(The Year of Coincidences)


                         by Russ Jensen



     Well, the Pinball Expo - the "king of the pinball shows" -

celebrated it's twelfth year in 1996!  The 1996 edition was held on

Nov 14 through 17, 1996 at the Ramada O'Hare Hotel in Rosemont

Illinois.  The show activities covered four days (Thursday through

Sunday) with the first event being a tour of the Electrical

Windings coil and transformer manufacturing plant on Thursday

morning, but I decided to pass on that since I had toured that

facility two years ago and to do it again this year would have

meant flying to Chicago a day earlier and spending an extra night

in the hotel at their high room rates!


     This year I was lucky to have all my Expo expenses (plane

trip,  hotel room, registration fee, meals, etc.) paid from

gambling winnings at the local (well it's ninety miles away - but

there is a free bus) Indian Bingo facility.  My wife and I had been

extremely lucky starting in July 1996 and, in fact, I am still

"playing on their money"!  LONG LIVE INDIAN GAMING!


     Even though my trip was financed by "Indian money", I was

still concerned about the way Expo expenses keep going up.  The

full admission to the show this year was $100!, and has been

increasing by about $5 a year since the show began in 1985.  The

same is true of the rooms at the Ramada which (including tax) are

also about $100 per night!  If it wasn't for the fact that I

usually share a room that cost would be overwhelming!


     This year my Expo roommate for the past several years, John

Cassidy, could not attend the show because he was attending a good

friend's wedding, so I had to make other plans.  So about a month

before the show I made arrangements to share a room with my good

friend Sam Harvey (my roommate at all the early Expos) and our

friend Gordon Hasse from New York.  This resulted in a very

favorable room cost for all of us.


     I also got a great deal on air fare this year!  About two

months before the show my travel agent secured for me a round-trip

ticket from Los Angeles to Chicago for just slightly over $200!

The only hitch was that I had to leave from the big LAX airport

(which is about 75 miles from my home) instead of the smaller and

more convenient Hollywood/Burbank Airport I had been using for the

past several years. But, there is a special bus from our town to

LAX and I was also able to get a special discount on the round-trip

bus fare!


     On Thursday morning at 4:30 AM my daughter Cheri drove me to

the bus stop.  I had mistakenly read the bus schedule and thought

that was the bus I had to take to get to the airport in time for my

9:30 AM flight - I could have taken a later bus!  Well, when I

arrived at the airport a little after 7 AM I checked my baggage and

found out that I could take an earlier flight which put me into

Chicago at half-past noon, instead of about 2 PM.


     The flight to Chicago was pleasant and we arrived on time.

After getting my bag I called for the shuttle bus to the Ramada.

When I got on the bus, sitting across from me was Bill Ung a user

of the "" ("r.g.p") Internet newsgroup - a person

who I had previously told via email that I would like to personally

meet at Expo after corresponding with him via email.  In fact, he

and his friend were on the same flight from L.A. and I didn't

realize it.  But more about "r.g.p" shortly.


     After arriving at the hotel I checked in and went to our room.

Upon entering I found it to be the largest room I had ever had at

the hotel.  It even had a sofa (which I found out later made into

a bed - in fact, that's where I ended up sleeping) and even a

refrigerator and a bar!  I then went downstairs for my first Expo





     The next event on the Expo agenda was a little "mixer" dubbed

the "Bumper Blast" by Expo producers Rob Berk and Mike Pacak.  It

was held in a small room, light snacks were served, and anyone who

wished to could visit with other attendees. When I first arrived I

encountered my old "Expo friend" John Campbell from West Virginia,

who like me, has attended all 12 Expos.


     Soon after John and I sat down at one of the tables and

started talking pinball, we were joined by another pin-fan, Harold

Sund from Seattle, who like John and I, really loved the pingames

from the 1940's.  Harold began showing us pictures of some of his



     Before long we were joined by another collector, Stan

Jankowski from Minnesota, who had a large album of photos of his

prize games.  While looking at Stan's photos I discovered that he

owned a game whose artwork I "fell in love with" after seeing a

black and while photo of it somewhere in the past.  The game was

Genco's SILVER FLASH from 1937 and it's artwork was very

"futuristic", similar to my Genco METRO from 1940.  I asked Stan if

he could send me photos of the game and he said he would.  We had

a good time visiting and looking at photos for about an hour.




