-A new Decade-


                         by Russ Jensen


                       Photos by Sam Harvey


     Well, for the sixth year in a row I had the pleasure of attending the

ultimate in pinball shows, Pinball Expo '90.  The show was held on November

9 and 10, 1990, and this was the third year that it was held at the Ramada

Hotel, near O'Hare Airport in Rosemont, IL.  This is the beginning of a new

decade for pinball (it's seventh) and, of course, the first Expo of the new

decade.  The Nineties are starting out as a great decade for pinball, with

the "video craze" of the Eighties dying fast according to people in the



     This year there was a "new wrinkle" for the evening before the show.

As is the case with many "collectables" shows, Expo attendees had the

option of paying an additional fee to be allowed "advance admission" to the

Exhibit Hall during exhibit "set-up".


     The idea behind this is usually to give people who pay this "premium"

the first crack at purchasing any outstanding items that are offered for

sale.  In my case, however, I paid the extra money primarily for the chance

to mingle and talk with other Expo  guests and make new friends before the

business of the lectures began the next morning.  Many people, however,

chose not to pay the fee and did their mingling outside the door of the

Exhibit Hall.  I visited with both groups.




     Expo chairman Rob Berk began the Friday morning festivities with his

usual opening remarks.  He said that this was the largest turnout of any

Expo (later estimated at around 250) and that there were many "new faces"

present this year, including some visitors from Japan who he said spoke

very little English.  The Exhibit Hall this year, he remarked, was in a

larger room than last year.  He also informed us of some additional

seminars which had been added since the mailing for the show was prepared.


     Exhibit Hall chairman Mike Pacak was briefly called up on stage.  He

welcomed us and then told us of an individual who would be selling games in

the parking lot.


     At that point a gentleman was introduced who had an auction outfit,

"U.S. Amusement Auctions".  He told us that he would hold a special auction

next October on the  Sunday of Pinball Expo '91. He then remarked that he

played pinball as a kid in the 1950's and was an operator in the Seventies.

His father was said to have been a doctor and to have obtained old games

from one of his operator patients for home use.  He then said that this was

his first Expo, and that he thought the evolution of the game was exciting.

Finally he introduced his auctioneer who he said used to collect wood-rail

pins, slot machines, etc.


     Rob Berk next introduced one of the Expo quests from Japan, Horiguchi

Masaya, who gave a short talk.  Horiguchi began by saying that there were

quite a few "pinballers" (pinball lovers) in Japan, as well as many

machines.  He told us that he himself worked for Data East in Japan.  He

then showed a picture of "the first Japanese pinball" which he said he and

his friends made.  Horiguchi went on to say that to many Japanese pinball

machines were very beautiful and that pinball was thought to be one of the

greatest parts of American Culture.


     He then told us that they had brought to the Expo 20 copies of a book

on pinball that he and his friends had helped write, which would be

available later in the Exhibit Hall.  Finally, he said he and his friends

were very excited and happy that they could attend the Expo and thanked Rob

for inviting them.  Rob Berk then remarked that another reason why they

were excited about the Expo was that they hoped to bring home the "Flip-Out

'90" tournament jacket to Japan by winning the tournament.  


     At that point Rob said that Alvin Gottlieb had an announcement to

make.  Alvin began by saying that each year Rob wold ask him if he could

attend, and if he had anything new to report.  In the past, Alvin said, he

would say he would be glad to attend, but that he had nothing new to

report.  This year, however, when Rob asked him he first said "things are

moving along, but I'm waiting for something to happen."


     Alvin said it finally did happen and proceeded to tell us to what he

was referring.  He began by saying that for years D. Gottlieb and Company

had been "a big player in the industry", that it was sold to Columbia

Pictures in 1976, and that he retired from the business in 1980 and enjoyed

his retirement.  But now, he went on, "I'm about to wreck the whole thing".

He then told us that he was going to start "A. Gottlieb and Co." and of a

patent for a new flipper device he had just obtained.  He gave a few

details then, but was asked to come back later that day for a detailed

Question and Answer session, which I will report on later.




     Rob introduced the speakers for the first seminar, Jim Shultz and Ken

Muszynski of Foremost Plastics, a major supplier of plastic parts for the

pinball industry.  Ken then began to tell us a little of the company's



     He told us the company was founded in 1961 by his father Peter and his

partner Rob Hauser, both formerly with American Molded Plastics, a company

which had been supplying plastic parts to the games industry since the

1930's.  His dad was the engineer and his partner into sales.


     Their original plant, Ken said, was located on the Northwest Side of

Chicago, had only two "injection molding" machines, and began doing work

for Bally, Gottlieb, and Williams.  The plant was later moved in the late

1960's and had eight presses, having by that time bought out American

Molded Plastics.  During the Seventies they made all the plastic scoring

reels for pinballs, as well as many other plastic parts.


     In 1976, he went on, the introduction of solid-state pins eliminated

the need for score reels, but at the same time the demand for pinballs

started to grow.  In 1978 he said they moved to their current location.

     Ken then showed us a display of many of the products they had produced

over the years for coin machines.  He then told us that their company had

served the industry for 30 years and hopes to continue to do so for that

many years to come.


     At that point Jim Shultz began telling us about the processes used to

produce their products.  He began by saying that he works in sales, and

works closely with the game designers and engineers.


     Jim said that the materials they used were normally nylon or

polycarbonates.  He then described the "injection molding" process used to

form these materials aided by a large diagram.  Jim then told us that an

injection molding machine cost about $100,000.  Finally he remarked that

they could reproduce older type plastic parts if the demand were high



     At this point the audience was asked if they had any questions?  The

Foremost people were first asked what the minimum economical quantity would

be for reproducing and old part?  They answered probably around 1000, but

that it would probably depend on the volume to be produced.  The time

required to accomplish something like that was said to be a "set-up time",

plus 2 or 3 hours of "molding time" at a cost of $150 to $200 per hour.  In

answer to another question, the cost of creating an entirely new mold was

said to range from about $1300 for a simple tube up to 10 or 15 thousand

dollars for a more complicated item such as a bumper cap.


     When asked how many new molds were required for a new game the answer

was usually from none to two.  When asked if they kept an inventory of old

parts, the answer was usually not as they tried to sell those to "parts

houses" such as WICO.  A question regarding the type of adhesive to use to

repair plastic parts was answered by saying not to use "super glue", but

use an adhesive designed for polycarbonates.


     A final question dealt with whether or not new molds were

"proprietary" to one manufacturer.  The answer given was that if a

manufacturer paid the tooling costs for a mold then it was "proprietary" to

him.  If, however, Foremost paid for the tooling then any company could buy

parts made from that mold.  After the gentlemen from Foremost had concluded

their presentation Rob Berk remarked to them "hold on to those molds,





     Rob next introduced two pinball "sound engineers", Robin Seaver and

Brian Schmidt.  They started by saying "this is a strange living".  The

remark was then made that pinball sound employs "the best speakers $2 can

buy".  They said that it usually takes a lot of time to perfect the sounds

for a pinball (maybe as much as a year) and sometimes their work seems in

vain as the volume on a game is often turned down in a bar location.

Pinball sounds were then said to have changed quite a bit in the last five



     The audience was then asked why they thought sounds were used on

pingames?  The answers given included: for the "attract mode"; voice

instructions to players; to make you smile; to add excitement to the game;

and to provide "feedback" to the player to let him know when certain game

features have been accomplished.


     At that point questions from the audience were solicited.  When Las

Vegas' Mark Fellman asked why the operator could not have more "selection"

over the various sound features, they replied that "memory space" in the

machine limits the variety of sounds which can be included, and also that

the sounds and music are often "tied together" and eliminating one would

affect the other.


     When asked if a game could be possible which could respond to the

players verbal comments, they said "that might be fun", but failed to

elaborate.  When questioned regarding the addition of headphones to games,

it was said that it had been tried but players did not use them.  Regarding

the use of stereo, the designers said it makes great sound but adds to the

cost of the games.


     The speakers were than asked how the design process worked?  The

process was said to begin with the game designers and artists selecting a

"theme", the sounds being required to "reinforce" that theme.  The sound

designer was said to study the artwork when deciding on the sounds for a

game, the sounds being easier to change than the art.  The music in a game

was said to have to be made to also match the "game rules".  Finally, the

"speech script", it was remarked, often was used to "direct" the player

during the game.


     When asked how much "non-repetitive" sound could be stored in a game,

the designers answered that at one time only about 23 seconds of speech

could be used, but that today it is up to around 2 and a half minutes.

Music, however, can be almost "infinite", it being produced in a different

manner.  At that point old time pingame designer Harvey Heiss remarked from

the audience that sometime in the mid 1930's he made a game using sounds

from chimes, but could not remember it's name.


     I then asked if the designers composed their own music, and if not, if

they had to pay royalties?  They replied that generally they did the

composing, but sometimes had to pay "license fees".


     The sound designers then explained some of the techniques used to

produce pinball sound.  Speech they said was "digitized" using a technique

similar to that used for "compact discs".  Music, on the other hand, used a

"synthesizer" which could play "scores" created by the sound designers.

When asked how many sound designs they could do in a year, their answer was

3 to 5, which usually made for a "tight schedule".


     The designers then asked the audience what they would like to see in

terms of sound on future games?  The answers included such things as: bass

and treble controls; sounds that appeal to women; separate selection by the

operator of voice, speech, and sound effects; and "reverberation".


     The end of the presentation consisted of a short talk by Williams game

designer Larry DeMar regarding the history of "talking pinballs" at

Williams.  He said that the speech synthesis system used on their first

talking pinball, GORGAR, was essentially the same as that used today,

except that better "filtering", etc. is now used resulting in clearer

speech.  He then said that at the 1978 MOA trade show Williams used a 40

thousand dollar computer synthesis system to demonstrate speech which made

a big hit.  He then remarked that almost all pingames today have speech.


     As a final note on pinball sound, Expo host Rob Berk introduced

current Premier (Gottlieb) designer Jon Norris, who told us about his first

"home design" pingame, TOUR DE FRANCE, and how he used for a sound system a

six minute "endless cassette" tape played by a "boom box".




     Next on the agenda was one of the pinball industry greats who has

attended and contributed to all the past Pinball Expos, Mr. Steve Kordek.

Rob Berk introduced Steve as starting in the industry in 1937, and being

with Williams since 1960.  Steve's favorite designs were said to be GRAND



     Steve began by saying that he was happy to hear that Alvin Gottlieb

was getting back into the business.  He said that Williams wished Alvin the

best, adding that "good competition was needed in the industry".  Steve

then remarked that the people at the Expo were "a much better expression of

pinball" than those who attended the recent trade show in New Orleans.


     Steve prefaced his pinball history talk by remarking that he would

cover six decades of pinball starting with the 1930's, adding that if we

were interested in what happened prior to that time we should read Dick

Bueschel's book "Pinball I".


     Steve then said that the "birth of pinball" really occurred in the

early Thirties with the successes of the early "table games" BALLYHOO by

Bally and BAFFLE BALL by Gottlieb of which tens of thousands were produced.

These games, primarily designed for Penny play, were said to have often

repaid their initial costs to operators over a weekend.


     Continuing with the Thirties, Steve told of the complex mechanical

games such as Rockola's JIGSAW, the invention of the bumper by Bally on

BUMPER, and the introduction of electricity to pinball.  Steve said he

remembered when games were first switched from battery to A.C. power that

the location owners were afraid of patrons tripping over the long cords and

suing them.  He then told of the introduction of bells and "electric

kickers" to the games.


     Steve also told of the switch in the early Thirties from Penny to

Nickel play.  He then talked of the over 200 companies which produced one

or more pingames during that decade, adding that only a handful of these

continued in the pinball business after the war. 


