "Blue Section" numbers are 13, 17, and 20.  If he qualifies

for the "g" position he has an additional choice of 13, 16, and

21.  The player must, however, move the screen to one of these

two positions during the period when screen movement is allowed

(but more about that later).


     As I mentioned earlier, in addition to the screen positions

"A" thru "G", all "OK bingos" have two additional positions

generally referred to as the "OK screen".  In order to qualify to

move the screen to these positions the player must have first lit

the panel labeled "OK" on the backglass during extra coin play.


      Within these two screen columns is a special five number

"Orange Section", which is used in scoring what are known as

"Futurity Games".  Replays may also be scored for 3, 4, or 5

numbers in the "Orange Section" if the panel on the backglass

labeled "3 Or More In Orange Section Score As Green" was lit

during extra coin play.  Moving the screen to these two special

positions yields either the four numbers 4, 6, 9, and 25 (in the

first position), or the five numbers 1, 6, 19, 23 and 24 (in the

second position) to appear in the "Orange Section".  In addition

to that special section, these screen positions also include

additional possibilities for yellow "in-line" scoring.


     To score what is known as a "Futurity Game" a player must

light any two numbers in the "Orange Section".  There are two

indicator areas at the top of the backglass connected with

"Futurity Games".  The first I shall call the "Futurity Game

Value Indicator" and the other the "Futurity Game Tally Counter".

The 'value indicator' contains the numbers 1, 2, 3, 5, 9, and 12

and tells the player how many "Futurity Points" he will score if

he wins a "Futurity Game" during the current game.  The value

which is lit in this indicator is a function of the "Green Odds"

displayed on the lower section of the backglass, although this is

not generally known except to players observant enough to notice

that this indicator only advances to a higher number at the same

time as certain "Green Odds" advance during extra coin play.


     If a player has succeeded in lighting two numbers in the

Orange Section, and thus entitled to a "Futurity Game", pressing

the "R" (collect replays) button on the front rail of the game

causes whatever 'value' number is lit in the "value indicator" to

be transferred to the "Tally Counter", indicating that the player

is entitled to play a "Futurity Game" of that 'value' at any time

in the future he wishes.


     The 'value' of the "Futurity Game" is translated into

guaranteed minimum "odds" and "game advantages" when the

"Futurity Game " is played.  The "minimums" for each value are

shown on a card at the bottom of the playfield.  For example, a

value of "1" entitles the player to minimum odds as follows:

red -64, 144, 300 (for 3, 4, or 5 numbers, respectively);

yellow - 16, 50, 96; and green - 8, 24, 96; plus an automatic

advance of the Magic Screen letters to "D".  A value of "12" (the

largest value possible) on the other hand gives minimum odds of:

red and yellow - 120, 240, 450; and green - 192, 480, 600; plus

the "Red Super Section" enabled, Magic Screen letter advance to

"E", and "Press Buttons After Shooting 5th Ball" enabled (more

about that shortly.)   futurity values between  2 and 11 give

other combinations of "odds" and "advantages" in between these

two extremes, as indicated on the card at the bottom of the



     It is the right to start a game with these "minimums" (which

are normally quite costly to obtain during extra coin play) which

made the "OK feature" extremely popular with avid bingo pinball



     In order to play a "Futurity Game" which a player had earned

previously, he had to press a special "Orange Button" on the

front rail of the machine.  At that time a new game would be

automatically initiated, and the "odds" and "advantages",

corresponding to the 'value' indicated in the "tally counter",

would appear on the backglass.  The player could then, if he

chose, insert additional coins to try to advance these minimums

even further before starting to play.


     A player, however, had the right to collect his "Futurity

Game" (by pressing the Orange Button) at any time he chose, and

not necessarily as the next game after the one in which he had

won it.  He might choose to play additional normal games and try

to add additional "value points" to his Futurity Game which he

had won previously; because if a player won a Futurity Game and

already had one credited to him in the "tally counter", the

'value' of the new Futurity Game would be added to the value

already indicated, thus increasing the total "value" of the

"Futurity Game" when he later chose to collect it.


     This "hold over" feature was not available on many "OK

bingos", which automatically started the "Futurity Game" as the

next game for the player after he had won it.


     We have now discussed the "Magic Screen" and its many

features in detail, but only alluded to the fact that "screen

movement" (even though a player had earned that right by extra

coin play) was allowed only during certain periods during play of

the game.