     This year, as has happened at the last two Expos, there was an

informal get-together (actually this year there were TWO!) which

Rob Berk dubbed "Fireside Chats".  This year there was one on

Thursday night and another on Friday.  The Thursday night chat was

with long-time Gottlieb pinball designer Wayne Neyens, accompanied

by his lovely wife.  Wayne and his wife sat on a couch in Rob's

suite with all us visitors sitting on a few chairs, but mostly on

the floor.


     Host Rob Berk asked Wayne some questions about his extensive

career, Wayne also fielding questions from the audience.  As I have

said in past Expo articles, the details of this session are beyond

the scope of this article, but needless to say we all enjoyed

hearing stories of Wayne's fabulous career!




     At the conclusion of the Fireside Chat the next scheduled

event on Thursday evening was the "Internet Get-together".  Before

describing this event I would like to provide a brief explanation

of what that event was all about, and how I became involved in the

world of "cyberspace".


     Among the many facets of the worldwide "Internet" computer

network, there are a multitude of what are known as "Usenet

Newsgroups".  These consist of groups of people who electronically

correspond with each other on a multitude of specific topics -

almost any topic you can imagine.  For pinball fans the newsgroup

is called "" (recreation - games - pinball) and is

called "r.g.p" for short.  People "post" questions or comments to

the group which anybody reading the group may read and answer (or

provide comments) either to the group as a whole or privately to

the poster if desired.


     Last year at the Expo the first formal "Internet Get-together"

was held, where r.g.p people and others (like myself) interested in

learning more about the pinball stuff on the Internet met for about

an hour and witnessed an actual "on-line" demonstration of the

facility.  Even after attending that session last year, it wasn't

until June 1996 that I finally got "on-line".


     But, I have been active in r.g.p ever since then, and as a

result have become "acquainted" with many new "cyber pin friends".

Among those is a young man named Scott Tiesma who maintains an

extensive bibliography of pinball related magazine articles - and

who has recently added all of mine.  Scott was one of the r.g.p

people that I made arrangements to meet in person at the Expo.

Another was Bill Ung who, as I said previously, I met on the

shuttle bus going to the hotel.


     I ran into Scott, by the way, while standing in line to enter

the "Internet Get-together".  When we were all seated the "host" of

the event, Dave Marston from New Hampshire, began telling everybody

that "projects of interest" concerning the Internet and "r.g.p"

would be discussed.  He then asked for a show of hands of all those

present who were active in "r.g.p" - most everybody rasing their

hand.  He then asked how many had "Websites" (on the Internet

"World-Wide Web") connected with pinball?  Many raised their hand.

Dave then asked what each would like to do on their site?


     A fellow named Jonathan Dietch then told everybody that on his

website he is "registering" Bally's 1993 game TWILIGHT ZONE,

collecting serial numbers and locations of as many of those games

he could find.  When Dave next asked what the people in the

audience would most like to see on the Internet, the almost

unanimous vote was for reactivation of the "r.g.p archive", a

database of past postings on r.g.p which had been discontinued (at

least for awhile).  Dave next remarked that one of the reasons for

holding this get-together was so that r.g.p users could have a

chance to "match names to faces" of the people they had been

corresponding with.


     At that point Dave introduced a visitor, David Byers from

Sweden, who maintains the large "Internet Pinball Database" (which

attempts to provide information on all pinballs ever made) which is

part of the large website (The Pinball Pasture) which he maintains.

David told us that he would like to get more information on pinball

industry people to put in his database.


     Next Scott Tiesma told of his pinball bibliography and said

that he would work in conjunction with a fellow named Doug Landman

who had just put up a giant pinball bibliography, "The Pinball

Literature Index", on his website.  After that someone remarked

that he'd like to see more places to play pinball posted on the

Internet.  When someone then mentioned posting images of older

pinball advertising flyers on the Internet, a brief discussion as

to copyright problems this might bring then ensued.


     At that point pinball designer Jon Norris got up and told of

an idea he had for putting a "coin-op museum" on the World-Wide

Web.  Jon then mentioned that one thing he might put on it were

images of game instruction cards that people could download and

print out for their games.  Dave Marston then commented that

possibly much of what Jon wants to include in his "museum" may

already be available on the Web.