     Steve ended his discussion of the 1930's by remarking that pinball was

almost "destroyed" then because of the wide use of slot machines, the

introduction of payout pinballs, and the adverse legislation which

resulted.  He also mentioned the introduction of the "tilt" mechanism

during that decade.


     Continuing into the 1940's, Steve said that in 1941 Harry Williams and

Lyn Durrant formed United Manufacturing Co. and shortly afterward Harry

left United and formed his own Williams Manufacturing Co. in 1942.  He then

told about the wartime ban on manufacturing pingames, but added that

"revamping" old games became a "land office business" during the war years.


     Steve told how the game manufacturers did "war work", saying that

Genco made walkie-talkies for the Marines, among other things.  After the

war ended, he went on, only a handful of companies (Gottlieb, Bally, Genco,

Chicago Coin, Keeney, Marvel, United, and Williams) resumed pinball



     Steve then proceeded to tell how the invention of flippers in 1947

"made pinball more respectable".  He said that the skill involved with

flippers resulted in better legislation being passed, and that these games

were then referred to as "flipper games" to distinguish them from the

pinballs being used for gambling.


     Finally he mentioned the introduction by United of the "shuffle

bowling game", which he said slowed down pins for awhile, and the fact that

the "drop-in" coin chute was used on a few games late in the decade.


     As far as the 1950's were concerned, Steve first commented that the

introduction of "bingo pinballs", in the early part of the decade, almost

ruined the industry again, due to more bad legislation.  He told about the

introduction of "bumper pool" games around 1955, which he said caused a

decrease in pinball sales at that time.


     In 1958, he told us, Williams introduced the "disappearing pop

bumper", but due to it's high cost it was only used on four games (GUSHER,

SEA WOLF, METRO and MUSIC MAN).  He also told of Harry Williams selling his

share of Williams and moving to California in 1959, and that by the end of

the decade exporting of pins to Europe was on the rise.


     In outlining events in the 1960's Steve told us of the introduction of

the automatic ball return, the use of a rotating set of pop bumpers on

Williams' NAGS, and the introduction in 1968 of large flippers.  He also

said that in 1962 Seeburg bought out Williams and United and moved the

combined operation to the present Williams location on California Street.

Also he told us that in January 1969 Lyn Durrant died. 


     Regarding the 1970's, Steve first told of trade magazine publisher

Bill Gersh's campaign to raise the price of pinball play to a Quarter,

which finally was accepted.  He then told of Columbia Pictures acquisition

of Gottlieb, and of Sam Stern buying what was left of the old Chicago Coin

outfit and starting Stern Electronics.


     Steve than mentioned the introduction of the "drop target" on

Williams' HONEY, and the start of "solid state" pins in 1978.  He also

mentioned that pins were re-legalized in Los Angeles, New York City and

Chicago during the Seventies.  Also occurring in that decade was the first

"talking pinball", GORGAR, in 1979, and the death of Dave Gottlieb in 1974.


     The decade of the 1980's, Steve said, saw the introduction of the

"lane change" on Williams FIREPOWER, and of "multi-level" playfields on

their BLACK KNIGHT.  That decade also saw the rise of the "video craze" and

the subsequent downturn for pins.  He also told of Williams' SPACE SHUTTLE

reviving the interest in pins, and the purchase by Williams of Bally/Midway

games in 1988.


     That decade, Steve went on, also saw the beginning of a push for 50

cent and 3 for $1 play, remarking that today's games cost about 150 times

as much as the pingames of the 1930's which were played for a Nickel.  The

decade was also sadly marked by the passings of Harry Williams in 1983, Sam

Stern in 1984, and Sam Gensburg (founder of Chicago Coin) in 1985.


     As far as the 1990's and the future of pinball was concerned, Steve

said he saw a continuation of "licensed" games, and a lot of original ideas

from new young designers and artists.  He said a combination of art, sound,

etc., would be used to improve future games, a future he was looking

forward to.


     At that point Steve asked for questions from the audience.  When asked

how the industry could "broaden the appeal" of games to justify the price

per play increases proposed, Steve answered that the same complaints were

made in the past when price increases were sought, but you must remember

that operators have to get a fair return on their investment.  He then

added, "if you provide a dollars worth of entertainment people will pay $1

for it".


     When asked if Williams planned to re-use "multiple replay awards"

Steve answered "yes".  When asked why multiple denomination coin mechanisms

were not used on pins, he said because they were large and expensive. 


     Finally, Marc Fellman from the audience made the comment that

Williams' RIVERBOAT gives the player a chance to make a "decision" during

the game; which he thought was a great idea which should be used more in

the future.  As a closing comment regarding Steve, Rob Berk told us that

Steve would soon celebrate his 80th Birthday.




     Rob Berk introduced Sharon Harris of Philadelphia the moderator for

the panel saying she was Chairperson of the International Flipper Pinball

Association (IFPA) of AMOA.  Sharon, daughter of long-time operator Stan

Harris, began by remarking that she had never known anything else but

pinball all her life.  She then told of her dad saying about his career "it

all started with a ball", referring to the Daval ODD BALL game he bought

back around 1940 and put on location, starting him in the coin machine



     Sharon then told of the IFPA which she said was formed the previous

year, saying it was formed as sort of a "celebration of pinball's 60th

Anniversary".  She then told us that the association, of which she was to

be President for two years, was set up to do three things: (1) to help keep

pins in the public eye (a "media kit" for the press was designed to help

with that); (2) to hold a National Pinball Tournament (patterned after the

National Darts Championship); and (3) to educate operators to be more

responsible for the care of their equipment.


     Sharon then went into great detail regarding the IFPA tournament

system.  Local operators would buy "charters" and set up local tournaments

at their locations.  The winners of these could then compete in the

National Tournament to be held in Chicago in the Spring of 1991.


     Sharon then introduced the panel which consisted of Valerie Cognovitch

of PLAYMETER, Shari Stauch of GAMES AND LEISURE, Ed Adlum of REPLAY, Wayne

Morgan (former publisher of TILT Newsletter), Joycelyn Hathaway of TAVERN

SPORTS, Jeremy Tupper of VENDING TIMES, Jim Haley of Canadian COIN SLOT,

Dick Bueschel of our COIN SLOT, and Roger Sharpe of Williams.  She then

said that the format of the discussion was for each person to tell what

they could do in their publications "to get the word out".


     Valerie began by saying that Sharon was a very determined person and

that she thought the idea of IFPA was "wonderful".  She then told of

recently finding a four inch stack of clippings in her file associated with

the promotion of the 100th Anniversary of the Juke Box, and remarked that

she thought the pin promotion could do as well.


     Valerie than said that this was her second Expo and that she enjoyed

meeting the players.  She told of Tim Wolfe once writing an article for her

magazine from the player's point of view and invited others to do the same.


     Valerie then said that she wants the operators to get involved with

IFPA, and that her magazine offered AMOA a "free page" to use to promote

it.  She next said that PLAYMETER would like to publish pictures of the

operator sponsored tournaments.  Finally, she remarked "pinballs are

American made and we should be proud of that."


     Next to speak was Shari Stauch.  She began by saying that her

publication, GAMES AND LEISURE, was originally oriented toward pool room

owners, but had now been expanded to serve game operators as well.  Shari

continued by saying they could help IFPA by focusing on the "leagues" and

tournament promotion, etc..  She ended by saying she hoped there would be a

"pyramid effect" with the publicity bringing more operators into IFPA.


     Next up was Ed Adlum of REPLAY.  He began by saying that most "trade

magazines" don't address the player at all.  When he asked for a show of

hands of how many in the audience were in the industry, which turned out to

be about 25 percent, he remarked that the rest of us must be "pinball nut



     Ed then told us how he had really been excited about the 100th

Anniversary of the Juke Box, but said he just could not get that excited

over pinball's 60th year, although he said he would like to try to share

our enthusiasm.


     Wayne Morgan from Canada then got up.  He first told us that when he

put on his traveling pinball exhibition, "Tilt", in 1979 he got a lot of

letters from people interested in pins.  He then asked the question: why

hasn't pinball collecting achieved as great a popularity as that of other

antique collectables?  When his attempt to answer this question seemed to

run into a lengthy discussion, he was asked to come back the next day to

elaborate in detail.  I will report on that later.


     Next up was Joycelyn Hathaway.  She said her publication, TAVERN

SPORTS, goes to the industry people and also some players.  The magazine,

she went on, publicizes events, etc. (including Event Calendars) and also

has feature stories.  A pinball column was also said to be forthcoming.

She ended by saying that her publication will help in letting the locations

and operators know about IFPA.


     Jeremy Tupper, editor of the Music and Games Section of VENDING TIMES,

next told of a column they were starting highlighting current pinball

designers.  He also told of a "guest column" in the current issue written

by Sharon Harris.  He ended by saying this was part of their effort to

increase the profile of music and games in VENDING TIMES.


     Next was Jim Haley from Canadian COIN SLOT who told us that his

magazine was similar to PLAYMETER and REPLAY in this country. He then said

what they do is find out what's happening in the industry, passing the

information on to the operators.  Jim then added that they also provide

"marketing tips", and act as sort of a "go between" between the

manufacturers and operators.


     The next panelist to speak was COIN SLOT's own Dick Bueschel.  Dick

began by introducing himself as a "collector and writer" and saying that he

would like to make two "quick points".  First, he said, since people like

Sharon Harris and Roger Sharpe got involved in publicizing pinball that

pinball, in his opinion, has never had greater press and that the word "IS

getting out".


     Dick then explained his "second point" which he said was that what we

need is to "get the word IN".  He explained this remark by saying that the

manufacturers have to talk to the "consumer" (the player).  As an example

he said that he had heard that Williams, for instance, was eliminating the

"match feature" from their games to satisfy the European market.  This he

said he thought was wrong because it was against the interest of the



     At that point the audience was asked if they had any questions?  The

first question was what "standard game(s)" were going to be used in the

IFPA tournament?  Sharon answered saying there would be no particular games

used, but that they had devised a special scoring system using "point

values" derived from actual game scores.


     When asked if there would be any "handicaps" or "sanctioning of

players" used, Sharon said not for the current tournament, but maybe in the

future.  She also told us that the tournament entry fees would be $25 for

adults and $10 for those under 21.


     Sharon was then asked if the tournament would be on National TV?  She

said that she hoped to get "some very good coverage".  Roger Sharpe told of

a pinball tournament a few years ago which was on TV.  Sharon then told of

a "spot", shown recently on cable's MTV, in which her and her father Stan

Harris were interviewed and some of his collection of old coin machines

were shown.  Incidentally, several friends of mine saw that and said it was



     Someone from the audience then asked the panel what could be done

about magazines which would not accept articles from collectors?  Sharon

answered "send it to me, I'll get it published".  Valerie then told of an

article on backglasses recently published in PLAYMETER, remarking that some

of the glasses were "gorgeous". 


     Ed Adlum next asked the question: what do players today want; simple

or complex games?  One of the operators in the audience answered that most

people today like complex games, and they are the ones that make the most

money.  Sharon then remarked that there were some locations where older

people liked the simpler games, adding "it's whatever works in your



     Roger Sharpe of Williams then commented from the manufacturer's point

of view.  He said that he personally disliked "shooting, punching, kicking,

fighting games", but that kind did earn money.  He then commented, however,

that manufacturers have to supply what the market wants in order to

survive, adding that pins once were "almost dead" but are now "reviving".


     Roger was then asked what he thought about "license games"?  He

replied that Bally was the first to prove they could work in the Seventies,

but some didn't work however, citing DOLLY PARTON as an example.  He then

added that right now we are "going through a phase", and license games seem

to get the players, citing THE SIMPSONS as a current example.


