-It 's The People-


                         by Russ Hensen


                      Photos by Sam Harvey



     Well, it happened again!  For the third year in a row we

were treated to an all pinball show, the Pinball Expo.  When the

first Expo was announced over three years ago I thought "what a

great sounding idea, but how could I ever manage to make a trip

to Chicago just for hobby purposes?"  Well, as luck would have

it, I was given a cash award at work which was enough to finance

the trip.  So I went and had a really good time!


     When the second show, Pinball Expo '86, was announced I was

dying to attend.  Again more luck, and I was able to go to

Chicago again.  Then, last year I received another financial

"windfall" and had the money to go, but no show had yet been

announced.   I called show producer Rob Burk every few weeks to

find out if Expo '87 had been scheduled, but each time he was

unsure whether it would come off that year.  Then he finally

called to say the show was on!  I was sure ready!


     Again I enjoyed the show tremendously, and on the plane trip

home I started thinking about what it was that made these shows

so enjoyable to me personally.  It wasn't primarily the contents

of the lectures because many of them dealt with the modern solid-

state pins which, as you know, are really not my favorites.  This

is not meant to be a criticism of the shows, however, since they

are "pinball shows", not "antique shows", and these new games are

what pinball is all about today.


     It was not primarily the games, etc, on display in the

Exhibit Hall, as again (with a few exceptions like the fine

exhibit of 1950's pins this year by Steve Young and Gordon Hasse)

most of these were from the Seventies and Eigthties.  What was it

then?  Well, I'll tell you, it is primarily the people!


     It's John Campbell; who really enjoys playing pinball,

whether it's the latest digital models or the games from the late

Forties he played as a kid.  It's Sam Harvey; who can always be

heard in the hall, and who enjoys every aspect of each show to

it's fullest.


     It's Tim Wolfe; possibly the youngest collector at the show,

who has finally been able to attend an Expo and thoroughly enjoys

the games and the people.  It's the Gottlieb boys; who have

certainly inherited the love of the game from both their father

and grandfather, and have a real insight into the industry, both

past and present.

     It's Steve Young and Gordon Hasse; who keep the 1950's alive

at all the shows, in addition to offering fine products to aid

the game restorer.  It's COIN SLOT's own Dick Bueschel; who has

participated in all these shows and shared with us his brilliant

research and insight into pinball's rich and fascinating history,

even back to "ancient times".


     And, of course, it's the industry people, without who's

support these shows would have very likely been a "flop".  It's

Dave "mad-dog" Christensen; who's personality and wit are almost

equal to his fabulous artwork.  It's Jon Norris; now a designer

for Premier, who got that job through contacts he made at the

first Expo, fulfilling his wildest dream to become a pinball



     Nost certainly it's Steve Kordek and Norm Clark; those real

personalities and industry greats who have participated in all

three shows and freely shared their recollections of pinball's

past with all of us.  And who can forget veteran designer Harvey

Heiss who added so much to the first two shows but unfortunately,

due to health problems, could not attend this year.  I, for one,

will never forget my association with that fascinating



     And last, but certainly not least, it's show co-producers

Rob Burk and Mike Pacak; who have given so much of their valuable

time and resources to make these shows a reality.  Three cheers

to those fine people!


     So for me, primarily it's the people!  I enjoy talking to

everyone I meet again each year, getting their ideas about

pinball, and learning of their new acquisitions.  I spend much of

my time meeting new faces, renewing old friendships, and passing

on all the pinball history and trivia I can.  It's truly a moving

experience for me!  Well, enough of that; on with the show!




     Before the first talk, show producer Rob Burk introduced

pinball collector and college student Tim Wolfe from New York who

gave a brief greeting to all who attended, and expressed his

extreme delight at finally being able to attend one of these

shows.  Then, pinball coil and transformer manufacturer, and

pinball and brochure collector, Donal Murphy was introduced to

present the first lecture on the subject of "Pinball Coils".


     Don began by informing us that his company, Electrical

Windings, which was founded by his father, had been in business

since 1936.  He said they made all the coils for Gottlieb since

that time as well as some for other companies, such as Williams

and Genco.  In addition he said, they made "replacement coils"

which could be used on many games.


     Next, he talked briefly about the part numbering system used

on coils, stating that many coil numbers contained two numbers

separated by a dash; the first (two digit) number representing

the size wire used (19 to 35), with the last number indicating

the number of turns of that wire on the coil.  (NOTE:  The

smaller the wire size number, the larger the wire diameter.)  He

then said, however, that Gottlieb had their own numbering system

and mentioned the cross-reference list now available from Steve

Young and Gordon Hasse.


     Don then said that most electro-mechanical pins contained 30

to 50 relay coils and some 12 to 15 solenoid coils.  He then

mentioned the fact that the "bobbins", on which the coils were

wound, used to be made of fiber, but later were changed to metal.


    Next, he briefly described the manufacturing process used by

his company to make relay and solenoid coils.  First, he said,

they purchased the bobbins from a vendor and then added the

solder lugs for the connecting wires.  He said the machine they

used for winding relay coils had three heads, enabling three

coils to be wound at once, while the machine used for winding

solenoid coils had only two.  After the coils were wound, he went

on, they were "dip soldered" after diodes were added (if the

coils were to be used in solid-state games).  He then mentioned

the fact that flipper coils had two separate windings separated

by a layer of insulating material.


     Finally, Don briefly talked about problems which could face

the person repairing or restoring an older game.  He said the

main problem which can damage coils was over-heating.  If you

have to replace a completely unknown coil, he commented, as a

last resort you could measure the wire size (with a "wire gauge")

and try counting the turns on it (a sometimes difficult job he

pointed out).  He suggested that when restoring a game all

flipper and "pop-bumper" coils be replaced.  He then mentioned

that his company made flipper coils which provided a good

powerful "flip".




     The next lecturer was introduced as Ed Schmidt of Bally to

talk on pinball repair.  Mr. Schmidt had started with Bally in

1969 and was originally connected with slots.  In 1980 he was

transferred to field service where his work involved repair

problems, including pingames.


     Mr. Schmidt began his talk by describing the introduction of

"electronic" pingames at Bally.  He said that prior to 1976 Bally

was like a "team" and the engineers wore ties.  In the period

between 1974 and 1976, he went on, Bally started developing

solid- state technology for pins using a BOW AND ARROW machine

which they converted to solid-state.  He said their first

production game to use this new technology was FREEDOM, followed



     The introduction of electronic pins, he said, "took the

market by storm".  Production at Bally increased from 25 to 400

games per day in a period of two years.  He said the factory went

through a big change during the conversion from electro-

mechanical to solid-state games.  The "electro-mechanical people"

he said were afraid of the "solid-state people", and vice-versa.


     Ed then began to talk about service problems involving the

new technology.  He first categorized the types of problems which

could occur, namely:  power supply, connector, coils, and

microprocessor (which he likened to the "score-motor" in electro-

mechanical games).


    Next, he discussed problems with soldering.  He first

cautioned people to be extremely careful when soldering on

printed circuit boards lest they damage the components from over-

heating. He then described the "cold solder joint" which could

cause intermittent problems in games.  He said a cold solder

joint resulted if both the wire and the metal it was being

soldered to where not heated equally.


     Mr. Schmidt then passed out a solid-state pingame service

manual to everyone and began describing the two "solid-state

systems" which had been used by Bally in pingames.  He said that

between 1976 and 1985 they used the "6800 system" and the games

of that period had up to 60 lamps and 19 coils.  Then he said

they switched to the current "6803 system" which could handle up

to 90 lamps and 19 coils.  He stated that printed circuit boards

were generally interchangeable between games employing the same



     Next he began talking about trouble-shooting and

maintenance. He said that connectors were often a source of

problems, but that the recent introduction of a "three sided pin"

should help.  He also suggested using a "jumper wire" as a way of

testing suspected bad connections, a method which, I might add,

has been around almost since pingames were first electrified.