     Jon then listed things which he thought people could use his

museum to obtain.  These included: looking at pictures of their

favorite games; getting game restoration information; getting

copies of schematics; looking at some pinball price lists; and even

getting information on the proper sizes of rubber rings for a

particular game.  He listed a few other items as well.


     Jon next commented that he was sort of "thinking out loud"

about his museum idea.  He then said that his idea for the museum

was that it also include information on other coin-ops such as

jukeboxes, slot machines, etc..  Jon then said that it would be

nice to get a "sponsor" for the museum, and that he might even have

small "shows" on different coin-op subjects at different times on

the proposed website.  When Dave Marston asked for reactions to

Jon's idea, that brought little response.


     After Scott Tiesma suggested that someone interview "living

legends" and put them somewhere on the Internet, Dave Marston said

that for those people who are currently not on the Internet, it

might be nice for them to know what kind of things are available on

the Net.  He then passed out a sheet of paper for people to list

the "locations" of their websites.  Dave then commented that

possibly next year people's email addresses could be put on their

Expo badges.


     After that different people gave more information on what they

were doing on the Internet.  There is not enough space here,

however, to mention all of that.  Finally Dave Marston gave a brief

summary of what went on during the session, dismissing it formally.

At that time we were free to mingle and talk with other

"r.g.p'ers".  That ended the official Thursday Expo events - except

for the opening of the Exhibit Hall which will be discussed later.





     Friday morning we all gathered in the seminar area for the

Expo Opening Remarks by Expo producers Rob Berk and Mike Pacak.

After welcoming everybody to the Expo, Rob said that this year they

have a special "sponsor" for the show, an outfit called Interplay

which produces computer simulations of pinball games - he then

thanked them for their sponsorship.


     Rob next reminded everybody about the second Fireside Chat

that would be held that evening with pinball artist of the 1970's

Dave Christensen.  He then mentioned other special events such as

the Autograph Session and the Art Contest.  After mentioning the

fact that this year there would be two additional special

tournaments (in addition to the usual "Flip-Out Tournament), one

played on a 1950's machine and another of a 1960's game, Rob said

that the national PAPA tournament would be held in Las Vegas in

July 1997 back to back with Herb Silvers' PINBALL FANTASY '97

pinball show.


     Rob then solicited donations for the Charity Auction which was

again to be held during the Saturday night banquet.  After then

mentioning the fact that at midnight an "infomercial" for Todd

Tuckey's TNT Amusements would be shown for those who wished to view

it, Rob introduced his con-producer, Mike Pacak.


     Mike began by thanking Sega Pinball for providing the new

games to be used for the Flip-Out Tournament.  He then reminded

everybody that the Exhibit Hall would be open all night on both

Friday and Saturday nights.  Mike then reminded us of the game

auction to be held on Saturday morning.  After that he introduced

a young lady named Lisa who represented the show sponsor Interplay.


     Lisa showed a video about her company's products.  She then

said that today "entertainment software" (Nintendo, etc.) is a big

industry, adding that her company's product, the pinball simulation

software known as "Pro Pinball", was one of the best such products.

That ended the Opening Remarks.




     Rob Berk next got up and introduced the speaker for the first

Expo seminar, coin machine historian and author Dick Bueschel - a

man Rob said "needs no introduction".  That brought a round of



     Dick began his talk by saying "it's a joy to be here".  He

then said that he wanted to share with us "the adventure of

researching his new book Encyclopedia of Pinball - Volume 1".  Dick

then said that because of problems with a previous proposed set of

pinball books he had to "start all over".


     After telling us that he went to Steve Young and asked him

"what'll we do" to produce a new series of books, Dick said that

Steve, Gordon Hasse, and Tim Feranti formed a "team" to help him

get the new books into publication, which he said was projected to

be a six volume series.  He then asked for questions from the



     Before Dick fielded the first question, however, he sort of

volunteered to pose and answer a question himself - that was "when

will work start on Volume 2?"  Dick told us that as soon as the

publication costs of the first volume have been paid off work on

Volume 2 will begin immediately!  Someone then asked Dick when he

does start work on the next volume, how long will it take to

complete?  Dick answered approximately 12 months.  He then began

listing things that are necessary to produce a book.


     First he said you need research and of course an author.  You

also must have a "designer" who in the case of the new books was a

young fellow from Virginia named Eric Hatchell.  After mentioning

that illustrations have to be prepared, Dick said that the actual

writing of the text takes about 12 months.  After that, he went on,

you need "pre-press/design" which he said takes about 90 days.  And

finally the actual printing.