     At that point Valerie told us that prior to 1988 Roger wrote articles

for PLAYMETER from the player's point of view.  Roger then remarked that he

has learned that the industry must "stay in touch with the players".  He

then commented that he thought there should be five times as many people at

the Expo.


     Roger next remarked "we have to reach out through our games".  He then

commented that the people at the Expo should help get operators more

interested in pins.  A few minutes later Dick Bueschel reinforced that idea

saying that we have been given an "assignment" to get to the operators and

locations and try to "promote pins".


     Someone from the audience then commented that younger kids should be

able to learn to play pins, but many of today's games are so complicated

that kids can't understand them.  He suggested that a "rating system" be

set up to indicate what ages could understand each game.  Sharon then

remarked that a large percentage of pingames are in small locations, such

as convenience stores, and available to youngsters.


     The final comment of this panel came from Ed Adlum of REPLAY who said

that the recent trade show in New Orleans was definitely "a pinball show",

adding that video games are the "stinkers" today. 




     After a quick lunch at our friendly diner across the road, we boarded

busses for the trip to the Data East Pinball plant.  After we arrived we

discovered we had to stand in line outside (it was a might chilly too!) to

wait our turn to go inside for the tour.  I had to wait almost 45 minutes,

being near the end of the line.


     While we were waiting outside a Data East representative told us a few

things about the company.  He said they employed about 175 factory workers,

plus about 30 office workers and engineers.  He ended by saying that Data

East Pinball Inc. was "the best there is".  When we finally got to the

front door we noticed a SIMPSONS backglass mounted in one of the front

windows, which of course, was the game currently being produced.


     When the tour group I was in got inside the plant it appeared we had

no guide so we just followed the group ahead of us.  We first passed a

cable testing area followed by an area where cables were being formed on

large vertically mounted sliding panels.  When several of us made comments

and asked questions of the girls doing the work we seemed to be ignored.

At first I thought maybe they were told not to talk to visitors, but then

it dawned on me that quite possibly they could not speak English.


     The next areas we saw were where playfields were being drilled and

parts were being installed on them.  The people working there were

apparently doing there jobs quite rapidly.  We next went by an area where

completed playfields and back boxes were being tested.


     Finally, we saw the final test area where completed machines were

being checked out.  It was here that I noticed the interesting "comic book"

art on the game cabinets.  A company person, who had joined the group by

now, told us that the backglass artwork was made using a "12 color



     That ended the tour.  We were then given a free soft drink and

doughnut and boarded the busses to return to the hotel. 




     After returning to the hotel we went to the Lecture Hall where Data

East representative, and long-time pinball industry worker, Ed Cebula ask

if we had any questions?


     It was first asked if there would be an episode on "The Simpsons" TV

show featuring the SIMPSONS pinball?  Ed's answer was "it's a possibility".

When later asked if doing "license games" created many problems,  Ed

answered that BATMAN was somewhat of a problem, adding you always have to

send your proposed artwork to the "licenser" for approval.  It was also

asked why they haven't tried "national heros" (sports figures, etc.)?  Ed

replied that they had tried to get Michael Jordan.


     When asked if they paid a "royalty" for each licensed game produced,

the answer was sometimes, but in some cases they paid a "flat fee" instead.

When asked about a game which was hidden behind a curtain at the plant, Ed

replied only that it was a "future game", adding that BATMAN was coming

soon and also CHECKPOINT which he said was a "driving game".


     A question was then asked regarding the average time between the

"inception" of a game and it's final appearance on location?  The average

time was said to be about 9 months, but that BACK TO THE FUTURE was done in

only 6 weeks!  A question regarding the expected production run for

SIMPSONS, and also what percentage of their games were exported, was then

asked.  Ed replied that the run would possibly be about 5000, but that you

really could not tell because it depends on sales.  Regarding export he

said that about 30 percent of their games were exported to France, Germany,



     The final question asked was how much does the Japanese "parent

company" have to say regarding the Chicago operation?  Ed answered

"nothing, as we are making good games".


     At that point Data East's Ed Cebula, assisted by Expo Chairman Rob

Berk, proceeded to give a demonstration of how pinball cables were tied in

the past.


     Ed had a sample "cable board" made up for the demonstration which had

a "main branch" and several "break-offs" which are used for attaching

plugs, connectors, lamps, etc. in the game.  He said that nails were

originally used to hold the wires as they were added, the ends of the wires

then being cut, stripped, and soldered to the terminating components.


     Ed then commented that in later days pins were put onto the ends of

the wires by machine, these pins then being inserted in the terminating

components.  Today, he went on, "mass termination" of connectors is used,

with modern "cable ties" used to tie cable bundles.


     Ed ended by saying that in the old days they had women "lacing" the

cables, and that some of them could do it as fast as today's machines.  He

then performed a demonstration of this hand tying technique using the

previously mentioned "cable board".




     The next item on the Expo agenda was a demonstration of advanced

pinball skills presented by player turned designer Jon Norris of Premier. 

Rob Berk introduced Jon as "the king".  The machine he used for his

demonstration was none other than the "whitewood" prototype of his latest

Premier design, VEGAS.


     Jon began by telling us that he had been a pinball player for many

years, and that he would try to show us some of the techniques that have

helped him to play a better game.  He then said that the techniques he

would demonstrate were intended primarily for "intermediate level" players,

adding that he would draw diagrams to aid him in the demonstration.  A

video camera was set up so the audience could see what Jon was doing on the



     Jon first told us that he was going to show us three main things.  The

first, he said, was that you should not always use the flippers every time

the ball hits them as many players do,  but in a lot of cases the player

should let the ball bounce off one flipper to the other.  Secondly, he said

he would show how to "catch" the ball with a flipper before flipping it

toward some playfield objective.  He then said he would also demonstrate

the "save down the middle", which he then proceeded to do.


     Jon started by drawing an illustration on a large sheet of paper

showing two flippers in their "at rest" position, "fully energized"

position, and the position halfway in between where they are both

horizontal.  He then said that in both the extreme positions the separation

between the tips of the flippers was approximately enough room for two

balls to go through.  In the "midway" position, he told us, there was

barely enough room for one ball to pass.


     He then said that the "center save" technique consisted of operating

the flippers at just the right time for the ball to reach them when they

reach that horizontal position where the ball can barely pass between them.

You must, however, slightly nudge the machine, in one direction or the

other, such that the ball hits one of the flippers instead of passing

between them.


     Jon suggested that a person practice this technique on their own game

with the glass off, manually placing the ball above the flippers allowing

it to roll down.  He said this saved a lot of money over practicing in an

arcade.  Jon then demonstrated the technique using the video monitor so we

could watch him.


     Jon next demonstrated what he called the "non-flip flip" or "bump

over".  He told us that most people usually hit the flipper buttons every

time the ball goes near a flipper, but that if you don't move the flippers

the ball usually bounces off the flipper it hits to the other one.  Holding

the other flipper up, he said, will "catch" the ball most of the time.  Jon

then added that holding up the flipper toward which the ball is heading

will often result in the ball rolling up that flipper and over to the



     The next technique Jon demonstrated was a very skillful move called

the "tap pass" which he said was a "high risk move" and quite hard to

learn.  It consisted of lightly tapping one flipper button to cause a

flipper to "tap" the ball over to the other flipper.


     When Jon was about ready to end his talk Rob Berk asked him to

demonstrate a special type of ball save which he knew of.  Jon recognized

what Rob was talking about as what he called the "bang back".  Jon said

that this usually did not work very well on Premier games but often worked

on Williams.


     What this consisted of, it was explained, was that after the ball had

"drained" to the bottom of the playfield, and was rolling along the card

holder, to hit the cabinet so hard as to cause the ball to bounce up above

the flippers and back into play.  Jon tried to demonstrate this on his game

with limited success; after all, it was a Premier game!  He then remarked

that using this technique could result in tilting the machine, or even in

getting you kicked out of an arcade.




     As was done at several Expos in the past, some industry people

participated in a "fun session" where people from the audience designed a

pingame.  This year it was veteran Williams designer Steve Ritchie who Rob

introduced as our "design coordinator".  Steve came up on stage dressed in

a "cap and gown" acting like a professor.  He then introduced his

assistant, Doug Watson.


     Steve began by taking nominations for the game's theme.

Recommendations from the audience included: "Married with  Children",

"Honeymooners", "Pinball Expo", "Desert Shield", a "singles" theme,

"Monopoly" (which would be a "license game"), "Universal Studios Fire",

"Video Rental Store", and "Tesla".  When the audience later voted

"Monopoly" won.


     We were next asked for suggestions for the configuration of the

playfield devices.  It was decided (again by vote) that the game would have

3 "thumper bumpers", a bank of 3 drop-targets in the center of the

playfield with an eject hole (representing "Go To Jail") behind them, and 4

lanes at the top of the field.  It was also decided that the game should be

a "3 ball Multi-ball", have an extra flipper in the upper half of the

field, and be "replay" or "add-a-ball" selectable by the player.


     We were then asked to suggest a "special device" to be used on the

game.  The devices recommended included: a "corkscrew" loop-the-loop; a

strobe light; two magnets which suspend the ball in mid air; a flipper

which must be "qualified" to work; a "death ray"; a "trap door" through

which the ball drops, with three places it could reappear; and a horizontal

"wheel" into which the ball enters and you don't know where it will come

out.  Voting on these resulted in both the "corkscrew" and the "trap door"

devices being chosen.


     A playfield template was then put up and Doug placed the components we

voted for on it.  The flippers at the bottom were already shown on the

drawing, causing Doug to remark "the position of the flippers is the only

thing a player can depend on".  That ended our design for Pinball Expo '90.




     As I mentioned earlier, Alvin Gottlieb was invited to speak late

Friday afternoon and continue the discussion of his new outfit, "A.

Gottlieb and Co." and his invention.  Alvin began by introducing his

grandson Stephan, his sons Joseph and Michael, and his associate Jerry

Armstrong, all of whom are associated with his new enterprise.


     Alvin then presented what he referred to as a "brief scenario" of the

events leading up to his formation of the company.  He first said that when

Gottlieb designer Harry Mabs invented the flipper in 1947 he originally

intended it to be "automatically actuated", but finally switched to using

player controlled buttons.  A little later, he went on, Dave Gottlieb

decided to put out their first "multi-player" game, SUPER JUMBO.


     Still later, he remarked, when he was in the Engineering Department at

Gottlieb, the department together designed the two player game CHALLENGER

in which the two players faced each other and had separate playfields,

adding that he always thought the idea had merit.  Finally, he continued,

one day not so long ago, while sitting poolside in Hawaii, he started

thinking about a new kind of flipper which incorporated a "sensing device"

which sensed when the flipper came in contact with a ball.


     Alvin then said he made a sketch of his idea, made up a prototype when

he returned to Chicago, found a Patent Counsel to help him, and applied for

a patent, which had recently been approved.  He then told how he planned to

utilize his invention.


     His idea was to build a two-player game which would automatically

switch scoring between the players; each score being credited to the last

player whose flipper hit the ball.  He said he couldn't give much more

detail since he still had patents pending.  Alvin then said he planned to

call this idea "simulplay" , and would probably get a Trade Mark for that



     He then remarked that he thought this concept would enable them to

build a two-player pingame which could really make some money.  Alvin ended

by saying that they are now in a "design mode" and were working in

conjunction with Premier.


     Alvin next asked if we had any questions?  The first question asked

was if Alvin's new company would be separate and independent from Premier?

