(The year of SUNSHINE)


                              by Russ Jensen



     Well, for the eleventh year in a row pinball fans from all over the

country, and other countries as well, were treated to the "king of all

pinball shows" the Pinball Expo.  I have been lucky enough to attend all of

the past shows, but this year for awhile I was unsure whether I could attend.


     In the past there has usually been some sort of airline "fare war"

around Expo time, but this year no such luck.  Also, the price of admission

to the show, and the room rates at the Ramada O'Hare where show is held, have

been constantly increasing (each close to $100 now - in fact the hotel room

plus tax is slightly over that amount).  On top of that the length of the

show has also increased in the past couple years.  That requires a five night

stay at the hotel if you want to participate in all Expo events.


     I had just about decided I could not really afford to go this year when

two things happened.  First, my wife won a good amount at bingo about a month

before the show and offered to give me $200 to help with my air fare.  And,

at about the same time, my friend Sam Harvey paid me in advance for something

he was going to buy from me because he had heard that I might not be going to

the show.  Using this money, plus a $25 air fare discount certificate

(resulting from a past air fare fixing class action lawsuit) I was able to

buy my plane ticket for about $50 additional funds.  I still had to dip into

my savings to pay for my share of the room and food, however, but I decided

to do it one more time.


     Before actually buying my ticket and making hotel reservations I

verified with my Expo roommate for the past several years, John Cassidy, that

he would again share the expensive hotel room with me.  After verifying that,

I purchased my airline ticket, and a few days later made our room



     Early the morning before the show, Wednesday October 25, 1995, my

daughter Cheri drove me to the Hollywood/Burbank airport in time for my 6 AM

flight.  I had to change planes in San Francisco but the trip was uneventful.

When I arrived at O'Hare airport I took the hotel bus to the Ramada O'Hare

arriving around 4 PM.


     When checking into the hotel I was told that my roommate had arrived

earlier that day, but when I got to the room he was not there.  I had dinner

alone and went back to the room to watch TV.  Later that evening my roommate

came back to the room and later we had dessert with a couple other friends.




     Thursday morning (the first day of Expo events) we had breakfast and

then picked up our show registration packets.  A little while later we all

boarded busses (actually old school busses - and on the day after the tragic

Chicago area train/school bus accident) for the first Expo event, a tour of

the Lenc-Smith manufacturing plant where cabinets and playfields were made

for Williams and Bally games.


     While riding the bus I sat with a young man from Philadelphia who told -

me one of the games he owned was a Williams FRESHIE made in 1947.  I told him

that there were three sets of initials (in "lover's hearts" on a picket fence

in the backglass art) which were the initials of three of the factory "big

shots" and their wives, or in one case a daughter.  While telling him whose

initials these were I discovered that I had forgotten one of them.  I tried

several times during the show to get that information, but I'm still trying.


     When we arrived at the plant we were ushered inside and told that

everyone would have to wear "safety glasses" during the tour which we were

then issued.  Since we had to break up into several tour groups, those who

had to wait a few minutes were allowed to play some new pingames which were

in the "staging area".


     The guide for the group I was in introduced himself as Joe and we began

our tour.  The first place we were shown was an area where new wood (which

came in from a receiving dock) was stored and which would be used to make the

various game (both pinball and video) cabinets and pinball playfields.  After

going through an area where plywood was sawed to the proper size, we went

into a cabinet assembly area.  Our guide told us that the assembly of

electronic parts was done at another plant in Waukegan, Illinois.


     Our guide then told us that 3/4 inch plywood was used for the cabinets,

which was first primered.  After that, we saw the cabinet artwork being

screened onto the cabinet sides by large machines made by a foreign

manufacturer called Sveci.  We were then told that an ultra-violet "curing"

process was used on video game cabinets, but not on pinballs.  The cabinets

were then dried in ovens overnight.  We were also shown the actual silk

screens which were used.


     After being told that the general flow of work was toward the back of

the plant, we were taken to the milling department.  This was where the edges

of wooden parts were processed.  We were next shown the Shoda numerical

control machines which were used to cut all holes in the playfields

automatically, including the cut-outs on the edges.  We next saw how the

plastic "inserts" are put into the playfields and glued.  A "Y-Belt" sander

was then used to "level" the plastic inserts to the level of the playfield.

We were told this process was so accurate that only about one  percent of the

inserts had to be replaced because they were not level.


     Next we went through a video game cabinet assembly area.   We saw how

the parts of the cabinet were pressed together and glued.  We were then shown

a "boring machine" which made the holes for bolts as needed.  The cabinets

were then sprayed and cleaned.


     Our guide told us that the pinball backboxes were made in a similar

fashion to the cabinets in another area of the factory, and that sometimes

decals were used on the backboxes instead of ink spraying.  We were also told

about the "sawdust collectors" on the roof of the plant.


     When he was asked if they ever went back into production on a previous

game, our guide answered that this occasionally happens, but that it was

almost the same as starting up for a new game.  He then remarked that they

always used real wood, and that the wooden components were the cheapest part

of a game.  The last thing our guide told us was that they also made cabinets

for "shuffle alleys".  As we left the plant we were offered "gifts" of game

posters and a small bag of plastic flipper buttons.


     Once outside the plant we had to wait a half-hour or more for our busses

to return.  During that time I visited with several of the other Expo

attendees.  When our bus returned we were taken back to the hotel where we

had lunch and waited for the next Expo event which was scheduled for 2:30.




     One of the great old-timers who appeared at several of the first Expos

was long-time Genco designer Harvey Heiss (one of my favorite Expo

presenters).  For the past several years Harvey's health has been such that

it was impossible for him to make the trip to Chicago from his retirement

home in Florida.  Sometime during the past year, however, Expo producer Rob

Berk had traveled to Florida and interviewed Harvey on video tape.


     After everyone had assembled Rob introduced his presentation which he

said was something he had wanted to do for some time.  He first told us of

Harvey's ill health, remarking that he was somewhere between 85 and 87 years

old now.  Rob then introduced Harvey's old friend and Genco co-worker Steve

Kordek which drew a round of applause.


     Steve began by remarking that his experience working at Genco with

Harvey initiated him into the pinball business.  Prior to working in the

industry Steve told us that he had been in the Forrest Service.  After

working in forestry for several years, he was asked to attend a special

school in Idaho.  Steve said he really didn't want to go to Idaho so he went

to Chicago to visit relatives and look for another job.  This was in April

1937, he continued, and then told of ducking into a doorway to get out of the

rain and ending up working at Genco.


     Steve then told us that when he ducked into Genco's doorway a lady asked

him if he was looking for a job, when she found out he could do soldering he

was given a job on the assembly line.  Steve then commented that he had a

background in electricity and after a month or so this allowed him to

transfer into Engineering to work under Harvey.  From Harvey, Steve told us,

he learned all about pinball design, including playfield layout, and also how

to design "conservatively".  He then remarked that Harvey had been with the

company since 1928 and has never been given the credit he deserves.


     Steve then told a little more about Harvey's early accomplishments.  He

said that as soon as pinballs started "coming in" Harvey started designing

them.  In 1934, he went on, Harvey designed a game called SPIT FIRE (one of

which we were told was in the Exhibit Hall) which used two "wire forms" on

it's playfield - similar to those used in modern machines.


     Finally, Steve said he was really looking forward to seeing the video,

adding that he had no idea what Harvey was going to say.  He then said that

he would have more comments after the tape was played.  At that point Rob

Berk said he hoped we all would enjoy the video, quipping that it was "G-

rated".  Rob then started the tape.


     Rob Berk began the taped interview by saying that they were in Harvey's

home.  He then asked Harvey to tell of his history in the pingame industry

from the 1930's through the late 1950's when he left Genco and went to

Florida?  Rob then asked Harvey where he wanted to start?


     Harvey began by telling of working in a combination machine shop,

foundry, and dye works beginning in the late 1920's, working there for eight

years during which time he said he "did everything".  Rob then interrupted,

telling Harvey that he wanted him to start when he went to work at the Genco



     Harvey then told how a man from Genco came to the foundry to get them to

make some parts, etc., for the "novelty games" they were building.  One day,

he went on, he was asked to come to Genco and show them how they could use

dyes, etc., in the fabrication of their products.  At that time, Harvey then

told us, Genco was making "counter games" such as the upright game SPIRAL

GOLF in which he participated in the design.  Harvey then said that he also

designed other counter games.  When they later expanded their plant, he told

us, they hired him full time.


     Rob Berk then asked Harvey what his job was when he was first hired at

Genco?  Harvey answered that it was designing games - first counter games,

then pingames.  When Rob then asked Harvey if he was Genco's first pingame

designer, he answered that he was.  Harvey was then asked by Rob if he also

designed baseball games, gun games, etc., while he worked for Genco?  He

answered "yes, anything in their line, even 'roll-downs' later on", adding

that pinball was his specialty.


     At that point Harvey commented that he designed the first pingame to use

steel vice glass balls.  He then told of designing Genco's SILVER CUP in 1933

which had a simple "score totalizer" and was the first pingame to use

castings, an idea stemming from his foundry background.  The next of his

early games Harvey mentioned was PONTIAC, which came out the next year, and

which he said was similar to SILVER CUP, but employing larger castings.

Harvey then told how on that game the ball went completely around the

playfield before entering into play.


     Harvey said that a little later he started using "plastics" and "rubber

bands", and later batteries to operate simple action devices.  At that point

he started talking about electrically operated pingames.  We were then told

by Harvey that in the mid-1930's the industry "went electric", first using

batteries, then "house current".  He then told us that Genco was the only

company to stick to D.C. operation of action components.  When World War II

came, Harvey then remarked, Genco games were the most in demand because of

their use of D.C..


     When the plant ceased pingame production because of the "wartime ban",

Harvey told us that two brothers who had worked on their assembly line

started gathering up Genco pingames and "converting" them into new games in

a factory about a half-block away.  At night during the war years Harvey said

he would help the boys out in their endeavor.


     Harvey then told us that in doing the "conversion" they would remove

everything from the playfield, scrape off the paint, and repaint with new

artwork.  He then commented that they used the same artist, famed pingame

artist Roy Parker, to do the new art.  When finished, Harvey then commented,

the games "looked like new".  After telling us that the boys "saved every

part they could get their hands on from the Genco games", Harvey added that

he couldn't remember what happened to those boys after the war.


     Going back to the start of the wartime ban, Harvey told us that the

plant closed on a Friday night and by Monday everyone was out of work.  But,

he continued, since the bosses knew quite a bit about "electrical work" it

was fairly easy for them to get into "war work".  Harvey then remarked "I

never will forget one job we had during the war!"


     Harvey then told us that one of the big electrical companies was having

trouble with a Government contract they held to produce a 175 foot long

complex radio "aerial" which was made up of seven sections (connected

together using connectors), each for a different frequency.  He told us that

their company was delivered seven truckloads of "junk" (Government "rejects")

and asked to fix them.


     Harvey proceeded to tell how he accomplished the task.  He said he had

each section more precisely measured by laying them out between pegs on a

table.  Using this technique resulted, Harvey told us, in no more than a 2

inch error in the total 175 foot length.  He then remarked that the engineers

from the company who originally made them were amazed that he could achieve

that accuracy!


     We were then told about the assembly line Harvey set up to do the task.

Harvey said it consisted of seven "stations".  When the girl at a station

finished her task she would press a buzzer to signal the girl at the next

station to take the item for the next step.  He said that the girls speeded

up their work a great deal after practice.


     Harvey then told us that when it looked like the war was coming to an

end he would secretly  sneak into the factory stock room and start working on

"roll-down" games which used wooden balls.  He then named three of those

games which they started producing when the war ended:  TOTAL ROLL, BINGO



     Harvey then told us that one of the Gensberg brothers (owners of Genco)

was in California at that time and was friends with Howard Hughes.  He then

remarked that right after the war it was very hard to get lumber.   But, due

to this friendship, Howard Hughes gave Genco left over mahogany lumber from

his famous "Spruce Goose" project to use in making cabinets for their "roll-

down" games.  This wood, Harvey continued, was loaded onto an airplane in

California and flown to Chicago and then off-loaded onto trucks and taken to

the Genco factory, and eventually to the cabinet companies who did their

cabinet fabrication.  The plane, he then told us, went back to California to

get more wood.


     When Genco was again allowed to make games after the war, Harvey told us

that they were the first company to get games on the market!  Harvey next

described their roll-down game ADVANCE ROLL.  He told us that the playfield

had a "bingo hole" layout, and when you rolled the wooden ball to the back of

the field (and missed all the holes) there had to be a way to kick the ball

back toward the front of the game.  To accomplish this, Harvey went on, he

used a solenoid powered bar to push the ball back which was energized by the

player pushing a button.  This, he then remarked, was "really the first

flipper", but pinball historians don't credit him for that, giving credit

instead to Harry Mabs and Gottlieb's HUMPTY DUMPTY, which he said came out

two years later.


     At that point Rob Berk asked Harvey to tell how Steve Kordek came to

work at Genco?  Harvey said he could not remember which game they were making

at that time, but that Steve was out of work with the "corps" (Forestry

Service) and looking for a job.  Harvey continued with the story, telling how

Steve stepped into the doorway at Genco to get out of the rain, and when Dave

Gensberg found out he was looking for a job he hired him.  Harvey then said

that Steve began working on the assembly line, but when he got to know all of

the parts of a game he took him into the "designing room".


     Rob Berk then asked Harvey "were you the designer there, and Steve

worked for you?  When Harvey answered "yes", Rob asked him if there were any

other designers at Genco at that time?  Harvey answered that there was one

fellow whose name he could not remember.  He then told us that that fellow

tried to use A.C. in his designs, his first game being a failure because of

that.  Harvey then commented that they stuck to D.C. at Genco because it was

"smooth current".  A.C., he went on, was "hard" on components such as

kickers, flippers, etc., adding that each year better selenium rectifiers

became available.


     Rob Berk next asked Harvey what he did after he left Genco in the mid-

1950's?  Harvey answered that he went to work for a fellow named Bert Lane

who had been an East Coast distributor for Genco.  He then told the story of

how that happened.


     Harvey said that he hadn't taken a vacation during his last four years

at Genco, and finally decided to go to Florida for a visit.  While there, he

continued, he looked up Bert Lane who took him to see his plant.  At that

time, Harvey then told us, Bert had an order to produce 1000 5-horse Merry-

Go-Rounds.  Bert then offered Harvey a job.  Harvey said that he went back to

Genco and quit after 22 years!  Harvey then commented that he was glad to get

out as things at Genco were beginning to get "rough" at the time.  He then

told how Steve Kordek later quit Genco and eventually got jobs for himself

and three fellow employees with another outfit.


     At that point Rob asked Harvey to tell about "PEPPY THE CLOWN"?  Harvey

said that he started with Bert Lane designing "bumper pool tables" at first,

but Bert wanted to get into "arcade equipment".  Harvey then said he designed

a "digger" (truck and crane game) which they sold to Williams.  He then told

us that this resulted in him going to Williams in Chicago to help them put it

into production.  When he got there, Harvey went on, Williams had made

changes to his original design.  He then said that the same thing happened

with PEPPY.


