PINBALL EXPO '91
- The Seventh Year -
By Russ Jensen
For the seventh year in a row, the world's greatest "all pinball" show
occurred in the Chicago suburb of Rosemont, Illinois on October 25, 26, and
27. The site was again the Ramada O'Hare hotel with it's nearby reasonably
priced diner, "Snack Time", where many of the pinball fans go to eat at all
hours of the day and night (there was even one time at 3 AM when three of
us could not get a seat together, even at the counter!). By the way, this
was the first year that the show officially lasted 3 days, ending at 4 PM
As was the case last year, for an extra $20 attendees could get a
"preview peek" at the Exhibit Hall goodies on Thursday evening, during set-
up time for exhibitors, before the show's official start on Friday morning.
I again attended this preview to get an early chance to meet and talk with
many old friends and meet new ones. It was apparent at that time that
there were to be many nice pingames on display and for sale in the hall,
but more about that later.
This year the opening remarks began a half-hour earlier than in the
past and, as was done last year, a foreign visitor, a young Canadian named
Aaron Benditt, presented the first greeting to Expo attendees. He began by
welcoming us all and then saying that there were "two main reasons" why we
were there. First, he said, was to "experience the very best in pinball",
"talk about it's status in today's world", "discuss it's rich history and
heritage", and "talk about it's future". The second reason, he told us,
was "to have the very best time you've ever had in your life!" He ended by
saying that we should "expect the unexpected".
Aaron then introduced Expo host Rob Berk who welcomed us to this
seventh year of Pinball Expo. He then described this year's "three day
format"; announced an extra seminar, "$1 Pinball", which had been added
since the program was printed; and told us of the Pinball Art Contest as
well as the designers/artists/authors autograph session which was to be
held Saturday afternoon.
Rob then introduced his co-host, and Exhibit Hall Chairman, Mike Pacak
to say a few words. After asking the exhibitors to help by keeping their
displays within their allotted space and the show attendees to stay away
from the exhibit area when the hall was not open, Mike ended by saying
"let's all have fun!"
At this point Aaron again came up and conducted a special fun contest.
He himself imitated speech segments from 25 different modern pingames,
asking each person in the audience to try and identify from which game each
came on a special form he had passes out to us. The prize, which was to be
awarded later after the scores were tallied, was an Expo sweat shirt.
Rob Berk next introduced the first seminar speaker, Phil Burnstein, to
give his talk titled "RICAR Industries, Custom Manufacturer For The Pinball
Phil told us that in the past he had worked for Stern Electronics in
1981 and 82 and then at WICO for awhile. He then said that there have been
many changes in the pinball industry in the past 11 years. Between 1981
and 1991 he said the prices of pingames have increased by 25 percent.
During this period, he then said, there has been a marked increase in
the number of parts on the playfield, resulting in more "bang for the buck"
for the player, but also increased cost for the manufacturer. Therefore,
he continued, the manufacturers have farmed out to subcontractors ("custom
fabricators") to make playfield parts in order to cut production costs. He
said he was going to describe the various processes used by these outfits
in producing these parts.
The first process Phil described was "injection molding", the process
described in much detail at last year's Expo by Foremost Plastics. During
this process, he explained, plastic was heated and injected into a mold to
form the part. He then said that many types of plastics were used to
create many types of playfield parts, an example being the shooter handle.
The molds used were said to be expensive and there was a long "lead time"
involved in producing them; however, they allowed complex shaped parts to
"Vacuum Forming", which was used to produce playfield "ramps", Phil
said was a simpler and cheaper process, but was "labor intensive". That
process uses an Aluminum or Epoxy mold, with the plastic being heated over
the mold and then sucked into it using vacuum, holes then being added where
needed. He said the tooling cost was about half that of injection molding,
with the lead time also being much shorter.
The third process Phil described was "metal fabricating" using a
tape/computer controlled punch press. This method he said can produce
complex parts quickly, with no tooling costs, and a very short lead time.
The parts, he said, are made on a sheet of material and punched out later,
also being formed if necessary.
Phil then described "metal stamping" which is used for parts which
can't be done any other say. In that process a "4 stage dye" does various
things to the part such as punching, forming, etc.
The use of an "automatic screw machine" was next described in which a
bar of material passes through the machine with different tools being
brought to the part, each performing a different operation on it. Phil said
that an example of a part produced this way was the "shooter shaft". The
tooling for this method was said to be quite inexpensive.
For producing parts when a fairly low volume was required Phil said
that a "computer controlled lathe" was often used. The lathe is programmed
for what you want it to do to the part, and there is no tooling, no lead
time, and a "quick turn-around" in producing the parts.
The final process Phil described was the "Cold Heading Process" which
used dyes to work on wire stock fed into the machine, which is deformed in
a "cold state". This process was said to be very inexpensive for large
volume production. It does, however, require long set-up and lead times,
but is very cheap for high volume items such as fasteners.
After describing these processes Phil showed us examples of the parts
he was referring to. He then said that today companies, such as RICAR, are
often required to develop special processes to satisfy the needs of the
pinball industry, an example of which he said was "laser cutting" which
could allow them to make parts that years ago could not be made at all.
When Phil asked for questions from the audience two questions were
asked, both involving "laser cutting". When asked what thickness of
material could be handled by it Phil replied "a 48 by 96 inch sheet of 1/2
inch steel". When asked if it was a "manual" or "automatic" process, he
said it was a manual one.
Rob Berk introduced the next speaker, Dan Goodman, who founded an
organization known as "The Silverthorne Group", to give his talk "Arcade
Access; Pinball For People of All Abilities". After that, one of the
specially modified pingames Dan provides was set up on stage.
Dan began by telling us that in this country there are presently 43
million "disabled" persons, many of whom cannot operate a standard pingame.
He then remarked that "new activity can give them a 'new window on life'".
Dan next described the modifications he makes to a standard pingame to
allow people with various disabilities to play it. The front of the body
is first cut out to allow wheelchair access and "wrist supports" are added.
The game's controls are also modified in different ways to allow people
with various disabilities to operate the game.
For example, the game can be modified to be started by "touch", with
the balls being shot in the same way. A "remote control" unit is often
used which is operated by "touch pads" with the touch adjustable so it can
be operated by almost any body part (elbows, fingers, feet, etc.).
Dan went on to say that for people with even greater disabilities
games can be made to operate by such things as biting or even by the
breath. Joystick controls are also often used. His games, he said, can be
operated by people with almost any degree of disability. Dan then told us
that he provides some machines to the National Institute of Health to be
used for therapy.
He then told us that he first got stated doing this by fixing up a
game for a friend's son who had been injured in an accident. Dan then said
that some of his machines are used in hospitals to help people who have
sustained brain injuries to improve their "interest in life", it helping
these patients to re-learn to use their muscles, minds, and eyes.
We were then showed a video showing a boy who had suffered a severe
brain injury using one of the games. His mother described how he had used
the game to help him start using his arms, etc., and also how it was
helping improve his "short term memory". She told how the game also helped
with his "hand/eye coordination" after playing it for about 2 months. The
machine "talking back" to him (because of it's speech feature) she said
also provided needed "feedback" to him during play. The game the boy was
using, by the way, was a modified version of Data East's MONDAY NIGHT
Dan next asked us if we had any questions? When asked if his games
were used in any "public places", Dan replied that they were only used in
institutions and private homes. When someone asked about the cost of a
modified game, he replied that it varied from game to game, but that it was
usually around $6800. Dan then remarked that he had not gotten very good
response from the game manufacturers when it came to providing games for
him to modify at a reduced cost. (All I can say to that is "shame on
It was then asked if this type of modification could be done to
electro-mechanical games? Dan replied that it was possible, but that it
was much easier using solid-state machines. When asked how many games he
had modified so far, Dan said about 10 or 12. In response to a question on
how long a modification takes, he said approximately a week.
The final question asked was what technology was used? Dan answered
that it was "infra-red" with a "5 millisecond response time". He ended by
telling us that the game he had with him would be available in the Exhibit
Hall for us to try if we wished.
The next speaker was supposed to be pinball artist from the 1960's,
Jerry Kelley, but after introducing him Rob Berk discovered that he was
nowhere to be found! So after a few brief announcements it was decided to
let Steve Young and Gordon Hasse begin their presentation which was
scheduled for the next morning.
STATE OF THE PINBALL HOBBY (PART 1)
Rob introduced Expo regular Steve Young who began by telling us that
he was going to "bring us up to speed" on what is happening in the pinball
collecting hobby, and then tell us "what we can do to help". He then
remarked that he would like to do a similar thing at future Expos.
As far as collecting itself was concerned, Steve said a lot was
happening. He said there are several "large" (400 plus games) collections,
remarking about Tim Arnold's idea of using his large collection to earn
money for charity. He then said that there are also many new collectors,
some with only one to five games, usually ones they had played as kids.
Steve next remarked that he thought that prices of $500 to $1500 for
games were not a deterrent to new collectors, and that those people are the
"primary drivers of price", with the modest collectors being the "secondary
driver". He then said that scarcity was also a factor in price increases.
Pin prices, Steve then said, are escalating rapidly, especially for
1960's games with backbox animation and baseball machines. "Locality", he
said, was also a big price factor, prices for games being higher on the
West Coast. Steve then said that "popularity" (the "hype factor") was a
major driver of price. He next told us that price corrections may occur in
the future, adding that a price guide can't stay accurate for long.
Steve next discussed the subject of "value", citing a list of value
factors which he thought needed to be defined. These included: Classes
(themes, ages, etc.); a Rating System for game cosmetics; and a
"relationship between the elements of aesthetics." He then said that
"detractors" from value and price need to be defined, along with the
relation between these detractors and a game's value/price.
This type of information, Steve told us, needs to be published, as it
is in other hobbies. He added that questions of "touch up" of a game's
cosmetics (reproduction/touch-up of backglasses, playfields, cabinets,
etc.) need to be addressed. Steve then volunteered to "coordinate" the
collection of such information.
On the subject of "history", Steve began by saying that too little is
currently recorded. He then quoted a Smithsonian historian on the need for
accuracy in all recorded written history. Steve then gave us an
"assignment" to aid Dick Bueschel in the preparation of his series of
pinball books, chiding Dick to lay off other types of machines and
concentrate on pinball. This drew a large round of applause from the
Steve ended his part of the presentation talking in more detail
regarding restoration of backglasses and methods for reproducing them. He
also told of his and Donal Murphey's efforts in reproducing playfield
plastics, etc., adding that for that type of effort to succeed support of
all in the hobby is required.
At this point Steve introduced Gordon Hasse who said he would tell us
why pinball is different from other collecting hobbies.
Gordon began his list saying first that "pins are not easy to
collect", because of their size and difficulty in repairing. A second
factor, he said, was a "lack of 'public experience' with the game",
remarking that many Americans had never played a pin because they were
illegal for many years in many localities.