     He then discussed switch (contact) maintenance.  He pointed

out that the switch blade next to the insulator should always be

the one which is adjusted, and then went into a detailed

discussion of why switch "follow-through" (the rubbing of the two

contact surfaces during operation of the switch) was very

important to proper operation of a game.  He then briefly

discussed proper adjustment of the contacts used on "slingshot



     Mr. Schmidt next gave out the toll-free phone number for

ordering Bally schematics and manuals (1-800-323-7182).  He said

there was a $10 charge for schematics for electro-mechanical

games, and stated flatly that no information on "bingo pinballs"

could be provided due to Federal Law.


     Finally, he gave a brief demonstration of some of the built-

in maintenance features of Bally games, using a current game, and

then concluded his presentation.




     Once again this year Steve Young and Gordon Hasse were

present at the Expo to share with us their special love for the

classic pingames of the 1950's.  But this time we had a special

treat in store as they brought with them, for all to see and

enjoy playing, ten of their favorite games of that era.  And to

get everyone in the mood, Steve and Gordon gave a slide-show

presentation which they titled "50's Follies".


     Steve began the presentation by saying that unlike Gordon,

who had grown up playing pinball, his personal interest in pins

started about 1972, but he hastened to add that he had since

"tried to make up for lost time."  Steve next told us some of his

personal reasons for finding games from the era of the Fifties so

appealing.  He said they felt "friendly" because they were made

of wood, and that their art was very appealing, including that on

the cabinet.  He went on to tell of their exciting play features

and the many ways to win replays on them.  Finally he said there

was no "game over" and therefore a player could test the "tilt"

prior to inserting a coin.


     Steve next told of the games they had brought to the show,

games from the personal collection of himself and John Fetterman,

which he considered the "best games to play".  He described a

special tournament to be played on those games in which anyone

who desired could participate.


     Steve and Gordon then began to describe each game, with

Gordon providing a little historical insight into the year of

manufacture of the game, and Steve providing descriptions of the

game's features, sometimes telling how a particular game was

obtained by he and John.


     The first game described was Gottlieb's JOKER from 1950.

Replays could be awarded in several ways: high score, "points",

and a "mystery rollover".  Steve explained in detail the

complicated "point" scoring system, and the "joker feature"

associated with it, which enabled the player to get extra

"points".  The game's "reverse flippers" were also mentioned.

Steve told us that this machine had once been in a museum in

Pennsylvania and later was purchased by John Fetterman when his

girlfriend (now his wife) heard it advertised for sale on a local

radio station.


     Next came Gottlieb's KNOCKOUT, also from 1950.  The great

animation on this game (a boxing ring in the center of the

playfield, complete with two fighters and a referee) was

described, as was the "knockdown" point scoring system used as an

adjunct to high score on this game.  The "ball saver" gate, which

kept each ball from exiting the playfield until 300 thousand

points had been scored by it, was also described.  It was

mentioned that that feature only appeared on six other Gottlieb



     The next game was Gottlieb's MINSTREL MAN from 1951, another

very interesting and fairly rare pingame.  The backglass was

described as displaying likenesses of Al Jolson (in "black-face")

and Lena Horne.  Three "minstrel" drop targets, as well as the

"ball-saver" gate, were mentioned.  Also described was a "1 - 5"

bumper sequence which scored "points" when completed and an "A-B-

C-D" feature.  Gordon said that he thought that the consecutive

release by Gottlieb of KNOCKOUT and MINSTREL MAN was "the

greatest one-two combination ever delivered in the history of



     Then came Gottlieb's HAPPY DAYS of 1952.  It was mentioned

that this game was a definite "take-off" of Gottlieb's SCHOOL

DAYS from 1941.  We were told that in this game there was no

"drain" at the bottom of the playfield, the ball being

continually played off the flippers until it landed in one of the

9 "trap holes" in the center of the playfield which were placed

in a Tic-Tac-Toe configuration.  Free games on HAPPY DAYS could

be obtained by "high score", by completing a Tic-Tac-Toe, or by

one of 2 "specials" at the top of the playfield which could be

lit by completing a "1 - 8" bumper sequence.   All in all this

was a very novel and challenging game.  Gordon even mentioned the

fact that his parents gave him one of these games for Christmas

in 1957.


     Next we had Williams' FOUR CORNERS from October of 1952.

Introducing this game Gordon said that at that time America was

"at the crossroads" as construction of the Interstate Highway

System had just begun, which was to cause a severe decrease in

business revenues in the small towns to be bypassed by the new

highways.  Steve then described the game's play features,

including it's "trap holes" which allowed replays to be won by

lighting numbers on the backglass, an idea obviously copied from

the "in-line bingo" games being produced by Bally and United at

that time.  The "impulse flippers", which only flipped once for

each depression of a flipper button, were also mentioned.

Finally, Gordon returned to praise the game's fantastic artwork,

both on the backglass and cabinet, produced by the pinball art

great who has appeared at all of the Pinball Expos, Mr. George



     The next game to be described was Gottlieb's CORONATION from

November 1952.  It was pointed out that the game's theme was

taken from the coronation of Miss America of that year, not Queen

Elizabeth II which also took place around that time.  Steve said

this game was one of his all-time favorites, saying it was truly

a game of strategy.  He then went on to describe in detail many

of the game's features, including a "million point trap hole",

it's "point" system, and "number sequence".  Finally Steve told

how he acquired his CORONATION, which turned out to be the exact

same machine he had played during High School.


     Next up was Gottlieb's QUEEN OF HEARTS from December 1952.

Steve described the game's "many ways to win", including a "1 -

6" sequence lighting roll-unders for Special, 4 suits lighting a

Special rollover, high score, points, and the "drop-holes" which

gave from 1 to 7 replays for various Poker hands.  Later Gordon

mentioned that this game was the personal favorite of Gottlieb's

famed designer Wayne Neyens.  And, at the end of the lecture, it

was announced that Silverball Amusements had produced a ten color

silk-screened poster of the QUEEN OF HEARTS backglass which was

available for $35, and a beautiful poster it was too!


     Moving to 1953, the next game was Williams' PALISADES from

July of that year.  Gordon began by describing the year 1953 and

saying that this was probably the beginning of the popularity of

"Rock And Roll" music.  Stave then described the games's features

including a "1 - 9" sequence, star rollovers, saucer kickouts,

and "auto-flippers" (a flipper device activated automatically

when a ball landed in a shallow hole just above it).  Later

Gordon described the backglass depicting a poolside scene of a

rich home in Southern Californias Pacific Palisades area, an area

in which, I might add, Harry Williams himself once lived,

probably at the time this game was produced.  Steve also

mentioned that this was the first game he had even owned!


     Then came Williams' C-O-D from September 1953.  This game's

many features were described including it's asymmetric playfield,

and a Special (located between the flippers) which could be

obtained either by completing a "1 - 8" number sequence (obtained

from a combination of rollovers and kickout holes) or by certain

"trap hole" combinations.  Steve said that he originally bought

C- O-D from Expo producer Rob Burk back in 1981.


     The last, but certainly not least, game to be described was

from May of 1954, Gottlieb's famous DRAGONETTE.  Steve described

the many objectives of the game, such as the "parrot's eye"

Special (obtained by lighting "A" and "B"), the four corner trap

holes for a replay (with an additional one for also getting the

center hole), the "1 - 8" sequence (which must be gotten in

order) and, of course, high score, and "points" (which are given

on this game in increments of 5).  Finally, Gordon remarked that

this game was "pop culture, based on pop culture, based on pop

culture"; as it was a pinball game based on a popular TV show

(Dragnet, of course) based on the radio show of the same name.