     We were then told that Harvey's original design for PEPPY THE CLOWN

employed pneumatic devices, resulting in eight possible movements of the

"puppet".  He said that Williams changed it to use electro-magnets instead,

which resulted in jerkier movements of the puppet, but he said the game was

a success in spite of that!  When Rob then asked who came up with the name

PEPPY THE CLOWN, Harvey answered it was he.  Rob next asked Harvey if he had

anything else to share with the Pinball Expo audience?  Harvey replied that

he couldn't think of anything right then.


     It sounded like that was going to be all, but Harvey all of a sudden

began talking again.  He then told us that he had lots of fun designing games

and everything, adding that it was nothing in those days for him to get up at

2 AM with an idea for a game, it being easier to concentrate then.


     Harvey then told us that they made their own electrical components

(relays, etc.) at Genco, many of which he himself designed.  He then said

that when a relay started causing problems they would often ask him to look

into it.


     It was often the manufacturing machinery (punch presses, etc) that was

the source of the problem Harvey then told us.  He said that he would usually

clean the equipment thoroughly because grease on it would get into the relay

points and cause the relay to malfunction after awhile.  Harvey then remarked

that people would think he was "crazy" to clean the equipment to solve a

relay problem, but that this was just part of the knowledge he accumulated

over the years that others just didn't understand.


     Rob Berk then asked Harvey if he was involved in naming the games he

designed?  Harvey answered "most of the time, yes", adding that often the

name came first, then the design.  Rob then asked who did the artwork for

Harvey's games?


     Harvey answered that it was generally Roy Parker who worked for a

company called "Reproductions" that also did art for Gottlieb.  He then told

us that Roy also did the art for the "conversions" done during the war by the

"boys" he had previously mentioned.  "Another thing", Harvey then remarked,

"I was making  $35/day at Genco during the war and working for the 'boys' at

night".  He then told us that a lawyer who represented those boys was also

associated with the Dormeyer Company, the well-known kitchen equipment



     The lawyer, Harvey continued, told some people at Dormeyer about his

designing prowess and he was given an interview at the company.  Harvey then

told us that he always read FORTUNE magazine in those days, and had read an

article regarding a new type of gear design.  He then began telling about his

interview at Dormeyer.


     Harvey told us that all during his interview the interviewer had

something in his hand which he was constantly rubbing.  When the interview

was about over, Harvey continued, the man handed the item to him and it was

a gear.  As soon as the gear was handed to him Harvey said he could tell it

was the same type he had previously read about in FORTUNE.  He then said he

told his interviewer exactly how it was fabricated by "stamping" rather than

"machining".  After that, Harvey then told us, the man stood there with his

mouth open.  They were planning to use it in their products Harvey said.  He

then told us that the man told him "you're hired!  Report for work on



     Harvey said that he then went to Genco and told them he would be

quitting in two weeks, and that the bosses told him "no, you can't go, you're

like part of the family!"  He then said that when he was packing up his

things to leave Dave Gensberg, who had been in California, came to the plant

for a meeting.  At that meeting, Harvey then told us, the Gensberg brothers

got together and decided to offer to double his salary if he would stay.

Harvey said "that did it!"  He then told us that he had never told that story

to anyone before.


     When Rob Berk again tried to end the interview, Harvey again said he had

"another thing" he wanted to tell about.  He then started talking of the coin

machine conventions in the past, saying that he always had a new game in

production when convention time came around.  Other companies, he went on,

took orders for new games at the show and then went into production



     Rob Berk then ended the interview by wishing Harvey "all the best".


     When the tape ended Steve Kordek came back up.  After remarking that it

was nice to hear Harvey again, he then joked that Harvey was older than him

and was certainly his "inspiration".  Steve then told us that he wanted to

comment on several "items" covered on the video.


     First, Steve said, was that the 1934 SPIT FIRE game also used metal

"castings".  Next he said that he wanted to say a little about the conversion

of most pingames from D.C. (battery) power to A.C..  Steve told us that at

Genco they never went to A.C. operated "action components", but continued

using D.C. through the use of selenium rectifiers.  He said that Genco was

the only company to do that.  One of the reasons for using D.C. Steve told us

was that they could control a relay's "drop-out delay" easily.


     Steve next reitterateded what Harvey had said about Genco during "the

war years".  He said that Harvey was indeed involved in redesigning radio

antennas for Army Ordinance when the original contractor had problems getting

their products accepted by the Government.  Steve said that Harvey found out

that the problem had to do with maintaining length tolerances of each section

of the antenna.  He then told how Harvey used pegs on a table to mark the

proper length required for each section.


     The next item Steve discussed was the production of "roll-down" games at

Genco after the war.  He said that the company just couldn't produce them

fast enough and that they had three cabinet companies (two in Chicago and one

in Wisconsin) making the cabinets.  Steve then confirmed the fact that Howard

Hughes provided lumber which he had left over from his "Spruce Goose"



     Steve's next subject was the end of Genco.  He said that the three

Gensberg brothers who owned the company made much money selling pinballs over

the years.  But in the early 1950's, he went on, they decided to go into

another area and with two other people went to Las Vegas and build that

city's first "high rise" hotel/casino, The Riviera.  Steve then commented

that this caused the brothers' interest in Genco to wane and they let some of

their relatives who worked for Chicago Coin (which was owned by another

Gensberg brother) take over Genco.  This, Steve then told us, caused problems

at Genco because the new people were not familiar with the way the company



     We were next told by Steve that at about that time Harvey told him he

was going to quit Genco ("leave the sinking ship"), but that he himself

decided to stay until the company closed.  When he finally left, Steve then

told us, he had three good friends who also needed jobs - a mechanical

engineer, an electrical engineer, and a "production man".


     We were then told that Steve tried to get all of them a job at the same

place.  He said he first went to Seeberg with no luck, and then to his friend

Lyn Durrant at United who said his company was having some problems and could

not hire the other guys.  Steve said he decided to "pass".  Finally, Steve

told us, he went to see his old friend Bill O'Donnell at Bally.  After

telling Bill he had to have jobs for all four of them, Bill said "OK" and

they were hired.


     Steve then told us of how several years later designer Harry Mabs (the

inventor of the flipper) was retiring from Williams, and company president

Sam Stern needed a new chief designer and offered Steve the job at a very

good salary.  When Steve then told Bill O'Donnell he wanted to leave, he said

that Bill told him "OK, but the other three have to stay".  He then commented

that the other guys retired from Bally many years later.


     Steve's final story about Harvey dealt with Harvey's boat.  He said that

when Harvey was single he owned a sailboat, and that he enjoyed sailing with

Harvey.  In the Fall, Steve went on, Harvey would remove the mast from his

boat and tie it on top of his Oldsmobile convertible - it hanging over by 20

feet at each end of the car - so he could transport it to the plant to

refinish it during the Winter.  Steve then said that the people at the plant

jokingly threatened to cut it in two.


     Steve then reiterated that Harvey has never been given credit for all he

has done for the industry, adding that maybe someday someone would start a

museum of Harvey's games.  He then asked if anyone had any questions?


     The first question asked was who were the two guys Harvey said in the

video were doing "conversions" of pingames during World War II?  When Steve

answered that he thought one of their names started with "P", someone in the

audience suggested that they might have been an outfit called "P and S".


     The next question was what was the last Genco pingame?  Steve said he

couldn't remember, but he thought it was made in either 1957 or 1958.

(AUTHOR'S NOTE:  The game appears to have been SHOW BOAT in late 1957).

Someone next asked about Genco's award winning game SCREWBALL which came out

in 1948?  Steve said it was designed by Harvey and was the first pingame

without either pop-bumpers or targets, just having "rebounds".  He then told

us that that game made much money.


     At that point Steve told everyone that he had been in the industry for

58 years and that he reused the names of some of the earlier Genco games on

games he later designed for Williams.  He then commented that he came to

Williams (where he still works) in February 1960 and designed games for them

for eight or nine years before going into management.


     Finally, someone asked Steve what his favorite pingame theme was?  He

replied that it was probably "space", mentioning his FRIENDSHIP 7 and SPACE

MISSION games, the latter he said breaking all production records up to that

time.  Steve's last comment was that he would love to get involved in the

programming of pingames.  That ended the afternoon session.




     This year there was a new added event for Expo attendees who wanted to

stay up late.  It was an informal get-together which they called "The Bumper

Blast" which was scheduled to start at 11:30 PM.  It was sort of an informal

'party' with light snacks and also included an opportunity for all interested

parties to take a peek at the pinball activity on the "INTERNET" world-wide

computer network.


     In order to allow people to see what was going on in "cyber-space", a

computer linked to the Internet was connected to two large monitors at the

front of the hall.  I myself am a "computer person" but as yet have not gone

"on-line", but I have always been curious about Internet so was looking

forward to this little show.  I was seated next to my good "Expo buddy" John

Campbell from West Virginia who has been active in cyber-space for quite some

time.  He was very helpful in explaining to me what was going on during this



     The "Internet tour" was conducted by Dave Marston from Connecticut, a

long-time pinball-computer activist.  Dave explained to everyone what was

going on.  Another pin/computer person, Greg Dunlap, operated the computer

sort of "behind the scene".  After logging onto Internet the first thing we

went to was a list of pinball flyers which could be viewed.  From that list

one flyer, that for Williams' recent pin NO FEAR, was "downloaded" into our

computer for viewing.


     Next we went to an area which contained a database of pingame serial

numbers owned by different Internet users.  After selecting a particular

game, the serial numbers of that machine were viewed.  We were next shown how

you could count how many serials for a game were contributed by Internet

users in each country.


     We next went to the "home page" of Expo visitor and presenter Ferderico

Croci from Italy (yes, we were then actually receiving information from a

computer overseas!).  After seeing that Ferderico had graphics from his

favorite pingames available for viewing, we looked at his list of "favorite

links" to other's "pages".  Using this we linked into the home page of

Chicago pingame designer John Popaduk.  At that point Dave Marston told us

that members of the "Serial Number Working Group" were having a meeting in

the corner of the room while the presentation was going on.  We then went

back to Federico's page and looked at some information on Bally's BOOT-A-BALL

which was made solely for Italian export in 1967.


     After that we got into a pinball database and did a search for all

Williams pins put out in 1980.  The information which came up listed the

theme of each game, who did the artwork, and where pictures of the game were



     After bringing up an area which contained graphics of drop-target

decals, we went to a listing of pin designer Steve Ritchie's favorite games.

Then we went to the page of the newest pingame manufacturer, Capcom, which

contained publicity on their first game PINBALL MAGIC, which included a list

of graphic images of different parts of the game which could be viewed.


     Following that, we logged onto the home page of someone known on the Net

as "The Pinball Wizard".  From there we linked into a page containing

information on the PAPA pinball tournament held annually in New York City, as

well as information on other tournaments around the country.  At that point

Dave Marston made the comment that sometimes when you attempt to access an

Internet "page" you might get a message saying "page under construction".  We

then logged onto a page containing information on last year's Pinball Expo,

which even included a map of the Exhibit Hall floor.


     After looking at a transcript of an on-line "chat" previously held with

pin designer Steve Ritchie, Rob Berk said that a representative of the new

company, Capcom, wanted to say a few words.  The gentleman's name was David

Poole.  David first told of their "home page" which we had viewed earlier,

saying that they would appreciate "feedback" from any Internet user.  He then

told of problems they had getting playfield detail information "on-line".

After remarking that game "test locations" used to be secret, but now they

are disclosed on the Internet, he ended by telling us that their company

would try to give Net users an "early look" at forthcoming games.


     At that point Dave Marston made a few remarks.  First he told us that at

the present time there is no information on Sega games on the Net.  Then he

remarked that pingame "sounds" are sometimes on the Net.  He then told us

that we would do a little more "cruising".


     We next looked at an area showing pingames for sale which offered a

Bally TWILIGHT ZONE, giving the Internet "address" of the seller, etc.  We

then looked at an area showing pins wanted by users, one of which was

Williams' STAR TREK - THE NEXT GENERATION which was wanted by three different



     After looking at information regarding the current Expo, we viewed an

image of the 'whitewood' prototype of Bally's INDIANAPOLIS 500 which Dave

told us had been "uploaded" to the Net from a "digital camera".  After that

we looked at a "tech info" area and saw a question submitted by a user

concerning pingame sound board problems.


     The last thing done on the Net was that the computer operator started

writing an "on-line" article concerning what was happening that night.  After

that he logged off of the Net.  That ended the evening's entertainment.




     Friday morning around 8:45 we all gathered in the lecture hall for the

start of the annual Expo seminars.  The proceedings began with the Opening

Remarks by Expo co-producers Rob Berk and Mike Pacak.


     Rob first got up and welcomed us all to the eleventh edition of Pinball

Expo.  He then announced a small change to the seminar program, saying that

at 1 PM a video would be shown made by an English design student showing how

he designed and built a new game using parts from an existing pingame.  After

that he announced a "Fireside Chat" with game designers Norm Clark, Steve

Kordek, and Wendall McAdams scheduled for that evening.


     After asking for a show of hands of how many wanted fish for the banquet

dinner, Rob said that this year's Charity Auction would be a little different

than last year.  He told us that anyone could attend or donate; not only

those who eat at the banquet.  After reminding us of the designers, artists,

and authors autograph session on Saturday afternoon, Rob gave some scheduling

information regarding the "Flip-Out" pinball tournament which is held in

conjunction with each year's show.  Rob then told us that the plant we toured

the previous day could produce custom-made wooden pinball legs at a cost of

$20 each.


     Expo Exhibit Hall Chairman Mike Pacak then came up on stage and again

welcomed all to the show.  He then commented that he never thought years ago

that the Expo would continue for this many years!  After telling us that

lunch would be available in the lobby area near the Exhibit Hall at noon,

Mike reminded us of the game auction to be held on Saturday.  He then told us

that (like last year) the Exhibit Hall would be open all night both Friday

and Saturday nights.


     Finally, Mike asked for a show of hands to determine if next year's

banquet should be as in the past or served buffet style?  The vote appeared

to be almost even.  That ended the Opening Remarks.




     Rob Berk then came back up to introduce the first seminar speaker Dick

Bueschel to do his presentation "The Most Collectable Pinball Machines (of

the Last 10 Years)".  Rob described Dick as "an advocate of all coin-ops" and

"the historian of pinball".


     Dick began by commenting on the Expo being up to it's eleventh year, but

saying that probably the second show paid for the first, etc..  He then

started telling of his projected series of 10 books covering pinball's

history, as well as illustrating/describing 1000 collectable pingames

covering all eras of pin production.  Dick then joked that he would probably

be editing the tenth book "on his death bed".