Gordon's next point was that there was "no observable history of
collecting", adding that Tim Arnold's "charity project" might help that
situation. He next said that there were "no points of entry" for the new
collector because people don't know that pin collectors exist. He next
said that we have a "network" of collectors but no collector's
Gordon's next point was that pin collecting has not been recognized by
the "poplar culture community" primarily because we have not let "academia"
know about it. He then remarked that we need published papers on the
subject of pinball and also should "court the media".
His next point was that there were "no famous collectors". Gordon
then said that we "need higher prices to 'bring out' more machines" like
has happened with jukeboxes and slots. He then remarked that there have
been "no auctions of good pins" like occur in other collecting hobbies.
The last three differences Gordon mentioned were: "lack of a
comprehensive support system"; "no standards"; and "no price guides". He
then closed his talk by asking if anyone could share any information with
him regarding pin artist Roy Parker, as he was working on a book about him.
PINBALL FIRING LINE
Rob Berk then came up and introduced the four panelists for the next
seminar event, "The Pinball Firing Line": pinball manufacturing executives
Alvin Gottlieb, Gil Pollock, Gary Stern, and Joe Dillon. Rob then asked
each of them to give a brief statement as to "what they do".
Joe Dillon told us that his primary job was "selling
Williams/Bally/Midway products". He then said he used to work for Seeburg
and joined Williams in 1979. He said he now travels all over the world to
"see what pingames are doing".
Gary Stern said that he was Vice President and General Manager of Data
East Pinball and that he "runs design" (but maybe not Joe Kaminkow, he
quipped) and also handles export sales.
Gil Pollock then told us that he was President of Premier Technology
who makes Gottlieb games and that he bought the company when Coca-Cola "let
it go". He then said that he started working for Gottlieb in 1972.
Finally, Alvin Gottlieb told us that he had just "re-entered" the
business and was now President and CEO of A. Gottlieb and Co. which does
design and engineering of games, working in conjunction with Premier.
Rob next asked for questions for the panel from the audience. The
first question asked was "where do the people on the panel think the
industry is going in the next 10 years?"
Joe Dillon responded first and told how arcades are located in most
foreign countries (even in the Eastern Bloc now) and are especially popular
in France, then describing the price for playing a game on pinball in
various countries. He then said that the future is "left to the
imagination of today's designers", but that it should be "bright", adding
"competition for the 'entertainment dollar' must be considered".
Alvin Gottlieb responded next, first telling of his father Dave's
saying that "the tavern is the working man's country club" and telling of
Dave's early days in the pingame business. He then remarked that "new
players are being born every day", adding that in the future "directions of
the industry will vary", "prices will surely increase", and that the future
will certainly depend on "the ingenuity of the game designers and
Lastly, Gary Stern told us that "pinball is a business and must make
money", and that he sees an increase in pins and a decrease in videos.
This however, he said, would also depend on "European economic conditions".
In this country, he told us, some locations have been lost due to "urban
renewal", etc.; that there is some growth now; but that it could change in
In was next asked, "what changes have you noticed in arcades"? Gary
Stern replied that they were not really in the "arcade business", saying
most of their games were in "street locations" (bars, etc.). He then told
of the arcades in Europe and how they had a mix of "light gambling" and
Joe Dillon then elaborated on this, saying that many European machines
were considered "amusement gambling" which he defined as "gambling which
won't change your life if you win". In this country, he then said, as the
video marked gets "softer" there will be more pins in arcades, which will
be an opportunity for the pingame industry.
When the panel was asked "what do you think is 'today's market'"?,
Gary Stern responded that "licenses" appeal to the current player and have
"broadened the player base", and also are "uplifting the image" of pins,
giving them more of an "entertainment look".
Gil Pollock then said that he has not seen a great change in the
"player base", which he said was primarily males 18 to 40 years of age. A
few games, he said, appeal to the "female market", but most game themes
still exhibit a "male macho image".
When a women asked if some games would be designed to appeal to women,
Gary Stern replied that the manufacturers were trying to broaden the player
base, but added that this was really up to the operators. Gil Pollock next
remarked that the Eastern European Bloc market could "explode" soon, saying
that this was primarily a "mature market".
Someone next asked Joe Dillon of Williams why his company was getting
into the "video lottery business", and how he thought that might impact the
pingame market? Joe replied that this might have a "short term" negative
influence on pins, but in the "long run" it could be beneficial, hoping
that operators can understand that amusement and gaming can exist side by
side as they do in Europe. He then said that they needed the lottery
business to "keep the company profitable".
When the panel was asked how many people in each company were involved
with pingames the answers given were: Williams/Bally/Midway - approximately
1100; Data East and Premier - 250 to 300; and at A. Gottlieb and Co. - 5!
The next question asked was on a subject that has been widely
discussed at the last several Expo's; "what were the panelists' views on
'One Dollar play'"?
Gil Pollock first said that it was "the only way to move in the
future". Joe Dillon then remarked that the manufacturers are not trying to
"fix prices", but only to suggest to operators that they "look at the
economics" of the business and then decide on play pricing. He added that
he thought "the 'entertainment' is worth that price".
When someone asked if foreign game manufacturers were any threat to
the U.S. companies, Gil Pollock replied "no, it's a 'Chicago Industry'".
Joe Dillon then remarked that there was really only one significant
European manufacturer in Spain.
Old-time Philadelphia operator Stan Harris from the audience next told
of games he had received back from locations whose playfields had been
completely worn out; then asking the panel what their companies were doing
to help playfields to last longer and be easier to clean?
Joe Dillon began by saying that in the past operators would clean
playfields, but as they got more complicated this became hard to do, one
almost having to take them apart to properly clean them. He then said that
today's designers have to make their games both "fun to play" and also
"serviceable". He then added that Williams is using "hard coat" to try to
help with those types of problems.
After several comments from players in the audience saying that the
operators must keep playfields properly maintained to attract players,
Alvin Gottlieb commented that much attention to this by the manufacturers
would force them to raise prices for games and make pin operation less
profitable for operators. He then added that operators can't afford to
spend much time cleaning playfields. Finally, Gil Pollock remarked that
this would keep pinball from being competitive with other forms of
The panel was next queried regarding the "family and humanitarian
approach", and about donating games to the handicapped (an obvious
reference to a previous talk). Expo host Rob Berk made the only comment on
the subject, saying he had talked to Alvin Gottlieb about it, and that the
Gottlieb Memorial Hospital is trying to help in that area.
A question regarding the use of a protective playfleld coating used by
some foreign manufacturers was answered by Gary Stern, saying that OSHA
regarded that compound as "carcinogenic", but adding that his company was
looking into the "hard coat" used by the automobile industry.
When Alvin Gottlieb was next asked for an "update" on his new
company's endeavors, he replied that they have some "games on test", but
that they were embarked on "an extensive testing program" which would take
some time. He then added that they would have more information early in
1992. The panel was next asked if all the games tested by a company were
eventually produced? The answer given was "not always".
A collector in the audience next remarked that he often found it
difficult to get parts for newer games (sometimes only 2 or 3 years old)
and asked the panel to comment on this? Joe Dillon then told us that
(except for playfield ramps) it was difficult and expensive for the
manufacturer to make "short runs" for parts after production of a game had
ended. He then added that there was a "long lead time" involved with their
suppliers for this type of thing. When Rob Berk then asked for a "rule of
thumb" as to how long parts are generally available for a game, Gil Pollock
replied "5 years, and sometimes longer" for his company.
The panel was then asked if the manufacturers could "clean up" game
themes (eliminate "demonic" or "satanic" themes, etc.) to make games more
"family oriented"? Joe Dillon replied that a large part of their market is
in Europe where these things were not so objectionable. He then said they
sometimes try to "play down" certain themes, but that the bottom line was
that "violence sells", especially in foreign countries. Finally he added
that they have to sort of "average things out" between the U.S. and foreign
Alvin Gottlieb then reminded us that one of their past games, MONTE
CARLO, had his picture on the backglass which was pretty mild. Gary Stern
then commented that they have to "deal with modern society's taste", and
that pins were "grown-up entertainment" and "we have to appeal to them".
A final question dealt with the number of designers each company uses
on a game. Gary Stern replied that some companies use individuals (or
small teams) on a game, while others use "large teams".
Rob Berk next introduced Joe Kaminkow of Data East Pinball and Larry
DeMar of Williams for the special added presentation Rob had told us about
earlier. Larry began by telling us that a standard play price of $1 for
pinball is very controversial and that he can't wait for it, although it
will probably meet with some resistance.
Larry then said that pingame manufacturers don't seem to be able to
agree on anything. For example, he went on, Data East has 2 tilts on their
games and Williams has 3. He then proceeded to ask and answer four
questions about his new idea for "$1 pinball": How many for $1? - "One";
Will it require a $1 coin? - "No"; Will there be competition? - "Don't
care"; and will it target more players? - "Yes, it will allow more women
and children to play".
At this point Joe and Larry unveiled a large trophy which they said
would be presented to the winner of their game. They then told us that
their game was similar to "Liar's Poker", could be played anywhere, and
could be played either "manually" or on a computer, using a program on a
disk which they could provide.
At that point they described how to play the game in detail. It was
played using any one dollar bill; using the serial number, and other things
on the bill, to determine your "pinball score". They then went through an
example using a dollar bill and their computer program. After that they
had people from the audience call out numbers from bills they had, with Joe
and Larry determining each one's score using the program. The person with
the highest score was awarded the trophy
For the next presentation, "The Future of Pinball: Design,
Development, and Licensing", Rob introduced Joe Kaminkow (again), and Tom
Nieman, Steve Kordek, and Roger Sharpe of Williams/Bally/Midway. Joe began
by telling us the sad news (which many of us had already heard on TV) that
Star Trek creator Gene Rodinberry had just passed away; then telling of a
"condolence" FAX Data East had sent to Hollywood, and adding that they were
making some changes to their STAR TREK pingame in Gene's memory.
At that point Joe showed us a video made by his company highlighting
their pinball licensing efforts. The game themes illustrated in the video
included, among others: Monday Night Football, Back To The Future, The
Simpsons, Home Alone, Star Trek, Freddie's Dead, and Hook.
After the video Joe talked more about Data East's "licensing
philosophy". Themes like "Freddie Krueger" and "Home Along", he told us,
help "expand the player base", and "keep pinball clean and wholesome". He
added that the license has to be "implemented well" and that it gives their
designers plenty of "food for thought" when it comes to creating the art,
sounds, etc., for the games.
Roger Sharpe from Williams then said that they are beginning to get
into licensing more nowadays, but using a "selective approach", then
mentioning their recent licenses: BUGS BUNNY, GILLIGAN'S ISLAND, and
TERMINATOR 2. He ended by saying they will be doing more in the future,
but that they were not as "overt" with their future plans as some of their
Tom Nieman began by telling us that he had previously worked for Bally
for about 14 years, and was involved during the 1970's with "third party
licenses". He then told of Bally's experiences with the "Tommy games",
WIZARD, and CAPTAIN FANTASTIC.