     At the end of their talk Steve and Gordon unveiled the QUEEN

OF HEARTS poster (which I mentioned earlier) and described this

and other items they had for sale.  They mentioned that this

poster was the first offering in a proposed series of such

posters.  Finally, they gave the rules of their "50's Follies"

pinball tournament in which anyone playing any of the games could

submit their highest score on any or all machines.  The "catch"

was that which game would be the "tournament game" would be

decided by a random draw after the tournament.  How's that for a

novel idea?




     Next on the agenda in the Lecture Hall was a panel

discussion, in a question and answer format, on Pinball Art.  It

featured five well-known pinball artists of both the past and

present.  The first panelist was George Molentin who, as most of

you should know, was quite active from 1935 through 1979 becoming

the Art Director for Advertising Posters, the job-shop that

produced much of the artwork for many of the major pingame

manufacturers since the Thirties.  Next came Dave Christensen

who, of course, produced much of the great Bally artwork of the

1970's. The other panelists included Mark Sprenger from Williams,

Tony Ramunni, who has worked for both Bally and Williams, and

Sheamus McLaughlin, having done art for both Williams and Game



     Several of the questions asked dealt with the methods of

transforming the artwork to the backglass.  It was first asked

why the color/texture of backglasses appeared to change around

1978 or 1979.  It was answered that at that time the "4-color

process", introduced by Paul Faris at Bally, began to be used.

It was later asked how the picture was actually printed on the

glass, George Molentin answering that it was done since the

Thirties using "silk-screening".  He also mentioned that doing

this on the "mirrored glasses" was quite expensive.


     A later question provoked a great deal of discussion.  It

was asked how the panel felt about the new type of "photographic"

backglass art, originally introduced by Premier; was it good or

bad?  Tony Ramunni stated that Bally was starting to use it, but

was investigating new ways of using photography on glass.  Mark

Sprenger next said that Williams will never use it, and Sheamus

then said that he thought it to be "flat and ugly", saying he

"liked backglass art that 'pops'".


     George Molentin then said that his only connection with

photography was when he was involved with producing the glass for

CHARLIE'S ANGELS.  Finally, a Data East representative from the

audience told of some of the problems and expenses they had

encountered using this technique.  He likened producing such a

glass to movie production, saying it required locations, sets,

make-up, and models.  He went on to say that it was six to seven

times more expensive than using art.  Why do it then?  He said

that this was 1987 and the people wanted something different and



     Other questions dealt with colors.  When asked which colors

were good it was generally agreed that blues, reds, and yellows

were popular colors for backglasses.  When asked about bad colors

it was agreed that green was very bad.  Black and magenta were

also said to be poor choices.  It was also asked why the colors

on the flyer for ROGO were different than on the game itself?

Dave Christensen replied that colors for a game were often

altered, due to adverse comments from game distributors, between

the time the test models were put out and the start of the big

production run for a game.


     Other questions dealt with the actual creation of the

artwork, and the relationships between artists and others at the

plant.  When Sheamus was asked if he did all the art for a game

he replied "yes", but went on to say that he also worked closely

with the game designer as a "team".  He then said that the artist

many times gets involved in the original concept for a game, and

even with the placement of the lights on the playfield and



    George Molentin went on to say that he worked with designers,

such as Harry Williams, determining how to layout the score

numbers on the backglass in the old days in order to work them

into the artwork.  He also said he did the art for the playfield

and cabinet, as well as the backglass.  In general, all the

artists agreed that "teamwork" between the artists and game

designers was very important.


     When asked how much time is normally involved in doing the

artwork for a game, it was generally agreed that two to four

months was about the average.  It was also stated that more time

was allowed when game sales were good.  George Molentin pointed

out that in the "old days" they were usually given only about a

month to do the artwork.


     The artists were also asked to name their personal favorite

pinball art.  Dave said his favorites were MATI HARI and

GROUNDSHAKER.  Sheamus replied his favorite was PHAROH.  Tony

named MOTORDROME, and Mark decided on 8-BALL DELUXE.  George said

his favorite was probably United's MANHATTAN.


     When asked what they thought about the mechanical animation

used behind the backglasses of several games of the 1960's, they

agreed that it was expensive to implement and was somewhat of a

handicap to the artist to work around.


     Finally, George Molentin was asked if he missed being in the

business.  To this he answered that he "enjoyed it while he was

in it", but also "enjoys retirement".




     The next item on the Expo agenda was the annual pinball

plant tour.  This year it was "a new kid on the block", Data East

Pinball, that was to do the honors.  Before boarding the busses

to travel to the plant, we gathered in the Lecture Hall for a

pre-tour briefing by Data East Pinball executive Gary Stern, who

many of you should know is the son of long-time pinball executive

Sam Stern.  Sam was once partners with the late Harry Williams in

the 1950's at Williams, and many years later founded now defunct

Stern Electronics by buying out the old pioneer pinball company,

Chicago Coin.


     Gary first described the corporate background of Data East

Pinball, explaining that it was a subsidiary of Data East U.S.A.

(a producer of video games) which, in turn, was a subsidiary of

Data East of Japan.  He then explained that his company is a

design and assembly outfit, with the parent company doing the

selling and distribution of the games, and producing many of the

electronic sub-assemblies for them.


     He then described his plant, which he said has an area of

12,000 square feet, as being divided into separate areas for

cabling, playfield assembly, cabinet assembly, testing and

shipping, as well as design engineering.  He said that currently

they are assembling about 20 games a day with a potential of 50

in the future.  He also mentioned that his company was started in

November 1986 and moved to the present site on may 12, 1987.


     Gary then explained that his company was set up to do

assembly only, for the following reasons:  1) It took only a

short time to get into business; 2) Less personnel training was

required; 3) A relatively small capital investment was needed;

and 4) Outside help was available (when needed) from the parent

company, vendors, and sub-contractors.  He then gave the

following reasons why he decided to go into business:  1) he

thought more pinballs were needed and that the demand would grow;

2) he felt there would be more kids in the future to play the

game; and 3) there was a good foreign market.


     Finally, Gary described the types of games he wanted to

produce.  He said he wanted to combine the "best features of past

games" with new ideas from his designers.  He also wanted to use

good stereo sound and speech in his games he said.  Just before

leaving for the plant Gary announced that people from other

pinball companies were invited on the tour, in contrast to other

companies who had prohibited this.


     While at the plant we first saw the cable forming area and

then the playfield preparation line where drilling and then

assembly of the playfields were performed.  Our guide pointed out

how the "material flow" progressed in the plant, starting at the

receiving docks and proceeding through the assembly lines.


     After seeing where the backboards and cabinets were

assembled, we were shown the "test line" where completed games

were tested prior to packaging for shipment.  In one area of the

plant we all noticed what appeared to be a pinball machine which

was completely covered up.  When someone asked Gary Stern about

it he jokingly said "you weren't supposed to see that."


     After seeing the plant we returned to the hotel Lecture Hall

where Data East personnel were set up to answer any questions we

might have about their operation or games.  The first question

asked was why did they use "type 44" lamps?  It was answered that

this was an "industry standard" and compatible with the

operator's spare parts supplies.  When asked if their design was

done "in house" or "free lance", the answer was "both".


     Someone then asked how long a game was kept in production?;

the answer given was "as long as the game is selling".  When

asked if they had a "Union Shop" Gary answered "no", and

continued by saying it was not necessary as they treated their

people well.  Gary was then asked about the pay level of his

people, compared to that in other pinball companies.  He replied

that in general others paid more, but that this was primarily due

to the fact that employees at other plants had been with the

companies longer, and therefore got higher pay.


     Gary was then asked what he had learned from his association

with Stern electronics.  He replied, "stay out of videos", and

that "the production techniques needed change".  Finally he was

asked why game prices today are about the same as they were

several years ago.  He replied that "the selling price of a game

has nothing to do with cost, but is what the market will bear".