     After remarking that slot collectors collect primarily because of

historical interest, but pinball collectors are also players, Dick said there

were several things he wanted to do that morning.  He then made the comment

that "the best pin ever" to most people is one they played as a kid, and that

for this reason it is hard to get a group of pin fans to decide on "the 100



     Dick then told of asking several people (including this author) a few

years ago to each nominate "100 most collectable pinball machines".  As a

result he said that Steve Young, Gordon Hasse, John Fetterman, and yours

truly each came up with their lists.  Rob Hawkins, Dick went on, came up with

only 78, and a fellow named Bill Triola named 25 plus 9 more of "special

historical significance".  From these Dick said he compiled a final list of

some 333 pingames.


     We were then told by Dick that he tried to "weigh" this list by using

only those games which received more than one vote.  This, he said, pared the

list down to 104.  What was missing in that list, Dick then commented, were

games manufactured in the past 10 years.  At that point he passed out to the

audience copies of his 104 game list which indicated how many votes each game

had received.


     Dick next asked how many in the audience had computers, and a majority

of us indicated that we did.  Then he started through the list he had just

passed out, making a few comments as he went concerning the games which got

the most votes.  After again commenting that what was missing was the last

ten years, Dick remarked that most people think that he personally only likes

pingames from the 1930's.  But, Dick told us, what he likes is "the ones I'm

currently working on."


     At that point Dick asked people in the audience to nominate candidates

for the best pingames of the past ten years, and why they thought they were?

The first game chosen was Williams' 1984 game SPACE SHUTTLE which was the

game that "brought pinball back".  Next came HIGH SPEED from the same

manufacturer in 1986 which was said to have ramps, etc., like most of the

later games.  Also, it was pointed out, it was the first pin with a "flash-

lamp dome", and also was "fun to play".


     The next nominations included:  Bally ADDAMS FAMILY (1991) - had a

record production run; Bally ELVIRA (1989) - good graphics, etc.; Williams

FUN HOUSE (1990) - talking head and 2nd plunger; Williams BANZAI RUN (1988) -

 vertical game in backbox; Williams FLASH (1979) - "wire forms" and "light

show"; Williams BLACK KNIGHT (1980) - two level playfield and "magna save";

Bally EIGHT BALL DELUXE (1980) - memory and good drop-targets; and Williams

GORGAR (1979) - first game with speech.


     Further nominations included: Bally HARLEY DAVIDSON (1991) - low

production and went up in value because was collectable by cyclists; Stern

ORIBITOR (1982) - wavy playfield; Williams CYCLONE (1988) - only game of that

era without multi-ball; Williams PIN BOT (1986) - good "integrated design"

plus spawned two "follow-ons"; Williams SWORDS OF FURY (1988) - last

reasonably difficult game; Williams TAXI (1988) - translated skill into

difficulty, also Marilyn Monroe on early glasses; Bally FLASH GORDON (1980) -

 digitized sound related to movie; Bally BLACKWATER 100 (1988) - last "Bally

Bally"; Bally XENON (1979) - first female voice; and Gottlieb DIAMOND LADY

(1988) - first designed by a pinball fan/player (Jon Norris).


     Other games named, but without comments, were: Williams TERMINATOR II

(1991), Data East CHECKPOINT (1991), Bally CENTAUR (1981), Gottlieb HAUNTED

HOUSE (1982); Gottlieb BLACK HOLE (1981), Williams COMET (1985), Williams

WHITEWATER (1992), Williams EARTHSHAKER (1989), and Data East JURASSIC PARK



     A final vote was then taken from a pared down version of the original

list (based on the previous vote).  The top five games chosen (from 1st to

5th) were: Bally ADDAMS FAMILY (1991) - 37 votes; Bally EIGHT BALL DELUXE

(1980) - 23 votes; Bally TWILIGHT ZONE (1993) - 21 votes; Williams FUN HOUSE

(1990) - 19 votes; and Williams BLACK KNIGHT (1980) - 14 votes.


     After the final results were tabulated Dick said we should look to see

what the top games had in common?  First, he observed, most were made by

Williams (including their "Bally line").  In addition, he continued, they are

all fun to play (appealing to both novices and experts alike), and three of

the five were designed by Williams ace designer Pat Lawlor.


     When Dick next asked the audience what they thought was the worst pin of

the last decade, the almost unanimous opinion was Williams 1993 game POPEYE.

Dick next thanked us for our help, commenting that this may be "a continuing

thing" at future Expos.


     Dick then commented about his forthcoming pinball book, "Pinball 2".  He

said it will be given to Steve Young for publication at the end of 1995, and

might be out around April or May of 1996.  He then added that it was

"elegant" to work with Steve and Gordon Hasse in producing his book.


     After telling us that the book will contain a picture of "a 1932 flipper

game", Dick told us that the book will have 16 pages in color.  That drew a

round of applause and ended Dick's presentation.




     Rob then introduced the speaker for the next seminar, "A Game Is Not a

Game Without Rules", ace Gottlieb pingame designer Jon Norris.  When he then

listed several of Jon's great games, such as DIAMOND LADY (1987), VEGAS

(1990), and CUE BALL WIZARD (1992), it drew a round of applause.


     After thanking Rob Berk and Mike Pacak for putting on a great show for

eleven years, Jon began giving us a synopsis of his employment history in the

industry.  He began by telling us that he started with Premier (the current

maker of Gottlieb pingames) in 1986 on a "6 month trial basis", then

remarking that he barely passed his first review.  Jon then told us that he

first served as an apprentice, working under two of their top designers John

Trudeau and Joe Kaminkow.  At that time, he went on, he had only a little bit

to do with game "rules".  He then said that his "first break" came about 6

months after he designed his first pingame DIAMOND LADY.


     Jon continued, saying that John Trudeau was involved primarily with the

basic design of his games and not too much with the "rules".  He then said

that the original prototype of their game EXCALIBUR, which came out in 1988,

was not too much fun to play so he asked for a crack at improving it.  He

then told us that he was only allowed to change the "black line screen"

meaning that he couldn't change any of the colors.  Jon said that he went

home one Friday and stayed up all weekend working on it.


     When he went back to work Monday morning, Jon then told us, he had a

complete new rules set for the game which improved it.  This he said showed

the company what he could do.  Jon then commented that game rules used to be

decided in a meeting and that this wasn't a very good way to do it.


     His next game, Jon then told us, was BAD GIRLS which also came out in

1988 and for which he did the rules himself, then commenting that games were

simpler in those days.  Nowadays, he went on, he does rule sets under a 4 to

6 week deadline.


     At that point Jon started explaining exactly what game "rules" were.

Going back to the 1950's, he used "bingo pinballs" to help explain.  He said

that early bingos had just one card and all the player did was try to get the

balls into the proper holes to line up numbers on the card.  Soon, Jon went

on, Bally started adding more and more extra features to their bingo games,

making them more complex as the years went by.  He then told of the bingo "OK

Feature" of the early 1960's, which he said only experienced players could



     Jon then commented that the point of this was that the only way to teach

a player the "rules" of a game is to have someone explain them to him.

Today, he went on, game rules are very complex and there's nobody to explain

them to the player.


     At that point Jon told us that he was going to try a little audience

participation exercise involving game rules.  He said he would provide the

rules for his 1992 game CUE BALL WIZARD and have us modify them to change the

game to an "ET - the Extra-terrestrial" game.  Before he started that,

however, someone from the audience asked a question regarding "game

features".  Jon's answer to that question involved a few minutes of

discussion, which was followed by another question regarding game "modes".

After more detailed comments from Jon on that subject he decided to abandon

his litter exercise and concentrate on answering questions from the audience.


     The next question regarded the "modes" (sorry folks, but I don't know

much about these modern pingames) on Gottlieb's 1989 game LIGHTS, CAMERA,

ACTION which Jon then explained.  Following that someone asked why certain

special game features (such as "Extra Ball") often only stay enabled for a

short time?  In answer to that Jon began by saying that the designers

generally try to "balance" things out.  At that point my friend Sam Harvey

made a comment from the audience that many games of the 1960's were hard to

get "specials" on.  After Jon made another comment regarding the modern

games, he and Sam had a little more dialogue.


     Jon then remarked that games today are more "score based" than older

games which often used "specials".  After that Sam made a comment regarding

his (and many others) pet peeve - the increasing price per play on modern

games which were often not well maintained by operators.


     Someone from the audience next made the comment that some European coin-

op magazines have been saying that "something big is coming" to help reverse

the current slump in pingame play around the world.  Jon then remarked that

his next game would have a new feature (for which a patent was pending) which

costs a little extra to produce, but will help both the novice and

experienced player.  After telling us that he couldn't say any more about

that now, Jon commented that he has been asked by his company's management to

make future game rules "more back to basics pinball".  He then commented that

only a small percentage of pinball players "play for rules", but those who do

put lots of money into the games.


     The next question had to do with problems with what the questioner

called "mode games", Jon answering that they are currently trying to solve

such problems.  It was then asked how the designers decide "bonus and bonus

multiplication rules"?  Jon then tried to explain how he tries to do this.


     At that point Jon showed a "rules change sheet" which would be given to

the programmer and used to correct things that don't work right on a new

game.  He then remarked that their company policy is to never change the

"rule set" after a game goes into production, unless there is a serious error

in it.


     Someone then had a question on "multi-ball" features, essentially asking

what is the true purpose of "multi-ball"?  Jon answered that the main goal is

often to make a game that "appeals to all skill levels" of players.


     An interesting question was next asked, namely do most players play

pinball to get replays?  Jon immediately answered "yes", but added that that

brings up another important question - will a person play a bad "replay game"

rather than a good "extra ball" (Add-A-Ball) game?  Jon then said that the

answer to that was probably "no, a person won't play a bad game at all"!  Sam

Harvey then asked the question - doesn't which games you like better, Replay

or Add-A-Ball, depend on which were available where you grew up?  Jon then

commented that if both Replay and Add-A-Ball games are in the same location

the replay games will be played more - adding "we must design for what people

will play".


     An operator in the audience then commented that he thought that simpler

rules were better for players.  Jon replied that a game must be "fun to

play", adding that some games have features that are only understood by one

percent of players.  Following that there was more discussion regarding "more

basic rules" and "modes".


     Someone then asked Jon if he has any say in playfield design of their

games?  He replied that they sometime asked his opinion, but it's often too

late in the design process to make much difference.  Jon then remarked "I've

got some say, but I'm not a 'playfield designer'".


     The next question for Jon was whether "random features" on games are

primarily for novices?  He answered "sometimes, but not always" as some are

not truly random but depend on past play.  Jon then added the comment that

"truly random" features must be disabled when the game is used in the

"Tournament Mode".


     The next question dealt with built-in game "audit features" found on new

games, asking if the designers use information from these (on how often game

features are enabled, etc.) to decide what features to use on future games?

Jon replied "yes", commenting that they often evaluate "audits" of past games

for that exact purpose.


     When someone again asked about game "modes" Jon told us that some of the

newer games have "Help Modes" where a player, before he starts playing, can

get detailed instructions to supplement the rather simple game "instruction

card".  Jon was then asked if anyone uses that feature?  He replied by

remarking that he himself doesn't usually even read the card before starting

his first play of a new game, adding that possibly the "help Modes" are used



     Jon was then asked about a so-called "replay booster" feature found on

some games.  He replied that that was an "auto-skill feature" which will

"tighten" game features when a player wins replays.  (AUTHOR'S NOTE: That is

a similar idea to the "reflex play" principal used on gambling "1-Ball" and

"Bingo" pingames in the late 1940's, 1950's, and later.)


     Next someone asked Jon what he thought about the "score inflation"

(games scoring up into the 'Billions') which has occurred in pingames in

recent years?  Jon said he would like to see scores go back to the

'Thousands', but that it depends on "what the players like".  He then added

that their earlier game CAR HOP in 1991, which had two player selectable

modes ("Normal" and "Nostalgia"), changed the scoring and sounds - the

"Nostalgia" scoring using "non inflated" scores.


     Jon was next asked which games from each of the current manufacturers he

believed had "the best rule set"?  He began by quipping that for Capcom (the

new manufacturer) that was easy, naming their only game so far, PINBALL

MAGIC.  For the now defunct Alvin G. and Co. he said it would be their 1993

pin MYSTERY CASTLE.  For Data East/Sega Jon named STAR WARS (1992), for a

Bally game he chose ADDAMS FAMILY (1991).  Jon's nomination for the best rule

set for a  Williams pin he said was STAR TREK - THE NEXT GENERATION (1993),

and finally; for his company, Premier, he quipped "my next game".  That drew

a round of applause.


     The final question was asked by Sam Harvey which was "do you think that

'auto percentaging' (the machine making itself 'looser' for a low scoring

player) keeps the good players away?"  Jon replied that the program looks at

many past games to determine the "payback percentage", not just the current

one, which essentially "levels out the location" - not a particular player.

That essentially ended Jon's presentation, which drew a good round of

applause for him.




     The main speaker for the next seminar, Dave Marston, next came up on

stage to introduce the presentation officially titled "For Import Only -

American Made Pinball Machines For The Italian Market".  Dave then introduced

his guest expert Italian collector Federico Croci.


     After thanking Rob and Mike for letting him and Dave put on this

presentation, Federico told us that he owns more than 200 pins - showing a

slide of his warehouse.  Dave then told us that they had a translator

available so if anyone had any questions for Federico they could be quickly

translated into Italian so he could answer them better.  He then told us that

Mr. Croci would eventually have a book published on the subject which was to

be presented.


     Dave then began the main part of his presentation by telling us that

there have been, over the years, more than 50 American made electro-

mechanical pins made for export to Italy, remarking that sometimes the names

of those games were new and others not.  He ten showed a slide of the Italian

version of Bally's 1967 game ROCKET III.  Why special pins for Italy?  Dave

said the main reason for this has to do with "luck versus skill".  He then

went on to explain the situation in Italy which made it necessary for the

American pingame manufacturers to make special game versions for the Italian



     Around the time of World War II, Dave told us, Italian dictator

Mussolini outlawed all forms of "gambling machines" in Italy.  By 1965, he

went on, the Italian government passed a more definitive coin machine law,

the main purpose of which was to get rid of competition with state run

lotteries from any coin-ops which could in any way be used for gambling

purposes.  Among other types of games, the law forbad any "flippers" (the

generic term in Italy for pingames) which gave "replays".  This resulted in

the Chicago manufacturers starting to put out special versions of their

pingames for the Italian market which would not violate Italian law.


     Dave then showed a slide of ELECTRA POOL, the Italian version of

Gottlieb's FLIPPER POOL of 1960, and the first such special Gottlieb game.

We were then told that the word "flipper" had to be removed from any games

exported to Italy (even on the schematics) because that meant a "gambling

machine" to the Italian government, since all of that type of machine in

Italy at that time gave replays.