Tom said at that time he thought that "there must be a better way to
market a pin". He said that he thought you should introduce "personality"
into a game as a "hook" to attract players. Tom then told us that he
thought of using music (telling us he was a "Who fan") so he contacted
Columbia Pictures who he said was "an easy sell". But, he told us, selling
the idea to Bally was somewhat harder, then telling us that Bally in turn
allowed "The Who" to use it's company name in the song "Pinball Wizard".
After telling of meeting the Columbia representative in New Orleans to
finalize the deal, Tom said Bally gave Columbia six machines, plus another
12 to be used in a "promotional pool". He then told us that Dave
Christensen did the art "basically blind".
Tom then said that he had a "great time" promoting the game. He ended
by quoting from a Replay Magazine article of the time (written by a "so-
called pinball expert" - Roger Sharpe) which told of "foresight into the
future of the industry" when referring to CAPTAIN FANTASTIC. Tom then
showed a T-shirt he had which was autographed by the stars of "Tommy". Joe
Kaminkow then remarked that Tom was sort of a "hero" to him, and
complemented him for his fine work for the industry.
Steve Kordek then told us that Williams has had success with their
"licenses", adding that they are working on others for next year. He then
said that "the future of pins will be exciting", but so was his involvement
with the industry in the past.
Steve then told of some "ups and downs" in the pingame business during
the 1940's and 1950's; such as when "roll-downs", shuffle alleys, and gun
games brought a "lull" to pins in the later Forties, like happened with
"bumper pool" in the Fifties and video games in the Eighties. Steve ended
by telling us that the future "gets more exciting with each new game", and
that today you can do things in games that once were impossible.
At that point the audience was asked if they had any questions? When
Roger Sharpe was asked if he designed the "Bugs Bunny" game he replied,
"No, it was done by John Trudeau and Python Angelo." When Rob Berk asked
if licensed game would increase in the future, Steve Kordek answered "yes".
Roger Sharpe then commented that we need "good games" in addition to
"good themes", adding that they have had "solid success" with non-licensed
games such as FUN HOUSE.
When my friend Sam Harvey asked how the licenses were paid for, Tom
Nieman quipped "they normally start with a 'body part'". Joe Kaminkow then
said it could happen in several ways, sometimes by paying money directly,
and sometimes with games. Tom then remarked that the "license deal" may
not always be a "good deal" for the pingame manufacturer.
The final question asked was "at what point in the process do you
usually get in?" Roger Sharpe answered saying that in the case of
GILLIGAN'S ISLAND it was obviously long afterwards since that was an old
show. He went on to say that the "design team" had the game already
thought out when they met with him and wanted to call it GILLIGAN'S ISLAND,
Roger himself preferring ROBINHOOD. With TERMINATOR 2, on the other hand,
he said it was "early", him first meeting with the producers in July 1990.
He then added that they had "good cooperation" with the TERMINATOR 2
people, working "hand in hand" with them throughout the process.
After the questions were over Tom Nieman asked the audience to
indicate by a show of hands if they liked "licensed games". The audience
seemed to agree that licensing was good. As a final statement, Joe
Kaminkow remarked that they had a "good home market" for their SIMPSONS
game, adding that he thought that "celebrity games" would become
"collectable" in the future.
For the next presentation Rob introduced pinball artist Jerry Kelley
(yes, they finally found him) to present his talk, "Contemporary Pinball
Art of the Sixties". Jerry first set up a display of four backglasses he
had done: Bally's CAPERSVILLE (1966), MINIZAG (1968), and ROCKMAKERS
(1968); and Williams' A-GO-GO (1966). He then told us that he had made up
a bookmark, which he was going to give us, on which was printed the names
and dates of all the glasses he had done. He then said he would give us an
idea of "what it was like in the Sixties".
Jerry then told us that when Rob Berk once showed him a list of
pinball artists from the past he told Rob that he had no idea what the
others had done, adding that at that time he was sort of a "loner".
Jerry said his first job in the coin machine industry was doing art
for United bowlers. He then said that when "shuffle alleys" came in United
asked him about doing the art for the sides of the cabinets. When he
criticized the "30's style art" they had been using he was called in to
talk to company President Lyn Durrant. Jerry said he told him "you can't
do this 'Thirties stuff' all the time, you should go 'contemporary'". When
Lyn invited him to go to lunch with him Jerry said "I knew I was in".
Jerry next told us that Advertising Posters did the screening for his
backglasses and that he worked closely with their people, adding that he
always thought they did "good work". He then began telling of the steps he
went through creating a new backglass.
First, he said, he was given an "engineering drawing" of the field and
backglass, indicating the positions of the "score reels" and the items on
the playfield he had to work his art around. From this, he told us, he
created a "black plate" which he would then add colors to.
Jerry then told us that he liked to use some black in his art, but
that the industry objected to this because they felt that black connotated
"death". But, he said, it took a lot of convincing but he finally was
allowed to use more black in his artwork.
Jerry then told us that he also convinced the manufacturers that games
should be "exciting". He next told of receiving his first "fan letter" in
1977 from a man from Florida who even called him a "genius".
He then told of "little things" he would put in his pictures and
described the characters on the ROCKMAKERS glass and what each was doing.
He also told how he "balanced" his use of black by putting color around it.
Jerry then showed us pictures of three of his glasses in Michael Colmer's
book "Pictorial History of Pinball" which came out in the 1970's, remarking
about the good quality of the color in the book.
Jerry then told us that he created the names for all his games, and
that he "tried to give a 'message' in his art". He then told of creating
the art for Williams BEAT TIME in 1967, using caricatures of "The Beatles",
but calling them "The Bootles" probably to avoid a lawsuit.
When it was asked if there were any questions from the audience, the
only thing asked was "did Ted Zale design most of your games? Jerry
answered that he did not know who designed any of the games.
Jerry ended by telling a story about Sam Stern of Williams and his
preference in colors. He said that Sam liked a lot of red, white, and blue
to be used in the artwork, and did not like it when Jerry used other colors
on POT OF GOLD. When he and Sam were discussing this, Gary Stern, Sam's
son who was in college at the time, came in and overheard the conversation.
Jerry said that after Gary told his father that POT OF GOLD was getting all
the "action" on location and other Williams games were not, Sam never
argued for red, white and blue again.
Before stepping down, Jerry told us that the only thing that "saved
him" after World War II was over was going to an art institute and getting
After Jerry's talk it was only a short time before we had to board
busses for this year's Pinball Plant Tour. It was "hyped" to be a tour of
the "Bally Pinball Manufacturing Facility", but since "Ballygames" are now
produced on a second assembly line at the Williams plant, we actually got a
tour of both the Bally and Williams production facilities.
During the bus trip a company representative told us that at the
present time Bally PARTY ZONE and Williams TERMINATOR 2 were being produced
at the plant. After passing through some "old Chicago neighborhoods" we
arrived at the plant. We had to wait outside for about 20 minutes this
year, but it was not nearly as cold as last year waiting to get into Data
The tour guide for our group was a very congenial long-time Williams
employee. He began by telling us that the same cabinets were used for both
the Bally and Williams games, and that they were manufactured at another
plant. After telling us that different coin mechanisms for American and
several types of foreign coins were used, depending on where the game was
going to be shipped, he showed us where the new cabinets were being
The next area we were shown was where parts for the games were being
received, the trucks delivering them backing up to doors where the parts
could be unloaded by personnel inside the factory.
Our guide next showed us the "mini line", an assembly line where a
limited number of games could be assembled. He explained that this was
usually used to test the assembly process for new games, but at this time
was being used for limited production of additional Bally HARLEY DAVIDSON
After passing the locked door of the "prototype room" (which we were
told we could not see) we were shown the "print room" and then taken to the
"parts stocking area". Our guide told us that there were up to about four
thousand parts used on a single game. He then told us that the company had
a "sell before make" policy, meaning that they did not make any games for
which they did not already have orders.
We next saw the area where new blank playfields were being readied for
assembly. Our guide told us that they used very good plywood, and that
they were "coated" for longer life. After showing us a machine used to
punch holes in the playfields, our guide told us that there was not much
"machine shop work" done at the plant anymore, most of it now being "farmed
After passing an assembly line area, we were taken to the area where
the cabinets, playfields, and backboxes were merged, and then to the "final
test" area. After that we saw where the finished game was packaged ready
Finally, we saw where trucks were again backed up to the plant, this
time so that the finished machines could be loaded for shipment. Our guide
said that they had a "truck to truck operation", referring to how the parts
came in by truck at one end of the plant and the finished games were loaded
into trucks at the other.
After the tour was over we were treated to free "soda pop" and then
boarded our busses for the trip back to the hotel.
After returning from the plant, we again went to the lecture hall to
continue with the seminar presentations. First up was COIN SLOT's own Dick
Bueschel to give his presentation titled "The History of the Pinball
Dick began by remarking that he was in "deep trouble" because he had
not come out with his "Pinball 2" book yet. He said he had "blocked out"
all 10 volumes, and that he expects to really get into "Pinball 2" early in
Dick then told us that his subject today was "the pinball flyer",
remarking that the flyer was really "a matter of marketing", adding that
"pinball is a business like any other" and selling games is "a matter of
competition". Dick then told us that the pinball machine is a combination
of technology and art, and is designed to give "entertainment for money".
The brochure, he went on, must "sell the game" and is "the first
expression of the game." Dick then told us that at first flyers were only
one sheet, but later got up to as many as four pages. Dick then remarked
that the flyer must try to make the game "irresistible" to the operator,
causing him to make an "emotional buy". To accomplish this, he went on,
requires a combination of good "copy", art and photography.
Dick then remarked that many pinball collectors today also collect
flyers, which he described as "the 'baseball cards' of the hobby", which,
he added, you can really get "hooked on". Getting back to the business
side of flyers, Dick remarked that the flyer often "drives game sales".
Dick next said that he would take us "behind the scenes" of the
preparation of a pinball flyer. As his first example he used Williams'
1990 game WHIRLWIND, showing us the 4 page brochure which used the phrase
"feel the power of the wind" to draw attention to the game. He then showed
some sketches from which the flyer was developed. Roger Sharpe, who had
provided this material to Dick, then told us how some of the changes which
took place between the original sketches and the finished brochure came
Dick next showed the brochure for Bally's GILLIGAN'S ISLAND, saying
that TV shows are "the hottest things in 'pop culture'". He then showed
how they incorporated the TV show theme into the brochure. Roger Sharpe
then told us that one main purpose of the flyer was to sell games to
operators who don't get the trade magazines, Dick adding that they are used
as "direct mail advertising" and for the distributors.
We were next shown the flyer for Bally's latest game PARTY ZONE. Dick
then showed some "boards" with examples of the ad for the game. He then
told how this original concept was changed (the "correction process") to
produce the final brochure.