     Normally, that period was from the time the first ball was

shot until the fourth ball was shot.  This was indicated by a

lighted panel near the center of the right side of the backglass

which read "Press Buttons Before Shooting 4th Ball".  A "warning"

was also provided to the player after he shot the third ball by a

flashing lighted panel which read "PRESS BUTTONS NOW".

     Screen movement was not always limited to the first three

balls however.  It was possible by extra coin play (sometimes

combined with skillful ball manipulation) to earn the right to

press the screen movement buttons up until the fifth ball was

shot, or even after it was shot.


     On the backglass, directly above the "Press Buttons Before

4th Ball" panel, were four additional panels labeled "Yellow

Rollover Lit", "Red Rollover Lit", "Press Buttons Before Shooting

5th Ball", and "Press Buttons After Shooting 5th Ball".  As extra

coins were deposited these panels could be lit in that same

sequence, but in a "pseudo random" manner as with all "extra coin

advantages" on most bingo pinballs.


     If the "Yellow Rollover" was lit, and a ball rolled over

that rollover button (located near the bottom left of the

playfield), the "Before 5th Ball" panel would light at that time.

Similarly, if the "Red Rollover" was lit, a ball rolling over

that rollover button (located near the lower right of the

playfield) would light the "After 5th Ball" panel.  These two

panels might, of course, be lit without requiring the use of the

rollovers, during extra coin play before the first ball was shot.


     None of these panels actually lit until the player had at

least qualified for the "A-D" or "OK" screens.  However, during

extra coin play, small arrows to the right of these panels would

light, indicating which panel would light as soon as one of the

"special screens" was enabled.


     We have now talked about all the special features of BIKINI

except for one; the special buttons used in connection with extra

coin play.  Most older bingos had two coloRed Buttons (red and

yellow) on the front of the machine used during insertion of

additional coins (or playing off replay credits, if available).

The "Red Button" was used, in place of depositing coins, to play

for "extra coin advantages" when replays were available to the

player.  For actual coin play it was used during "extra ball

play" to tell the machine that the next coin deposited would be

to start a new game, rather than to try for "extra balls".


     The "Yellow Button" was used during replay play in place of

depositing coins to try for the right to play up to three extra

balls during a game.  If coins were being deposited to try for

extra balls, this button would be pressed once by the player to

tell the machine that the following coins to be deposited were to

try for extra balls (until the "Red Button" was pressed to begin

a new game).  BIKINI, incidentally, had the "extra ball features"

found on most bingo pinballs.


     In addition to the red and Yellow Buttons, BIKINI (and all

of the "OK bingos", I believe) had two additional coloRed Buttons

(Blue and Green) on the front of the machine also used during

"extra coin play".  If the "Blue Button" were pressed the chances

of increasing the red, yellow and green "odds" during "extra coin

play" was increased, but the possibility of obtaining other "game

advantages" was eliminated.  If the "Green Button" were pressed

instead, the chance of increasing the "odds" was eliminated, but

the chance of getting other "game advantages" (screen movement,

"super sections", increased period when screen could be moved,

etc) was increased.


     Thus, during "extra coin play", the player could alternate

between these buttons (and the "Red Button", which gave a chance

of both advancing the "odds" and lighting the other "advantages")

as he wished, giving him greater flexibility in the use of his

"extra coins" (or replays) at the start of a game.


     Incidentally, this idea of "button play" was not only found

on later model bingos.  Bally's SPOT-LITE of 1951, one of their

first "bingos", used a similar feature.  But even before that,

similar features were used on some of the later model Bally "One-

Ball Horserace games" such as TURF KING and FUTURITY.


     Well, there you have it, a description of the very popular

"OK bingo pinballs" of the early 60's, including some historical

insight into some of the features these games possessed.


     To close (in case some of your are now "chomping at the bit"

to get your own "OK") I will include what I hope is a complete

list of the Bally "OK bingos" in case you are lucky enough to

come across one.  To me the "OK is the ultimate in bingo pinball

play and certainly the most complicated circuitry-wise of all the

electro-mechanical games produced in the "pinball format".




     game               date


COUNTY FAIR        Feb. 1960

LAGUNA BEACH       Feb.  1960    

ROLLER DERBY       May  1960    

CIRCUS QUEEN       Dec.  1960    

BIKINI             May  1961    

LIDO               Oct.  1961    

GOLDEN GATE        May  1962    

SILVER SAILS       Sep.  1962    

BOUNTY             Aug. 1963    

MALIBU BEACH       Late 1970's