He then said that there was less profit margin today.  Gary then

ended by quoting a slogan which they planned to use on future

games; "Built With American Pride By Don Thorne And His Dynamos".




     The last thing on Friday's agenda was the annual Designers'

Seminar.  The pinball designers (and one operator) sitting on

this year's panel were: Jon Norris of Premier, Joe Kaminkow of

Data East, Steve Epstein well-known owner of New York City's

Broadway Arcade, Dennis Nordman from Bally, Steve Ritchie of

Williams, and the panel's moderator, our old friend Steve Kordek,

also from Williams.  This session was again conducted in a

question and answer format with the questions coming from the



     The first question asked was whether the cabinet style used

by Bally on their new DUNGEONS AND DRAGONS game would be used on

future pins?  Dennis Nordman answered that this was not known at

that time, but that it was a new idea.


     The panel was then questioned regarding their views on

various types of flipper designs, including the curved "banana

flippers" which had been used on some games in the past.  Jon

Norris commented that he preferred conventional style flippers as

the "main flippers" on a game.  Joe from Data East said he liked

his company's new flipper design and added that they are

currently working on a "new ball propelling idea".  Steve Ritchie

then remarked that the flipper was the "mainstay of pinball" and

said that the use of curved flippers "takes a lot out of a game's

earning power".  Dennis Nordman of Bally tended to agree.

Finally Steve Kordek remarked that the curved flippers were

"exciting" and "popular with women players" and maybe they would

be used again.


    The panel was then questioned regarding pingame prototypes,

and how they were constructed.  Steve Ritchie replied that the

proposed playfield layout was first done on a mylar drawing which

was then put over a piece of wood.  The holes indicated on the

drawing, he said, were then punched through the mylar into the

wood which was then given to a wood-worker to complete.  He then

said that prototypes of special devices, such as ramps, etc,

proposed for the game, also had to be made up.  After the whole

thing was finally assembled, he continued, it would be played,

and if it turned out to be "no good" would be discarded.  Steve

also remarked that in some cases today, prototypes are made using

"computer aided design" (CAD) methods to produce the "whitewood"

(a term used by most pinball designers to describe their



     A question was also asked regarding the problem of glare

from the backboard lights reflecting on the playfield and

annoying the player.  Steve Ritchie answered that this has always

been a problem and that the only thing which helped was placing

the brighter lights high on the backbox.  A later question dealt

with the problems of heat in the backbox, and specifically

referred to the use of a 115 volt lamp in Bally's new DUNGEONS

AND DRAGONS, a practice I might add, which was also used in the

late 1940's.  Steve Kordek said the only solution was good

backbox ventilation which took advantage of the "chimney effect"

to dissipate the heat upward out of the box.


     The panel was also queried about secrecy within the

industry. Jon Norris answered first saying it was Premier's

policy not to talk about each others companies.  Joe Kaminkow of

Data East remarked that everybody knows where the other company's

"test locations" are, and then said that vendors who deal with

more than one company are careful not to spread information about

one of their clients to another.  Steve Ritchie remarked that

this type of situation occurs in almost all industries, and that

"proprietary information" was kept as such.  Dennis Nordman then

said that information was shared within the company and not

outside.  Steve Kordek finally remarked that not many people in

the industry change companies, and therefore not much information

was exchanged in that manner.


     Other questions dealt with the use of plastic coatings on

playfields.  Jim Patla of Bally said from the audience that his

company had experimented with using a polyurethane playfield

coating, but encountered some problems with it.  Joe Kaminkow

then remarked that Segassa in Spain uses plastic coatings, but

said "the ball just doesn't seem to roll the same".   Steve

Kordek later said that there were problems getting holes and

slots to line up, which could cause the ball to get held up in a

rollover. Finally Jon Norris remarked that plastic coating to

protect playfields was not necessary if the machines were

properly taken care of in the field.


     The age-old question of "3 ball" versus "5 ball" pinball

play was also brought up.  Steve Kordek said the "time factor"

(ie. the length of an actual game) was the important

consideration, not how many balls were actually used.  In a

discussion of the proper price for a game of pinball which

followed, Steve said he hoped that a good One Dollar coin would

someday be produced, allowing 3 games for a dollar play.  Steve

Ritchie then remarked that if the price of pinball play is raised

it is important that "everybody do it at the same time".

     A question was asked of the designers as to how the credit

for a design is shared if more than one person works on a game.

Jon Norris first remarked that he worked alone; and anyway, there

was no names on their games.  Joe from Data East said they have

one "main designer" with others providing assistance when needed.

Dennis Nordman pointed out that at Bally there were not enough

designers to afford the luxury of two working on one game.

Finally, Steve Ritchie said he "worked with great people" and

does not insist on saying "it's my game".  He then added that he

always freely accepts ideas from others.


     The panelists were then asked what constraints there were on

their designs?  Jon Norris mentioned assembly line efficiency,

ie. "manufacturability".  Dennis Nordman said they were limited

to a certain number of switches, coils, and lamps which could be

used on a game.  Steve Ritchie then pointed out that cost was of

course a major factor.  Finally, Steve Kordek said that serious

consideration had to be given to how much time and money could be

expended to develop a new game feature.  He also remarked that if

an idea was very good, and worth including in a game, the price

of the game might have to be increased.


     It was also asked how long should it take for an operator to

make back his initial investment in a new game?  One of the

operators in the audience answered that 10 weeks gross should

approximately equal the cost of the game.  The designers did not

seem to disagree what that.


     The panelists were then asked to comment on "wide body"

games.  Steve Kordek said they were more costly to build; Jon

Norris then mentioned problems with moving them and the limited

space in some arcades.  Joe Kaminkow then remarked that this

might be something that the kids might enjoy, but said he

personally preferred standard size games.  Steve Epstein remarked

that these games might be good to justify 50 cent play.  Dennis

Nordman then said that they had a lot of potential, but generally

had "too much at the bottom of the playfield".  Steve Ritchie

said that it was harder to make them play well.  Steve Kordek

finally commented "maybe there will be a place for them

eventually, especially for 50 cent play".


     The last question asked of the panel was what each thought

was the "most exciting 1980's game design"?  Jon Norris said he

liked the use of "alpha-numeric displays", but did not mention

any specific game.  Joe Kaminkow said that SPACE SHUTTLE "helped

bring pinball back"; he also mentioned the "light show" on HIGH

SPEED and the "new dimension in sound" on his own company's LASER

WAR.  Steve Epstein named FLASH which he said had a "benchmark"

light and sound package.  Dennis Nordman said he thought that the

introduction of "ramps" was exciting, as well as all the "special

effects" which have been used in the Eighties.  Steve Ritchie

then commented that there was "lots of good stuff" and said it

was hard to say what was the most important.  Steve Kordek

finally stated that he thought that Williams was "responsible for

the resurgence of pinball with SPACE SHUTTLE."

     To end the session each panelist commented on what he

thought about the future of pinball.  Jon said he really couldn't

comment about the future from Premier since that type of

information was "proprietary", but did mention that "his new

game" would be coming out shortly.  (NOTE: the game is called

DIAMOND LADY and was released early this year).  Joe Kaminkow

next said that Data East is "striving to make a 'maintenance

free' pingame".  Dennis Nordman said that Bally is working hard

in all areas including sound, and new~materials and processes.

Steve Ritchie just said that "it looks exciting".






     First on the agenda on the second day of the Expo was a

"workshop" on pinball playfield design.  Conducting this session

was pinball designer Greg Kmiec who started designing for Bally

in 1975.  He designed many Bally "classics" of the Seventies and




     Greg said the subject of his presentation was how a pinball

playfield was designed, "engineering wise".  He then gave a brief

"chalk talk" regarding pinball design philosophies.  He began by

saying that there were two primary approaches to designing a

game, namely "form" and "function".  Form design, he said, was

designing around the playfield parts of a game without

consideration of the game's "theme".  In this design approach he

stated that the designer concentrated on the physical reaction of

the ball.