     When he then showed us Bally TRIO (1965), Dave remarked that the letter

'C' in a Bally model number indicated the Italian version of that game.  We

were then shown the Italian version of Chicago Coin's HULA HULA (1966).  Dave

showed us how that company modified the "out-hole" in their Italian versions

to provide what they called "kick-ups".  He then showed us that company's

KICKER of the same year.


     Dave told us that "kick-ups" were Chicago Coin's way of getting around

the crazy Italian law.  He said the Italian government decided that if a

player was awarded five or more "extra balls" that was equivalent to the

outlawed "replay".  So instead of allowing the player to shoot additional

balls, they allowed the player to earn "kick-ups" which meant that a ball

destined for the out-hole could be "kicked up" back into play, thus getting

around the "letter of the law" since the player did not actually shoot any

"extra balls".


     We were next shown how Gottlieb used an "alternator unit" in their

Italian pins to allow two plays for one coin.  Dave then showed slides of

three Gottlieb Italian versions, namely: HAWAIIAN ISLE, FIRE ALARM, and ICE

SHOW, all from 1966.


     At that point Dave showed us that on their Italian versions Gottlieb

added "special objects" to the backglass art to indicate when "extra balls"

were available for play.  When we were next shown that company's Italian

version of HURDY GURDY (1966), Dave pointed out how the original artwork on

the backglass had been modified using a more European scene, and also the 5

monkeys on the tree which lit up to indicate the extra balls.


     We were then shown the flyer for Gottlieb's Italian game HYDE PARK

(1966) which had 5 colored circles on it's backglass to represent extra

balls.  Dave pointed out that there was no descriptive text on game flyers

sent to Italy so that the Italian distributors could add Italian text if



     Next we saw Gottlieb's GRANDE DOMINO (1968), the Italian version of

DOMINO, and RANCHO (1966), their version of COW POKE, on which the mechanical

animated horse on the American version had been changed to a bull.  Dave also

noted that the word "special" had been removed from the playfield since that

was a "forbidden gambling feature" in Italy.  When we were then shown the

Italian version of Bally's 1965 pin LOOP-THE-LOOP, Dave told us that it

employed an "Add-A-Ball Kit".  This, he then told us, included a special coil

to shoot the ball back into play in place of a "special".


     We next saw Gottlieb's 1967 Italian version pin SOLITAIRE, which had an

"out-hole diverter" which could kick the ball back into play (similar to

Chicago Coin's "kick-ups") when an extra ball was earned.  This was followed

by HIT-A-CARD from the same year which we were told was a new version of

SOLITAIRE with a different transformer.


     Another group of 1967 Gottlieb Italian versions we were shown included:

HARMONY (version of MELODY), TROUBADOUR (a new version of HARMONY), and SEA

SIDE.  Switching to Chicago Coin for a moment, we were shown the Italian

version of BEATNIKS (1967) which Dave said was the last Chicago Coin Italian

version, pointing out the musical notes on the backglass to indicate "balls

to play".  Next Dave showed two Italian versions from Williams, starting with

their 1967 pin LUNAR SHOT which had stars on it's backglass to indicate extra

balls.  He then showed MAGIC TOWN from the same year which he said could

award additional points rather than extra balls if desired.


     It was then back to Gottlieb, and into 1968, looking first at ELITE

GUARD (the Italian version of PALACE GUARD).  Then we saw TIVOLI which Dave

said was similar to another Italian version, FUN FAIR, which we were to see

later.  Then came BIG JACK taken from the American PAUL BUNYAN.   We were

then shown the previously mentioned FUN FAIR, the Italian version of FUNLAND.


     The first 1969 Italian versions shown were HI LO (from SPIN-A-CARD), and

BUMPER POOL (from TARGET POOL).  Dave then commented that at about that time

Italian manufacturers started to build some games of their own.  After

showing WILD WILD WEST and SUPER BOWL, we were shown the flyer for AUTO RACE,

no copy of that game having ever been found according to Dave, which he said

was probably from the American game ROAD RACE.


     Going into 1970, we first saw CARD TRIX.  This was followed by

PSYCHEDELIC which Dave said came from the American games GROOVY and

CRESCENDO.  He then commented that even though it was made for Italian import

it was indicated by Gottlieb for some reason that it was meant for Brazil!


     We next saw a Bally Italian version, KING REX, of which Dave said there

were only 275 produced.  He then commented that the extra ball "special

objects", which were usually unlabeled, in this case had the words "Extra

Ball" next to them.  Finally, Dave told us that the game had a "3-way

adjustment" capability which could be set for either "step up Ball In Play"

when extra balls were earned, step up the "extra ball objects", or a "Novelty

Mode" where the game's "specials" awarded score to the player.


     Gottlieb Italian versions for 1971 were next shown which included:

GALIXIE, STAR TREK (which Dave said had no relation to the popular TV

series), and CARD KING.  Dave then began talking about Gottlieb's WIZARD

which he said was rather unusual.  He told us that WIZARD was sort of an

Italian version of ABRA-CADABRA, but with an entirely different playfield.

He then remarked that this was the first Italian version with an "end of ball



     Going into 1972 we saw the following Gottlieb Italian versions: TEXAS

RANGER (from SHERIFF), SPACE ORBIT (which had a "vari-target") and PLAY POOL.

Then from 1973 we saw Gottlieb's JUNGLE LIFE, and TEN UP (from KING PIN).  At

around that time, Dave then remarked, Italian manufacturers started making

"copies" of American pingames.


     For 1974 we first saw Gottlieb's SKY DIVE and ROYAL PAIR.  Dave then

told us that around that time the Spanish pingame maker Segassa started

making pins for Italy under a license agreement with Williams.  One of the

last of these, he went on, was a game called BIG GUNS.  Also from 1974 we

were shown Williams' STAR ACTION, which Dave said was produced both for the

American and Italian markets.  He then remarked that on this game extra balls

were indicated by "stars" on the backglass, it also having the capability of

giving two plays for one coin.


     For 1975 we first saw Gottlieb's TIGER, which Dave pointed out had

special backglass art for Italy.  We then saw their LUCKY STRIKE.  Dave then

made the comment that around that time "replay machines" could be found in

some parts of Italy.  In 1976, Dave then commented, Italian versions of

American games were beginning to disappear.  He then showed us Gottlieb's

SPOT POOL, HIGH SEAS, and KICKER from that year.


     Finally, the last Italian version we were shown was Gottlieb's LUCKY

CARD from 1977.  Dave then told us that ROCK STAR (from the American BLUE

NOTE) was also produced by Gottlieb, but he did not have a picture of it.  He

then told us that by that time even the taboo word "flipper" was again used

on schematics, etc. in Italy.


     After commenting that by 1977 Bally was starting to produce solid-state

pins, Dave again reminded us that Federico would have a forthcoming book on

the subject just discussed.  He then asked if we had any questions?


     The only question asked was if the English instruction cards on most

Italian versions caused any problems?  Federico answered, "no, even when

translated into Italian they weren't very useful".  That ended the

presentation which drew a good round of applause.  We then broke for lunch!




     The afternoon seminar session began a little bit earlier than originally

planned due to the "added event" Rob Berk had spoken about during his opening

remarks.  It was a video tape made by a young British design student showing

a project he did as part of a college course.


     Rob Berk first got up and introduced John Wyatt from the British

"Pinball Owner's Association" to tell us a little about the video and it's

maker.  He told us that the young man who produced it, James Askey, was 17

years old, and that one reason for showing it at the Expo was because the

young man's goal was to work for one of the Chicago pinball manufacturers

after graduating from college.


     John then told us the game design shown on the video was accomplished

between April 1993 and May 1994 and used Bally's 1979 solid-state pin FUTURE

SPA as the "raw material".  He went on to say that James added new features

to the original game as well as creating new artwork for the backglass and

playfield.  The tape was then started.


     The young designer narrated on the tape telling what he did each step of

the way showing "close-ups" of each area as he described it.  His

presentation was divided into three major design areas.


     First was the cabinet (or "case" as he called it).  We were told (and

shown) that the cabinet of the original game was entirely repainted with his

new artwork.  He said he made stencils, glued them to the cabinet (after it

had been primered, of course), painted each color, then removing the stencils

and glue.  The finished cabinet art was then shown which was quite



     Next he showed the playfield (or "deck" as he called it).  We were told

how the new playfield was produced, and shown photos of many of the artistic

details.  He then said that the repainted field was protected by a final coat

of lacquer.  We next saw how he added the various components to the

playfield.  We were then told that he rewired the electronic components which

were mostly taken from the original FUTURE SPA machine.  Then he told of

making new "side rails" and finally how he created the "deck plastics" for

the game.


     The last major section of the project was the creation of the backglass

(or "head glass", as he called it).  We were told how he designed the artwork

and had it screened onto the glass.  He then described cutting the holes in

the light panel behind the glass and wiring the backbox.  Finally, the

"screen printing" process was described in more detail.


     The last part of the video showed the final game, which he called HIGH

VOLTAGE, being tested and played for a little while.  That ended the video.

John Wyatt then got up again and asked if we had any questions?"  The only

question asked was if the "rules" for the new game were the same as those for

FUTURE SPA?  John answered that some changes in the original game rules were



     That ended the presentation.  Rob Berk then made the remark that he

tried to get James to come to the Expo, but he could not attend.




     At that point Rob Berk introduced the next speaker, Don Hesch, to

present his talk titled "The State of the Pinball Industry".  He told us that

Don was deeply involved with both "The Illinois Coin Machine Association" and

AMOA ("Amusement Machine Operator's of America").


     Don then began by telling something of the work of AMOA and that they

hold an annual convention, which that year was held in New Orleans and had

over 7,000 attendees.  He then started describing some of that organization's

services.  We were told that one of AMOA's goals was "industry

standardization".  Don then told us that they also try to provide education

to the members, including seminars as well as a University program which

takes approximately 2 1/2 years to complete.  He then said they are also

trying to "promote jukeboxes" through the media.


     Don then told of their "Darts Association" which has a scholarship

program which has provided college scholarships to around 200 people so far.

He then told of a "new concept", that of a "National Amusement Network" which

links video games all over the country together.  Don then remarked that AMOA

also tries to promote better "government relations" with the industry.


     On a more personal note, Don told us that he was "2nd generation" in the

industry, his father also being in it.  He then said that in 1983 or 1984 he

"made a big mistake"!  Don then told us that at that time he had to run his

brother's company when he died, and when he discovered about 175 electro-

mechanical pingames in the company's warehouse he "threw them out"!


     Don then got to the main theme of his talk, the current state of

pinballs in this country.  He began by telling us that back in 1979 and 1980

there were approximately 800,000 pinballs on location, each of which took in

about $44/week.  In 1995, he continued, there are now around 830,000 pins

which take in about $54/week.  The problem, he then told us, was that the

cost of new games have doubled in the intervening years.  Don then remarked

that some people in the industry today say that at present the pinball

business is in the poorest shape it has been in since 1983.  At that point

Don tried to "rate" the various categories of locations in which pingames can

be found today as to what types of games do the best in each category.


     In "taverns", he then told us, jukeboxes are best, followed by (in

order) pool tables, darts, miscellaneous games, pinballs, and videos.  For

"gamerooms" the list (again in order) was video games, "redemption" games,

and pinballs.  Don then commented that his company in Chicago owns 325 pins

(approximately 10 percent of their games).  He then remarked that "sports

bars" are about the best locations for pingames.


     After commenting that "young players like 'interactive' games", Don

remarked that there are fewer games on location than there were six or seven

years ago.  He said that the reason for that is the "high cost of new

equipment" and "high license fees".  Don then told us that at a recent AMOA

meeting a manufacturers' representative commented that "movies and music are

doing well, but pinball is doing poorly".  At that point Don told us that he

had recently talked to Roger Sharpe (of Williams/Bally/Midway Games) who told

him that a major problem for operators is keeping pingames clean.  He

remarked that that was a "big task", but maintenance is important, commenting

that it's just like with restaurants - if they serve bad food people won't

come back.


     Don then began telling us what he thinks of modern pingames.  First, he

said, he thinks the artwork is "phenomenal" and brings players to the games.

He then remarked that he always thought pingames were interesting, but never

plays himself.  Don then commented that in pingames "the ball never acts the

same as before" in direct contrast to videos.


     The question "what can we do to improve the pingame business today" was

then broached by Don.  Do we need simpler or more complex games?  Do we need

longer or shorter shots?  Is there too much on the playfield?  These are some

of the questions, Don told us, that need to be answered in order for

manufacturers to be able to keep on producing pins.


     Don then mentioned the age old question, what about increasing the price

per play, maybe to $1.00?  He then commented that in Europe and other

countries the price of a game of pinball is higher than in the U.S.


     At that point Don remarked that today there are four pingame

manufactures in Chicago, including "the new kid on the block", Capcom.  He

then commented that they must think there must be a future for pinball

because they keep on designing and producing pingames.  He then remarked that

the new Sega game, APOLLO 13, has a "13 ball multi-ball" capability!


     Don ended his talk by asking us to "keep up the good work" by playing

the games, thus keeping a market for pingames.  He then drew a round of

applause.  Don then asked for questions?


     The first question asked was what was the manufacturer's typical "spare

parts budget" for a game - and what he thought about poor maintenance of

games?  Don began by telling us that there usually was no budget for spares,

the manufacturers keeping up an inventory only.  As for maintenance, Don said

that many operators don't have the personnel to properly keep up modern



     The next question had to do with the idea of players finding out via the

Internet computer network about good places to play pinball in a particular

area - the questioner asking if the industry could help in this area?  Don

answered "I'd love to", commenting that he thinks the Internet "could be

great" for this kind of thing.


     Don was next asked what operators and the AMOA were doing to promote

pinball?  He answered that the main thing he does is to put pingames in the

best locations they know of.  He then commented that the AMOA once tried

tournaments (with their "International Flipper Pinball Association" (IFPA))

but eventually had to drop it because the project was too expensive.


     Someone from the audience then asked what he as a player should do when

he finds a poorly maintained game on location?  He then suggested that

operators put a card on each machine indicating a "point of contact" to get

the game repaired (possibly including an "Internet address") or use of an

answering machine to collect such information.  Don answered that his company

has their name on all their games, but that other operators may not.  He then

told us that approximately 40 percent of his employees are "mechanics", as

service is a major problem.  More interactive discussion on that topic then



     When someone again broached the subject of AMOA promoting pinball, Don

answered that since IFPA failed AMOA doesn't know what to do to promote pins,

adding that that is not "high on their list" of priorities.  Don was then

asked how his company "rotates" pingames between locations?  He answered by

saying that they usually try to rotate a game every four to six months.


     When next asked about using "dollar-bill acceptors" on pingames, Don

told us that they have them on all games purchased in the last three or four

years, adding that this will help them in the future to be able to increase

to "one-dollar play".  Someone then asked who "drives" price increases in

game play?  Don answered that this was driven by the manufacturers and

operators, not AMOA.