     Dick then commented that if he got the "go ahead" for starting

Volume 2 by January 1st, the book could be ready by October 15.  He

then said that he has much of the information for the next volume

stored in boxes, and that he has already "blocked out" the other

volumes as well.


     Someone next asked Dick what the "date ranges" were for the

"history sections" of the six proposed volumes?   He replied that

Volume 1 went up through 1933; Volume 2 will be 1934-36; Volume 3,

1937-47; Volume 4, 1947-61; Volume 5, 1962-81; and Volume 6 would

finally be 1981-2000!


     At that point Dick said that he would like to tell us a little

about coin machine industry pioneer David Rockola.  He began by

remarking that the United States and Canada were the only real

industrialized nations that were not devastated by World War 2. He

then commented on the many "revamped" pinballs which came out

during the war with "anti-enemy" themes, telling of a German game

called "Bombing London" - in German, of course.  Dick then remarked

that you can hardly find any German pinballs these days, and only

a few made in France.


     Dick then began his story of David Rockola by saying that he

was born in Canada and as a young man owned a cigar store.  Later,

he went on, Dave moved to Chicago and worked for awhile at the

plants of two major slot machine manufacturers of the day, Mills

and Jennings.  After telling us that Mr. Rockola was friends with

two slot machine pioneers, Charlie Fey and Jim Watling, Dick said

that by 1927 Dave was selling coin-op scales.


     In the middle of 1932, Dick continued, Dave Rockola got into

pinball with a game called JUGGLE BALL which featured a rod in the

middle of the playfield which a player could use to attempt to

"manipulate the ball".  He said that that game didn't do very well

and left his company $120,000 in debt.  But, Dick went on, Dave

convinced his creditors to loan him even more money and he was

eventually able to pay them with profits from the very successful



     Dick next told us of an interview he conducted with Mr.

Rockola around 1976 or 1977 during which Dave told him the story of

JIGSAW.  Dave told him that people in speakeasies he knew liked to

work jigsaw puzzles, which gave him the idea to convert a jigsaw

puzzle into a pingame, which he did.  He then told us that Dave

even advertised the game nine days before the game came out.  Dick

then commented that Rockola made around $73,000 from JIGSAW and

their also successful game WORLD SERIES.  He then added that he and

Dave had talked many times over the years before he died.


     At that point someone from the audience asked Dick when

Rockola started contracting out the production of their pingames?

He replied "from the beginning".  Dick then commented that there

were no pingames at the 1931 coin machine show, but there were

sixty at the 1932 show!  He then said that the company known as ABT

sold parts to many pingame manufacturers, making it possible for

small outfits to put out games.  Dick then remarked that by 1933

there was a "shakeout" of pingame manufacturers with only 40

exhibitors at the 1933 show, adding "the big got bigger and the

small disappeared".


     The next question that was asked was why did Rockola get out

of the pingame  business?  Dick started answering by remarking that

his researching of the coin machine industry has shown that most

companies who produced pingames also produced other types of coin

machines, many also producing jukeboxes.


     Dick then commented that when Prohibition ended in 1933

President Roosevelt said "I'll repeal Prohibition and new

businesses will start within ninety days".  At that time, he

continued, taverns opened up and without that pinball would

probably have "died".  Dick then said that Wurlitzer got into

jukeboxes and Rockola followed and that they even at one time

produced a piano/game combination called the "Profit Sharing

Piano".  He then remarked that money was important to Dave Rockola

and when he found he could make more money by selling jukeboxes

rather than pingames he got out of pingames.


     Someone next asked Dick how much duplication there was between

his earlier book "Pinball 1" and the new "Encyclopedia Of Pinball,

Volume 1"?  Dick said that the history section of the earlier book

was "elegant", but "somewhat naive", adding that when he started on

the new book he considered it "a whole new ball game".  He said one

reason for this was that he learned a lot more about the early

history of the game since Pinball 1 came out - finally remarking

that there was perhaps "a twelve page overlap" between the history

sections of the two books, or put another way "the new book is

about 95 percent new."