He answered that it is a separate company, adding that they planned to

contract Premier to build their first games.  Alvin then remarked "we will

just take things as they come".  He then told of his father once buying the

rights to a "Rotary Trading Post" machine which he thought would be a "gold

mine", but that the idea "died".


     When asked if the price of his proposed game would be about the same

as today's pins, he answered "it looks like it will be comparable".  When

questioned regarding his "time table" for the project Alvin answered that

it would probably be out sometime in 1991.  Alvin was then asked if he

thought he could keep people from stealing his idea?  He answered that he

thought U.S. patent law was very good and mentioned the large patent

infringement suit won by Polaroid against Kodak.


     Alvin was next asked if Harry Mabs' original flipper was patented?  He

answered "no", saying that it was said to be covered by "prior art", that

being the "bat" used on coin-op baseball games.  Alvin then told us that

copies of his patent (4,931,323) would soon be available.  He then

described the mechanics of his invention in a little more detail,

referring to it as a "smart flipper".


     When asked if his proposed game could also be played by one player,

he replied "yes", adding that it even "played itself" in the "attract

mode".  He was next asked if the two players would be playing "end to end"

or "side by side"?  Alvin's answer was that there were several variations

of the game "in the hopper".


     When asked if he eventually planned to have his own factory, Alvin

replied that he didn't know yet, adding that running a factory was "a big

pain".  Finally he was asked who would be doing the artwork for his new

game?  Alvin replied that Tommy Grant of Advertising Posters had

recommended someone and that they were "starting at ground zero" and would

just "take their time".


     Alvin's presentation ended the Friday seminars.  That evening the

Exhibit Hall was opened officially for the first time, but more about that





     The Saturday morning festivities began with a short presentation,

which was one of the several not on the Expo program originally

distributed by mail.  This was the playing of a promotional video tape,

produced several years ago by Gottlieb, which Expo Exhibit Chairman Mike

Pacak discovered in the Gottlieb "archives".


     The tape began with an introduction by Alvin Gottlieb giving a brief

summary of highlights in the company's history.  He began by saying that

the company was founded by his father David Gottlieb in 1927, and "had a

heritage of unparalleled success".


     The historical presentation began with the narrator saying that it

all started in the late Twenties, while the background music played

"Charleston".  It was then said that motion pictures were "the first

popular form of mass entertainment", but in the 1930's and 1940's pingames

also acted as such.


     Dave Gottlieb was then said to have been born in Milwaukee, and as a

young man went to Texas and became a traveling salesman who was always on

the move.  This "super salesman" was then said to have traveled in a Model

T showing silent movies in all the small towns.  A gimmick he used at that

time was to have the piano player play "The Star Spangled Banner" at the

end of each show.  The audience would then applaud and people outside

would think it was because the movie was so good.


     Later Dave was said to have moved to Chicago where he opened a small

factory on Kedsie St. and manufactured a coin operated "grip testing"

machine.  Then, in the Fall of 1931, he developed a small pingame which it

was said "turned his company into the first successful pingame



     When the narrator started describing the 1930's the background music

played "Brother Can You Spare A Dime".  During the early Depression period

pingames were said to take in a "flood of Pennies", provide Americans with

"a lot of fun", and to "sweep the country faster than the Stock Market



     During these early years Dave Gottlieb was said to have put much

money into his early "counter games", and eventually move his factory to

4318 W. Chicago Ave.  His early success, BINGO BALL, was described as

being "overwhelmingly popular", the story being told of games thought to

be malfunctioning but actually too full of coins.


     In December 1931 Gottlieb released their famous BAFFLE BALL which was

a huge success and said to be "the first mass produced, mass marketed

pingame".  The game was then described and it was noted that 55,000 were

made, Dave having to subcontract some of them to other factories.  BAFFLE

BALL was then said to often "pay itself off" in a single weekend!


     Gottlieb was said to have produced thirteen more games in the next

two years, and in October 1933 to have moved to 2736 N. Paulina St.  The

company it was said was really flourishing.  Two important Gottlieb games

of 1932/33 were said to be SPEEDWAY and PLAYBOY, the first of their games

with a "playing card theme".  Another important Gottlieb game of the

1930's which was mentioned was 1935's CYCLONE with an "automatic ball


     For 1936, the addition of electric clocks to some of their games,

plus the use of a "3-dimensional" backglass, was described. It was then

remarked that by the end of the 1930's Gottlieb had "standardized"

playfield size on pingames.  The 1930's was then said to be "the first

'Golden Age' of pinball".


     The description of the 1940's Gottlieb achievements began with the

playing of some ominous music, probably representing the war, the narrator

mentioning "Pearl Harbor".  He then told of the plant being moved to

Kosner Ave., and of the wartime ban on pingame production, the Gottlieb

plant going into production of "parachute hardware" and other war related



     The invention of the flipper by Gottlieb designer Harry Mabs in 1947,

and it's first use on HUMPTY DUMPTY, was then described, the comment being

made that this "knocked the industry over backward".  Dave Gottlieb was

quoted as saying at the time that their new 'flipper bumpers' were "the

greatest invention in the history of pinball", and that no one in the

industry argued with that.


     It was then said that the games produced in the 10 years following

HUMPTY DUMPTY made up "the second 'Golden Age' of pinball", a period said

to be "dominated by Gottlieb games".


      The section on the 1950's began with the musical strains of the

"Bonanza" theme, the narrator then telling us that some of the finest

pingames were produced during that decade.  It was then pointed out that

these "skill games", with their flippers, "kicking rubbers", etc., were

quite different from the "gambling" pinballs (the "bingos") which were

produced in the early Fifties.


     The campaign waged by Dave Gottlieb and other amusement game

manufacturers during that period, to show that their games were in no way

associated with the gambling machines, was then described. One of Dave's

contributions to this effort was said to be his introduction of his famous

slogan, "Amusement Pinballs, as American as Baseball and Hot Dogs", which

he put on his backglasses starting in 1955.  The culmination of this

effort was said to be the Supreme Court's "Korpan Decision" in September

1958, ruling that  "bingos" were "gambling devices" and subject to Federal

statutes concerning such devices.


     Also in the 1950's, we were told, Gottlieb designer Wayne Neyens

began his illustrious designing career.  Two of his major innovations

during that decade were said to be the introduction of "multi-player"

games, starting with SUPER JUMBO in 1954, and the first use of the

"roto-target" on MAJESTIC in 1957. 


     The decade of the Sixties was introduced by the music of The Beatles'

"I Want To Hold Your Hand".  That decade was said to have introduced many

new pingame innovations such as: the switch to "long flippers"; the

introduction of the "run-off bonus" on GIGI in 1963; and the initial use

of the "vari-target" on AIRPORT in 1969.


     It was then said that this was an active period for the industry,

with the expansion of the foreign market for pins, even some going to the

Soviet Bloc.  Gottlieb also moved to a new plant in Northlake, Illinois in



     The musical introduction for the 1970's was the music from the movie

"Close Encounters".  A new plant was said to have opened in Bensenville in

October 1974.  The early Seventies was said to be a period of "continued

innovations in electro-mechanical games".  A list of "great Gottlieb

games" was given for that period including: SPIRIT OF '76, ROYAL FLUSH,



     Gottlieb's introduction into the "solid-state era" was said to have

started at the 1977 AMOA show where they introduced their first electronic

pingame CLEOPATRA.  A list of other great Gottlieb "digitals" was then


HUNK, and BUCK ROGERS, and their first "wide-body" pin GENIE.


     The purchase of the company by Columbia Pictures in the mid Seventies

was then mentioned.  Finally the narrator talked briefly about the

Gottlieb family, saying that Dave was not only in the pinball business,

but contributed significantly to the Gottlieb Memorial Hospital which his

family still supports.  Dave's other charitable and fund-raising

activities were then mentioned, including his large contribution in 1947

to the "Damon Runyon Cancer Fund".


     The video ended with the comments that "D. Gottlieb and Company has

traditionally been 'the first family in fun and games' for the past 52

years", and is continuing into the 1980's, "the new decade of the stars".




     At this point Expo Host Rob Berk asked Expo favorites Steve Kordek

and Harvey Heiss to come up on stage so that newcomers to the show could

meet them and hear a little about their numerous contributions to the

industry.  Rob said that Steve had a great deal to do with making the Expo

a reality, also reminding us that Steve had been in the industry since

1937 and was "still around". He then called Steve and Harvey "the driving

force behind Genco".


     Steve first remarked that he thought the Gottlieb video we had just

seen was "very very good", adding that their invention of the flipper was

a "fantastic thing for the industry".


     He then told us that Harvey had started in the industry way back in

1932 and later was his boss when he later started at Genco.  Steve went on

to say that in those early days Harvey designed some great mechanical

games, one of which, a 1934 baseball pingame, he himself owned.  He also

told us that he had learned a lot from Harvey.


     Steve next told of Harvey finally leaving Genco in 1954 at a time

when the company was "having problems", saying that at the time Harvey

called Genco "a sinking ship" and said he was "a 'rat' that was deserting

it".  Steve then said that he himself left Genco in 1958, going to Bally

for a short time and then to Williams where he still is today.  Steve then

called Harvey "a genius of his time", adding that he admired the real

pioneers of the industry like Harvey.

     Steve then told of his own first "solo" design, the first Genco

flipper game, TRIPLE ACTION.  He got his chance, he said, when Harvey was

hospitalized just at the time when they had to get a game ready for the

January 1948 trade show.


     Steve went on to say that all of the other manufacturers' games at

the show had either 4 or 6 flippers, and were more or less patterned after

HUMPTY DUMPTY; but his game had only 2, placed near the bottom of the

playfield as has virtually been the style ever since.  He added that the

artwork for the game was done by none other than pinball art great, Roy



     As Steve's final comment he remarked that he really liked the people

who attend the Expo each year.  At that point he turned the floor over to



     Harvey first said that "Steve said it all" when in came to his long

stint with Genco.  He then said that sometime after he left Genco he went

to work for a fellow named Bert Lane who had once been a Genco



     Harvey then told the story of how he happened to hook up with Bert.

While on vacation in Florida he called Bert who had moved there and

started a business making small Merry-Go-Rounds.  Bert took him to his

plant and offered him a job which he decided to accept.  Harvey ended by

saying that he still enjoys living in Florida, especially the weather

which he said was quite different from what he had been used to in





     Rob Berk introduced the next speaker, Tim Arnold, an Expo regular

since the first show, remarking about Tim's several home drawn "comic

books" which he had distributed at past Expos, and the toast he gave

people one year in the Exhibit Hall.  Tim was introduced as both an

operator and a pinball collector.


     Before Tim started his talk he passed out another "comic book"

dealing with his subject, "collectors as operators".  He then began by

remarking that up until then at the Expo seminars he had heard much being

said to and by the manufacturers, and the same with the players, but that

everybody seems to be ignoring the "link" between the two, the operator.


     Regarding operators, he said that many "really don't care" about the

games they operate, adding that the industry should educate them regarding

the proper care and maintenance of their machines.  He went on to say that

it would be a good idea if some collectors would become operators, putting

some of their games "on location" and making some money from them. 


     Tim then said that most collectors regard their games as "precious

art" but that they are really "commercial equipment", adding that the

machines are "still strong" and that nothing would happen to them if they

are put in a "good location".


     He continued by remarking that collectors would make good operators

because they really care about their machines, know the games, and know

how to fix them and keep them up, unlike many operators who don't really

like pins.  Most operators, Tim said, use pins as a "sideline" to other

coin machines they operate, operating them for a short time until they are

"run down", then selling them off.