Dick then asked the question, "who are the people that produce the
flyers?" He then remarked that these talented people should be given
credit, adding that the collectors should know who was responsible for the
flyers in their collections.
On the subject of "where the idea for the brochures came from", Dick
said they "had been around for as long as the games". He went on to say
that cost was always the "determining factor" in advertising, saying that
magazine ads were usually quite expensive. In 1931, for example, Dick told
us that a page in a trade journal cost between 60 and 90 dollars, a major
"ad campaign" of several months running over $1000. Today, he told us, the
cost is about 20 times higher.
Dick next showed us slides of early pingame brochures. He first
showed the single page flyer for the 1901 pin-like trade stimulator LOG
CABIN, quoting from the ad. He next showed the flyer for Gottlieb's 1931
pin BAFFLE BALL, again quoting from the text. After showing a "lease
brochure" for Keeney's early game KEEN BALL from 1932, Dick showed the 4
page color brochure for another early pin WHIFFLE ZIP.
Dick next showed the color brochures for 3 important games of the
early 1930's. These included Rockola's 1933 "classics" JIGSAW (70,000 of
which were sold) and WORLD SERIES, and a nice color flyer for the first
"automatic payout" pingame, Bally's ROCKET, which Dick said was "an
enormous hit" even though it was not "run in the media".
After remarking that sometimes the flyer came before the game and
sometimes after, Dick showed some more 1930's pingame brochures. These
included: the 2-color brochure for Western Product's game HELL'S BELLS,
Exhibit Supply's ELECTRO, Bally's SIGNAL, and MAJIK KEYS KICKER by Allied
Amusement Co., all from 1934. Dick then ended his showing of 1930's
brochures with one for a rare game called JIMMY VALENTINE, and another for
Rockola's JIG JOY which had a jigsaw puzzle on it's backglass, Dick
remarking that the latter game was also not publicized in the media.
Dick then mentioned the fact that no new pingames were manufactured
during World War II, only "revamps" of pre-war games by outfits such as one
calling itself Victory Games. When the war was over, he went on, there
were still a few companies "revamping" pingames such as Victory Sales which
converted pre-war "one-ball horserace" games. Other post-war "revampers",
he told us, included Marvel, P and S, and Nate Schneller Inc. which
converted United pre-flipper pins into flipper games, such as SINGAPORE
into MADAM BUTTERFLY.
Dick next showed some Gottlieb flyers from the 1950's and 1960's
which, he remarked, looked very much alike in format. Bally, he said, had
more money and produced 4-color flyers, then showing us some later ones,
which included the "Feature Gram" - a detailed playfield layout with
feature descriptions next to it, which they had on the backs of many
After showing a Stern Electronics flyer, and one for Game Plan's 1979
game SHARPSHOOTER, Dick ended by showing the elaborate multi-page brochure
for Williams' 1980 hit BLACK KNIGHT. Dick finally remarked that this
brochure "set the pattern for most flyers to come", adding that there
hasn't been many changes in the pinball flyer since then.
DESIGNING A PINGAME
It has been an "Expo tradition" for the past several years to have an
"audience participation" seminar during which the audience "designs" a
pingame, aided by personnel from one of the game manufacturers. (One year
a 'prototype' was even constructed from our design and brought to next
year's show for us to try out.) This year we again had Data East Pinball's
chief designer Joe Kaminkow conducting the design seminar.
Joe began by telling us that we were going to design "a pingame for
the future". He then asked for suggestions from the audience as to the
game's theme, which he said could be "original", a "license", a "card
Suggested themes included: Landing on Mars, Green Acres, Shakespeare
(we had a college English professor in the audience), The 3 Stooges, Horse
Racing, World Cup '94, World Series, Titanic, Pee Wee Herman, Fire
Fighting, Demolition Derby, Skateboarding, Health Clubs, and Hook. The
theme selected for use by popular vote was "The 3 Stooges".
The game's "format" was next chosen to be a "46 inch 'wide body'". It
was then time to choose the game's "playfield layout". For a "skill shot"
the following were suggested: a "rotating ramp", 3 rollovers (for Larry,
Moe, and Curly), a "ramp shot into the mouth", a "slapping hand" to move
the ball, a "hand poke in the eyes", a "pie in the face", and a "sandwich
shot" (don't ask me what some of these things mean!). The audience then
voted, picking the "ramp shot into the mouth".
The number of flippers was next chosen to be 3 (for the Stooges, of
course). It was also decided to have 3 pop bumpers and also 3 lanes at the
top of the field. Joe next asked for suggestions for a "playfield gadget",
but as far as I could tell these were never voted on.
The gadget suggestions included: a spinner, a 'maze' in the backbox, a
'gobble hole', "hold ball and give player 3 seconds to make a decision
(??)", laser beam for ball to pass through, player must 'qualify' to use
3rd flipper, spinning pop bumper, a 'deferred mode' (??), an eject hole to
start the pie throwing, a "black hole thing", and a "flame thrower".
Joe next asked for suggestions for a "ramp shot". The audience's
ideas included such things as: two hills; a target with a hole in the ramp
which the ball might drop into; tiered 'gobble holes' on ramp; a high slope
ramp; a short, steep ramp; a ramp with a gap; a ramp to steer the ball
outside of the game; ball disappears and reappears in various places; loop
the loop; a ramp over and back up; and a ramp going half way around the
game. The shot finally chosen by the audience was "ramp to steer the ball
outside of the game."
Joe then drew the proposed playfield layout on a large sheet of paper.
He then told us that "pinball design is a matter of 'trial and error''".
He next remarked that "there is no such thing as a 'bad idea' for a game,
it only being bad if not mentioned at all".
As far as music for the game was concerned the "Curly Shuffle" was
suggested by Joe. Various "stooges sound effects" were then discussed and
demonstrated 'vocally', all being decided to be appropriate for the game.
It was also suggested that the backglass start out as "black and white", it
being "colorized" during play of the game (the "Ted Turner Mode").
A "laser kick" and "zipper flippers" were also suggested for use.
The final suggestion for the design was a "jackpot" with a "pie in the
face" motif. Joe then completed the drawing for the playfield and that
concluded this session and also the Friday seminars. That evening the
Exhibit Hall officially opened, but more about that later.
STATE OF THE HOBBY (PART 2)
When the seminars began again Saturday morning, Rob Berk re-introduced
Steve Young and Gordon Hasse to continue the talk they began Friday
morning, "The State of the Pinball Hobby".
Steve began by saying that he hoped to recap what was said yesterday.
Then, he said, he would like to start a 'dialogue' with the audience, who
he said represented "the community of pinball" and were responsible for
"driving the hobby".
He next told us that this must be "a two-way thing", that he is only a
"reporter", that he did not want to hoist his personal views on anyone, and
just wants to "tell it as he sees it". He then told us that what we do
will "set the vision/direction of future movement of the pinball collecting
Recapping from yesterday, Steve briefly mentioned the four areas he
spoke about. Regarding "collecting", he said there were all sizes of
collections, and that new collectors are coming in, many of which don't
understand how to get parts.
Regarding the relation between price and value of games, he began by
remarking that "play value" appears to be secondary as a "price factor",
outweighed by "cosmetics" and the availability of games in a particular
area. He added that "overall popularity" of a game was also important when
it came to price.
After again mentioning the necessity of Dick Bueschel getting his new
book out as soon as possible, Steve talked briefly about "restoration",
talking about reproductions of backglasses, parts, etc. On the subject of
price once more, Steve ended by saying that he "was not here to 'push up
At that point Gordon Hasse began reiterating Steve's statement that
they were not there to "hoist their views on anyone", but only to
"establish a dialogue" to "see what we think". He then said that a few
good points had been expressed to him after yesterday's talk.
Gordon then began recapping the reasons he had previously given as to
why pinball collecting has not achieved the status of other "collecting
hobbies". Rather than repeating these here I will only mention those
points where Gordon (or the audience) had some new information to ad since
the previous day's talk.
When he talked about their being no displays of pins in museums, etc.,
Dave Marston from the audience reminded him of the new "video game and
pinball museum" which had recently opened in St. Louis. Stan Harris'
private collection was also mentioned which could be viewed "by appointment
When Gordon again mentioned "getting media attention for the hobby",
he stated that we should try and contact local papers with pin-related
stories. When he again talked of getting "academia" and the "popular
culture associations" involved, he told us that Dan Fuller was "trying to
help with that".
When Gordon again brought up the point that "no famous people"
collected pins someone said that Walter Cronkite and Hugh Hefner had pins,
as well as other "celebrities". When talking about the "lack of a
significant marketplace for pins", Gordon remarked that the auction being
conducted Sunday at the Expo was starting "a positive trend" in that
Gordon ended his part of the presentation by challenging us to "do
something positive to 'spread the word'". The audience was then asked if
they had any questions or comments?
Steve was first asked if he is putting some type of article together
to help? Steve answered, "no", saying that one person alone can't possibly
do it and that he hopes others will do it. He then commented that there
are more people writing about pins now than even before, but that most are
writing about "their own personal feelings".
Gordon next said that he wanted to thank collector Bob Spieler for
bringing part of his great pin collection to the show for all to enjoy,
this drawing a big round of applause. He next told us that in the future
he will be preparing an article on "backglass restoration" describing the
results of a project he is currently engaged in using a professional
Someone from the audience, who said he was "new to the hobby", then
made the comment that he had never seen "such a bright group of people",
suggesting that more of us write articles for the pin magazines. Steve
then made what I consider to be a very good suggestion, that the magazines
print lists of topics that people could write about. When someone made the
comment that he did not write because he would not get paid for it, Steve
responded that he always "donates" his articles.
Steve and Gordon were next asked "what is the advantage of higher
prices for pins?" Gordon answered that the games in the Exhibit Hall this
year were a good example, saying that the reason people brought so many
great games to sell was because they thought the higher prices made it
"practical" for them to do so.
The question was then asked if the International Flipper Pinball Assn.
(IFPA) was really helping with media publicity for pins? Steve replied
that a "national organization" for collectors could also help, adding that
Sharon Harris would have more to say on the IFPA in the next seminar.
John Campbell from the audience next commented that "personal computer
networks" (COMPUSERVE, etc.) could also aid in "getting the word out",
asking if a dedicated pinball computer "bulletin board" might help? This,
he went on, could provide "conferencing", ads, "chats", etc. on pin-related
subjects. Steve commented that this was an "excellent idea", saying he had
forgotten about that even though he had himself received information in
that manner. Dave Marston then told of a pin-related area on an existing
system, but saying at the present time it seemed to be mostly used by
Steve ended the presentation by encouraging people to contact him with
ideas on "what people can do" to help publicize the hobby. Dick Bueschel
then suggested that this talk be contributed to a magazine, which Steve
said he would probably do.