     In designing by "function", he went on, the idea or concept

of the game (ie. "theme") determines the playfield layout.  This,

he said, is how most designs are created today.  He went on to

say that this gives the designer the luxury of starting with a

theme concept and designing the game's "form" around it.


     As a sidelight, he told how the original theme ideas for

some games ended up being changed before the design was complete.

He said that CAPTAIN FANTASTIC started out as "Super Shooter",

and that the original idea for WIZARD was a magician, like

"Merlin".  He told us that PARAGON, his first wide-body design,

was originally to be called "King Midas", with the bonus spelling

the name; but since the bonus required two more lights, they

finally changed the name to PARAGON.  He said many games today

could fit other themes.  He also showed us the preliminary

playfield design he had made for a game that started out to be

"Starship", but ended up as SST.  He remarked that this required

changing the names of several areas on the playfield.


     Greg next pointed out that no matter which design philosophy

you are using several things should be considered in your design.

He said you should rely on past experience and history, but also

consider the contemporary market, ie.. "what is 'hot' today".  He

then said that the designer should often try to look for a "new

twist" and "one-up" the other manufacturers.


     Next he talked at some length about things to keep in mind

during the actual design process.  He said that a "skill shot" is

very important to a game, and gave as an example of this WIZARD's

buttons at the top of the playfield which flipped over targets.

He next told of the importance of making sure there was no place

on the playfield where a ball could "hang up", even if the leg

levelers were badly adjusted by the operator.


     Greg than talked about the importance of "action" in a game.

He said a game should always have an "action spot", which usually

involves Thumper Bumpers.  He said the spacing of these bumpers

was extremely important for proper action, stating that 2 1/2

inches between Thumper Bumpers was usually about right.  He said

in the older electro-mechanical games the AC operated bumpers

were slow, but that the use of DC power in later games speeded

them up. He then mentioned the fact that in Bally's solid-state

game FIREBALL CLASSIC, the bumpers were deliberately slowed down

to simulate an older game.


     As far as flipper action was concerned, he said that flipper

to target spacing was important and that 17 inches was about

right between flippers and "side targets".  He then said that the

"angle of attack" should always be considered to determine where

the ball will go when hit by a flipper.  He added that you should

make possible flipper shots that can send the ball back to the

top of the playfield.


     Finally, he mentioned two other important design

considerations.  First, do not "kill" an area of the playfield

(or a game feature) such that if you get the ball there a second

time nothing good for the player can happen.  He then talked

about the importance of "last ball suspense".  He said that the

further into the game the player gets, the easier it should be

for him to score.


     After concluding his "chalk talk" on design philosophies and

considerations, Greg began to create an actual design with the

aid of the audience.  He got out a 20 by 42 inch sheet of white

cardboard and drew in the top and bottom arches of a playfield.

He then proceeded to go from person to person in the audience

asking each a question regarding the characteristics of the game

being designed.


     This question and answering process, with Greg drawing out

the resulting design on his "playfield", went on for over an

hour, quite a bit longer than the entire session was originally

scheduled to last.  The audience's  choices covered such things

as whether the game should be "multi-level", "multi-ball"; the

placement of the flippers, slingshots, eject holes, etc; and many

other aspects of the game, including the characteristics of the

"action area" on the playfield.  When this session finally ended,

the drawing was chocked full of information, and everyone in the

audience, I am sure, had a much better feel for all the various

aspects of design which are required to create a modern pingame.a




     The second session on Saturday morning's agenda featured

fellow COIN SLOT author Dan Kramer with a presentation titled

"Atari Pinballs, Innovators of a New Age".  Dan was introduced by

Rob Burk as an "incurable pinball romantic" who, he said,

obtained and restored games as well as writing articles for

Pinball Collector's Quarterly and COIN SLOT.   It was also noted

by Rob that Dan had worked at Atari between 1980 and 1984.


     Dan began by asking for a show of hands from the audience of

how many owned Atari pins, but not many hands were raised.  He

then passed around a paper for people to use to list what Atari

items they owned.  While this "survey" was going on we were all

treated to a tape recording of the Country and Western song from

around 1950, "Pinball Millionaire".


     Dan then started his talk by remarking that "everyone tries

to make money from pinball".  He said players make "side bets"

and sell their replays; operators try to find "good territories"

so they can make better profits from the games they purchase;

repairmen work hard for a "service fee"; and collectors spend

time and money on games, and sometimes make a little money

selling a game or two.  He said, however, the "big stakes" in

pinball are in the areas of design, manufacturing, and sales.


     He next told of the rise of the pinball industry, beginning

in the early Thirties, when some companies started out with

pingames, while others, who manufactured other types of coin

machines, added pingames to their lines.  Chicago, he said,

became the "hotbed of game manufacturers" and by the early 1940's

housed some eight to ten major pingame manufacturers (such as

Gottlieb, Bally, Exhibit Supply, Genco, Chicago Coin, Keeney, and

Stoner) plus a few smaller outfits such as Baker and Success.


     World War II, he went on, curtailed pingame production

(except for a few "conversions") but did spawn United and

Williams.  Then in 1947, he remarked, the introduction of the

flipper started pinball designers designing their games around

these new action devices.   Dan said this brought about new play

features and game strategies in the games of the Fifties and



     The introduction of the "long flipper" in the 1970's, he

continued, resulted in a whole new action environment of

increased ball speed and power.  But, this pushed electro-

mechanical pinball technology to the limit, he said, and the

manufacturers began to realize that technological changes in

pinball design were needed, so development of solid-state pinball

was begun.


     Dan then shifted the "locale" of his discussion from Chicago

to the area now known as the "Silicon Valley" in California,

which he referred to as "the home of the microprocessor and the

land of the entrepreneur".  This he said was a "hotbed of young

minds and of risk takers".  In this area new products, he

remarked, turned small companies into large ones; companies such

as Hewlett Packard which started in a garage and today is one of

the larger computer and test equipment manufacturers in the



     Dan next told of Nolan Bushnell who he said was responsible

for the video game industry.  He showed us some pictures of

probably the earliest video game, called "Computer Space", which

he said had complex play features and was difficult for players

to learn.  He then showed the pioneer video game, PONG, which

Nolan designed using a simple theme (that of Ping Pong) which

could easily be understood by the average person.


     He said that Nolan originally wanted to call his new company

"Syzygy", but due to legal problems with that name, finally

settled on "Atari", a term used in the ancient Chinese game of

"Go"  Shortly after the introduction of PONG, Dan continued,

Nolan introduced a line of home entertainment products, which he

called "board games", including a home TV version of PONG and

also "Video Music" which played music accompanied by color

patterns on the TV screen.  He then remarked that Nolan always

had many things going on at one time at Atari.


     Dan next told us that in 1975 pinball was "the king of the

coin-ops", and that production runs of 20,000 games were

possible, compared to runs of a few thousand for video games.

So, he went on, Atari decided to get into the pinball market.  He

said at that time Atari conducted a "think tank" in the small

California mountain community of Grass Valley where they kicked

around new ideas.  He said Atari took a Williams STRATO FLIGHT

pinball and developed a solid-state system for it, including

digital displays.


     The first Atari production pinball, ATARIANS, was next

discussed.  Dan said there was "lots of fanfare" connected with

the introduction of this game, which had a futuristic space theme

and was the first "wide body" pingame to ever go into production.

He said the game's score displays were located at the front of

the playfield and that it's "double flippers" were controlled by

a "rotary solenoid" which, he said, tended to wear out.  Dan also

remarked that the game used "proximity switches", which they

called "star sensors", to detect the ball passing over them, but

that these could be cheated by a player using a magnet, a problem

which Atari designers apparently did not foresee.