     Someone then asked about "IRS depreciation" of games?  Don answered that

right now it's 7 years for pins and 3 years for videos, adding that they are

working on getting it reduced to 3 years for pins.  At that point someone

else told of once offering to help a technician working on a game but being



     The next question Don was asked is if he thought the Government will

ever produce a new one-dollar coin?  Don replied that the vending machine

people want that, but the amusement people are not that concerned.  He then

commented that there are still more "Susan-B's" left and that the Government

is now concentrating on the new paper money just coming out.  Finally, he

said that when the "Susan-B's" run out the Government will have to decide if

they want to put out a new dollar coin, adding that he himself would like to

see one.


     The final question was what about operators providing  a "comment sheet"

at each location where players could indicate problems with the games for the

technicians to look at?  Don's only comment was that operators don't care

much for pingames because they are "too hard to maintain".


     Don ended his presentation by saying "there is only so much money out

there for amusement", commenting that today there is much more competition

than in the past for that "amusement dollar".  At that point Don drew a round

of applause.




     At the past several Expos there has usually been one seminar concerning

pingame maintenance, usually hosted by Las Vegas super-collector Tim Arnold.

This year, however, the task was taken up by Arizona pinball maintenance guru

Joel Cook, owner of "The Pinball Lizard" in Tucson.


     Rob Berk introduced Joel, talking of his company which has been in the

business of repairing solid-state pinball circuit boards, etc. for some 22

years!  He then told us that Joel was an Electronic Engineer, has been

collecting pins for the past six years, and was attending his 4th Expo.


     Joel then passed out handouts to the audience which had the same title

as his presentation, "The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly".  He then

congratulated Rob and Mike for putting on such great shows, which again drew

a round of applause.  At that point Joel asked for a show of hands of how

many in the audience worked for game manufacturers - not many raising their

hands.  He then told us that the object of his presentation was to give us

some information on various problems encountered in solid-state pingames.


     Joel next made the comment that he often learns from his customers, and

that he wanted to convey some of his knowledge to us.  Also, he went on, I

would like to run through some of the specific problems with each

manufacturer's games.  Joel then said that he would go over the "44 steps To

Get Your Pinball Up and Running" listed on the back of his handout.


     The first bit of information Joel imparted to us was that "batteries

will always leak", and as a result he suggested that they be "taken off the

circuit board" if possible.  Then turning to the digital displays, he

commented that they are fairly expensive to replace.  After telling us that

damaged circuit board connectors should always be replaced as they are

inexpensive, Joel said a few words about ROMs ("Read-Only Memory") chips.  He

told us that the newer ROMs can store more data than in the past, then making

a brief comment regarding the "erasable" variety called "EPROMs.


     At that point Joel turned to problems with Bally circuit boards.  He

told us that they can get tarnished on the top side and sometimes can break.

It was then suggested that older Bally boards be replaced by later models.

Joel's next subject was digital displays.  He first commented that they often

collect dirt, again remarking that they are time consuming and expensive to

replace.  Finally, he told us that 10 percent was a typical "failure rate"

for those tubes.


     The final areas of Joel's Bally comments concerned "sound" and "speech"

boards, "CPU" ("Central Processing Unit") boards, and the "High Voltage Power

Supply".  After telling us the "sound" and "speech" boards are expensive,

Joel said that Bally CPU boards are the easiest to fix (the factory providing

good trouble-shooting information).  We were then told that the "High Voltage

Power Supply" on Bally games should always be completely rebuilt.

     Joel then turned to Williams games.  He first told us that their later

"Level 7" CPU boards will often work in older games.  We were then told that

the battery problem previously described was also true of William games, also

suggesting that a person put "dates" on batteries so they know when they

should be changed.  After commenting about some mislabeled "Blue Flipper

ROMs", Joel told of three versions of Williams "driver boards" and how they

can be "upgraded" to the latest version .  He then advised that when

replacing bad resistors the proper wattage should be used.


     After mentioning a "switch matrix change" on some Williams games, Joel

talked a little about upgrading Williams power supplies.  We where then told

how to replace rectifiers in these units.  Joel then ended his Williams

discussion by talking of problems encountered with connectors on their CPU

and Driver boards.


     Joel next turned to Gottlieb, beginning by telling us that they have a

book that can help with problems.  After again mentioning battery problems,

he told us that there currently is no source of parts for old Gottlieb CPU or

Sound boards.  Joel then suggested that the "fingers" on the edge of the

circuit cards be cleaned.  The final comment concerning Gottlieb was that old

model display tubes are no longer available, but he is trying to find a

suitable replacement for them.


     Turning briefly to Stern games, Joel told us that they used Bally

boards, but they are not always 100 percent exchangeable.  He then told us

that he was currently preparing a Stern trouble-shooting  guide.  As for Game

Plan and Atari games, Joel told us that they have poor documentation and also

some "interchangeability problems".


     When Joel then asked for questions the only one asked was concerned with

battery leakage and cleaning, which he answered.  That ended Joel's

presentation and drew a round of applause.




     The speaker for the next seminar "Is Over-Restoration Too Much?", Herb

Silvers, introduced himself.  He began by posing the question "how much is

too much restoration?"  For years, Herb then told us, many people have told

him that his pinball restorations are better than any others.


     Herb then told us that he was going to attack his question "from the

business sense".  He then commented that he personally thinks that a good

restoration makes a game "close to the original condition at a reasonable

price".  At that point Herb told us that he was going to show us "how he does

it".  As an example, he said that a client wanted a Gottlieb BUCKAROO (1965)

to look like it came "out of the box".  He then started explaining the

"steps" of his restoration process.


     "Step 1", Herb then told us, was to take off all of the chrome parts and

have them re-chromed, remarking that in California a good re-chroming job

costs about $200.  "Step 2", he continued, was to "shop" the playfield,

including converting the "action components" to "D.C. power" to increase

their speed.  Continuing with that step, Herb said you should clean and file

all electrical contacts.   Turning to the backbox for a second, He told us

that you should clean or replace all the score reels, and also replace all

lamps with type 454 "flashers".


     The "third step", Herb then told us, was repairs to the game's cabinet.

First, he said, you have to copy the artwork patterns on tracing paper.

After that, Herb went on, you sand off the old paint and fill in any

indentations in the wood with "Bond-O".  The cabinet can next be primered.

At that point, Herb continued, the "base coat" paint should be applied,

usually an "off white".  Next a "pattern" for the graphics is cut out of a

thin sheet of vinyl (using the previous tracings) which is "heat treated"

onto the cabinet and allowed an hour to dry.  Each color is applied using

different "patterns".  Finally, Herb told us that the cabinet is then "spider

webbed" (or "splattered"), adding that that can also be done to the inside of

the cabinet if desired.


     Steps "4" through "7", Herb told us, are putting the cabinet back

together, putting the game together, looking for problems, and adding the

tempered top glass.  The final step, he then told us, was looking for a "new

looking" backglass.


     On that subject Herb commented that "repairing" bad areas on a backglass

usually looks "cheap" unless it is done by a professional artist.  He then

told us that you can use a good "reproduction" glass if one is available for

the game, adding that that usually costs less than $200.  At that point Herb

began outlining the steps that he uses to have a backglass reproduced.


     First, he said, he locates a decent glass for the artist to use to copy

from, after which any "flaws" are corrected.  The next step, Herb continued,

is the "color separation" during which a separate "screen" is cut by hand for

each color.  From these, he then told us, the final "printing screens" are

produced using a special machine.  Herb then told us that the colors of the

ink used in printing must be "matched" to the original colors by an expert.

He then told us that after the actual printing process is started you must

allow at least one day for the ink to dry before doing the next color.


     Before the silver or black opaque paint is applied to the glass, Herb

then told us, the colored areas are first checked for color or printing

errors.  The "final step" he then said was to "unveil" the new glass to the



     At that point Herb made the comment that there really is no answer to

the original question "what is too much restoration?"  He then took out the

eleven screens used to create the BUCKAROO reproduction backglass and laid

them on a table for us to examine later.  Herb then asked if we had any



     The first question Herb was asked was how to clean up pingame

playfields?  He answered that it depends on the game.  Herb then commented

that his artist also does playfields using oil-base paint, then covering them

with mylar (except on games from the 1960's or earlier).  He finally remarked

that he uses "Wildcat" to clean playfields.


     Herb was next asked if he used screening to fix playfields?  He answered

"possibly in the future", saying that maybe this could be done on either

Bally's KISS (1978) or PLAYBOY (1976).  When then asked how to remove a

game's "side rails", Herb answered that he uses a special tool to remove the

"French nails" which you can obtain from an upholstery shop.


     Someone then asked if "laser scanners" could be employed in connection

with backglass reproduction?  Herb answered that with his rare 1957 Bally

flipper game, CIRCUS, he experimented with that process, but found that color

correction was difficult.  He then added that you would have to have orders

for a minimum of 15 glasses in order to do this at a reasonable cost.


     At that point someone from the audience commented that during the tour

of the Lenc-Smith plant a company representative made the statement that the

"4-color process" could not be used on playfields.  Herb said that this

depends on whether or not the playfield is to be mylar coated afterwards.


     When Herb was asked about "mirroring" on reproduction backglasses, he

answered that it can be done when using the "full color" vice "4-color"

process, adding that the "mirroring" must be applied first.  The final

question was what about reproducing a backglass on a thin plastic sheet?

Herb answered that he might try that sometime in the future, adding that to

do that you must start with a "perfect glass".


     At that point Herb asked us what our ideas were concerning a "perfect

restoration"?  Someone answered that it should be such that the game looks

"just the way it came from the factory".  A discussion was then started

regarding cabinet restoration.  Dave Marston remarked that the base coat on

a cabinet should not be "too white" or else it would not look like the

original.  There was then more interactive discussion regarding the type of

paint to use in a cabinet restoration.  Someone commented that the base coat

of the restored cabinet should be close to the color which shows when the

"side rails" of the original game are removed.


     Herb ended his presentation by remarking that there are basically "three

types of restorations".  A "high end" restoration, he told us, makes a game

"look like new".  The next level, Herb continued, makes it "close to

original".  The lowest level, he said finally, makes the game "acceptable to

the customer".


     Finally, Herb passed out a sample of the screen material used in

backglass reproductions.  He then told us we could get up and look at the

various "screens" he had previously laid out.  Herb was then given a round of





     The final "seminar" (well, really not quite a seminar) was a

presentation and "prize giveaway" hosted by Williams ace pingame designer Pat

Lawlor, assisted by several of his factory cohorts.  Rob Berk first got up

and talked a little about Pat.  Rob said that this is "a tough time for

pinball", then telling us that this year Pat's Expo presentation would be a

little different from what he's done in the past.  He then commented that for

the past five years Pat has told us "what it's like to design pingames", but

this year he's going to quiz us.


     Pat then introduced himself, and gave a list of some of the games he

designed including: BANZAI RUN (1988), EARTHSHAKER (1989), WHIRLWIND (1990),

ADDAMS FAMILY (1991), TWILIGHT ZONE (1993), and ROAD SHOW (1994).  After that

he passed out numbered tickets to each person in the audience to be used for

"surprise drawings" throughout his presentation.


     Pat then jokingly said that they "cleaned out their offices" at Williams

and brought "all the junk" to give away to us by drawing one number about

every five minutes.  He then told us that this year we can ask questions of

his "panel", but also the panel can ask questions of us.  He then had his

panel introduce themselves.


     First was Williams' Head of Software Development Ted Estes who gave us

a little of his "history" as well as a list of the games he's worked on.

Next came artist John Youssi who gave a list of the games he did the artwork

for.  Following John was game designer George Gomez, who designed such recent

Williams hits as CORVETTE and JOHNNY MNEMONIC, who told a little of his

history, saying that he started at Midway right out of college designing

video games.  Then Williams' Director of Engineering and ex-programmer Larry

DeMar gave a list of the pins he had worked on in the past.


     The last panel member, Director of Marketing Roger Sharpe, was then

introduced by Pat, saying that he was responsible for obtaining the celebrity

"licenses" for Williams and Bally pingames.  Pat then told of Roger's pioneer

pinball book "Pinball" which came out in 1977, as well as his past game

designs.  After that the first prize number was drawn, the winner receiving

a set of pinball "plastics".


     Pat then told us that he would talk about the state of pinball in

general, and what they've done in the last five years.  He then remarked that

seeing that their company and their competitors are all producing great

games, he could not see why pinball is now doing poorly.  Pat then said he

would like to ask us what we thought?


     Someone from the audience then asked why the manufacturers are putting

a "video mode" (dot-matrix displays) on pingames, implying that he did not

care much for that.  Larry DeMar then asked the questioner if he thought all

"video mode" games are bad?  The person replied that he just thought that

"pinball should be pinball".  After Pat told a little of the history of dot-

matrix displays at Williams (saying some are good, but others may be bad),

someone else said that he likes "video modes" because "it's sort of a break

from the basic game".  At that point another prize was awarded.


     Someone then asked the engineer on the panel about the possibility of

using color dot-matrix displays in the future?  Larry DeMar replied that they

try to use new technology, but cost is always a factor they have to consider.

He then defended "video modes" saying at their company they are "always

looking at using what's new."


     After that, designer George Gomez put in his "two cents" defending

"video modes".  He told us that they "change the pace of the game", adding

that they are "not mandatory" on many games.  At that point two more prizes

were drawn, both posters for Williams' recent CORVETTE pingame.


     Following that someone from the audience asked Pat to elaborate on his

comment that pingames are currently in a "slump".  Pat began by commenting

that it's no secret that pins are in a "down cycle", going from selling a lot

of games in the last 5 years to a much smaller number lately.  What's even

more puzzling, Pat continued, is that in the past the cash boxes of pingames

were reasonably full, but more recently earnings for operators have steadily

fallen off.  Roger Sharpe was then asked if a "flat fee" was paid by the

manufacturers for pingame licenses.


     Roger began by saying that an important question regarding licenses was

"does it add to the cost of the game?"  He then told us that their company

has "the best fee basis of any manufacturer in per unit royalty".  He ended

by commenting that they don't take out any game features to pay for the

licensing cost.


     After another prize was awarded, someone asked Pat how many new designs

per year a company comes up with, and how does that affect the industry?  Pat

answered that they produce more models per year now than in the past (about

8 to 10 per year as compared to 6 to 8 previously), but have shorter

production runs for each game because they "have to keep their people



     Another prize (a TWILIGHT ZONE "mini-field") was then awarded.  A person

next asked why pingames did not award tickets (vice replays) as is done on

"redemption games"?  Pat answered that it has been tried with only marginal

success,  adding that redemption games have a much shorter playing time per

game than pingames.  Continuing on that subject, Pat remarked that redemption

games are actually "games of chance", commenting that if pins were operated

that way a good player could "break the operator".  Pat then told us that

designers of redemption games have to convince the world they require skill

so they will not be considered gambling devices, adding also that those games

are meant for a different age group (young children) than pins.