Before beginning the next talk Rob Berk told us that, starting with
next year's Expo, he planned to initiate a "Fireside Chat" session with a
well-known pinball personage such as Wayne Neyens. He then reminded us of
the "autograph session" scheduled for that afternoon, the "Art Contest",
and also to sign a special giant card to be sent to Expo regular Harvey
Heiss who could not attend this year due to illness. I, for one, sure
missed this great gentleman, him being one of my all-time favorite "pin
Rob Berk next introduced Sharon Harris of Philadelphia who would be
the "guest moderator" for the upcoming panel discussion, "Pinball
Promotions, Tournaments, and League Play".
Sharon began by introducing herself, saying she was in her second term
as President of the "International Flipper Pinball Assn." (IFPA). She then
said that last year she described the IFPA to us, but that a lot had
happened since then, the organization now having 36 "charters" even in the
countries of Canada, Spain, and Yugoslavia.
Sharon then told us that the tournament they sponsored last year had
over 400 entrants, and that the 1992 tournament would be held March 22-25
in Milwaukee. She then introduced her panel consisting of Steve Epstein of
the Broadway Arcade in New York City who was also President of the
"Professional/Amateur Pinball Assn." (PAPA), and Doug Young the Executive
Director of IFPA.
At that point Steve told us that this was his 6th Expo and that this
was the second year for the PAPA leagues. He said they now had leagues in
Chicago, New Jersey, Connecticut, Maryland, and New York, and were
expanding into Canada. Steve then told us that pinball was "a love of his"
being basically a player. He next said that he had been playing pinball
since 1955, and in 1964 began running the arcade started by his father many
Steve then went on to say that the idea of having pinball leagues
started with the competition he had always had playing against Roger
Sharpe, realizing how the 'competitive spirit' can be motivating. Steve
then told us that his first tournament was held in New York City, was open
only to PAPA members, and was covered by the media (MTV, CNN, New York
Steve next showed us a video of his first tournament. He then
announced that the winner of this year's Expo "Flip-Out" tournament will be
given a free trip to New York to participate in the next PAPA tournament,
which he said would be "open to the general public". Finally Steve said
that there is a need to establish more pinball tournaments all over the
country, adding that pinball in the future should be like bowling is today.
Sharon next remarked that the "main goal" should be "to get the word
out" about pinball, mentioning some recent publicity on TV, in the
At that point Doug Young began giving us some background of the IFPA.
He began by telling us that it is "operator focused" (operators being given
all the information needed to help promote tournaments), is "non-profit",
and was started in July 1990. Funding, he went on, is from AMOA and the
game manufacturers. He then said IFPA was run by a Board of Directors
consisting of the President (Sharon) and four AMOA members. Doug then
added that he was only an "employee" of the organization.
Doug next remarked that with tournaments "reward is what it's all
about". He then said that for their first tournament the game
manufacturers provided 80 games. Doug next told us that their tournaments
are open to men, women, and youth; and to players of "all skill levels".
He then remarked that "promotion is the key" and that his job is to get
publicity, get new members, and to "solve problems", adding that he is
always getting calls from people who want "new and different things".
Doug next told us that IFPA needs the cooperation of the
manufacturers, the operators, and the players, and requires a "grass roots
effort". He ended by telling us that he thought we were "on the threshold
of something bigger", but that they have to work through the operators,
adding that he "works from the top" but that we (the players) must "work
from the bottom" if we want tournaments to be a success.
Steve Epstein then said that with PAPA they attempted to go "directly
to the player", saying that a player can start a league at a bar, etc. He
then talked of their "handicap system" for all skill levels, then telling
of their "prize package" which consists of jackets, trophies, etc. Steve
then told us that he feels that the operators have to be "pulled along" and
that this was a "labor intensive promotion".
After describing his location which has 65 games, 18 of which are
pins, and high rent and an immense overhead, he remarked that this should
prove to operators that you can make money with pins. He ended by
emphasizing "we really need player support" for PAPA to be successful.
Doug then told us that the players should "sound their horn" to the
operators to let them know they want tournaments. He then quoted Sharon
regarding the "excitement of playing", adding that "we all have the
Sharon then told us that she was the "league director" of their
company and that it was "grueling work". She then suggested to players
that they be "sure of their commitment" before approaching an operator
regarding tournaments. She added that, speaking as an operator, if
operators have dedicated players it will work.
When the audience was asked if they had any questions for the panel,
the first question asked was that always controversial one "what are you
doing to correct the problem of badly maintained games in arcades?"
Steve began by saying that it is tough to get operators to maintain
their games, calling it a "boom or bust situation". When Roger Sharpe
commented that leagues can help when players demand that the games be
working properly, Sharon agreed saying there's always "strength in
Doug then said that IFPA is a "conduit of information" and that
operators will be required to participate in seminars on game maintenance
subjects. Sharon added that IFPA also gives "helpful hints" to operators
including "10 things to do to games in the shop" and "7 items to check on
later on location".
Despite these comments from the panel, people in the audience voiced
more "negative comments" regarding the subject of "on-site maintenance".
Steve then commented "we can't dance around this issue", saying that one
thing that can be done is for players to get together and boycott locations
with badly maintained games.
When Sharon remarked that "street locations" were better than arcades
as far as the problem was concerned, someone from the audience commented
that those locations were just as bad. Another person then commented that
in bars, etc., where they have only one or two games, that the operator was
more inclined to keep them up because if he didn't the patrons wouldn't
play and he would lose money. In arcades with many games, he went on, if
one or two don't work properly players can always play another machine.
Another critic from the audience then told the panel that they were
"missing the boat", saying that bowling leagues have forced bowling alleys
to "give them what they want", so why can't pinball leagues do the same?
This again got back to the "strength in numbers" idea.
After that long discussion resulting from the first question, the next
question was far less controversial it being "how can leagues be conducted
in bars?" Steve said that "bar leagues" are definitely possible, telling
us that IFPA is oriented toward that type of location. Doug then commented
that IFPA tries to follow a "program" similar to that used by darts
leagues; what he referred to as a "traveling league". Sharon then told us
that Doug himself is actually playing in a league. Finally, Steve said
that PAPA can "blanket any type of location".
Doug was next asked if there were any operators in Chicago running
tournaments? He replied that some operators in the area are getting
started, but that there are not any tournaments set up yet. He then told
us that the game manufacturers are taking a "firm roll" in encouraging
operators to participate in tournaments.
Doug then told the person who was interested in Chicago area
tournaments to see him for a list of local operators holding "IFPA
charters". Sharon then commented that she uses every opportunity to "get
the word out", telling of once when she brought up the subject during a
city council meeting.
The panel was next asked what the difference was between IFPA and
PAPA? Sharon replied that PAPA was "player oriented" (working "from the
player up"), and IFPA is "operator oriented" (working from the operator "up
to the manufacturer" and "down to the player").
The final question was "are any of your organizations sending out
flyers?" Sharon answered that both have flyers, Steve adding that PAPA
also advertises in the "trade papers".
Steve's final comment was that PAPA will have four different
tournaments between February and April of 1992. Sharon ended by
reiterating that a "grass roots effort" was required if tournaments were to
succeed, adding "we need your help!"
For the next seminar Rob Berk introduced Don Patzke and his son Mark
of Multi Products, a company which has been making motors for the coin
machine industry for many years, to give a talk titled "Pinball Score
Motors". Don began by thanking Rob for inviting him to the Expo, and the
coin machine industry for supporting his company for over 45 years.
Don first told us that he got into this business 45 years ago working
for a company called Electric Motor Corp. He said that motors in those
days were "low torque" and used brass gears and pinions. As the machines
got more complex, he went on, clutches, etc., were added to the motors.
Don then told us that over the years they sold motors to most of the
game manufacturers such as Genco, United, Williams, Gottlieb, and Midway.
He then said that when it was found that the gears they originally used
tended to wear out, they switched to heavy duty gears employing steel gears
and pinions, and that they "continually upgraded their products".
Manufacturers today, Don continued, are working for a "quality
product". He said his company sometimes supplies 5 to 7 thousand motors a
week with very few being returned to them as being faulty. In the old
days, he then told us, he used to visit all the plants.
Don then told us that today many companies have special requirements.
For example, he went on, four years ago Williams needed a very small 12
volt D.C. motor, and when his company was given the requirements they were
able to modify an existing product to fit.
Don went on to say that their company often makes improvements in
their products when a customer has a complaint or gives them a new
requirement, always "adjusting to the customer's needs". Most of his
competitors, he told us, will not "change to fit". As an example, he told
of making an "oscillating motor" required by a customer using the same idea
used in oscillating electric fans.
During the talk they passed around examples of some of their motors
for us to look at. After describing some of their older motors, Don told a
story of their "quick response" in the past to a customer's special
He said he once got a call from a game manufacturer who needed a motor
the next day for a baseball game. Don said he drove in a storm and worked
all night so the game could go into production at 8 AM the next morning,
adding "it's crazy what you can do when you really want to do it".
At that point Don asked if there were any questions? It was first
asked if they recommended lubricating the gears on a motor unit? Don
answered that if it was an "open motor" you should use "DTE" oil, but that
"enclosed motor units" are pre-lubricated.
When asked if they could still replace old motors when they go bad,
Don answered "yes", saying that only the other day they replaced a 1964
Chicago Coin motor for someone. When Don was next asked if there was any
chance of replacing motors on foreign Playmatic games he replied "if you
have a part number we'll see".
At that point Steve Kordek of Williams congratulated Don and his
company for the "tremendous job" they had always done for the industry. He
then told of the "rigorous testing" that Williams does on motors they
receive, and how if a problem is found Don's company is always ready to
Someone from the audience next asked if Don could rebuild a motor from
just looking at it? He replied that they still repair old United motors,
adding that they will repair almost any motor sent to them for $20 with a
one or two day "turnaround". When asked about a common problem which
occurs in the "ferris wheel motor" on Williams CYCLONE, Don simply replied
"that's not one of our motors".
Don was next asked if he could repair Coke machine motors? At first
he answered "no", but then he commented "it may be possible; send it in and
we'll try". He then said that sometimes they even "copy" motors. Don then
told us that, in addition to pins, his company made motors for arcade
games, jukeboxes, "horse race games", etc.
When asked if their motors always have the company name on them, Don
replied "yes". The final question to Don was if 50 and 60 cycle motors
could be interchanged? He said that interchanging them would affect the
speed and "heat dissipation", adding that they could always replace a motor
with one of the right frequency.
Finally, someone from the audience told of having an old Keeney
shuffle alley with a bad motor. He said he sent it to Don's company and
they fixed it!
On a personal note, I myself would sure like to compliment Don and
Mark and their company on their gracious effort to repair any of their past
products for a cost of only $20! I seriously doubt that any other company
in the country would do anything like that. Thanks guys!
For the next to the last of the Expo seminars Rob Berk began his
introduction by saying: "Nine months in the making - who was the team? -
the game was FUN HOUSE." Rob then introduced the leader of the Williams
design team for that game Pat Lawler.