     A smart collector, Tim continued, could buy some of these games, fix

them up, and put them back on location.  He then said that many players

will play these older games if properly maintained, and the collector

could get back the money he spends on them this way, resulting in him

eventually getting the games "for free"


     Tim next told us that you must first "sell" the location on why they

should have a game.  He cautioned us not to take less than a 50/50 split

with the location as you, not him, have the expenses connected with the

game, adding that you should buy spare parts and provide a good quality

lock.  Before you start to operate a game, he said, you should clean and

properly level it.


     Tim then told us that we should have the proper tools to service the

games.  He also reminded us that many localities require "permits", etc.,

and that you should check this out.


     Tim next talked about picking good locations.  He said these, in his

opinion, included such places as comic book stores, pizza houses, auto

repair centers, flea markets, and high class pool halls.  Poor locations

were said to be any "unattended" location such as apartment laundry rooms,

teen centers, or fraternity houses, unless you make them responsible for

any damages.  He ended by saying that operating pins is not hard to do and

can make you some money.


     Tim then asked for questions.  When asked if a "workshop" on this

subject might be provided at a future Expo, Tim answered that it was

possible.  He then gave a few tips on "play management".  He said that you

should know what your "intake/payout ratio" is for each game, saying 15 to

30 percent "payback" to players is reasonable, and that you should adjust

your replay payouts for each game accordingly.


     It was then asked if you could have a problem competing with a big

operator?  Tim answered that you should not use somebody else's location,

saying that there are enough "untapped" locations to be found.  A question

was then asked about operating videos versus pins.  Tim said that he

started with pins, then when videos came in he took the money and "laughed

all the way to the bank".  He then suggested that you put pins in

locations where another operator has videos and doesn't want to mess with



     When asked if he used "contracts" with his locations, Tim replied

that "it wasn't a good idea".  Tim was then asked if people would play

older games if they were put on location, and especially about somebody

opening a "50's Arcade".  He answered that running an arcade was an

"expensive proposition", saying it was better to put old games in someone

else's location such as a "Fifties Diner".  He then added that in that

case you should try to promote "nostalgia" by putting a sign on the game

describing it's history, designer, artist, etc.

     At that point Tim told us not to charge less than a Quarter a game

even on old machines.  An operator in the audience then said that he had a

section of old games in an arcade set for Dime play.


     When he was asked if a Baskin-Robbins ice cream store would be a good

location, Tim answered that that franchise did not allow games, adding

that you should not try any of the major "fast food" franchises.  When

asked if older games should be set for 3 or 5 ball play, Tim replied that

some games were better for 3 ball play, adding that most players today

only expect 3 balls.


     Tim was then asked how much time it would take to get into that type

of business?  He replied that if you "start small" it shouldn't take much

time to get going.  He then commented that you should call your locations

regularly to see how things are going. When asked about "rotation" of

games between locations, Tim replied that you should leave a game in a

location until the income drops off, and then move it to another location.


     The final question asked was if it was more difficult to keep up

solid-state games over electro-mechanicals?  Tim replied that if you have

trouble locating parts for a digital pin you can always tell the location

that "you have to send to Japan for parts".  Tim ended his presentation

with the statement "we need better operators"!




     Next up on the Expo program was COIN SLOT's Dick Bueschel with

another interesting talk dubbed "Is Pinball Old At 60?".  Dick began by

describing today's senior citizens and their various "youthful"

activities.  He then said that it could be asked of the 60 year old game

of pinball, "is it old at 60?"  Dick said he was going to try to answer

that question by telling us something about "where it has been?", "where

it is going?", "what has been tried?", and "what is true?", and to see if

the ideas of the past which worked well then still work well today. 


     Dick then said that pinball was "born in stress, and immediately made

the world a better place in which to live", by "controlling a player's

mind and wiping out the trials and tribulations of reality".  He then told

how playing pinball "demands your full attention", comparing this to other

games in which the player gets short periods of "rest" during play.


     Dick then made the point that describing the play of early games also

describes in many ways the games of the present and probably the future.

Dick then reiterated a comment made earlier by Ed Adlum of Replay, that

pinball is "the only pure invention of the coin machine industry", adding

that bagatelle "led the way", but the addition of ball manipulating

features and electricity put it into "the realm of new invention".  This,

he said, in this country means patents.


     Dick then asked "is there a past that relates to the present?"  He

answered "yes", citing Harry Mabs' invention of the flipper in 1947, and

then showing us a 1932 patent for a game with mechanical flipper-like

devices which became Hercules Novelty's DOUBLE SHUFFLE.  He continued this

line by describing a similar game called SHUFFLE BALL by Western

Manufacturing Co. with it's "flippers" operated by rotating shafts jutting

from the cabinet.


     Dick then remarked that these two games might have been regarded as

"an aberration of history" except for the fact that the flipper idea was

even improved upon in the Thirties, showing a patent by a California

designer, Joe Walker, for a game having one "flipper" at the top right to

"catch" the ball and another mounted vertically in the center of the



     Dick next showed an amusing drawing made in 1935 by none other than

future flipper designer Harry Mabs and a fellow Bally designer at the

time, Ralph Nuefield.  The drawing showed a "payout" game which paid out

in toilet paper, their "advertisement" stating "you can clean up with our

new automatic payout".


     Jumping then to Mabs' most famous invention in 1947, Dick showed the

ad for HUMPTY DUMPTY, quoting it's statement "the only thing new on the

horizon; the greatest innovation in the history of pingames!".  He then

compared Mabs' original flipper with the recent announcement by Gary Stern

of Data East Pinball of their new "solid-state flipper".  Dick followed

that by talking of Alvin Gottlieb's disclosure of his new flipper

innovation announced to us only the previous day.


     Alvin's new game idea, using his new device, led Dick to talk of

"game features, and the sizzle that sells the play".  He then told us of

what he referred to as "the 'secret' game of PYRAMID PEG", a game made in

1932 by an Ohio outfit called Waddell Co., and "secret" because it was

never advertised.  He then quoted from a letter from that company saying

their game had "three essential qualities of a successful game:

competition, skill, and luck".


     Remarking that "pinball is a game of ideas; marketing ideas, as well

as game ideas", Dick then told of an early "tie-in game", Chicago Coin's

MONOPOLEE from 1936.  Dick then quoted from a trade magazine story about

that game which stated that it had a "simple playfield", but had the

"advantage of the great nationwide craze that is sweeping the country"

(referring to the game of MONOPOLY, of course), which they said would

cause people to play it who normally would not play a pingame.  That

article then described some of the game's features and an ad campaign

which used window posters showing the backglass, an idea Dick likened to

Data East's current promotion of it's SIMPSONS pin.


     At that point Dick then described another idea from the past that is

reappearing today - the pinball tournament.  He then described a three day

event which occurred in Milwaukee in 1935.  He told of this attracting a

great deal of press, telling of a feature article on it in the Milwaukee

Journal.  The article included a "glossary of terms" used by the players

containing such terms as: Squinch, Phutz, Whimp, Glish, Ach-Emil,

Ach-Tootsie, and Aw-Nertz, with the definitions of each.


     Dick then summed up by asking: how different is the game and it's

marketing today?  He said that "new features still drive the game", "the

flipper is just coming into it's own (and looks like it's starting a whole

new future"), and "the IFPA promises to bring back 'former glories' and

exceed the past".  He then quoted Roger Sharpe of Williams' statement that

in the future "pinball is not going to stay in place, it has to move on".



     In answer to his original question, Dick contended that "yes, pinball

is a senior citizen", but that it is "a healthy and active one".  He then

said that "pinball's heros of the past have left a legacy that's tough to

meet or beat, except it's happening every day!"  He then quoted the old

industry adage, which he said still holds true, that "a company's 'best

game' will always be their next one".  Finally he commented, "hell,

pinball's just a kid; we're only getting started!".


     Dick next asked for questions.  He was first asked when his new book,

Pinball II, would be out?  He answered that it was about half written, and

would probably be out in about two years, following two other books which

he is currently working on.  When later asked what period the "history

section" of that book would cover, he replied it would be from 1931-34,

before the first pingame using electricity was introduced.  He then

related a brief account of a conversation he had with Dave Rockola, where

he told how he got the idea for his marvelous mechanical pin, JIGSAW.


     He was also asked about early pingames in Europe?  Dick replied "that

is a very good question".  He then told of a lady in Germany who was

curator of a coin machine museum and how, in return for some help he had

given her, she had given Dick copies of ads from a German trade magazine

for the period 1931 through 1957.  He said these revealed that in the

early Thirties they used mostly American games, later copied our games,

and then beginning about 1936 started producing 7 or 8 games a year of

their own design.


     During the war, he went on, they even made "revamps", including one

with a "bomb London" theme.  Dick then said that the French did similar

things, some of their games being "quite advanced", with England mostly

importing games from the U.S. and even Germany before the war.


     When asked about pingame values in "price guides", and what he

thought would happen to game values in the future, Dick responded by

saying that the number of collectors has been increasing in the past few

years, the value of pingames probably tripling in the last two years.  He

then added that we have yet to see where pin prices are going.


     Finally, Dick was asked if "bingos" were collected by many

collectors?  He said they were "getting hot", also saying that Mark

Fellman is currently trying to revive bingo operation in Nevada.  He then

told us that he hears from many bingo collectors and operators, and told

of the interview with chief Bally bingo designer Don Hooker at the last

Expo.  Finally, he remarked "it's hot, but not at the Expos".




     Rob introduced the next speaker, big-time East Coast coin machine

operator Frank "the Crank" Seninsky to give a presentation on pingame

maintenance.  Frank began by saying that he was excited to be at the Expo

and liked the excitement of the people who attended.  He then said he

started operating pins while in college with one game, NORTH STAR, in a

fraternity house; a game he paid $25 for and made $100 from in the first

week.  By the time he got his engineering degree, he said, he was

operating 500 to 600 pins.  After graduating he decided to make that his

career, now operating in 11 states in the East.


     Frank then told us that he also ran tournaments while in college, and

in later years did some for members of Congress and their staffs.  Again

remarking about the Expo attendees, he said that he thought the enthusiasm

in the room was "overwhelming".  Frank then added that "he thought the

game needs more women players".


     Getting back to his business, Frank told us that today it cost about

$25 per week to service each machine, and therefore each game has to make

at least $50 a week to show a profit.  He then said that he would gladly

invite anyone in the room who lived in the East to put pingames in one of

his locations.


     Regarding his "moniker", Frank told us that he was once allowed to

write articles for PLAYMETER saying what he thought was wrong in the games

business.  The article he said was first called "Frank's Ranks", and then

"Frank's Cranks", hence his nickname.  He then told of the booklet he did

for Bally called "The Care and Feeding of Your Pinball Machine", done in a

"cartoon style", many pages of which he was using in the slides for his



     Frank began his slide presentation by remarking that he has always

been a "fanatic" when it came to the insides of his games. When he first

got a game, he went on, he would initially clean all the "garbage" out of

the bottom of the cabinet, then sealing the bottom so nothing could fall

to the floor.  Later, he said, if he ever found anything on the bottom he

would know it fell from the mechanism and check to see where it came from.


     He also said he checked, cleaned, and adjusted for "override" ALL

relay points, operating each relay "by hand".  He also mentioned that

sometimes he adjusted relay points with his fingers (I thought I was the

only one who did that!).  He also told us that he operated all plungers by

hand to check their movement.  Regarding the small "ratchet relays" used

in some later model electro-mechanicals, he told us they often cause

trouble and gave some service hints regarding them.


     Frank then recommended using a "test light" (a technique I myself

strongly endorse) and told how it could be used to quickly check out many

game circuits.  He then showed the special "point bender" tool used to

adjust relay contacts.