     Another prize (actually two) was then given away which consisted of both

a speaker display cover and a plastic screen backglass.  After that someone

asked Pat if he thinks that the fact that players today only receive three

balls for fifty cents might be why some people don't play anymore, adding

that maybe games should use "timers" to allow so much time for a game?  Pat

answered that they were experimenting with a "novice mode" for games which

would give the player a "minimum playing time", but no replays.  Someone then

asked if any thought had been given to using "video displays" in lieu of

"dot-matrix".  Pat answered that he is not allowed to comment on "future

plans", adding "if we do, you'll see it"


     After more prizes were awarded (CORVETTE key chains and a "plastic

form"), someone asked about the special "magnetic device" used on their

recent game JOHNNY MNEMONIC?  After Larry DeMar described that, he asked the

players in the audience if they had any problems hearing the "audio cues",

provided on many new games, when the location has turned the sound on the

game down?  In that context somebody asked if headphones could be used to

solve that problem?  Pat replied that that was "a marvelous idea" except for

a few "real wold problems".


     One problem, Pat then told us, was that the headphone jack had to be

"electrically isolated" from the rest of the game's circuitry in case

somebody tried putting 110 volts into the jack which could result in ruining

the machine.  The other problem, Pat said, was that people might put chewing

gum, etc., into the hole.


     After another prize was awarded someone asked Roger Sharpe why they had

not obtained any "sports licenses"?  Roger answered that about 40 percent of

their game sales were overseas, and most people in other countries are not

very interested in American sports.  After that another prize was given out.


     At that point someone asked Roger what their company was doing to

promote pinball?  Roger answered that they were trying to use the media for

publicity, mentioning the DISCOVERY and USA cable TV networks.  He then told

us of a one hour "history of pinball" documentary which was in preparation

(Incidently, the producers of that were at the Expo filming show segments).

Roger then added the comment that we could help promote pinball by supporting

tournaments, etc.


     Two more prizes (a "press proof" of the ADDAMS FAMILY backglass and a

poster) were then awarded.  After that Pat briefly explained their pingame

"tournament mode" which they were planning, telling us that it can be turned

on by the player for one game, and disables any "random" features of the

game.  Someone then asked Pat what he thought of the "score inflation" which

has been creeping into pinball (scores now going up into the 'billions')?

Pat began by remarking that many players can't even understand current scores

because they contain "too many digits".  He then commented that he thinks

"enough is enough", saying that the industry is moving toward stopping that



     After the next prize (a ROAD SHOW display), someone asked if video game

sales are currently down by the same percentage as pingames?  Pat answered

that sales of some video games are very good, while other videos have dropped

off.  Roger Sharpe then remarked that there is possibly a consistent sales

drop in both videos and pins.


     Another prize was then awarded, followed by a question as to whether

people owning pingames at home help or hurt new pingames on location?  Larry

DeMar answered that they "probably help".  Two more prizes ( a poster and

another ROAD SHOW display) were then awarded.


     Artist John Youssi was then asked what his favorite pingame artwork was?

He replied that it was probably their game TWILIGHT ZONE.  Someone then asked

if their company kept old "screens", tooling, etc., so that they could go

back into production on a previous game?  Pat answered that they do keep such

things for a limited time, then adding that to go back into production for an

old game is almost as expensive as starting a new one.


     The final prize of the afternoon, an ADDAMS FAMILY backglass, was then

given away.  At that point Larry DeMar was asked about his personal pingame

collection?  Larry replied that he owns 22 pingames, all of which are

operational, which includes a few electro-mechanical games such as Williams'

1971 pin FOUR SQUARE.


     Finally, Pat commented "we are part of the 'entertainment business', and

are definitely a 'business'".  That ended the Expo seminars and drew a round

of applause.


     That's all for this time folks.  Next time in the second part of my

coverage of Pinball Expo '95, I'll tell a little about the "Fireside Chat",

and then tell of the game auction, the banquet, and the Exhibit Hall

(including a listing of all the pingames displayed at the show).  And you'll

have to wait until then to find out why I dubbed Pinball Expo '95 "The Year

of Sunshine".

                       PINBALL EXPO '95  (PART 2)


                              by Russ Jensen


     Last time I told about all of the seminars at Pinball Expo '95, plus the

plant tour and the "Harvey Heiss video".  This time I'll conclude my Expo

coverage, including a little about the "Fireside Chat", the game auction, the

Saturday night banquet, and last (but not least) the Exhibit Hall.





     At the previous year's Expo Rob Berk initiated a new "Expo tradition"

the "Fireside Chat", in fact that year there were two, one with pingame

artists and another with designers.  This time there was only one, occurring

on Friday evening.


     That "chat" was an informal get-together held in Rob Berk's suite with

three of the older pingame designers:  Steve Kordek (originally at Genco,

then Bally, and then (and now) at Williams); Norm Clark (formerly at Bally);

and Wendell McAdams (originally with Chicago Coin, and later with Game Plan).

Each of these gentlemen briefly introduced themselves, outlining their past

histories, then participated in a question and answer session informally lead

by our host Rob Berk.


     At one point during the evening Williams/Bally/Midway Director of

Marketing Roger Sharpe was asked to join the designers to discuss his early

involvement with Game Plan designs - in particular their SHARPSHOOTER pin in

1979 which he himself designed and which was also named after him.  As I said

last year, a detailed description of the "chats" is outside the scope of this

article, but I will say that everyone present that evening had an enjoyable

time listening to the stories told by these fascinating industry





     This year, like the past several years, a coin machine auction was held

in conjunction with Pinball Expo, put on by an outfit called U.S. Amusement

Auctions.  This year, however,  there were not as many pingames in the

auction as in past years.


     As far as pre-1970 pins were concerned there were only about seven put

up for sale.  There were two pingames from the 1930's: Mills' HI-BOY (1938)

and Gottlieb's LOT-O-FUN (1939).  HI-BOY was actually a combination pingame

and "Bell slot machine" and brought a healthy price of $1550!  LOT-O-FUN was

one of a series of Gottlieb pins of that era to have "bingo type" cards on

it's backglass.


     From the 1940's there was only one pin, a fairly shabby Genco TRIPLE

ACTION (1948), the first flipper game to have it's flippers at the bottom

center of the playfield (like most pingames since), and designed by none

other than Steve Kordek!  There was also only one 1950's pingame in the

auction, Gottlieb's 1958 game ROCKET SHIP.  Pins from the 1960's fared a

little better, there being three offered for sale, all from Gottlieb.  The

earliest of these was their 1960 game DANCING DOLLS.  Next came DANCING LADY

(1966), and finally SUPER SCORE (1967).  All of the other pingames offered

for sale were a smattering of electro-mechanicals from the 1970's and many

solid-state pins.

     In addition to pins, other types of games were also auctioned off

including juke boxes, video games, arcade games, and even a "kiddy ride" or

two.  The following is a sample listing of a few of the pingames (mostly

older ones) which were sold and the prices they went for:




NAME                               MANUFACTURER   YEAR      PRICE


HI-BOY                             MILLS          1938      1550

LOT-O-FUN                          GOTTLIEB       1939       275

TRIPLE ACTION                      GENCO          1947        85

HEAVY HITTER  (BASEBALL)           BALLY          1948        75

ROCKET SHIP                        GOTTLIEB       1958       675

MADEMOISELLE                       GOTTLIEB       1959       175

DANCING DOLLS                      GOTTLIEB       1960       205

DANCING LADY                       GOTTLIEB       1966       350

SUPER SCORE                        GOTTLIEB       1967       290

FIREBALL                           BALLY          1971       850

ODDS & EVENS                       BALLY          1971       320

FLYING CARPET                      GOTTLIEB       1972       175

TIME ZONE                          BALLY          1972       305

WIZARD                             BALLY          1974      450,500

ATLANTIS                           GOTTLIEB       1975       355

BIG DEAL                           WILLIAMS       1977       290

POWER PLAY                         BALLY          1977       315

PROSPECTOR                         SONIC (SPAIN)  1977       270

STAR TREK                          BALLY          1978       575

GORGAR                             WILLIAMS       1979       390

CATACOMB                           STERN          1981       365




     Saturday evening, as has been true of all ten past Expo's, was banquet

night.  This year, as last year, the first banquet event (after a fine

dinner) was a "charity auction" to benefit the Make-A-Wish Foundation.  The

items auctioned off (all "pin related") were donated by various Expo

exhibitors, game manufacturers, etc..  The auctioneer for the event was the

same one who presided over the game auction earlier in the day.


     The first item to be auctioned was in fact five items - five BATMAN

FOREVER T-shirts from Sega.  The final bid for one shirt was $20; the others

then sold to other people at the same price.  Next came a "package"

consisting of two OPERATION THUNDER and one CACTUS JACKS hats which was sold

for $25.  Then came what was referred to as a "quad exposure" photograph of

the backglasses for four Data East pingames - BATMAN (1991), GUNS 'N ROSES

(1994), STAR TREK (1991), and TOMMY (1994) - bringing $35.


     A "Me Gorgar" T-shirt then brought $25.  Then a set of "plastics" from

the limited production 1992 Data East MICHAEL JORDAN pin sold for a high bid

of $55.  One of the highest bids of the evening came next, $275 for a copy of

a painting of the backglass art (by Expo guest Jerry Kelley) of Bally's 1966

pin CAPERSVILLE.  Next came another "package deal" consisting of a Gary

Flower pinball tie plus a "Pinball Dreams" CD-ROM which went for $155.


     Next up was an early bagatelle game called KICK BACK which brought $85.

After a set of wooden legs was sold for $35, a piece of art for some pinball

playfield plastics was sold for $115.  Then came the "high bid of the

evening", $590 for the "crystal" (with light) from Bally's TWILIGHT ZONE

pingame from 1993.


     After a  "plastic form" from Williams' GETAWAY (1992) sold for $45, and

a pinball article from the Chicago Sun Times brought $25, a reproduction

backglass for Bally's popular FIREBALL (1971) pin brought $120.  Five more

Sega BATMAN FOREVER T-shirts were then sold for $11.50 each.  Next came a

Data East TOMMY (1994) playfield selling for $85.


     The next item to be auctioned off was probably the strangest of all.  It

was six bricks which came from the recent demolition of the old Bally plant

at 2640 Belmont Avenue in Chicago.  The bricks brought a final bid of $160!

Incidentally, I personally now own a brick from that plant which I will

treasure due to the fact that a large percentage of the pingames in my

collection (and my slot machine too) were manufactured there, not to mention

the fact that I visited that address twice in my lifetime.


     The next two items auctioned were a Data East STAR WARS (1992) playfield

going for $125, and a Gottlieb SUNSHINE (1958) reproduction backglass

(donated by my friend Neil Jamison) which went for $175.


     Finally, the second and third highest priced items went up for bids.  A

framed backglass for newcomer pingame manufacturer Capcom's first pin,

PINBALL MAGIC, which was signed by the designers/artists, went for $350.

Lastly, they auctioned off an actual pinball game, Gottlieb's 1987 game

SPRING BREAK, the final bid for which was $310.  That ended the charity

auction bringing in a nice sum for the Make-A-Wish Foundation, not quite as

much, however, as last year when some more valuable items were contributed.


     Next on the banquet agenda was a little sort of comical bit by Expo

producer Rob Berk which he called "You've Attended Too Many Expo's When".

Rob then would make that statement and finish it with many different endings.


     Rob began with "You've been to too many Expo's when - you remember when

Sam Harvey didn't wear a tie to the banquet".  His next several answers to

that statement were: "you can't remember when we didn't honor Steve Kordek" -

 "you've heard Alvin Gottlieb speak at two banquets", - "when Joe Kaminkow

worked at Premier", - "when we cut the slide show off halfway through the

banquet.", and - "you believe Rob Berk when he says the banquet will be over

at 11 PM".


     These were then followed by: - "you remember when we were at the Holiday

Inn", - "you remember Gary Flower wearing a bow tie to the banquet", - "you

remember seeing Tim Arnold pulling French Fries out of his toolbox", and -

"you remember when Steve Kordek was the banquet guest speaker".


     Rob's final answers to the query included: - "you remember when Mike

Pacak wasn't working on his Pinball Encyclopedia", - "you remember when

Orange Trading Co. was an exhibitor", - "you remember when Steve Kordek was

honored for 50 years in the business", - "you remember when you already knew

Tim Arnold was going to win the raffle",and -  "you remember when you slept

all day Wednesday knowing you would be up all day Thursday playing pinball".


     After that little interlude, Rob Berk formally welcomed all of us to the

banquet.  He then introduced the featured speaker of the evening,

Williams/Bally/Midway Games Vice President of Sales Joe Dillon.


     Joe began by telling us that his part of the show would actually consist

of two parts.  First, he said, will be a slide presentation telling of the

use of pingames in other parts of the world.  Finally, Joe told us, there

will be an "audience participation" game for fun and prizes.


     The first part of Joe's presentation began by him telling a little of

his employment history in the industry.  He first told us that in August 1965

he started working for the Gulbransen Piano and Organ Company which was owned

by Seeburg Corporation.  Joe said at that time there were over 100 piano

manufacturers in the Chicago area.  He then told of attending his first AMOA

convention, remarking that the pinball manufacturers there had special suites

in the hotel and appeared to be having lots of fun during the convention.


     Shortly after that, Joe went on, two large Japanese piano manufacturers,

Kawai and Yamaha, began taking a large share of the piano market in this

country. He then told us that after that he worked for Seeburg in various

capacities, at one time moving to Boston to work for a Seeburg

distributorship there.


     Joe then told us that a Bally distributorship opened up just across the

parking lot from them and that some of those people once played a joke on

him.  He told us they got one of the big operators from New Hampshire to come

into his place saying he wanted 100 jukeboxes but didn't want to deal with

the other company, asking Joe for a price quote.  Joe said that after he

excitedly called the factory to get a price on that large order the guy told

him "that's such a good price that I guess I'll buy one jukebox."


     In 1980, Joe then continued, he went to work for Williams (which was at

that time owned by Seeburg), remarking that the two big games they were

selling at the time were BLACK KNIGHT and THUNDER.  He then said that he has

been with Williams most of the time since then, except for a short stint at

Bally and another outfit.  Joe then told us that in his present capacity as

Vice President of Sales he travels around the world promoting Williams'

games, remarking that he feels like a "booking agent" booking games into

different areas.


     Joe then told us that he was going to give a slide presentation showing

pinball in other parts of the world.  The first slide showed a German game

show, Joe commenting that Germany was their largest foreign customer and that

pinball was "in great shape" in that country.  He then told us that in

Germany you would probably play pinball in a "Speiltech" which was a sort of

arcade which contained videos and pingames, but also some "gambling

equipment".  He then told us that the German idea of gambling is that it

"should not be such as to change a person's 'station in life'".


     We next saw some pictures from France of a tournament utilizing

Williams' DR. WHO pingame in a small arcade.  Joe then talked about where one

might play pinball in France.  He said that pinball is so ingrained in that

country's culture that it would not be uncommon for someone to stop in a cafe

on the Champs-Elysees (which he called "the finest street in the world") for

a cup of coffee and end up playing "Les Flipper".