Pat began by saying "hey, it's only pinball", but quickly added "we
know better - it's a life and death struggle for 25 cents!" He then told
us that today he was going to tell us how he designed a game with a group
of "specialists". Pat then introduced Larry DeMar, their "software
genius", and John Crutch, their mechanical engineer/designer, who he said
"makes all those 'wonderful toys' used in their games."
Pat then remarked that pins have changed drastically in the last 5
years. In the past, he said, a few people could design a game, but now a
pingame consists of "a number of 'whole little worlds' in a cabinet" - a
"brand new form of entertainment". Comparing a modern game to a movie, he
said it needs a "story line", "special effects", etc. He then added that
only part of the "team" was there, it taking hundreds of people to actually
At that point Pat introduced their artist/illustrator John Youssi who
was also involved in creating the dummy called "Rudy" which was an integral
part of the game. He then introduced Chris Granner who was responsible for
the sound/music. Pat then told us that "Rudy" says over 120 different
things requiring 4 megabytes of "digitized speech". He then congratulated
Chris on these accomplishments which drew a round of applause.
Pat next began talking about design in general. In answer to the
question "what is pinball?", Pat answered that to "us" (the players) it is
a "great entertainment device". But to "them" (the makers) it has a "whole
As an illustration of what he called "design perspective", Pat drew a
chart illustrating the "chain" which he said the manufacturers have to
"satisfy" with their products. From the top down it consisted of the
"Design Team" (about 10 people); the Manufacturing Plant (100's of people);
the Distributors (in the 1000's); the Operators (in the tens of thousands);
and finally the Players (in the millions).
Pat then explained that they must "sell" their product all through
that "chain", and if any level is disappointed they "have a problem". He
then said that many people tend to forget that each "intermediate level"
must make a profit, adding that to each "level" the game is a "different
commodity". Pat then added that they can't skip any level of the chain
because without it the "game can't end up with you".
Pat next said that producing a new game takes 3 important items:
money, people, and time. When they start a new game, he told us, they are
given two "directives" from the company: an amount of time (9 months, for
example), and so much money. If either of these is exceeded, he went on,
someone in the "chain" gets "angry".
Pat next explained that if the cost to produce a game goes up then the
price per play must be raised by the operator. He said for this reason
features often have to be removed from a proposed design. He then added
that they were "lucky" because at Williams management usually leaves the
design team alone after giving their initial directives. Pat then drew a
"time line" showing events in the design process, which he added to as his
At that point programmer Larry DeMar got up to tell us what he did for
the game. He first said that the programmer also contributes to
"everything you experience as a result of the program". FUN HOUSE, he went
on, was a particular challenge because, in addition to the "normal design",
he had "Rudy" to contend with, resulting in "mechanical" as well as program
Larry said the two biggest challenges that Rudy caused for him were
getting his jaw to follow his speech, and what he called "Rudy's 'moods'".
These 'moods' he described as being "happy", "real angry", and "excited"
(during "multi-ball play"), adding that a different "speech repertoire" was
required for each mood. At that point Larry introduced Ed Boone in the
audience who did the voice for Rudy.
Pat Lawler then got up and said more about satisfying the "middle part
of the 'chain'" (distributors and operators), who he said they "had to keep
happy". Pat said their design had to include maintenance and bookkeeping
aids, in addition to 'play features', adding that they introduced a new
"software operating system" with FUN HOUSE. He then commented that if the
programmer knew from the start what the game should do his job would be
much easier, adding that that was usually not the case.
Artist John Youssi next got up and started by saying that each artist
has a different approach. On FUN HOUSE, he went on, Rudy also gave him
extra problems. He told us that when he first "met" Rudy he was only a
hole in a "whitewood" prototype. He said he then prepared sketches of
"potential Rudys" which he showed to Pat and from which he picked the one
he wanted to use.
The selected sketches, John then told us, were given to a "model
maker" who made the first model of Rudy. He then told of sketching his
ideas for the backglass, cabinet, playfield, etc., from which Pat again
made his choices. John then showed us various sketches, drawings, etc.,
leading up to the final artwork for the game.
Pat next told us that on most games they use 13 to 16 passes of silk
screening to produce the playfield art. After showing us the first model
of Rudy, he remarked that the game always changes during the design
process. Larry DeMar then said that all during the design they received
inputs/opinions from many people which he said was often a "political
battle". He then remarked that the best games are often the ones which
cause the most argument.
At that point Chris Granner began to tell us more about the game's
sounds. He began by remarking that "Larry doesn't like anything", saying
that he "had to do 110 percent the first time to satisfy him". Chris then
gave details on how he created the sounds for FUN HOUSE, talking of the
many changes he had to make as the design progressed and the various types
of music which the game required.
Pat Lawler then remarked that all that is required to produce today's
games is "highly technical" and that games are no longer simple and require
many "professionals" to design them. After remarking that Larry DeMar was
the "unheralded conscience of Williams", Pat told us that the team often
worked until 2 or 3 AM. He then said that their work keeps the factory
workers in a job. Finally, Chris remarked "we love what we do and hope it
shows in the product."
At that point Pat showed some slides which showed various changes made
to the game during the design process. He then talked briefly about
testing new designs using people at the factory to see if people can
understand "how to play the game". Pat then showed us the "Game Of The
Year" award that FUN HOUSE had won at the AMOA show.
Pat then asked if we had any questions? When asked where the name
"Rudy" came from, Pat said that when he asked his 5 year old daughter what
to name it she immediately answered "Rudy". When Chris was then asked if
he wrote his music on paper, he answered "yes", adding that he had to enter
each note "by hand" into a computer system.
It was next asked if any of the game's "rules" had to be changed after
it's first "location tryout"? Larry replied that only one such change had
to be made. The session ended with the question "isn't it expensive to
make 'late changes' to a game?" Pat simply answered "yes, it is".
ELECTRO-MECHANICAL PINBALL REPAIR
The final seminar of this year's Expo was presented by collector Tim
Arnold who Rob Berk introduced as "a collector extraordinaire", and was
titled "Electro-mechanical Pinball Repair ("Hands-On Workshop")".
In his introduction Rob told us that Tim got his first pin years ago
in Michigan, and now has a collection of over 600 machines. He then
remarked that in order to own games you have to know how to fix them, the
purpose of Tim's talk.
Tim began by saying that in order to properly maintain your game you
must have a "tool box" equipped with the proper tools, proceeding to tell
us what to use. Tim first suggested having two good soldering irons, one
"high power" and one "low power". For solder he said to always use a good
"60/40" rosin core type; never acid core! He then added that "soldering
flux" should be used for some jobs.
After suggesting that we use a good quality electrical tape for
insulation, Tim told us we should never us "WD-40" as it is an "electrical
inhibitor". He also advised that we be careful with "contact cleaners" as
they can damage the silver in the contacts, suggesting we use a fine file
(except for gold contacts).
On the subject of fuses, Tim told us to always replace burnt out ones
with the exact value called for, and then said they could be replaced with
"circuit breakers". For removing fuses he suggested using a "fuse puller".
As far as "nut wrenches" were concerned, Tim suggested buying a good
set (no cheap ones!) including at least: 5/16, 11/32, and 1/4 inch sizes.
He then suggested a "good selection of pliers", including "needle nose" and
good "wire cutters".
For lubrication Tim recommended using a good brand of "white lube".
If you need to repair a broken part he suggested using a good brand of
"super glue" (again no "cheapies").
Tim next said your tool kit should contain a good set of socket
wrenches, assorted screw drivers, and a set of disposable Allen wrenches.
In addition, he suggested a good "power screwdriver". That ended Tim's
discussion of "the pinball tool box".
Tim then showed us the 1970's vintage pingame he was going to use in
his maintenance demonstrations, saying it was representative of an average
electro-mechanical machine. He then proceed to demonstrate the proper
removal of the playfield glass, cautioning us not to pull it out part way
and let it "hang", and not to tap tempered glass on it's edges. He said
you should let the glass land on the top of your feet and then set it aside
After reminding us to remove the ball before you raise the playfield,
he raised the field on the game and set it on it's stick prop in
preparation for a detailed demonstration of flipper maintenance. Tim began
that discussion saying that if your flippers have "low power" the coil may
need replacing, and if it gets unduly warm that's probably the case.
After showing how to correctly remove the "set screws", Tim
demonstrated removing the flipper shaft assembly. He then told us that we
should clean it and not over-lubricate it. Tim next demonstrated removing
the "plunger assembly" and how to clean it, adding that the "linkage"
should be replaced if worn. To remove the "roll pin" easily he suggested
heating it first and then removing it using a small punch.
After showing how to remove the "flipper bracket", Tim demonstrated
removing the coil. He then told us to check the "coil stop", and if it is
worn to replace it, also using new screws. Tim next advised us to check
the coil and "sleeve", saying that if the sleeve is at all worn it should
be replaced. As far as the coil was concerned, he told us that if it's
wrapper looks burnt the coil should be replaced.
Tim next advised that you "test" the solder joints on the coil and
"End-of Stroke" (EOS) switch by tugging on the wires, adding that it's a
good idea to "beef up" the jumper wire to the EOS switch with "18 gauge"
wire. He then suggested that the EOS switch be checked carefully and
adjusted, filing the points if dirty, or replacing them if bad.
At that point I had to leave Tim's interesting seminar to attend the
"autograph session" in which I had been invited to participate. When I
later asked a person who stayed until the end what went on after I left, he
told me that Tim went on into detail on "pop bumper" maintenance in a
manner similar to what he had done with flippers. This was followed, he
told me, with a "question and answer session" which included much
discussion on "lamp socket problems".
THE AUTOGRAPH SESSION
Several months before the Expo I received a letter and "form" in the
mail inviting me to participate in a "Pinball Designers, Artists, and
Authors Autograph Session", a new feature at Expo '91. I felt greatly
honored to be asked and immediately responded by sending in the form,
acknowledging my acceptance of the offer.
The session was held in a special room set up with two long tables
that the participants sat behind and space to display artwork, etc. The
Expo guests who wanted to get autographs (or just say "hello" to the
designers, artists, and authors) could walk in front of the tables,
stopping to see whomever they wanted.
Where I sat, at the beginning of the table nearest the door, I was in
"pretty good company". To my right was ace pinball designer Steve Ritchie
who, during the session, autographed many copies of the brochure for his
latest hit, TERMINATOR 2 (I even got one!).
Next to Steve were two old-time great pinball artists, George Molentin
who did much of the great art for the pins of the 1940's and 1950's, and
1960's artist Jerry Kelley whose Expo talk the previous day I have already
After a while we were asked to move down a little to make room for
Bally designer of the 1970's Greg Kmeik, who designed such great games as
CAPTAIN FANTASTIC and WIZARD. I had the privilege of sitting next to Greg
for a little while, and even got him to autograph the photograph of my
CAPTAIN FANTASTIC machine.