     When asked if there was any duplication in the "100 games

sections" of the two books, he replied there was none.  At that

point Gordon Hasse asked Dick to explain how games were chosen for

the "100 games section", remarking that some people don't seem to

like his choice of games.  Dick replied that if people would let

him know what games they own or like he could include them in

future volumes.  He then invited people to send him pictures,

especially if the games are "not of the norm" - saying "send



     Dick then began telling some stories about other pinball

pioneers.  He first said that Alvin Gottlieb, son of Dave Gottlieb,

loaned him many photographs, many of which Alvin had used in his

past Expo banquet presentations - including many pictures of Dave,

flipper inventor Harry Mabs, etc..  He said that he considered

those photos as "the best bunch of stuff I've ever hit", also

showing scenes in the Gottlieb factory and the people who worked

there - adding that many of those photos will be used in the series

of books.


     Next Dick started telling a little about another pinball

pioneer, Charlie Chizewar.  He said that Charlie had a machine shop

in Chicago and began producing a coin-op grip tester which he

"reengineered" for a customer.  They went over so well, he

continued, that the customer asked for 50 more, and later another

100!  When Charlie then went on vacation, Dick went on, he returned

to discover that his customer had stolen his foreman.  That

customer he then said, was none other than Dave Gottlieb himself!


     Chizewar, Dick then remarked, was so mad at this that he

started putting out his own HERCULES GRIP TESTER, forming the

Hercules Novelty Company.  A while later, Dick then told us, Dave

Gottlieb went to Charlie for help ("what a hell of a business!")

and the two became good friends!  Chizewar, Dick then commented,

became an "original equipment manufacturer" (OEM) supplying parts

to many game manufacturers.


     Someone then asked Dick if Chizewar's Hercules Novelty Company

did well?  Dick replied that they did better than Gottlieb with

grip testers, doing a "raging business".  He then made some

comments regarding Chicago and the 1933 World's Fair, starting with

the question "how could Chicago not make it big after the fair?"


     Dick began by saying that planning for the Fair actually

began in 1929 - quipping "what could go wrong?"  He then said after

the Great Depression hit, by 1932 people were saying "how can we do

the fair?"  Well, Dick continued, Roosevelt won the election and

Prohibition was repealed.  This, he said, resulted in there being

32 restaurants at the Fair with only one not selling beer -

resulting in a "very successful fair".


     Connecting this to Dave Rockola, Dick then said he "stole" the

picture of the fairgrounds from a Chicago newspaper to use on the

playfield of his very successful pingame JIGSAW.  A little later,

Dick then said, the photographer who had taken the newspaper photo

discovered what Rockola had done, but Dave offered him a "royalty"

of a penny for each game sold, over 73,000 being sold.


     Someone then asked Dick about the Keeney Company?  He said

that Jack Keeney, his father Bill, and another brother, started the

company and that Bill had previously operated console (floor model)

slot machines with the boys helping on the route.  Dick then said

that Jack soon became proficient at fixing broken machines and

understood their mechanisms pretty well.  He said that they founded

the company J.H. Keeney and Sons in 1927 and that the father died

around 1931 or 32.  Dick then said that at one time they

manufactured BAFFLE BALLS for Gottlieb.  He then commented that

Jack Keeney was a "technical person" and even made a few pingames

after World War II.


     When Dick was next asked if legendary pinball artist Roy

Parker did art for Keeney games, he replied "I think so".  When

someone then commented that "all you can do to determine that is

compare similarities" Dick agreed.  He then commented that in the

future pinball backglasses might be considered "rare art".


     Dick then told us that Expo exhibitor Larry Bieza had obtained

a copy of Roy Parker's Death Certificate which contained the

Chicago address where he was living .  He then told us that that

week Larry was going to ring the doorbell at that address and see

if the current residents know anything about Roy.


     At that point Dick began talking about Rob Berk and the

Pinball Expo and how the show has "changed things".  He said that

he has been able to gather more information about the industry as

a result of the Expos than he was able to do in the past.  Dick

then related something that happened to him when he was still

working in the advertising business.


     He said that one time one of his associates told him about

Eddie Ginsberg who had once been associated with the coin machine

industry, whom he then interviewed.  He told us that Eddie told him

that once he was asked by someone to get involved with the pioneer

pingame BINGO, but he declined.  He told Dick that he later handled

Gottlieb's BAFFLE BALL.  Dick said that Eddie did not drink alcohol

and really "loved the industry".


