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.
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
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
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
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
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
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".
CHRONOLOGICAL LIST OF "OK" BINGO PINBALLS
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