     After commenting that France is a good market for pingames, Joe told us

of a problem they were having some years back with the flipper buttons

falling off of their games operated in France.  Upon investigating, he went

on, they observed that French players slapped the buttons with their hands

(rather than just pressing them), the shock of this causing the "U-clips"

which hold the buttons in the cabinet to fall off.


     In Switzerland, Joe then told us, you would play pinball in an arcade

(which could contain some gambling equipment as well, depending upon in which

local jurisdiction it was located) or possibly in a "pub".  In Holland, he

then remarked, there are lots of female pinball players, and people play in

arcades (which also have gambling equipment) or in small pubs.


     We next saw some pictures from Australia.  Joe told us that in that

country the pin business is thriving, then telling of one arcade which has a

STAR TREK - THE NEXT GENERATION  mural painted on the wall.  In that country,

he then remarked, you would probably be playing pinball in a very attractive

"high class arcade" with many pingames, or possibly a pub.


     Joe next showed and told about China, first showing an arcade in

Beijing.  At that point he introduced his wife, Ann, who he said traveled to

China with him.  Joe told us that when she tried to ask a small child there

where an arcade was located the kid ran away screaming.  He then told us it

was hard to find many arcades in China.  We were then shown a couple more

Chinese arcades, Joe commenting that they usually contain a lot of video and

"redemption": games, adding that the Chinese pinball market is coming

"slowly, but surely".


     Next up was South America, where Joe said that arcades have "tremendous

amounts" of pingames, adding that some arcades even have "rides".  He then

told of an arcade in Buenos Aires, Argentina, which has all electro-

mechanical pins, remarking that they had a little trouble keeping them

running, but did pretty well.


     At that point Joe told how much it costs to play a game of pinball in

various countries.  In Brazil he said it costs about 15 cents, and about the

same in England.  In France and Japan, Joe went on, the price was $1.01, and

in Spain 81 cents.  The highest price he told of was in Germany where he said

it costs $1.42 to play a game of pinball.


     The slide show then ended and Joe made a few concluding comments

regarding pingames and the industry.  First he said that he guarantees that

there is no difference in pinball players throughout the world, they all

having the same dedication, passion, and skill.  Joe then remarked that

pinball, the form of entertainment he has been trying to "book" all around

the world, entertains, intrigues, and draws people of all ages and nations to



     Joe then went on to say "it's also a tribute to the people who make

these games - many times you see the end results here, but behind the scenes

I'm able to see the arguments among the design team members concerning

whether or not to put certain features, etc. in a game".  Joe then commented

that it's not uncommon near the deadline for a new design to see design team

members sleeping at the factory because they worked all night so they could

start again the next morning.


     Ending his talk, Joe told us that he feels very privileged and very

proud to be a part of this industry.  As a final comment Joe said "I'm not a

player, a designer, or a programmer - I just book the acts, and the acts are

great all around the world - pinball is well around the world!"


     When Joe's slide presentation ended he told us that it was time for the

audience participation game.  He then introduced a young lady he called

"L.J." who he said would help conduct the game.  "L.J." then began telling us

how the game would work.

     First she told us that a card had been placed on each table (except for

those occupied by industry personnel, who were not allowed to participate).

We were then told that that would be used in connection with a "qualifying

round" to select contestants for the actual game in which two teams of four

contestants each would compete.  One team, "L.J." then told us, would be

trying to guess the names of pingames based on "audio clues", while the other

team would be given "visual clues".  In order to select the eight contestants

for the game, the qualifying round would use clues taken from pingame

advertising flyers.


     "L.J." said that when she read one of those clues anyone thinking they

knew what game's flyer it was from should hold up the card from his or her

table.  The first person to raise a card would be asked to name the game, and

if correct could choose if he/she wanted to be on the "audio" or "visual"

team.  This process would continue, "L.J." told us, until all eight

contestants for the game were chosen.  If, however, the person guessed

incorrectly, another quote from the brochure would be read until a correct

answer was obtained.  She then read the first clue.


     The clue was "a combustible combination of features".  Someone

incorrectly guessed FIRE and the second clue "Doomsday Bonus Feature" was

then given.  That brought a correct answer of Bally's 1980 pin FIREBALL II,

the guesser choosing to be on the "audio panel".


     When the first clue for the second game "the realm of fantasy enters

reality" was given, no one ventured a guess.  The same thing happened for the

second clue "new Bally Blaster Flipper".  The third clue "Ball Teleport

Mechanism" brought the correct answer of Bally's 1987 game DUNGEONS AND

DRAGONS, that person choosing the "visual panel".


     The first clue for the next game, "it's a jungle out there", brought an

incorrect response of JUNGLE LORD.  The second complex clue "hit a target to

freeze cycling lights in front of the '4-bank' and complete the bank to score

the lit value", brought no guesses.  Either did the third clue, "Copyright

1986, Williams Electronics", although it gave away the year of release.  When

the fourth clue, "spell 'LIZARD' to collect bonus", was given the correct

answer of Williams' GRAND LIZARD was obtained, the guesser choosing the

"audio panel".


     The first clue for the next game, "a totally awesome pinball machine",

brought a quick correct answer of Bally's RADICAL from 1990, the guesser also

choosing the "audio panel".  The first clue for the next game, "fuel up your

profits", also brought a quick correct guess of the 1988 Bally pin TRUCK

STOP, the guesser choosing the "visual panel".


     The last three games were also quickly guessed after only one clue.  In

the first of these the clue "Let the Good Times Roll" elicited a correct

guess of Williams' 1990 game ROLLER GAMES, with the "visual panel" being

opted for.  Next the clue "a direct hit" elicited Williams' 1994 pin DIRTY

HARRY, the "audio panel" being chosen.  The clue for the final game "it's

fast, it's furious, and it fights back" brought a quick correct answer of

Williams' 1987 pin F-14 TOMCAT, the guesser being automatically placed on the

"audio panel".  It was now time for "the games to begin".


     First it was the "visual panel's" time to compete.  "L.J." then gave the

rules for their game.  She explained that slides would be shown to the

contestants of small sections of the artwork for a pingame.  If any panel

member thought they knew the game, she continued, they should signal by

holding up their card.  If they guess correctly they score 100 points, but an

incorrect answer will ban that person from giving another answer "L.J."

finally explained.  The panel members, Mark, Dan, Henk, and Gene, were then



     The first correct answer, Williams' 1963 pin BIG DEAL, was given by

Henk.  He also correctly guessed the next three in a row: Williams' APOLLO

(1967), JACK POT or GOLD RUSH (1971), and their 1964 pin STOP AND GO.  When

Henk missed the next game, Williams POKERINO (1978) he said it was because

"it didn't go to Holland" - his homeland.  Roger Sharpe then asked "L.J." if

there were "any more games in the contest which didn't go there?"  Henk also

incorrectly guessed the next game whose artwork was shown as SORCERER, the

correct answer being given by another contestant as STAR LIGHT (but, I'm not

sure of the year, however).


     With the next game, Williams' 1962 pin VAGABOND, Henk again got into the

"winning column" causing Joe Dillon the quip "yeah, but in what month was it

released?"  The final game in the "visual" section gave a lot of problems for

the panel, however.


     The first two guesses, GOLD RUSH and EL TORO, were incorrect.  This

prompted "L.J." to give the hint "when you drink beer it comes out of one".

When that didn't seem to help she said it was designed by Steve Kordek, then

remarking "two of them - you drink beer out of", bringing forth another

incorrect (but reasonable) guess of CAN CAN.  When "L.J." finally hinted

"people have ridden down Niagara Falls in these" the correct answer of

Williams' 1961 pin DOUBLE BARREL was finally obtained.


     That ended the "visual round" with Henk being declared winner by a

slight margin - Ha, Ha.  Joe Dillon then gave consolation prizes to the other

three contestants on the "visual panel".  It was then time for the "audio

panel" to "show their stuff", the panel of Joel, John, Tom, and Heri being

first introduced.


     The rules for this round were then given, which were pretty much similar

to the "visual round".  The contestants were told that there were four "audio

clues" for each game taken from the game's "sound track".  As in the previous

round, an incorrect guess would bar that person from making another guess on

that game.  The round then began.


     The first game, Bally's 1991 pin ADDAMS FAMILY, was guessed after only

one audio clue.  Next was Williams GETAWAY (1992) which took two clues for a

correct answer.  The third game, however, was a little more difficult, it

taking all four audio clues before Williams WHITEWATER (1992) was correctly



     The first clue for the next game brought a wrong answer of ROAD KINGS

before the correct answer of Williams' 1991 game TERMINATOR 2 was given.  The

next game, Bally's DR. DUDE, was guessed correctly on the first audio clue.

The sixth game proved again to be difficult, it taking all four clues before

the correct answer of Bally's CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON (1993) was



     After games seven and eight, the correct answers for which were Bally's

DR. WHO from 1992 (which was guessed after the first clue) and Bally's

THEATER OF MAGIC from 1995 (which took two clues), no contestant had the

required 500 points, so an additional game in "standard play" was used to try

to get a winner.  After three clues that game, Williams FISH TAILS (1992),

was finally guessed.


     This resulted in a "tie breaker" between two of the contestants.  The

"tie breaker" game ended up being Williams' 1990 pin FUN HOUSE (taking three

clues to get the correct answer) and a winner of the "audio round" was

finally chosen.  The winner was congratulated and consolation prizes were

awarded to the other contestants.


     Joe Dillon then told us it was time for the "Grand Kahuna Section" in

which the Grand Kahuna himself, Steve Kordek, would give the clues to

determine the "Grand Prize Winner"!  Steve then came up and was given a round

of applause.  At that point Joe gave the rules for this "playoff" round.  Joe

told the two contestants (winners of the "audio" and "visual" rounds) that

Steve would read a series of clues about a particular pingame and the first

one who guessed the game would win the Grand Prize.  He then reminded the

contestants that each could have only one guess.  Steve then asked for a

round of applause for Joe and "L.J".


     The first clue, "this game has a moving target in the center of the

playfield for bonus step-up", was then read by Steve, but no guess was

forthcoming.  The next clue read by Steve was "this game had an 'extra ball'

feature utilizing the top  center rollover".  Henk (the winner of the "visual

section") then gave the correct answer of Williams' 1976 game(s) SPACE

MISSION or SPACE ODYSSEY (although it was possible they he had heard the

answer from the audience).


     "L.J." then said that there was one more clue to be read, Steve then

saying jokingly "this game was designed by one of the good-looking

designers",  bringing laughter and applause from the audience.  The winner,

Henk from Holland, was then presented with the Grand Prize, a framed

backglass of the Expo tournament game Bally WHO DUNNIT autographed by the

game's design team.  That brought a round of applause for Henk.  the runner-

up was then presented with a SPACE MISSION brochure autographed by designer

Steve Kordek.


     Finally, Joe Dillon and Steve Kordek talked a little about SPACE

MISSION, it's importance to Steve, and how the artwork showed the first

U.S.\U.S.S.R. docking in space.  That ended the audience participation part

of the show.


     At that point Rob Berk introduced the other people sitting at the first

table.   They included his co-producer and Exhibit Hall Chairman Mike Pacak

and Rob's wife (of about one year) Bridgit.  Rob next conducted an annual

Expo ritual.  He first asked everyone to stand up.  He then asked all first

time Expo visitors to sit down.  This process continued (people who had only

been to two shows, three shows, etc., being asked to sit down) until only

those of us who had been to all eleven Expos remained standing.


     After that Rob introduced a gentleman from an outfit called E.S.S.

Productions from Boston who he told us was filming segments for a future two

hour television documentary on the history of pinball.  We were told that

that documentary would be shown on national television sometime in mid-1996.


     Richard Shapero from Louisville KY, who originated the idea for the

"pinball wizards" at the Expo each year giving "pinball lessons" to Expo

visitors, came up on stage.  Richard thanked this year's "pin teachers" for

their help which drew a round of applause.


     At that point another "Expo tradition" (for the past several years)

occurred.  John Wyatt from the British "Pinball Owner's Association" (POA)

came up on stage to present his organization's "Pingame of the Year"

(actually since the last Expo) award.  Their choice this time was Bally THE

SHADOW.  Roger Sharpe came up and accepted the award for his company.


     Next up to the stage was Dave Marston from New Hampshire.  Dave began by

telling us that years ago Joe Dillon sold him games when Joe worked for a

distributor and he was an operator.  He then made a few remarks about "the

global significance of pinball".  Dave then said he was going to give an

award to the game which had the record for the longest time on the "actively

traded list" put out for the industry - 14 years!  Dave then told us that the

game was Bally's 1980 pin EIGHT BALL DELUXE, saying that no other pingame

comes even close to that record!  Bally ex-employee Jim Patla accepted the



     Then even another "recent Expo tradition" occurred, nominations to "The

Pinball Hall of Fame".  This year there were two nominations: Wendall McAdams

and Norm Clark (both quests at the previous evening's "Fireside Chat").  They

then drew a healthy round of applause!


     Rob Berk next thanked Williams/Bally/Midway for their loan of the WHO

DUNNIT games for use in the Flip-Out tournament.  He then thanked all the

manufacturers for supporting the Expos for the past eleven years drawing a

round of applause.  Finally, he thanked Lenc-Smith for allowing us to tour

their plant this year.


     Joe Dillon was next called up to the stage by Rob and given a plaque for

his banquet talk.  Joe was then given a round of applause.  Rob then called

Jim Schelberg (publisher of the great pinball magazine, PinGame Journal) up

to the stage to receive a "special award", a plaque for acting as the

"unofficial Expo photographer".  That drew another round of applause.


     Next the "Best of Show" award for the Expo Art Contest was given to a

Mrs. Shapero.  Rob then asked Mike Pacak to give out the Best Exhibit awards.

First Place this year went to Jim and Judy Tolbert for their "For Amusement

Only" booth which drew a round of applause.  Herb Silvers' "Fabulous

Fantasies" booth was the runner up.  Herb was then also awarded the "Best

Restored Game" award for the several restorations he had on display,

receiving another round of applause.


     Rob then thanked everybody who helped with the banquet, including the

speakers, his staff, and all of us who attended, drawing a round of applause.

At that point he invited people connected with other pinball shows to come up

and tell about them.


     First up was Dann Frank producer of the "Wild West Pinball Fest" held

each Spring in Scottsdale, Arizona.  Dann said that in 1996 his show will be

held the first weekend of May, adding that the same would be true in 1997.

Herb Silvers then told of his brand new pinball show called "Pinball Fantasy

'96", the first edition of which will be held at the Riviera Hotel in Las

Vegas, July 26 -28, 1996.  Herb told us that he will hold a special "woodrail

tournament" with a woodrail pingame as the prize!