I myself got to sell and autograph a few copies of my book "Pinball
Troubleshooting Guide, and to talk to others who already owned a copy. I
also got to meet another author of a pinball troubleshooting book, Henk de
Jager from Holland. He later showed me a copy of his book which looked
wonderful, except that it was written in Dutch and I could not read a word
Later on, when the crowd thinned out, I hurried to my room to get my
copy of Englishman Brian Temple's book "Pinball Art", which I had purchased
the day before, and brought it back to the autograph room to get a few
autographs myself. I was able to get great pinball artists such as George
Molentin, Jerry Kelley, Dave Christensen, and others to autograph in my
book next to the pictures of some of the great backglasses they created.
All in all, I really enjoyed participating in this event, and really
felt privileged to be able to sit with such distinguished personages of the
After the usual pre-banquet "cocktail hour" for mingling, and the
always good meal which has been associated with all past Expos, we settled
back for the after dinner program.
The guest speaker this year had been announced as old-time Bally
personage Paul Calimari who attended, and was involved with a great
seminar, at the first Expo. I had been looking forward to seeing and
talking to Paul again, and so was extremely disappointed and saddened when
Rob Berk announced that Paul could not be present due to a minor traffic
accident, adding however that he was "OK".
In Paul's stead Rob had engaged a magician who presented an
entertaining program using people from the audience, including Alvin
Gottlieb. This, however, to me was no substitute for a pin industry old-
After the magic show Canadian Aaron Benditt was asked to come up and
present prizes to the winners of his "name that 'tune'" contest which he
had conducted during the Expo "opening remarks" on Friday morning. He
declared 2 winners, one from the manufacturers people and one from the
"others". The winners, each having guessed 21 out of 25 "pinball voices"
Aaron had imitated, were Larry DeMar for the manufacturers, and a fellow
named Rob Rosenhaus.
At that point Rob Berk came back up on stage and asked for a show of
hands of the Expo "first timers"; there were quite a few. He then asked
for "2nd-timers", etc., ending with how many had attended all 7 shows?
There were also quite a few of us.
Rob next announced that he was going to tell us of "a new idea for the
future". He then asked designer Greg Kmiek, who was in part responsible
for the idea, to come up and gave him a package to open. The package
contained a large plaque titled "Pinball Hall of Fame". Rob told us that
the first 4 members had been decided upon, and that two more would be added
each year. The four "chosen ones" were Gottlieb founder David Gottlieb,
Bally founder Ray Moloney, Williams founder Harry Williams, and Harry's ex-
partner and later founder of Stern Electronics, Sam Stern.
Rob next presented the award for "best exhibit". which for the second
year in a row went to Steve Engle and his wife's "Pinball Supermarket"
display. Rob told us that they assembled it first in their basement at
home, then dismantling it to be reassembled at the Expo.
Rob next talked about a "special project" which he called his "dream".
He told of the pingame, FLIP-OUT, which had been designed for the Expo by
Reinhard ("Reiny") Bangerter and put together by Data East. He said that
the game was not totally operational, but was on display in the Exhibit
Hall. Rob then presented plaques to "Reiny" and artist Greg Feres who did
the artwork for the game.
Rob then told us that he was going to introduce "a gentleman with a
mission", who he said helped Joe Kaminkow with the creation of Data East's
STAR TREK game. He then introduced Jim Schelberg. Mike Pacak next told us
that three years ago Jim first attended the Expo and ended up buying his
first pin. Since then, Mike went on, he started publishing the all pinball
magazine "PinGame Journal".
Jim then told us that the game manufacturers had been a great help to
him in the production of his magazine, and that he wanted to show his
appreciation. He then proceeded to give plaques, which featured a color
reproduction of his first issue, to company representatives Mike Gottlieb
of A. Gottlieb and Co., Roger Sharpe of Williams/Bally/Midway, and Mike
Vrettos of Premier. Jim next presented a special plaque to Joe Kaminkow of
Data East which also included the cover of the issue of the magazine with
STAR TREK on it.
Finally, Jim remarked that Rob Berk was always giving out plaques, and
that it was about time that he got one. Jim and Mike Pacak then presented
Rob with a plaque for all his efforts in putting on the Expos, Jim quipping
that it entitled Rob to "all the Williams Add-A-Ball games - if he paid for
After asking Wisconsin collector Mark Weyna to come up, Rob asked the
question: "who will be 80 years old in December?" Industry veteran and
Expo regular Steve Kordek stood up. After coming up on stage Steve was
presented (by Mark, Jim, and Rob) a Genco TRIPLE ACTION pingame - Genco's
first flipper game which Steve designed, a machine which Mark had located.
That drew a big round of applause from the audience.
After thanking them for the game, which was a real surprise for him,
Steve quipped that he remembered that when his father "turned 40" that he
thought that was "old". He then praised whom he called the "young kids"
for keeping the pingame industry alive today.
Steve then told us that Williams/Bally/Midway "loves to honor
individuals for their accomplishments". He went on to say that tonight
they were going to honor one person; one of the Bally employees who came to
Williams during the integration of the two company's game production
operations in 1988.
This person, Steve said, began with Bally in 1965, is proudest of the
Bally game ODDS AND EVENS which he designed, and has recently been made the
company's "Project Manager of Scheduling and Development". Steve then
asked Jim Patla to come up, presenting him with their company's "Golden
Jim next told us that it was a surprise to most of the Bally people
when they suddenly discovered that they were going to work for Williams and
that they had "mixed emotions" about the change. He said that the two
companies had always been "competitors" in the past, but were also
"friends". He ended by remarking that Williams had "brought pins to new
heights", and that it was "good to get back to a company that's behind
At that point Rob Berk again came up and began thanking various Expo
participants. He first thanked the exhibitors, with "special thanks" to
Pennsylvania collector Bob Spieler for bringing many of the fine restored
games from his collection for Expo visitors to play. This drew a big round
Rob next thanked the game manufacturers for their participation, and
Williams/Bally/Midway for letting us tour their plant. He then
acknowledged the designer of PARTY ZONE (the game used in the Flip-Out
tournament qualifying rounds) Dennis Nordham and the artist Paul Feres.
They both stood up and drew another round of applause. Rob then thanked
Steve Epstein for offering the winner of Flip-Out a free trip to New York
City to play in his PAPA tournament.
At that point Rob asked that all the foreign Expo visitors stand up
and then come up on stage; there were quite a few! He then announced the
countries they represented, which included: Australia, Canada, Germany,
Japan, and The Netherlands.
Rob then told us that this was a "special year", it being the 5th
Anniversary of Data East Pinball. He then brought out a "Birthday Cake"
and had all sing "Happy Anniversary" to Data East. Rob then asked Data
East President Gary Stern and Head of Design Joe Kaminkow to come up,
remarking that they had both "been through a lot" in the past five years.
The cake was then cut, the foreign visitors getting the first helpings.
Rob next thanked his Expo staff and then presented Exhibit Hall
Chairman Mike Pacak with a bag. When Mike opened it he found a "jukebox
tie" and a cup. A drawing was next held to give away a KING OF DIAMONDS
backglass donated by Arizona collector Dann Frank. As luck would have it,
it was won by Bob Spieler, which I thought was deserved since Bob brought
some of his wonderful games for us to enjoy.
After presenting awards to the "women's division" of the Flip-Out
tournament, the wining raffle tickets were drawn. Two brand new pins,
Gottlieb's CACTUS JACKS and Data East's TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES,
donated by the manufacturers, were given to two lucky persons.
After the raffle, the "door prizes" were given out, including books,
magazines, coils, T-shirts, etc. The last item of banquet business was the
awarding of prizes in a "pinball art contest" which was also held during
the Expo this year. Prize categories included: photographs, clothing,
drawings, "youth submissions", and paintings.
That ended this year's banquet. After it was over most people went to
the Exhibit Hall to either watch the Flip-Out tournament final playoffs,
play the many pins there, or just browse around again. By the way, the
final winners of Flip-Out were California "wizard" Rick Stetta, and for the
manufacturers, ex-Californian, now Chicago game designer extraordinaire,
THE EXHIBIT HALL
This year I believe there were more games in the Exhibit Hall than
ever before. With a few exceptions, prices were reasonable, even though
they have increased somewhat over the years. This year for the first time
there were even two "OK bingos", and a very rare payout pingame, Bally's
1937 classic GOLDEN WHEEL.
As I mentioned earlier, Bob Spieler had a row of his beautifully
restored classic pins from the 1950's and 1960's, set up for all to play
and enjoy. New games from the manufacturers were of course also shown.
Williams/Bally/Midway had a very nice display, as well as a line of their
latest PARTY ZONE games set up for use in the Flip-Out tournament
Premier had three of their latest: CLASS OF 1812; Reinhard Bangerter's
CACTUS JACK'S; and Jon Norris' latest design, a fascinating game called
SURF 'N SAFARI. Data East Pinball had a large display of their recent
hits, plus a "one-of-a-kind" game, OPERATION DESERT STORM, with caricatures
of Saddam Hussein, and President George Bush on the backglass.
The following is a chronological listing of all the pingames I saw in
NAME MFG YEAR PRICE
____________________________ ________________ ____ ______
BUNNY BOARD Marble Games Co. 32 375
WOW ? 32 450
JIGSAW Rockola 33 950
JUGGLE BALL Rockola 33 ?
BUMPER Bally 36 ?
GOLDEN WHEEL Bally 37 1000
ALL AMERICAN Chicago Coin 40 ?
FORMATION Genco 40 600
ABC BOWLER Gottlieb 41 295
BOLA WAY (AS IS) Chicago Coin 41 OFFER
SUPER SCORE Chicago Coin 46 ?
BERMUDA (AS IS) Chicago Coin 47 ?
BOWLING LEAGUE (AS IS) Gottlieb 47 ?
CAROUSEL Keeney 47 295
CYCLONE Williams 47 350
CYCLONE Williams 47 550
HAVANA United 47 350
HUMPTY DUMPTY Gottlieb 47 1200
HUMPTY DUMPTY (AS IS) Gottlieb 47 300
BABY FACE United 48 395
CINDERELLA (AS IS) Gottlieb 48 300
LADY ROBIN HOOD (AS IS) Gottlieb 48 300
TEMPTATION (AS IS) Chicago Coin 48 ?