     He then began discussing schematics, displaying a drawing for

Gottlieb's 1976 pin BUCCANEER, and pointing out where the "score motor"

switch stacks were illustrated.  He then remarked that sometime someone

places a switch in the wrong "slot", resulting in weird happenings in a

game the cause of which are often difficult to trace.  Frank then told a

story of how he once "redesigned" the motor switch set-up for Gottlieb

games, remarking that right after that solid-state games came in, and all

his work ended up being in vain.


     Turning back to operating for a minute, Frank told us that he thought

people in their Forties and Fifties would play older games if put on

location, adding that he likes to play "Skee Ball" when he visits an

arcade.  He then told us that he would allow a collector to put a section

of "old games" in any of his arcades.


     At that point Frank began giving a list of things he thought should

be done to properly "operate" a pingame.  The first items he listed

included:  properly setting the "payout percentages"; tightening the leg

bolts, taking care when removing the top glass (he described the proper

method); and properly "leveling" the game (describing how he used the wall

of the room as a guide).


     Frank next discussed how to adjust the "tilts", adding that he

thought the "roll tilt", which he said some manufacturers are removing,

should be replaced by the operators.  Regarding the shooter plunger, he

said it should be adjusted so that it hits the center of the ball and also

should be lubricated.  He next suggested pounding on the playfield with

your hand as a good method to test for badly adjusted playfield contacts.


     Frank then told us how to select the proper size for rubber rings,

saying that their "unstretched" diameter should cover approximately 50

percent of the area they are to go around.  He then remarked that they

should be stretched by hand before installing, and could be "rotated" when

beginning to wear on one side.


     When someone from the audience asked about waxing playfields, Frank

said he sometimes did that on late 1970's games but that it often made the

game play "too fast".  He then added that today's playfields are generally

covered with Mylar and that protects them sufficiently.


     At that point Frank started talking about service personnel. He first

remarked that most people don't know that there are jobs available in the

coin machine business.  He then said that he often goes to "tech schools"

and tells the students about the coin machine industry, telling them that

he can give them a chance to "diversify" and learn various skills, plus

actually "learn a business". 


     Turning back to the care of games, Frank told us that the "playfield

plastics" should have some "play" in them because if not, heat could cause

them to bend or crack.  He then told us to carefully check all "wire

bundles" for cuts, especially in places where the cables bend.


     Regarding flippers Frank said he was a "flipper fanatic".  He

suggested that a file be used to "square off" plungers, and that a "bottle

brush" could be used to clean coil sleeves.  He then reminded us to

carefully check coil stops for excessive wear.  Tools which he said were

quite useful were a "right-angle ratchet screwdriver" and a "spring



     Following a brief description of problems associated with diodes and

capacitors in solid-state pins, Frank talked about filing relay contact

points in electro-mechanicals.  If a point is severely damaged, he told

us, you can replace it with a new one which can be pressed on using "vice

grip" pliers.


     Getting into operating pins for a moment again, Frank talked about

"percentaging".  He began by saying that the operator is actually "selling

time" to the player.  He then told us that the manufacturers say that a

game's "payout percentage" should be calculated by dividing "games won" by

"total plays", but that you should really divide by "total games paid for"

to get a truer percentage.


     Frank's maintenance tips then continued, him telling us that a good

technique for narrowing down the location of a "short circuit" in a game

is what he called "fuse lifting".  This, he said, consisted of removing

fuses in a game, one by one, in order to determine in which section of the

game the short exists.  (It should be noted that this techniques applies

mainly to solid-state games, as electro-mechanicals usually don't have

many separately fused circuits.)


     He then told us of a "pinball checklist" he devised for use when a

game is first being checked out before being put on location.  Frank told

us it included such items as cleaning, leveling, checking for loose wires,

etc..  He ended his talk by telling how to adjust "eject holes" by

slightly bending the tip that makes contact with the ball to change the

direction in which the ball is sent.


     When Frank then asked for questions from the audience only two were

asked.  He was first asked if he ever had any requests to put games in

"nostalgia restaurants"?  He replied that he sometimes got such requests,

but that there was not enough money in it to make it practical for his



     Finally, Frank was asked what he thought of Tim Arnold's list of

possible locations given in his previous talk?  Frank said Tim's list was

pretty good, but also said that a doctor or dentist's office might be good

if the games were set for "free play" and you charged the doctor "rent"

for them.  He also suggested renting games for parties, or any other

location "where there are people".




     Rob Berk next introduced Wayne Morgan from Canada to continue

discussing the ideas he brought up the previous day (during the panel

discussion) on how to "promote" pinball. 


     Wayne said he had some important ideas and began by asking the

question: why hasn't pinball "advanced" in the studies of American

"popular culture"?  He then told us of his traveling pinball exhibition,

"Tilt", which he participated in in 1974/75, and the newsletter of the

same name he published for awhile afterward.


     Wayne then said that not too long after that there was a "large

explosion of interest" in pinball, including several books on the subject

being published.  But, he continued, this did not "carry on", but "peaked"

and then "settled back".


     In trying to answer his original question, Wayne listed what he

thought were the differences between pinball collecting and other

collecting hobbies.  His list of differences included: (1) no "family

wide" acceptance; (2) no wide-spread "value escalation" (as with stamps,

coins, etc.); (3) no discernable "history of collecting" (not in museums,

etc.); (4) no "famous" collectors; and (5) games not "easy to collect".


     Wayne went on to say that many other collectables have organizations

to lobby, advocate, etc., and many also have "media attention" to help

them.  The other important thing that Wayne said he believed many other

collectables had was an interest in them from colleges and universities



     Wayne then began giving his suggestions as to what could be done to

increase the public's interest in pinball.  He first suggested a "major

touring exhibition", similar to his previous "Tilt", which he said should

result in pinball getting "a secure place in history".


     Wayne next told of his ideas, which were already beginning to be

implemented, to obtain the interest of "academia".  He told of the

American Popular Culture Association meeting held in Toronto, telling us

that he had been given the "pinball and bagatelle chair".  Wayne then told

us that Steve Young, Gordon Hasse, and himself presented papers at a

recent meeting on "game design and technology", "50's pinball art", and



     Wayne next remarked that the development of pingames and electric

guitars were somewhat similar.  He then talked of references today to

pinball in cartoons, music, etc..  When it came to colleges and

universities, Wayne suggested that one might get an interest in pinball

going in such Departments as Popular Culture (of course!), Sociology,

Communications, American Studies, and Leisure Studies.


     Regarding getting pinball coverage from the "media", Wayne first made

the comment that the proposed IFPA tournaments "couldn't hurt", but that

he personally doubted they would help much either.  He then told us that

the American Popular Culture meeting got some coverage on Canadian TV, and

also that he himself was interviewed on the Canadian equivalent of our



     Regarding "organizations", Wayne said that he believed that we need a

"traditional non-profit organization" to lobby, advocate, inform, and to

"focus interest on pins".  His idea, he continued, was for that

organization to focus on such areas as research, preservation, collecting,

and education, also saying he thought it could promote pinball through

conferences, publications, and a "speaker's bureau".


     Wayne then said a little about the "structure" he thought the

organization should have, saying it should be structured somewhat similar

to the American Popular Culture Association.  He then emphasized that our

people could have the opportunity to speak at many conferences.  Wayne

also remarked that pinball should get into museums such as children's,

history, and science.


     In conclusion, Wayne said that he thought that pinball needed a "long

term validation in American popular culture", a non-profit organization,

more interest from "academia", and a "traveling exhibition" focusing on

it's history.


     Wayne then asked if we had any questions?  Dick Bueschel began by

asking what we need to do to get the thing going?  Wayne replied that two

things have already been started, their participation in popular culture

meetings and the beginning of arrangements for a "traveling exhibition".

He then added that he and fellow Canadian collectors should "get



     The question was then asked how other people could get involved in

Popular Culture endeavors?  Wayne replied that he could help interested

people by obtaining copies of newsletters on Popular Culture for them.


     Finally, someone remarked that juke boxes appeared to not have any

organizations, etc., yet seemed to get more public recognition than pins.

Wayne answered that jukes "carry the design of their day", looking like

the period in which they were made, while most pins are "dumb looking"

unless you really look close.  He then added that jukes also play music

which is a very "emotional" thing to most people while pins just "make

noise".  Dick Bueschel then added that Rowe-AMI has a jukebox museum but

pinball has none.




     When announcing the next speaker, Fred Young, Rob Berk referred to

him as "a special person".  He then said that Fred had appeared on TV and

was said to have "999 voices", and that he was now doing some voice

imitations for Data East pinballs.


     Fred began by telling us that he had done voice imitations and acting

for the past eleven years, but had just started doing voices for pinballs.

He then talked in a series of voices to show us what he could do,

including the "Pillsbury Doughboy" which he said he did on commercials for

about 6 months.


     Fred next said that when he was asked to do a pinball, something

which he had never done before, they told him they wanted him to do "King

Kong", so he rented the movie and studied the voice.  He then said he went

to the recording studio where he was met by Joe Kaminkow from Data East

for whom he played one of his audition tapes.  As a result Data East

contracted him to do several games.


     He then began telling about doing voices for their BACK TO THE FUTURE

pinball, saying he did both Christopher LLoyd and Michael J. Fox.  He then

told us that he could not talk about other games he had done because they

were not yet in production.  He next commented that Steven Speilberg owned



     Fred then said that when he was asked to come to the Expo he agreed

because he had never been to that type of event before.  He then told us

that he had played pinball as a kid.  Fred then said that he had been

doing voice imitations since High School, telling about one time when he

imitated the Assistant Principal on the school intercom.


     After telling us that he also did voices for "educational devices",

like "Speak and Spell", he said he is still recording for Data East.  Fred

told us that he was usually given a script of about 100 lines, his voices

were then recorded, and finally "digitized" to go into a chip in the game.

He then remarked that the new pins are "unbelievable".


     Finally Fred told us that he practices about 3 hours a day.  He then

mentioned that he did the voice of Rod Serling for Toyota commercials.


     At that point Fred asked for questions.  When asked if he ever had

threats of being sued by the people he imitated, he replied that that

problem was usually avoided by using a "disclaimer" such as "celebrity

voice impersonated".


     Fred was next asked if imitating voices was a lot of work?  He

replied that how hard it was depended a lot on the particular voice, which

he said he had to "hear in his head".  He continued by saying that it took

a lot of practice after listening to a recording of the actual voice.

When asked if he could do the voices for a "Star Wars" pingame if one were

produced, Fred replied "yes, except maybe for some of the female



      He was next asked if it was hard to teach someone else to do

imitations?  Fred answered that it would be difficult, adding that it's

hard to tell someone how.  When finally asked how many years he had been

doing it, Fred replied "33 years, I started at age 7". Also throughout his

talk Fred did many excellent imitations for us.  He was indeed a very

"special person" and a talented individual.




     Rob then introduced the final Expo speaker (except for the banquet)

Data East pinball artist Kevin O'Connor who did the artwork for their

latest pin, THE SIMPSONS.  Kevin began by saying that he would give us a

"behind the scenes" look at what went into producing art for the game.


     He then told us that Matt Groening, creator of "The Simpson's" TV

show, started out as a cartoonist and had a very "simplistic" style or

art.  Kevin then said that his style was different from Matt's and that he

had to do a lot of "adjusting". He also told us that he was given a "style

book" for "The Simpson's", which also gave information on the "family" and

their "personalities", adding that Matt was very particular that his style

be copied in the game's art. 


     Kevin then told of going to Hollywood to visit the people at Fox

Studios when first starting the project.  He said that throughout the job

he submitted various sketches to Fox and that Matt Groening made "subtle

corrections" to them.  He then said they showed the Fox people the

finished backglass and playfield for final approval.  As an aside, Kevin

said that there were more "broken" backglasses on SIMPSONS than on any

game in the company's history, implying that operators were keeping

backglasses for themselves.