     When Gordon Hasse asked Dick "are you up to doing Volume 2?",

Dick replied "Yes, I want to see what happens?"  Someone then asked

Dick about the Stoner Company?  Dick began by saying that the

Stoner family had been in the home building and carpentery business

before the Depression hit.  He then said that the first pingame

they produced was called WALDORF which they made for Chicago Coin.


     After that, Dick went on, the Stoner brothers decided to

produce games for themselves as well as contracting with other

companies.  Dick then said that when Pacific Amusements (PAMCO)

moved to Chicago to manufacture Harry Williams' famous game

CONTACT, they contracted with Stoner to build some of them.


     Dick then told us that Harry discovered that Stoner was not

producing the playfield correctly by not placing the pins and holes

in precise locations - then remarking how accurately this type of

thing was done on Bally's BALLYHOO.  He said that Harry took the

job away from Stoner causing them to hire a game designer who

several years later designed a game for them called ZETA which was

the earliest pingame to use a "powered bumper".  (AUTHOR'S NOTE:

When I was a kid I owned one of those neat games).


     At that point someone asked Dick what his criteria was for

choosing the "100 collectable games" for each volume?  After

remarking that there were probably over 2000 pingame models which

came out in 1932/33, Dick told of his session at the past year's

Expo in which he had the audience vote on which pins they

considered "collectable".  Dick then commented "whatever you want -

 we'll put it in".


     The final question asked of Dick was regarding a company

called Baker who put out a game called DOUGHBOY in 1940?  He

replied that they did not produce any of their games, but that they

were made for them by Chicago Coin.  Dick ended his presentation by

saying that when he gets the "call" he will go forward with Volume

2.  He was then given a good round of applause.





     Rob Berk next got up and introduced the speaker for the next

seminar, Dave Nutting, who was to talk about the creation of the

first microprocessor controlled pingame.  He said that Dave was an

Industrial Designer by trade and that both modern pinball designer

Pat Lawlor and artist Dave Christensen at one time worked for him.

Finally, Rob told us that Dave had created a "question and answer"

coin machine called "IQ" and that his company, Nutting Associates,

had once been involved with Bally.


     Dave started out telling us that he and his wife now live in

Colorado, having left Chicago in 1985, the year Bally decided to

"get out of the arcade business".  He then said that he was going

to talk about the "exciting period" from the early 1970's up to the

early 1980's - a period he said of "technical advances we'll never

see again".


     We were next told that his company created the first solid-

state pingame around 1973 and that they were also involved in

developing video games for Bally/Midway, also developing the "Bally

Arcade" home system.  Dave then said that his company "played a

major role in Bally's success".


     At that point Dave started telling us a little of his

background.  He said that he was an Industrial Designer by trade

and at one time was involved with the design of the "Jeep Grand

Wagoneer" vehicle which was in production for over 25 years!  Dave

next told of being involved with a coin-op "IQ" game which was his

brother's idea - saying that he redesigned it and got it into

production.  He then said that his brother also built COMPUTER WHIZ

the very early video game.


     After that, Dave told us, "I found myself in a business I knew

nothing about" - adding that he thought at the time "how can we

compete with the big companies?".   He then told us that he hired

a young engineer named Jeff Fredrichson to help him, giving him the

task of developing a solid-state pinball system.


     When four months had passed, Dave told us, Jeff thought he had

it, but it didn't work right.  Then one of their vendors told them

about the new "microprocessor".  So they went to seminars to learn

more about that new technology.  In 1970, Dave continued, his

company became a consultant to Bally, and at that time he only had

his engineer Jeff and one technician.  He said they started

designing games for Midway while watching the development of the



     By mid 1973, Dave went on, the Fairchild Company announced a

new microprocessor product in the form of a "development system"

which he bought.  But, he then told us, we didn't have a computer

which was necessary to program the microprocessor.  Dave told us

that they found a "specialty computer" which cost $150,000!  He

next told us that Jeff had some teletype machine repair experience

- which he said was a "4 bit digital system".  So, he continued,

they purchased a teletype machine and Jeff interfaced it with the

Fairchild microprocessor system.


     We were then told by Dave that at one point Bally sent them

some pinball machines to work with and Jeff decided to try and use

a "multiplexing matrix" to decipher playfield scoring.  He then

said that Jeff put printed circuit (PC) boards on the underside of

the playfield.  For lamps, Dave went on, Jeff used "snap-in"

automotive lamps which he purchased from a local Ford dealer.