TROPICANA United 48 400
GOLDEN GLOVES Chicago Coin 49 395
QUARTERBACK Williams 49 875
THREE FEATHERS (AS IS) Genco 49 300
BANK-A-BALL Gottlieb 50 NOT FOR SALE
KNOCKOUT Gottlieb 50 1500
STADIUM Chicago Coin 51 400
HIT AND RUN Gottlieb 52 NOT FOR SALE
QUEEN OR HEARTS Gottlieb 52 NOT FOR SALE
FOUR BELLES Gottlieb 54 NOT FOR SALE
GYPSY QUEEN Gottlieb 55 NOT FOR SALE
PETER PAN Williams 55 500
SLUGGIN' CHAMP Gottlieb 55 NOT FOR SALE
HARBOR LIGHTS Gottlieb 56 NOT FOR SALE
ACE HIGH Gottlieb 57 NOT FOR SALE
CRISS CROSS Gottlieb 58 NOT FOR SALE
ROTO POOL Gottlieb 58 NOT FOR SALE
SITTIN' PRETTY Gottlieb 58 NOT FOR SALE
TURF CHAMPS Williams 58 NOT FOR SALE
DARTS Williams 60 NOT FOR SALE
DARTS Williams 60 200
WAGON TRAIN Gottlieb 60 NOT FOR SALE
EGG HEAD Gottlieb 61 500
FLIPPER PARADE (AAB) Gottlieb 61 675
FOTO FINISH Gottlieb 61 395
LANCERS Gottlieb 61 450
SHOW BOAT Gottlieb 61 500
COVER GIRL Gottlieb 62 400
FLIPPER CLOWN (AAB) Gottlieb 62 NOT FOR SALE
GOLDEN GATE (BINGO) Bally 62 850
JOLLY JOKERS Williams 62 NOT FOR SALE
RACK-A-BALL Gottlieb 62 500, 550
SILVER SAILS(BINGO) Bally 62 950
GAUCHO Gottlieb 63 500
SLICK CHICK Gottlieb 63 NOT FOR SALE
SLICK CHICK Gottlieb 63 700, 1000
SQUARE HEAD (AAB) Gottlieb 63 300
SWEETHEARTS Gottlieb 63 450
SWING TIME Williams 63 NOT FOR SALE
OH BOY Williams 64 NOT FOR SALE
BUCKAROO Gottlieb 65 NOT FOR SALE
COWPOKE (AAB) Gottlieb 65 800
ICE REVIEW Gottlieb 65 600
KINGS AND QUEENS Gottlieb 65 NOT FOR SALE
CENTRAL PARK Gottlieb 66 1000
CROSS TOWN Gottlieb 66 750
CROSS TOWN Gottlieb 66 NOT FOR SALE
FUN CRUISE Bally 66 175
HURDY GURDY (AAB) Gottlieb 66 995
APOLLO Williams 67 NOT FOR SALE
DIAMOND JACK (AAB) Gottlieb 67 600
DIAMOND JACK (AAB) Gottlieb 67 NOT FOR SALE
MELODY (AAB) Gottlieb 67 600
SING ALONG Gottlieb 67 450, 650
SING ALONG Gottlieb 67 NOT FOR SALE
SURF SIDE Gottlieb 67 175
DAFFIE Williams 68 295
DING DONG Williams 68 260, 450
FUN PARK Gottlieb 68 350
LADY LUCY Williams 68 295
PALACE GUARD (AAB) Gottlieb 68 650
PIT STOP Williams 68 295
PIT STOP Williams 68 NOT FOR SALE
PLAYTIME Chicago Coin 68 350
SPIN-A-CARD Gottlieb 69 450
FLIP-A-CARD Gottlieb 70 450
FORU SQUARE Gottlieb 71 400
FOUR MILLION BC Bally 71 NOT FOR SALE
FOUR MILLION BC Bally 71 950, 1350
PLAYBALL Gottlieb 71 400
ROLLER COASTER Gottlieb 71 ?
FIREBALL Bally 72 1500
FLYING CARPET Gottlieb 72 395, 450
GRANADA (AAB) Williams 72 NOT FOR SALE
GRAND SLAM Gottlieb 72 NOT FOR SALE
GRAND SLAM Gottlieb 72 400
ORBIT Gottlieb 72 ?
WORLD SERIES Gottlieb 72 400, 450
HI LO ACE Bally 73 275
MONTE CARLO Bally 73 900
NIP IT Bally 73 650, 1000
HI FLYER Chicago Coin 74 325
LUCKY ACE Williams 74 295
SKY DIVE Gottlieb 74 295
SKYLAB Williams 74 NOT FOR SALE
TRIPLE ACTION Williams 74 400
SPIN OUT Gottlieb 75 ?
STAR POOL Williams 75 495
WIZARD Bally 75 400, 750, 800
ALADIN'S CASTLE Bally 76 395
CAPTAIN FANTASTIC Bally 76 800, 1000
FLIP FLOP Bally 76 475
GRAND PRIX Williams 76 200
JUKE BOX Chicago Coin 76 495
OLD CHICAGO Bally 76 750
PIONEER Gottlieb 76 295, 350
SHIP AHOY Gottlieb 76 295
EIGHT BALL Bally 77 800
JACK'S OPEN Gottlieb 77 450
TEAM ONE (AAB) Gottlieb 77 395
BLACK JACK Bally 78 ?
DRAGON Gottlieb 78 ?
FOXY LADY (TABLE) Game Plan 78 500
LOST WORLD Bally 78 500
MATI HARI Bally 78 650
NUGENT Stern 78 ?
PLAYBOY Bally 78 975, 1295
POWER PLAY Bally 78 495
SINBAD Gottlieb 78 175
STRIKES AND SPARES Bally 78 ?
DISCO FEVER Williams 79 ?
FLASH (AS IS) Williams 79 295
HERCULES Atari 79 ?
KISS Bally 79 700
LASER BALL Williams 79 495
METEOR Stern 79 300
SHARPSHOOTER Game Plan 79 500
SOLAR RIDE Gottlieb 79 ?
STELLAR WARS (AS IS) Williams 79 250
TRI ZONE Williams 79 ?
ASTEROID ANNIE Gottlieb 80 450
BLACK BELT Zaccaria 80 800
BLACK KNIGHT Williams 80 950
FIREPOWER Williams 80 ?
FLASH GORDON Bally 80 750
SKATEBALL Bally 80 600, 650
SPACE INVADERS Bally 80 595
XENON Bally 80 750
BLACK HOLE Gottlieb 81 495
CAVEMAN Gottlieb 81 595
CENTAUR Bally 81 800
EIGHT BALL DELUXE Bally 81 400, 650
ELEKTRA Bally 81 475, 750
FATHOM Bally 81 450, 700, 750
FIREBALL II Bally 81 ?
FLASH GORDON Bally 81 750
JUNGLE LORD Williams 81 ?
LIGHTNING Stern 81 ?
MEDUSA Bally 81 550
HAUNTED HOUSE Gottlieb 82 1000
MR. AND MRS. PACMAN Bally 82 600
ORBITOR I Stern 82 ?
X'S AND O'S Bally 83 750
SPACE SHUTTLE Williams 84 750, 795
BOUNTY HUNTER Gottlieb 85 400
CYBERNAUT Bally 85 ?
EIGHT BALL CHAMP Bally 85 795, 800
SORCERER Williams 85 895
GENESIS Gottlieb 86 695
GOLD WINGS Gottlieb 86 695
HOLLYWOOD HEAT Gottlieb 86 995
RAVEN Gottlieb 86 ?
ROAD KINGS Williams 86 895
BIG GUNS Williams 87 ?
F-14 TOMCAT Williams 87 OFFER
FIRE Williams 87 1195
LASER WAR Data East 87 ?
MONTE CARLO Gottlieb 87 575
CYCLONE Williams 88 1695
DIAMOND LADY Gottlieb 88 1000
SECRET SERVICE Data East 88 ?
BLACK KNIGHT 2000 Williams 89 1595
POOL SHARKS Bally 8? 1695
BACK TO THE FUTURE Data East 90 NEW
CACTUS JACK'S Gottlieb 90 NEW
GAME SHOW Bally 90 1595
GILIGAN'S ISLAND Bally 90 NEW
OPERATION DESERT STORM Data East 90 NOT FOR SALE
PHANTOM OF THE OPERA Data East 90 NEW
KING KONG Data East 90 NEW
CLASS OF 1812 Gottlieb 91 NEW
STAR TREK Data East 91 NEW
SURF 'N SAFARI Gottlieb 91 NEW
TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES Data East 91 2495
TERMINATOR II Williams 91 NEW
In addition to games, there were also some pingame "parts" available
for purchase. Steve Engle and his wife had their "Pinball Supermarket",
which was mentioned earlier, with a nice assortment of parts and
literature. There was also another booth selling used pinball parts.
Donal Murphey, of course, was also selling his fine "remakes" of pinball
plastic parts (bumper caps and drop targets).
There were also two fine "reproduction" backglasses available this
year, each made by a different process. Steve Young and Donal Murphey were
selling a fine reproduction of Gottlieb's 1954 classic DRAGONETTE, while
Rob Berk and Steve Engle were selling a great SLICK CHICK repro glass.
As far as literature was concerned, Mike Pacak had his usual fine
selection of pinball brochures, and Steve Young his fine assortment of
reproductions of old pinball parts catalogs and other literature. The new
all pinball magazine, PinGame Journal, was also represented, it's publisher
Jim Schelberg having his own booth.
Due to the large number of exhibitors there was an "overflow section"
of the Exhibit Hall which was actually located outside the entrance to the
main hall. This area contained one or two game dealer booths, the display
of the special pingame modified for the handicapped described in a Friday
morning lecture, and a large area occupied by Las Vegas collector, turned
"philanthropist" Tim Arnold, who also gave the previously described seminar
on game repair.
All proceeds from Tim's booth, he told us, went to charity. First,
Tim was selling excellent color photographs of many of the older games in
his over 600 machine collection. Also he was "selling" one of his famous
"hand made" books which, among other things, contained a listing of all the
flipper games he owned, and which ones he was looking for.
But, associated with this Tim had an interesting "gimmick". For the
$1 charity donation you paid for the book you got one play on a special
"upright" game machine Tim had constructed. A coin would be dropped in at
the top, would "filter down" through various pins, etc., and could land in
one of several special "pockets". If you got into these "pockets" you
could "win" either a banana (like I did) or a piece of toast (with the jam
of your choice). A fun idea indeed!
This year, for the first time, the Exhibit Hall was open totally on
Sunday. And, as a special feature Sunday afternoon, a company called U.S.
Amusement Auctions conducted a coin machine auction (mostly pins, but some
jukeboxes, etc.) in a large room adjacent to the Exhibit Hall. This
attracted many bidders, and games from the 1960's through the 1980's were
sold; some cheap and others quite a bit higher.
Well, there you have it again, another detailed description of almost
all that went on at another great Pinball Expo. And if this entices you,
and you haven't been to one before, Pinball Expo '92 is already scheduled
for the evening of November 12 (Exhibit Hall opens at 6 PM Thursday night,
with no "preview fee") through Sunday November 15. I am absolutely sure
that Rob and Mike have more surprises in store this year, so I'll see you
For further information write Rob Berk at "Pinball Expo Headquarters";
2671 Youngstown Rd. SE; Warren, Ohio 44484; or call him at (216) 372-4652,
or call Mike Pacak at 1-800-321-2722.