     The final show we were told about was the fine show called "The

Pinathon" which is held every Spring near Sacramento, California.  Jim

Tolbert touted the show for it's producers who did not attend the Expo.  He

told us that the 1996 Pinathon would be held the weekend after Mother's Day.

     At that point Exhibit Hall Chairman Mike Pacak reminded us that the

Flip-Out tournament finals would be held Sunday morning, then reminding us

that the Exhibit Hall would be open all night for anyone wishing to play any

of the games there.


     Rob Berk then asked Jim Tolbert and several other people to come up on

stage.  He then told us that all those people had either Birthdays or

Anniversaries that month.  On the subject of Anniversaries, Rob started

talking about Williams'.  He said that he never knew exactly when that

company started, but decided it was 1945 (actually it was more like 1943) and

declared it to be Williams' "50th Birthday".  He then had us sing "Happy

Birthday" to Williams.


     Finally, Rob announced that Pinball Expo '96 was planned for November 14

through 17, 1996.  That ended the banquet festivities and most of us headed

for the Exhibit Hall for more pinball playing (some all night!) and visiting.




     As I've always said when reviewing past Expo's, the real "center of

activity" of the show is the Exhibit Hall.  It is where all the games are,

and where most of the visiting is done.  And, as in the past several years,

the "hall" actually consisted of two rooms loaded with pingames and people.


     This year, I believe, there were more "woodrail" pingames (from the

1930's, 1940's, and 1950's) than at any past Expo (except possibly one year

when a large number were brought for display).  On top of that, there was one

particular woodrail game that was represented several times (somewhere

between 6 and 8, I believe).  That game was Gottlieb's 1958 pin, SUNSHINE.

This seemed to be interesting and that's why I dubbed Pinball Expo '95 "The

Year Of Sunshine".


     As I said earlier, the Exhibit Hall is the place were much of the Expo

visiting between attendees takes place.  And I was certainly no exception,

talking to many of my old "pin friends" as well as meeting and making new

friends.  Not only did I get to renew acquaintances with pinball people, I

also had a chance to see a special "young lady" I met for the first time at

the previous Expo.  This was one-year-old Arianna Clark who visited Pinball

Expo '94 (with her parents, of course) at the young age of seven weeks!


     Also, as in the past, there were many coin machine oriented dealers

displaying their wares in the Exhibit Hall.  Many were selling pingames (from

all eras), while others offered parts and "paper".  As usual, Steve Young's

"Pinball Resource" had a booth selling their reproduction parts, other parts,

and their fine literature reprints.  Steve and Laura Engle's "Pinball

Supermarket" was also there again with a large variety of pin-related parts

and other items.


     Two of the many pingame dealers there were Jim and Judy Tolbert's "For

Amusement Only" outfit from the  San Francisco area (who also sold parts and

literature), and Herb Silver's "Fabulous Fantasies" from the Los Angeles

area.  Another pin dealer was my good friend Neil Jamison from Wichita Kansas

who is one of the few dealers to also sell "bingo" and "1-ball" gambling type



     If you were interested in pinball advertising flyers (which are becoming

a big pinball collectable) a visit to Expo co-producer Mike Pacak's booth was

(as always) the center of activity for those.  A few other dealers also had

some flyers.


     As for pingames, there were many available for sale, playing, and

viewing.  There was also, as always, a long line of the new Bally WHO-DUNNIT

pins used for the "Flip Out" tournament qualifying rounds.  A run-down of the

approximate number of pins from each decade is probably in order here.


     There were five pingames from the 1930's, and eleven from the 1940's.

From the 1950's there was a whopping 26 pingames (plus three "pitch and bat"

baseball games), the most Fifties pins at any Expo to date.  The largest

number of electro-mechanical pins from any decade, however, was the 1960's

with 46 pins and one baseball!  From the 1970's there were 42 electro-

mechanical pins, one "baseball", and six solid-state pins.  There were 20

pingames from the 1980's and 22 from the current decade.  The above numbers

are only approximate, and do not count multiple occurrences of the same game

(such as SUNSHINE).


     A chronological listing of most of the pins at the show is as follows:







GAME                               MANUFACTURER      YEAR   PRICE


DROP KICK                          Exhibit           1934    300

SCREAMO                            Rockola           1935  

SPIT FIRE                          Genco             1935    300

FLYING HIGH                        Western Products  1936    950

CHUBBIE                            Stoner            1938  

MYSTIC                             Bally             1941?   450

LAURA                              Williams          1945  

SEA BREEZE                         United            1946    300

MEXICO                             United            1947    200

RANGER                             Exhibit           1947    195

RIO                                United            1947    350

ROCKET                             Bally             1947  

CARIBBEAN  (NO GLASS)              United            1948    150

YANKS                              Williams          1948  

COLLEGE DAZE                       Gottlieb          1949    850

MADAME BUTTERFLY (CONV)            Nate Schneller    1949  

FIGHTING IRISH                     Chicago Coin      1950  

FOUR HORSEMEN                      Gottlieb          1950  

KNOCK OUT                          Gottlieb          1950   NFS

MADISON SQUARE GARDENS             Gottlieb          1950   1095

SELECT-A-CARD                      Gottlieb          1950  

MINSTREL MAN                       Gottlieb          1951   2195,OFFER

PLAY BALL                          Chicago Coin      1951    350

STOP & GO                          Genco             1951   SOLD

TRI-SCORE                          Genco             1951    500

CROSSROADS                         Gottlieb          1952   NFS

FOUR CORNERS                       Williams          1952    800

HIT AND RUN                        Gottlieb          1952  

QUEEN OF HEARTS                    Gottlieb          1952    875

TWENTY GRAND                       Williams          1952    500

NINE SISTERS                       Williams          1953   NFS

SHINDIG                            Gottlieb          1953    895

GOLD STAR                          Gottlieb          1954    800

LOVELY LUCY                        Gottlieb          1954  

THUNDERBIRD                        Williams          1954   ?

AUTO RACE                          Gottlieb          1956   NFS

DELUXE 4-BAGGER (BASEBALL)         Williams          1956   1000

BIG INNING (BASEBALL)              Bally             1958    850

GUSHER                             Williams          1958    650

ROCKET SHIP                        Gottlieb          1958   2000

SUNSHINE                           Gottlieb          1958    650

HI DIVER                           Gottlieb          1959    950

LIGHTNING BALL                     Gottlieb          1959    475

PINCH HITTER (BASEBALL)            Williams          1959   1200

STRAIGHT SHOOTER                   Gottlieb          1959  

DANCING DOLLS                      Gottlieb          1960  

SPOT-A-CARD                        Gottlieb          1960    595

WORLD BEAUTIES                     Gottlieb          1960   325,425

CORRAL                             Gottlieb          1961    700

EGG HEAD                           Gottlieb          1962   500,550

FLIPPER CLOWN  (AAB)               Gottlieb          1962    550

FLIPPER COWBOY  (AAB)              Gottlieb          1962    900

RACK-A-BALL                        Gottlieb          1962  

TROPIC ISLE                        Gottlieb          1962    675

VAGABOND                           Williams          1962    500

BEAT THE CLOCK                     Williams          1963  

GIGI                               Gottlieb          1963    600

SLICK CHICK                        Gottlieb          1963   1595

BOWLING QUEEN                      Gottlieb          1964    595

MAJORETTES                         Gottlieb          1964   2195/OBO

OH BOY                             Williams          1964  

SHIPMATES (PARTS)                  Gottlieb          1964  

WORLD FAIR                         Gottlieb          1964    625

ZIG ZAG                            Williams          1964  

BANK A BALL                        Gottlieb          1965   425,500

BIG STRIKE                         Williams          1965    500

BUCKAROO                           Gottlieb          1965   1695

COW POKE  (AAB)                    Gottlieb          1965  

ICE REVIEW                         Gottlieb          1965   350, 600

ICE REVIEW (PROTOTYPE)             Gottlieb          1965    700

KINGS AND QUEENS                   Gottlieb          1965    950

SIX STICKS                         Bally             1965  

SKY LINE                           Gottlieb          1965    925

CROSS TOWN                         Gottlieb          1966   1595

FULL HOUSE                         Williams          1966  

MASQUERADE                         Gottlieb          1966    495

SUBWAY                             Gottlieb          1966    500

APOLLO                             Williams          1967    700

BASE HIT (BASEBALL)                Williams          1967    525,900

BEATNIKS                           Chicago Coin      1967    500

DIAMOND JACK                       Gottlieb          1967  

KICKOFF                            Williams          1967    400

KING OF DIAMONDS                   Gottlieb          1967   650,700.15

MAGIC CITY                         Williams          1967  

MAGIC TOWN  (AAB)                  Williams          1967    175

MELODY  (AAB)                      Gottlieb          1967    500

ROCKET III                         Bally             1967    550

PALACE GUARD  (AAB)                Gottlieb          1968    550

PAUL BUNYAN                        Gottlieb          1968   195,395

ROYAL GUARD                        Gottlieb          1968    500

PADDOCK                            Williams          1969    400

SPIN-A-CARD                        Gottlieb          1969    400

FOUR MILLION BC                    Bally             1970   750,800

SUSPENSE                           Williams          1970  

FIREBALL                           Bally             1971    950

FOUR SQUARE                        Gottlieb          1971    450

PLAY BALL                          Gottlieb          1971    375

STAR TREK                          Gottlieb          1971  

FLYING CARPET                      Gottlieb          1972  

LINE DRIVE (BASEBALL)              Williams          1972    800

NIP IT                             Bally             1972    550

SUPER STAR                         Williams          1972    125

DELTA QUEEN                        Bally             1973    375

JUMPING JACK                       Gottlieb          1973  

KING PIN                           Gottlieb          1973  

AIR ACES                           Bally             1974  

OXO                                Williams          1974    495

TOP CARD                           Gottlieb          1974    350

WIZARD                             Bally             1974  

CAPTAIN FANTASTIC                  Bally             1975   650,795

EL DORADO                          Gottlieb          1975   SOLD

KICKOFF                            Bally             1975    425

MISS UNIVERSE (BINGO)              Bally             1975   1400

OLD CHICAGO                        Bally             1975    595

PAT HAND                           Williams          1975    395

PIN UP                             Gottlieb          1975    350

SPIN OUT                           Gottlieb          1975    360

TOP TEN                            Chicago Coin      1975    275

ALADDIN'S CASTLE                   Bally             1976    475

BUCCANEER                          Gottlieb          1976    450

CANNES                             Segassa           1976  

FACES                              Segassa           1976    475

HANG GLIDER                        Bally             1976    425

MYSTIC                             Bally             1976    500

NIGHT RIDER  (EM)                  Bally             1976   175

PLAYBOY                            Bally             1976  

SPACE ODYSSEY                      Williams          1976    225

SURE SHOT                          Gottlieb          1976  

SURF CHAMP                         Gottlieb          1976    500

ARGOSY                             Williams          1977    475

BIG DEAL                           Williams          1977    400

BIG HIT                            Gottlieb          1977  

JACKS OPEN                         Gottlieb          1977    450

JET SPIN                           Gottlieb          1977    550, 695

JUNGLE QUEEN                       Gottlieb          1977  

MATA HARI (EM)                     Bally             1977    525

RANCHO                             Williams          1977    395

CAMELITE (COCKTAIL TABLE)          Game Plan         1978    250

KISS                               Bally             1978  

NUGENT                             Stern             1978  

STAR TREK                          Bally             1978  

FLASH                              Williams          1979    475

GORGAR                             Williams          1979    450

INCREDIBLE HULK                    Gottlieb          1979    325

VIKING                             Bally             1979    550

ALGAR                              Williams          1980    350

FIREPOWER                          Williams          1980    500,550

BLACK KNIGHT                       Williams          1981   1050,1100

CATACOMB                           Stern             1981    425

CENTAUR                            Bally             1981  

FREE FALL                          Stern             1981   325/OBO

HYPERBALL                          Williams          1981    375

SPECTRUM                           Bally             1981  

BABY PAC-MAN                       Bally             1982    400

HIGH SPEED                         Williams          1986   1100

F-14 TOMCAT                        Williams          1987  

MONTE CARLO                        Gottlieb          1987  

PARTY ANIMAL                       Bally             1987  

SECRET SERVICE                     Data East         1988    595

TAXI                               Williams          1988    995

TRUCK STOP                         Bally             1988  

ABC MONDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL          Data East         1989    795

BAD CATS                           Williams          1989  

EARTHSHAKER                        Williams          1989  

CUE                                Stern             198?  

BUGS BUNNY                         Bally             1990   1995

SILVER SLUGGER                     Gottlieb          1990  

SIMPSONS (THE)                     Data East         1990  

CHECK POINT                        Data East         1991  

HARLEY DAVIDSON                    Bally             1991   OFFER

USA FOOTBALL                       Alvin G.          1992  

ADDAMS FAMILY                      Bally             1993  

CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON     Bally             1993   2800

INDIANA JONES                      Williams          1993  

PISTOL POKER                       Alvin G.          1993   1350

TWILIGHT ZONE                      Bally             1993  

NO FEAR                            Williams          1994  

APOLLO 13                          Sega              1995   NEW

BATMAN FOREVER                     Sega              1995   NEW

CORVETTE                           Bally             1995   NEW

INDIANAPOLIS 500                   Bally             1995   NEW

JACKBOT                            Williams          1995   NEW

JOHNNY MNEMONIC                    Williams          1995   NEW

PINBALL MAGIC                      Capcom            1995   NEW

STRIKES & SPARES (BOWLING)         Gottlieb          1995   NEW

WATER WORLD                        Gottlieb          1995   NEW

WHO DUNNIT                         Bally             1995   NEW



     This year,  as happened for the first time last year, the Exhibit Hall

was kept open all night on both Friday and Saturday nights.  Most dealers,

however, did not keep their booths open for sales, but a good percentage of

the pingames were available for the pin playing "night owls".


     A final note regarding Exhibit Hall activities.  Again this year (as in

the past several years) there was an Artists, Designers, and Authors

Autograph Session held in the second Exhibit Hall room on Saturday afternoon.

I myself participated in several past autograph sessions, but this year,

since my book "Pinball Troubleshooting Guide" was "out of print", I was just

a bystander.  The tables at which the celebrities sat were arranged in a

large rectangle with the artists, etc., sitting on the inside and the

"autograph hounds" lining up around the outside to get the signatures on

pinball flyers, books, etc., of their favorite "pin personalities".  The

session lasted a couple hours and the lines of people were quite long most of

the time.


     Well, there you have it, a run-down of the events at another great

Pinball Expo - the eleventh such show!  It was great as usual, and I believe

the attendees from all around the U.S. (and around the world too!) really had

a great time!  Next year's Expo is scheduled for November 14 through 17,

1996, but as of now I don't know if I'll have the funds to do it again.  But

maybe I will win big at bingo or the lottery a month or two before Expo time.

Anyway, I highly recommend Pinball Expo to any pinball fan (collector,

player, etc.) as I am sure they will have a good time!  If I can make it I

hope to see you there!