     Someone from the audience then asked Kevin how long it took him to do

the art?  He replied that it took about 5 months, including several trips

to Los Angeles, plus a lot of "FAXing" of sketches.  Kevin was then asked

if that had been one of his more difficult projects?  He replied

"probably, since this is not my style".

     We were next told that he was working on the art for a future

"Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" pinball the company was planning to

produce, saying that Paul Faris was doing the backglass but that he was

"doing everything else".


     Kevin had on display examples of various stages of the artwork

development, including the first sketch of the playfield and a board

containing various other sketches.  He also told us that Matt Groening was

"very excited about the project".  Kevin then said one of the difficult

things he had to learn was how to draw each of the characters in different



      After his talk was over Kevin stayed for awhile, talking with people

and also showing us samples of the various "color separations" used in

manufacturing the backglass.




     One of the high points of every Expo is always the Saturday night

banquet.  As in the past, the banquet was preceded by a "cocktail hour"

where people usually "socialize", but this year that was a little hard to

do due to the rather loud music that was continuously being played.  After

that, we were seated and served an unusually good dinner for a banquet,

after which we settled back in our chairs for the after dinner



     Prior to the talk by the featured guest speaker, two presentations

were made to other people who had contributed greatly to pinball design,

etc., in the past two decades.


     Steve Kordek of Williams first got up to honor long-time Williams

designer Barry Oursler.  He began by saying that Barry started with the

company in 1970 and was designing his own games by 1978, his first being

PHOENIX.  Steve then proceeded to list his other designs which included a

total of 24 games in 12 years. At that point Steve introduced Williams

Vice President of Marketing Joe Dillon who then gave some words of praise

for Barry. Barry then came up and thanked everybody.  Finally Rob Berk

presented Barry with his first game, PHOENIX.


     At this point Rob Berk said there was another presentation to be made

and introduced Joe Kaminkow of Data East Pinball.  Joe told us that along

with the designers, artists and others who work on each game, the "unsung

hero", responsible for much of the "light and sound", etc., was the

"software designer".  He then said that one of the best was Larry DeMar of

Williams, then giving a list of the many games he had worked on.


     Joe then brought Joe Dillon back up and he also praised Larry's work.

Larry then came up and thanked everyone, also saying that this show was

"more fun" than any of the other shows he attends, then giving special

thanks to the players for playing his games.  After that Larry was

presented with his first game, SCORPION.


     At that point Rob Berk got up and introduced the people sitting with

him at the speakers table including his mother, Expo Exhibit Chairman Mike

Pacak, and our guest speaker Rufus King.  He then introduced Alvin

Gottlieb who got up to tell us a little about Rufus.


     Alvin first thanked Rob Berk for putting on such fine Expos, which of

course drew a round of applause.  He then told of the pingame industry

having problems awhile back when "amusement pins" encountered legal

problems because of the use of other pingames for gambling.  He then

mentioned the industry being split into "two camps", with the amusement

game manufacturers forming their own trade association.  Alvin then said

that their legal counsel enlisted help from Yale Law School educated Rufus

King who was very familiar with legal matters concerning gambling due to

his work with the Kefauver Crime Investigations of the U.S. Senate.


     Alvin then introduced Rufus who began his talk.  (It should be noted

that several times during his speech Rufus remarked that he had been asked

to try and cut his talk short, at one time saying that he had prepared a

one hour talk which he was trying to cut to 20 minutes.  In my opinion,

asking him to do this was a mistake and seemed to cause him some



     Rufus began with an anecdote regarding a "boring speaker" and what

the host did to "preempt" that talk.  He then remarked that probably the

audience "collectively" knew more about his subject that he did, but that

many of us individually probably did not know it all.  He then said that

he would give us a "quick view" of problems with "amusement pins" versus

"gambling pins" in the past.


     Rufus then told of the differences between "vending" and "gambling"

devices.  He said that vending machines, which had been around for a long

time, had two basic functions connected with their operation: taking in a

"payment", and delivering a product or service.  Rufus then commented that

the early gambling machines, introduced by Fey and Mills around the Turn

of the Century, had three functions: taking in a "stake", applying the

element of "chance", and controlling a "payout".


     He next gave us a "whirlwind review" of gambling.  Rufus said that

gambling existed for centuries, and was generally considered legal until

sometime in the Nineteenth Century, saying that lotteries in Colonial

America were used to raise funds for the Revolution and other charitable



     Rufus then told us that problems with gambling began to occur just

prior to the Civil War due to fraudulent lotteries, crooked "riverboat

gambling", and also some crooked horse races.  It was because of this kind

of thing, he went on, that laws against gambling began to appear.


     So by the turn of the Twentieth Century, Rufus told us, gambling in

this country was largely illegal, and the new slot machines began a

"running fight" with the law.  In order to try and get around the law, the

manufacturers of such machines tried to "disguise" one or more of the

three "basic functions" of gambling machines Rufus said.


     To get around a coin being inserted, some machines did not require a

coin to operate them, the "establishment man" collecting the fee.  To

disguise the "chance" function, some machines had small pinball games

which supposedly required "skill", and still others "told" the player what

he would receive when the next coin was deposited. 


     To try and hide "cash payouts", such things as tickets or tokens were

sometimes dispensed in lieu of cash.  Rufus even mentioned the "mint

vendors" used on some machines, the manufacturers saying these were

actually "vending machines".  He then remarked that when the law would

"crack down" on one location they would be moved somewhere else.


     Rufus then started talking about the development of pingames from the

Nineteenth Century game of Bagatelle.  He said in the early 1930's

counter-top pingames became very popular, as well as other coin machines,

such as "grip testers" and "music machines", all of which he said "vended

all kinds of amusement".


     Rufus then said that in the early Thirties, when pingames started to

become so popular, the slot machine people were "beginning to run out of

ideas" for ways to get around restrictive laws.  At that time, he

continued, pinball manufacturers started incorporating "free game"

features in their games.  He then told of the introduction of the "1-ball"

gambling pinballs, which he said had "fast play", comparing them to the

"amusement" pingames which, he then remarked, emphasized "the

entertainment value of the playfield".


     Rufus then told us that during the war no new games were made, but

after the war the introduction of flippers transformed the pingame into "a

stable popular entertainment device".  He then told of the advent of the

"bingo" gambling pins with their "multiple coin", "advancing odds", and

other features, saying these were again "fast play gambling devices".

These games, he continued, "put the gamblers back in business".


     He next told us that the Government levied a Federal Tax of $250 per

game on "gambling devices", but only $10 for "amusement games".  But,

Rufus said, the wording of the tax law was "ambiguous" when it came to the

"bingos", these games, he said, having "spread across the country" by the

mid 1950's.


     Rufus then told of the "Korpan case" in the Supreme Court which he

said was a "test case" to see if "bingos" fell under the $250 gambling

machine tax.  He told of Alvin Gottlieb helping him to prepare a "brief"

for the court by going through old pingame advertising using pictures and

claims from ads to try and show that pingames, starting in the mid 1930's,

had divided into "two branches", "gambling" and "amusement".


     This brief, Rufus said, was instrumental in winning the case, which

he said started a "turn around" in their fight against the "bingo", the

IRS then starting to "crack down" and enforce the $250 tax on these



     Rufus then told us that "hostility" against illegal gambling reached

a "crescendo" during the period in the 1950's of the Senate's "Kefauver

investigation" of organized crime.  He then remarked that former

bootleggers became the "gangsters" who were heavy into gambling in later



     Getting back to "bingos", he said they were really "dominant" in the

Fifties, adding that wherever such illegal gambling was "tolerated" there

was no chance for "amusement flipper games".  Rufus then went on to say

that when local authorities would "crack down" on bingos, and an area

would become "closed" to them, that would almost always "come off" onto

amusement games as well, such that they could not be operated there



     Rufus then talked briefly about the "split" in the coin machine

industry which occurred in the 1950's.  He said the "gambling"

manufacturers, led by Bally, went off in one direction and the "amusement"

manufacturers, led by Harry Williams and David Gottlieb, went the other

way, forming their own trade association to try to get bingos outlawed.


     After they won the Korpan decision things began to "settle back" he

said.  Rufus then told of the development of the "Add-A-Ball" game by

Gottlieb which gave no "replays", but said it sometimes had trouble

because it had only one ball and some laws prohibited "one-ball games".


     Rufus then told of working to get different bills through   Congress

to help the amusement game industry.  One such bill, he told us, was

passed by Congress and sent to then President Kennedy for signature in

October 1962.  Rufus said they wondered why it took so long for the

President to sign it, later discovering that he had been very busy with

the "Cuban Missile Crisis".  He also mentioned other legislative problems

in Illinois which he worked on.


     Finally Rufus told about when he was demonstrating the difference

between "bingos" and "amusement" pins to the Senate.  He said that once

when he was about to show how a bingo "paid off" with a large number of

replays, one of the Bally people snuck behind the game and "tilted" it,

spoiling his demonstration.  Rufus then ended his talk with two amusing



     After Rufus's talk Alvin Gottlieb once more got up and thanked him,

praising his efforts on behalf of the amusement pinball industry.


     At that point Rob Berk got up and asked how many were "first timers",

revealing quite a few "new faces".  He then introduced all the foreign

visitors from Japan, Holland, England, Canada and New Zealand.  After that

Rob awarded two plaques for the "best exhibit" to Steve Engle and his wife

for their innovative Mayfair Amusements booth.  He next made some

presentations to his "helpers" at the Expos. 


      At that point Rob called a fellow named Jim Schelberg up on stage to

make a special presentation.  Jim was the proud owner of the beautifully

restored Genco TRIPLE ACTION (Genco's first flipper game) which we all had

seen and played in the Exhibit Hall.  Jim then asked Steve Kordek, the

game's designer, to come up.  Jim said he couldn't give Steve the actual

game, but presented him with a "plaque" which was actually a large photo

collage of pictures and original advertising matter for Steve's first



     Steve thanked Jim and then reiterated the story of how he came to

design the game which he had told us about in his earlier talk.  Steve

again praised Harry Mabs' invention of the flipper and how it was

responsible for pinball being what it is today.


     At that point Rob Berk came back up and presented Steve with a plaque

honoring him for his seven decades in the pinball business.  Steve thanked

Rob and then praised what he called the "young kids"; the designers,

artists, software people, etc., who he said were responsible for keeping

pinball alive today!


     Rob Berk then began thanking others who had contributed to the Expo,

including Donal Murphey for bringing some rare old games for Exhibit Hall

visitors to play, and Joe Kaminkow and Gary Stern for letting us tour

their Data East Pinball plant.  Gary Stern then made a few brief remarks

saying how proud he was of his people's accomplishments during the four

years Data East Pinball had been in business.


     At that point Rob began giving the results of this year's "Flip-Out"

pinball tournament.  The First Prize of a new SIMPSONS pinball machine

went to Californian Rick Stedda, with Second Place going to John Pierce.

First Place for the "manufacturers division" went to Alvin Gottlieb's son,

Michael, keeping up the family tradition of "pinball excellence", with

Second Place going to Williams' Larry DeMar.  It was then announced that

in a "play-off" between Rick and Michael the latter won, Michael then

being crowned "Pinball Wizard" by Rob Berk's mother.


     The "door prize" was then drawn, a new Gottlieb TITLE FIGHT being

given to the lucky winner!  The raffle prize was next, a new Bally/Midway

DR. DUDE machine being won by one of the seminar speakers Tim Arnold.

This was not too surprising, however, Tim having won several raffles at

past Expos, due to his purchase of a large percentage of the tickets.