     Dan went on to say that all of the electronics for the game

were located in the cabinet, with the backbox being only a

lighted display used to attract players.  He also mentioned the

fact that Atari designers included built-in diagnostic and

bookkeeping features in the game.  Dan then said that this "new

image" was important to Atari, and that they thought artwork was

very important; so much so that they had their own Art



     Dan then proceeded to discuss each of the succeeding Atari

pingames in chronological order, showing slides and talking about

their unique features.  TIME 2000 he said utilized cabinet art

with a "multi-dimensional effect" and a live model was used for

the picture on the backglass.  He described some of the game's

features such as it's "am-pm bonus clock" (with two separate

bonus "build-ups"), it's novel double flipper arrangement, and

the fact that some drop targets were used for a special "teaser



    AIRBORNE AVENGER, he said, was the first pingame to be

designed by Expo guest Steve Ritchie, who started working at

Atari in the early Seventies as a mechanical assembler.  He

remarked that the brochures for this game were very innovative,

were designed to attract operators, and promoted pinball as an

"adventure".  Dan then showed us Steve's "whitewood" for this

game and described it's special features including a "messenger

ball", star buttons, and "ball-saver gates" on the additional

drains.  Finally he remarked about this game's realistic

playfield graphics.


     The next game Dan discussed was MIDDLE EARTH, which he said

was originally to be called "Lost World" but had to be changed

due to Bally using that name first.  The promotion for this game,

he remarked, included such items as t-shirts and posters.  Dan

then described it's features including a "2-section" playfield,

staggered flippers, and special flipper shots enabled by the

increased trajectory angles made possible by the wide body

design. Dan then remarked that each new Atari game was an

improvement over the last one.


     Next, he said, came SPACE RAIDERS which again had a

futuristic theme.  He told of this game's improved bookkeeping

and "coin options" which aided the operator.  An important

feature of this game, he said, was it's "triple captive messenger

ball layout" with drop targets in front of each of them.


     The next game Dan mentioned was PIPELINE, with a Surfing

theme, which he told us was never released.  He then showed us a

photo of it's backglass which had been loaned to him.  Dan then

told us a sad story of him once learning about an ex-Atari

employee but not looking him up right away.  When he finally

visited the man he told Dan that three weeks earlier he had taken

all the parts necessary to make a PIPELINE game to the dump.  He

did, however, give Dan one "hang ten" drop target.


     The next game discussed was probably Atari's best pingame,

SUPERMAN.  Dan first showed us two promotional items for the

game, an announcement from the San Francisco game

distributorship, Advance Automatic Sales, and also a postcard

promoting the game.  Dan then said that SUPERMAN was "a big

winner for Atari".  He remarked that the company at that time was

owned by Warner Communications who had the rights to the Superman

comic book characters which were very accurately displayed in the

games's artwork.  Dan then said that the game was designed by

Steve Ritchie, and then described some of it's features,

including it's new "sound package" and excellent bumper action.

Dan said that he saw the game in a test location when it first

came out and played it for two hours!  He said he thought at that

time that Atari should continue making pins.  He then told us

that Steve Ritchie left Atari after he designed the game.


     Atari's last production pin, HERCULES, was next mentioned.

This huge machine, which Dan said was more of a "novelty arcade

game" than a pin, used balls the size of billiard balls.  Dan

said he only played three balls on HERCULES and walked away, but

went on to say that it was a good "novelty" on location and that

some are still being operated.  He also told of a "marquee" put

out by Atari to be placed on top of the backbox which read: "Play

The World's Largest Pinball Game".


     Finally, Dan talked of Atari ending pinball production but

"still fooling around with pins".  He showed photos of a

prototype of the never produced game ROADRUNNER.  He told of the

great artwork showing the two famous cartoon characters ("the

Roadrunner" and "Wily Coyote") and told of the great sound

effects developed for the game.  He then described two other

prototype games, ALIEN SPACE and MONZA.  Dan also talked about

NEUTRON STAR, the never realized Atari pin, the prototype of

which Dan now owns, and which he displayed at last year's Expo.

He ended by reading excerpts from an internal Atari company memo

which he said was responsible for "putting pinball on the back

burner" at Atari, from which it never resurfaced.




     The last item in the Expo '87 lecture series Rob Burk

announced as a question and answer session involving the design

engineers from the industry.  These people, he said, designed the

actual mechanisms used in pinball machines.  When this session

started only one of the three engineers scheduled to participate

was present.  Rob introduced him as Irv Grabel from Bally, who

Rob said had been responsible for such designs as the multi-ball

release mechanism on CENTAUR, the "disappearing kicker" on

SILVERBALL MANIA, the "in-line drop target", the "fly-away

target" on SPEAKEASY, and the "two-way kicker" on FLASH GORDON.


     Irv was first asked why the multi-ball mechanism from

CENTUAR was not used on other games?  He replied that he did not

know saying "you'll have to ask the game designers".  He then

went on to describe his working relationship with the game

designers.  He said he worked directly with the designers, and

when they had a "crazy idea" he, as the engineer, developed it.

He then remarked that the designers liked it that way.  He went

on to say that he also likes this sort of relationship because he

can give the game designers his ideas for game features for them

to consider.

     Irv next told us how he got started in the pinball industry.

He said back in the Sixties he was an unemployed toy designer

looking for work and that he put an ad in the paper.  Wayne

Neyens at Gottlieb saw the ad, he said, and ended up hiring him.

He designed three games at Gottlieb, he remarked, but they were

never released.


     After his start at Gottlieb he said he went over to Bally as

a circuit designer for electro-mechanical pins, until around 1975

when they began solid-state development.  At that time he told us

that Norm Clark asked him what else he could do and that he

replied he liked mechanical design.  He was then put to work in

that area where he has remained.


     When asked what was the first game to employ his "in-line

drop target"?; he replied he could not remember.  Someone in the

audience thought it might have been DOLLY PARTON.  He was next

asked if he thought a drop target could be designed which could

be hit from either side, but Irv just laughed.  Someone also

asked if he thought it would be possible to design a miniature

thumper bumper, about half the size of a normal one?  Irv replied

that it was probably possible.  He then went on to say that

someday he would like to try to improve the design of the thumper

bumper, making it more "efficient" (ie. less costly to produce

and easier to maintain).


     At this point two other engineers joined Irv on the

platform. One was John Lund from Williams and the other a

gentleman from Data East whose name I was never able to



     John Lund was then asked how long it took to design the PIN-

BOT mechanism.  He replied that design of the actual mechanism

took about 3 weeks, but that finding the right materials for it

took much longer, maybe 6 to 8 weeks.  An operator in the

audience then asked if the ball feed problems he had been

encountering with HYPERBALL were common, or was it maybe only his

machine.  John replied that others had the same problems.  He

said he had just started at Williams at that time but remembers

this as being "somewhat of a nightmare".


     Another person from the audience said he had a lot of

trouble changing Bally drop targets and asked Irv if there were

any plans to make them more serviceable?  Irv replied that he

agreed it was somewhat of a problem, but that he believed that

they could be taken off without dissembling them.  He went on to

say that he was not directly involved with that problem.  At that

point, someone else in the audience remarked that he didn't think

Bally was so bad in that area, but said Gottlieb was much worse.


     The next question asked was if there were any special

engineering problems involved with designing multi-level

playfields?  The answer given was that most of the problems

involved making them serviceable, because it was hard to get to

the parts on the lower level.  It was then said that in the

future designers should be more careful regarding the

serviceability of their designs.


     Someone from the audience then remarked that he had a great

deal of difficulty changing the five inch rubbers at the back of

Williams' HIGH SPEED, and asked if there was "an easy way"?  John

Lund answered "no", and went on to say that game designers

generally do not have sympathy for operator's problems, such as

disassembly, etc.  But he said occasionally some designers try to

help with problems learned about from operator feedback.  He

ended by remarking that designers must stay within cost

guidelines or games would have to be too expensive for operators

to afford.