After that Rob Berk thanked the manufacturers for donating these fine



     Rob then presented a plaque to Rufus King for being the guest

speaker.  He then presented his Exhibit Chairman, Mike Pacak, with two

items; a collage of pictures of Chicago's famed Riverview Park amusement

park (Mike is an amusement park "junkie") and a fine clock.  Rob then

informed us that Pinball Expo '91 had already been scheduled for October

25-27, 1991.


      The "finale" of the banquet was the appearance of a fine "stand up

comic", Mr. Ted Lyde.  Ted presented a great show, the highlight of which

was a simulation of a TV game show using members of the audience,

including a couple executives of the pinball companies, as "contestants".

That ended another excellent Expo banquet.  When it was over many went to

the Exhibit Hall for a "late night session".




     The Exhibit Hall, as it always has been in the past, was the central

place for Expo visitors to congregate during the times it was open.  And,

as I mentioned at the start of this article, it was opened for a "preview"

the night before the show if you were willing to pay the extra fee.  It

was a place to shop for a game, parts, or literature, and also a place to

play a variety of games, both new and old.


     Also as in the past, there were some games that were not for sale,

but brought to the show for us to view and play.  There were some nice

classic games brought by Donal Murphey, a few more provided by Exhibit

Chairman Mike Pacak (including a rare 1952 Williams horseracing game,

HORSEFEATHERS, in a "console style" cabinet), and the beautifully restored

Genco TRIPLE ACTION mentioned earlier, provided by Jim Schelberg.


     If you were in the market for a pinball there was also a large

variety for sale.  One dealer had some nice looking "electro-mechanicals"

from the 1970's selling for very reasonable prices.  If you wanted rarer

games, from the 1930's or a little later, there were some of these

available from two or three dealers.  One dealer even had two rare later

games, electro-mechanical versions of games which were primarily issued as

"solid-state" games.  Also, on the second day, dealer Pat Hamlett brought

in a rare Keeney "bingo", LITE-A-LINE from 1952.


     As far as current games were concerned, Williams was the only

manufacturer this year to make a real effort to display their latest

wares.  Data East Pinball did have their latest hit THE SIMPSONS there,

but only as the "Flip-Out" tournament "qualifying game".  If you wanted to

watch that game being played you could watch the tournament competitors

playing it for hours!  


     Premier did have one of their Gottlieb TITLE FIGHT games there, and

designer Jon Norris has his "whitewood" prototype of his latest design,

VEGAS, which he used during his demonstration lecture, and was available

in the hall for anyone to play that wanted to.


      Mike Pacak, as usual, had a good selection of pinball advertising

brochures for sale and viewing.  He also brought part of his rare set of

bound BILLBOARD magazines, allowing myself, and a few other "historians",

a chance to peruse them if we were very very careful!  Thanks Mike!!!


     There was also a selection of parts available, especially from the

"prize winning" booth of Steve Engle's Mayfair Amusement. Repair and

restoration materials were also available from WICO.  Steve Young had his

usual booth, of course, selling all his fine Silverball Amusement products

and literature reprints.


     As a final note regarding the Exhibit Hall, there was a brief period

of time, if you were at Rob Berk's booth at just the right time, that you

could buy the beautiful pinball book from Japan I mentioned earlier.  I

had heard they would be on sale Friday evening and stayed pretty close to

Rob's booth until they were delivered.


     As soon as the books arrived people were lined up to buy them.  There

were only 20 copies available and they were all sold in about 10 minutes!

The Japanese visitors who brought them, and also contributed to the book,

were there to graciously autograph each copy.


     The book was beautifully made but, of course, the text was in

Japanese.  All the names of the games were in English, however, as were

the "section titles".  The book contained, among other things, a beautiful

color section of playfields and backglasses of solid-state games, a

section with small pictures of many electro-mechanical games from the

1970's, a history section (all in Japanese), and a chronological list of

games (in English).  The book also had a section on how to play pinball

(with diagrams) the text, however, all in Japanese.


     As has been my custom for the past several years, the following is a

chronological list of all the pingames in the Exhibit Hall, both those for

sale and those only for display and play.  An asterisk (*) next to the

name of a game in the list indicates "not for sale".



NAME                         MANUFACTURER        YEAR  

++++++++++++++++++++++++++   +++++++++++++++     ++++++++ 


BALLYHOO                     Bally               1932    

MAJESTIC (JR.)               Standard Mfg.       1932    

INTERNATIONAL                ABT?                1932?    

PONTIAC                      Genco               1934   

BIG GAME                     Rockola             1935   

BUILDER-UPPER                GM Labs             1935    

RICOCHET                     Stoner              1937     

CALIENTE                     Exhibit             193?

BIG BROADCAST                Bally               1941

(*) MONTERREY (MODIFIED)     United              1948   

GRAND AWARD                  Chicago Coin        1948   

KING COLE                    Gottlieb            1948   

SWEETHEART                   Williams            1950     

(*) HORSE FEATHERS           Williams            1952     

LITE-A-LINE                  Keeney              1952     

ARMY AND NAVY                Williams            1953     

DRAGONETTE                   Gottlieb            1954

HAWAIIAN BEAUTY              Gottlieb            1954     

(*) JOLLY JOKER  (ROLL DOWN) Williams            1955     

SCORE BOARD                  Gottlieb            1956     

SEA BELLES                   Gottlieb            1956     

(*) HIGH HAND (ROLL DOWN)    Williams            1957     

(*) GUSHER                   Williams            1958    

(*) CROSSWORD                Williams            1959    

(*) HI-DIVER                 Gottlieb            1959    

(*) DARTS                    Williams            1960    

DANCING DOLLS                Gottlieb            1960     

(*) FLIPPER FAIR (AAB)       Gottlieb            1961     

(*) SHOWBOAT                 Gottlieb            1961     

SPACE SHIP                   Williams            1961     

SLICK CHICK                  Gottlieb            1963     

SWING ALONG                  Gottlieb            1963     

(*) NORTH STAR               Gottlieb            1964     

BANK-A-BALL                  Gottlieb            1965     

BLUE RIBBON                  Bally               1965     

ICE REVIEW                   Gottlieb            1965     

KINGS AND QUEENS             Gottlieb            1965     

A-GO-GO                      Williams            1966     

FUN CRUISE                   Bally               1966     

HOT LINE                     Williams            1966     

DIAMOND JACK (AAB)           Gottlieb            1967     

KING OF DIAMONDS             Gottlieb            1967     

ROCKET III                   Bally               1967     

DOMINO                       Gottlieb            1968     

DOOZIE                       Williams            1968     

FUNLAND                      Gottlieb            1968     

KING TUT                     Bally               1969     

SPIN-A-CARD                  Gottlieb            1969     

BASEBALL                     Gottlieb            1970     

CARD TRIX (AAB)              Gottlieb            1970     

STRIKE ZONE                  Williams            1970     

DOODLE BUG                   Williams            1971     

EXTRA INNING                 Gottlieb            1971     

FOUR MILLION B.C.            Bally               1971     

KLONDIKE                     Williams            1971     

PLAYBALL                     Gottlieb            1971     

ROLLER COASTER               Gottlieb            1971     

VAMPIRE                      Bally               1971     

YUKON                        Williams            1971     

FLYING CARPET                Gottlieb            1972     

GRANADA (AAB)                Williams            1972      

KING KOOL                    Gottlieb            1972     

OLYMPIC HOCKEY               Williams            1972     

ORBIT                        Gottlieb            1972     

SPANISH EYES                 Williams            1972     

SUPER STAR                   Williams            1972     

WILD LIFE                    Gottlieb            1972     

WORLD SERIES                 Gottlieb            1972     

DARLING                      Williams            1973     

DELTA QUEEN                  Bally               1973     

GULFSTREAM                   Williams            1973      

JUMPING JACK                 Gottlieb            1973     

NIP IT                       Bally               1973     

SWINGER                      Williams            1973     

TRAVEL TIME                  Williams            1973     

TROPIC FUN                   Williams            1973     

ATLANTIS                     Gottlieb            1974     

BIG SHOT                     Gottlieb            1974     

DEALER'S CHOICE              Williams            1974     

HI FLYER                     Chicago  Coin       1974     

KNOCKOUT                     Bally               1974     

SKYJUMP                      Gottlieb            1974     

SKYLAB                       Williams            1974     

STAR ACTION                  Williams            1974     

STRATO FLITE                 Williams            1974     

TRIPLE ACTION                Williams            1974     

ABRA-CA-DABRA                Gottlieb            1975     

JUBILEE                      Williams            1975     

SPIRIT OF '76  (SS)          Micro Games         1975     

THREE HUNDRED                Gottlieb            1975     

TRIPLE STRIKE                Williams            1975     

WIZARD                       Bally               1975      

BLUE CHIP                    Williams            1976     

BUCCANEER                    Gottlieb            1976     

CAPTAIN FANTASTIC            Bally               1976     

GRAND PRIX                   Williams            1976     

HOLLYWOOD                    Chicago Coin        1976     

BIG DEAL                     Williams            1977

BRONCO                       Gottlieb            1977     

EIGHT BALL  (SS)             Bally               1977     

EVEL KNEIVEL (EM)            Bally               1977     

EVEL KNEIVEL (SS)            Bally               1977     

JACK'S OPEN                  Gottlieb            1977     

LIBERTY BELL                 Williams            1977     

TEAM ONE (AAB)               Gottlieb            1977     

(*) EVEL KNEIVEL (HOME)      Midway              1978     

BLACK JACK                   Bally               1978     

DRAGON                       Gottlieb            1978     

GRIDIRON                     Gottlieb            1978     

MIDDLE EARTH                 Atari               1978     

PLAYBOY                      Bally               1978     

SINBAD                       Gottlieb            1978     

VOLTAN                       Bally               1978     

FLASH                        Williams            1979     

GENIE                        Gottlieb            1979     

KISS                         Bally               1979     

METEOR                       Stern               1979     

SOLAR RIDE                   Gottlieb            1979     

NIGHT MOVES                  Int'l Concepts      197?     

COUNTER FORCE                Gottlieb            1980     

GALAXY                       Stern               1980     

QUICKSILVER                  Stern               1980     

SEAWITCH                     Stern               1980     

SILVER BALL MANIA            Bally               1980     

SPIDERMAN (AMAZING)          Gottlieb            1980     

XENON                        Bally               1980     

CAVEMAN                      Gottlieb            1981     

EIGHT BALL DELUXE            Bally               1981     

FIREBALL II                  Bally               1981     

FIREFALL                     Stern               1981     

LIGHTNING                    Stern               1981     

STRIKER                      Gottlieb            1983     

SPACE SHUTTLE                Williams            1984     

CYBERNAUT                    Bally               1985     

FIREBALL CLASSIC             Bally               1985     

RAT RACE                     Williams            1985     

HIGH SPEED                   Williams            1986     

STRANGE SCIENCE              Bally               1986     

DUNGEONS AND DRAGONS         Bally               1987     

F-14 TOMCAT                  Williams            1987     

MILLIONAIRE                  Williams            1987     

MONTE CARLO                  Gottlieb            1987     

BABY IN THE HOLE  (special)  Premier             1989     

BLACK KNIGHT 2000            Williams            1989     

MONDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL        Data East           1989     

SILVER SLUGGER               Gottlieb            1990     

SIMPSONS (THE)               Data East           1990


     Well, there you have it, another more or less complete run-down of

the events at another great Pinball Expo.  And, as I said earlier, Pinball

Expo '91 is already scheduled for October.  (For further information you

may call 1-800-323-FLIP).  If I am again lucky enough to be able to

attend, I look forward to many more interesting speakers, fine exhibits,

and an interesting banquet in 1991.  Hope to see you there!