     Rob Burk then asked the engineers if they had any final

comments.  John Lund said that if anyone has problems with

Williams games they should contact Tom Kayhill at the plant.  The

Data East engineer than gave out their toll-free service number

(1-800-KICKER).  He then told us not to think that mechanical

engineers design assemblies to be as cheap as possible, because

if that were true, he said, we would encounter many more failures

in a game than we do.




     Saturday night was banquet night at the Expo.  This year we

were in a good-sized hall, when the pre-banquet cocktail hour

mingling began at 7 pm.  Shortly after Eight we were served a

delicious steak dinner which I believe was "Filet Mignon"; not

the usual "banquet fare" that one is used to hearing about.

After that we settled back in our seats for the after-dinner

speech presented this year by none other than COIN SLOT's own

Dick Bueschel; a speech which he titled "Where We Came From, and

Where We're Going".


     Dick began with "what a wonderment!", saying that we were

all there "in honor of our host - a little silver ball."  He

continued by remarking "that of all the millions of people that

knew this ball, there are only a hand-full that honor it - those

in this room."


     He next talked of the economic side of pinball and the

willingness of people to "pay to play".  He said "we can talk of

art and aesthetics, classics and nostalgia, talent and skill,

history and playability; but unless there is profitability, it

all ends."  He then talked about the thousands of pinball type

games that have been made in the past two centuries.


     Dick next took us back in history to 1777 and a party given

for young Louis XVI and his wife Marie Antoinette by his brother

at his new chateau which he dubbed, "Chateau D'Bagatelle".  A

highlight of this party, Dick said, was a new type of game table

which he named "Bagatelle" after his chateau, and which Dick

described as "an elaborate table on formed legs on which the

player used long cue sticks to shoot ivory balls up a channel, to

have them trickle down a slanted playfield filled with scoring

pockets and troughs."   Dick remarked that after that "pinball

had it's playfield."


     He then told us how this new game, Bagatelle, became "the

rage of France", and was particularly popular with the french

armed forces who brought it to America during the Revolutionary

War.  Dick went on to tell of similar games being manufactured

and used in this country throughout in 1800's.


     Dick next told of a young Englishman, Montegue Redgrave, who

had settled in this country and began manufacturing Bagatelles in

Cincinnati in 1869.   in 1871, he said, Redgrave got a patent for

"improvements in bagatelle" which included the use of a "spring

shooter" and a bell on the playfield.  He then told us that

Redgrave's patent model is now on display at the Smithsonian in

Washington D.C.  He also said that Redgrave continued to

manufacture games until 1927.


     He next briefly described many pioneer pinball type games

that were produced in this country and abroad between the 1870's

and the early 1930's; games such as LOG CABIN, a version of which

was on display at the first Pinball Expo.  (Author's Note: for

all the details and fascinating history of these early pinball

ancestors you will have to read Dick's first pinball book, which

hopefully will be out by the time you read this.)


     Dick next commented that, over the years, "individuals in

the industry have responded to the dual challenges of getting the

commitment of a coin and delivering an entertainment value that

would bring players back for more."  He went on to say "we're

only just beginning" and that the question to be asked by

designers is "what's the next idea that hasn't been done?"


     Finalizing his discussion of pinball's past, Dick said that

we have been left with three "axioms".  First, Harry Williams'

comment that "the ball is wild!"; second, Ray Maloney's statement

that "our best game is our next game"; and finally coin machine

publisher Bill Gersh's comment "there will always be pinball".


     For the "finale" of his talk Dick presented his audience

with three proposals.  First, he proposed the establishment of

"an International Pinball Hall Of Fame and Museum".  He suggested

that "artifacts" be collected for the museum, and gave us a wild

list of examples.  He said that this idea should result in "good

press for our game".


     Secondly, he recommended that the industry nominate Montegue

Redgrave to the National Inventor's Hall Of Fame as "the creator

of the uniquely American game of pinball".  He explained that

this award is given annually by the national council of patent

law associations.


     Finally, he proposed that the Pinball Hall Of Fame establish

annual "Montegue Redgrave Awards" with perhaps four categories; a

pinball pioneer, a living Hall-Of-Famer, an historical game, and

a current game.  He remarked that this should be "a platform for

complementary press".  He also said that the industry should try

to promote the game to the national press as an "entertainment



     Dick then concluded his talk with the following thought:

"considering the past, there is more creativity, more knowledge,

more young talent and more seasoned experience in this room

tonight than at any time in the history of the game of pinball.

That alone promises another "golden age" for pinball; and yet

another followed by another.  All we have to do is make the game

worth the money.  That's our challenge.  Just as it always has



     Following Dick's talk a few shenanigans took place, and

finally veteran pinball designer Norm Clark was called to the

stage and seated in a chair.  Following this, a string of his

friends and former business associates were called upon to honor



     First up was designer Greg Kmiec.  Greg said he was going to

give "Norm's philosophy of life".  He said that Norm "did not

know the meaning of the word ego; or the word anger; or the word

selfish."  So, he said, I bought him a dictionary so he could

look them up.  Greg ended by remarking that he had never heard a

discouraging comment about Norm.  Norm then said jokingly that he

was amazed how fast Greg designed a complex pingame during the

"workshop" that morning, adding that when Greg worked for him it

always took several months.


     Artist Dave Christensen next took the podium.  He first

remarked that he was probably the person that gave Norm his

ulcers.  He went on to praise Norm's work at Bally saying that

during that time pingame production runs increased from a few

thousand to 20,000 games.  Dave ended by talking about the great

Bally parties in those days, saying that one Christmas party was

"the greatest Roman Orgy the world has ever known".  Finally he

said that it was a "wonderful era" and that Norm was "truly a

great man!"


     Next, one of the people from the Bally Sales Department (I

didn't catch his name) got up and made some "tongue-in-cheek"

comments about Norm.  He ended up by saying that Norm had "a

sense of innovative creativity and an uncompromising drive for

product excellence".  He then said that the entertainment

industry sure misses Norm now that he has retired.


     Last, but certainly not least, Norm's long-time friend, and

co-worker at Williams, Steve Kordek got up to pay tribute to

Norm. Steve began by remarking that this was his chance to get

even with Norm for last year's "roast" of him.  He then started

talking about he and Norm's favorite subject (next to pinball, I

am sure), that of golf.


     Steve first remarked that even though he was older, Norm

never gave him any "strokes", except, he said, when he knew Steve

would not be able to play.  He next told a story about them once

playing golf on a very cold day and taking a sip of brandy at

each tee.  He said at the 8th tee he saw Norm swing at the ball

several times but never hit it.  When asked about this Norm was

said to have replied that he "saw several balls and just hit at

the wrong one".


     Steve next remarked that his years with Norm at Williams

were "great years", and that when Norm left to go to Bally he

bought a lot of Bally stock because he knew what Norm could do.

He next read a letter of tribute to Norm from Bally executive

John Britz who was in Europe and could not be present.


     Steve then gave a slide presentation showing the brochures

for the many games Norm designed while at Williams, including





     Steve next introduced Rob Burk so he could present his

tribute to Norm.  Rob said that Norm was "a terrific individual,

was always glad to be your friend, and always a cordial person as

well."  He next praised Norm's accomplishments during his 32

years in the industry.  Finally, Rob presented Norm with several

gifts, including a golf club with the Expo logo on it, a tee, a

stack of pinball flyers, some fishing gear, and an Expo jacket.

He then presented Norm with a plaque commemorating his years in

the industry and his participation in the Pinball Expos.


     Norm thanked Steve and then left us with these words.  He

said "as a designer, after you design a game and it's on the

market, the judgement of it is the amount of cash in the

cashbox". He went on to say that "players appreciate a game for

what's in it" and that "you fellows are what makes it all



     Next Rob Burk praised Steve Young and Gordon Hasse for their

participation in the shows and called Steve up to the stage to

present the prizes for his "50's Follies" pinball tournament.

Steve had Wayne morgan from Canada randomly pick the tournament

machine, which turned out to be DRAGONETTE.  The first prize of a

QUEEN OF HEARTS poster went to a young man named Dan Frank.

Second and third prizes were also awarded, as well as small

prizes for the top scorers on the other machines.


     Following this, Rob again came up, this time to praise the

various pinball manufacturers who participated, including Data

East, Williams, Bally and Premier.  He then called our English

guest Gary Flower up on stage and announced that it was Gary's

Birthday, after which we all sang Happy Birthday and Gary was

presented with a gift.  Rob then presented gifts to the people

who had traveled from other countries to visit the Expo.  These

included Gary and his friend Jerry Sigman from England and Wayne

Morgan and three other people who came from Canada.


     Rob next presented awards to the people who assisted him

with the show, and a "Best Exhibit Award" to Steve Young and

Gordon Hasse.  He then presented special gifts to Dick Bueschel

and his co-producer Mike Pacak.  Following that the door and

raffle prizes were awarded, including two new pinballs, which

were both won by Tim Arnold from Michigan due primarily to the

fact that, as usual, he had purchased about 90 percent of the



     The last thing on the banquet agenda was the playoffs in the

Flip-out '87 pinball tournament.  The "mystery game" used in the

playoffs turned out to be the never-released LOCH NESS MONSTER by

Game Plan.  Playoffs were conducted in two categories, one for

manufacturers, and one for other people.  After the grueling

encounters with the "monster" were concluded the victors were Jon

Norris from Premier for the manufacturers, who was awarded a

large trophy, and Dave Hegge who received a brand new LASER WAR





     This year, as in past Expo's, there was a large Exhibit Hall

full of machines and other miscellaneous goodies for sale and

display.  The first thing you noticed upon entering this area was

a large, almost deafening, amount of noise, primarily generated

by the large number of new solid-state pins which were in

operation with their various "sound effects".  I coined my own

name for this area, "the din den".  This made conversation

somewhat difficult, and I found it to be a good idea to leave

every once in awhile to give my ears a rest.  I even saw one

small baby in the area several times and wondered if it's little

ears could have been damaged by the high sound level.


     Several booths featured pingames for sale, but, with the

exception of two games from 1932 and one HUMPTY DUMPTY, no games

made before the early Sixties.  There was one dealer from the

Chicago area who had a large number of machines, including

several "Add-A-Balls" and the two early games I mentioned.  Don

Murphy, of course, had some beautiful 1960's games for sale, also

including many "Add-A-Balls".


     The game manufacturers, of course, displayed their current

games.  Bally with it's DUNGEONS AND DRAGONS, Williams with F-14

TOMCAT and FIRE!, Premier displaying ARENA and SPRING BREAK, and

Data East with their exciting new game LASER WAR.  Game Plan was

also present and was selling backglasses from some of their

earlier games for very reasonable prices.


     There were also a few dealers selling parts.  Wico was again

present displaying their line of parts and game maintenance

items, and there was a plastics company selling some items.

Steve Engel from New York also had a selection of miscellaneous

game parts and schematics for sale.

     Expo co-producer Mike Pacak was of course also present;

buying, selling, and trading pinball brochures.  On the last day

of exhibiting Mike also had on display a Bally BOW AND ARROW

which had been converted at the plant for solid-state operation

as was mentioned in the talk by Ed Schmidt on the first day of

the show. Rob Burk also had his usual booth containing various

Expo souvenir items for sale.


     And of course, as I mentioned earlier, the highlight of the

Exhibit Hall for all us fans of pingames from the past was the

display of 1950's wood-rail pins by Steve Young and Gordon Hasse.

These beautiful wooden-legged beauties were certainly a marked

contrast to the modern electronic pingames seen throughout the

hall.  These games were almost constantly in use, partly due of

course, to the special pinball tournament in which they were

used. In addition to these games, Steve and Gordon also had on

display, and for sale, their beautiful QUEEN OF HEARTS poster,

which I previously mentioned, plus their many other Silverball

amusement offerings.


     Finally, there was the Flip-out '87 pinball tournament area

containing four brand new Data East LASER WAR games.  Except for

Sunday, these games were only available for use for tournament

play and were kept extremely busy.


     To round out my description of the Exhibit Hall, here is a

chronological list of all the pingames to be seen in the hall:



GAME                          MANUFACTURER        YEAR               


BALLYHOO                      Bally               1932      

PLAY BALL                     Exhibit             1932      

WHIZ BANG                     Gottlieb            1932      

HUMPTY DUMPTY                 Gottlieb            1947      

JOKER                         Gottlieb            1950      

KNOCKOUT                      Gottlieb            1950      

MINSTREL MAN                  Gottlieb            1951      

CORONATION                    Gottlieb            1952      

FOUR CORNERS                  Williams            1952      

HAPPY DAYS                    Gottlieb            1952       

QUEEN OF HEARTS               Gottlieb            1952      

C-O-D                         Williams            1953      

PALISADES                     Williams            1953      

DRAGONETTE                    Gottlieb            1954      

GIGI                          Gottlieb            1963      

SQUARE HEAD (AAB)             Gottlieb            1963      

PALOOKA                       Williams            1964      

SKI CLUB (AAB)                Gottlieb            1965      

HURDY GURDY (AAB)             Gottlieb            1966      

FUN PARK (AAB)                Gottlieb            1968      

HEARTS & SPADES (AAB)         Gottlieb            1969      

BATTER UP (AAB)               Gottlieb            1970      

CARD TRIX (AAB)               Gottlieb            1970      

MINI-CYCLE                    Gottlieb            1970      

2001                          Gottlieb            1971      

ASTRO (AAB)                   Williams            1971      

CHALLENGER                    Gottlieb            1971      

ZODIAC                        Williams            1971      

POP-A-CARD (AAB)              Gottlieb            1972      

NIP-IT                        Bally               1973      

BIG SHOW                      Bally               1974      

BON VOYAGE                    Bally               1974      

SATIN DOLL                    Williams            1975      

BOW & ARROW (DIGITAL)         Bally               1976      

EIGHT BALL                    Bally               1977      

EVIL KNEIVEL                  Bally               1977      

WORLD CUP                     Williams            1977      

CLOSE ENCOUNTERS              Gottlieb            1978      

FLASH                         Williams            1978      

PHOENIX                       Williams            1978      

SUPERMAN                      Atari               1979      

ALIEN POKER                   Williams            1980      

BLACKOUT                      Williams            1980      

FIREPOWER                     Williams            1980      

GROUND-SHAKER                 Bally               1980      

SILVERBALL MANIA              Bally               1980      

FLASH GORDON                  Bally               1981      

MR. & MRS. PACMAN             Bally               1982      

LADY SHARPSHOOTER             Game Plan           1985      

ARENA                         Premier             1987      

DUNGEONS AND DRAGONS          Bally               1987      

FIRE!                         Williams            1987      

LASER WAR                     Data East           1987      

SPRING BREAK                  Premier             1987      

CYCLOPS                       Game Plan           198?      

LOCH NESS MONSTER             Game Plan           198?      



     Well there you have it, the story of the third very

successful Pinball Expo.  And, as I write this, I have it on

pretty good authority that Pinball Expo '88 will be a reality.

That's great!  I hope they will continue for many years to come

as they provide a chance for all who, as Dick Bueschel put it,

"honor the silver ball" to learn a few new things, see what's

going on in the industry, and just get together and talk to old

and new friends.  Because, after all, when all is said and done,

"it's the people" that make Pinball Expo the great show that it