     Dave then told us that Jeff used a test program to "cycle" his

system for testing and the system appeared to work fine.  But, he

continued, when you hit a bumper there were problems!  Dave then

told us that Jeff tried to solve the problems with both hardware

and software - trying to "address each problem separately" even

getting a $5,000 oscilloscope from Bally to help in his



     The problem, Dave commented, was that of "two worlds" - the

"electro-mechanical world" where things occurred in tenths of a

second, and the "digital world" where things occurred in

microseconds.  He said that Jeff solved the problem of "switch

chatter" using "software timers" and "optical isolators" and

finally got things working.  Jeff, he then said, went on to program

the game, and to work on the displays.


     As far as displays were concerned, Dave then told us, NIXIE

tubes were too expensive to use, and LEDs (light emitting diodes)

were not bright enough.  To solve this problem a "7 digit, 1 1/2

inch readout" was devised and wired up.


     Dave then said that in August 1973 the Bally representatives

were invited to come over and see the new system.  But, he then

told us, when the system was "fired up" it didn't work because

there was a circuit missing.  When they finally got it to work,

Dave remarked, the Bally people were amazed!  They could see

something for the idea in their future.


     So, Dave went on, they next got up a meeting with the "Bally

brass", including CEO Bill O'Donnell, who all arrived in a limo,

also bringing a "computer expert" with them.  Dave said that they

gave them a presentation which included playing the games and also

showing them the insides.  Dave said that one of the Vice

Presidents couldn't believe what he saw, even looking into a closet

to try and find "the computer running it".  He just couldn't

believe a little "chip" could do all that!  The executives, he

said, went back to Chicago and had to decide "what to do next"?


     Dave then told us that his company continued designing video

games for Bally/Midway, always updating their circuitry as new

technology evolved.  Then in 1976, he went on, the first commercial

"microprocessor pinball", SPIRIT OF '76, was released by a small

Arizona company, a company he said who went out of business shortly



     Bally, Dave then said, put out their first microprocessor

controlled pingame in 1977 - adding "when Bally came out with a

solid-state pingame the industry could see that electro-mechanicals

were out".  But, he then told us, shortly after that a "patent war

erupted over microprocessor controlled pingames".


     There was a lawsuit, Dave told us, pitting Bally against

Williams and Gottlieb, with Bally claiming that the other outfits

stole their idea.  Atari, he then said, had also developed a

microprocessor pin around 1974 and had patents on it, but, he

continued, they gave up trying to enforce them.  Dave then said

that both Williams and Gottlieb copied Bally, deciding to "worry

about patents later".  But it turned out that in a surprise

decision the judge ruled for the defendants stating that "the

design was obvious".


     Dave then commented that at that time Bally's "main thrust"

was to get into the New Jersey casino business and decided not to

appeal the decision in the patent case.  Our company, he then said,

"went on with videos".  He then remarked that in 1983 Bally came

out with the pinball/video combination game BABY PAC-MAN and after

that the pinball market started to decline.


     At that point Dave said he was going to give us a few brief

"notes" regarding himself and his company.  First he told us that

in 1975 Bally hired a "financial expert" whose name was Rom.  He

said his name often got confused with a "solid-state term".  Dave

said that once when he was overheard making the remark "go blast

that ROM" he was later told that Rom was a bit concerned about

"being blasted" by Dave.


     Later, Dave then told us, game designer Pat Lawlor will speak,

saying that Pat came to Dave's company years ago wanting a job

designing games.  When Pat was asked what experience he had he told

them he had worked in a tire store, but Dave said they gave him a

job anyway.  He then asked for questions from the audience?


     When someone asked what games they were given by Bally to

experiment on in 1972, Dave answered that he could not remember the

names?  When someone then made the comment that "video modes" in

today's pingames should be capable of being turned off by a player,

that drew a round of applause.  When a question was then asked

about a legal problem involving a company known as Universal

Research Labs, Dave said he knew the people in that organization,

but was not involved with them.


     At that point my friend Sam Harvey asked Dave about the home

model of Bally's FIREBALL, and other Bally "home versions", and

whether Bally put out brochures for them?  Dave replied that they

probably did.  Someone else then remarked that at least one of the

"home games" was also put out as a "Heathkit" do-it-yourself kit.

The final question Dave was asked was "who first decided to use the

6800 microprocessor in pinballs?"  He answered that it was Bally.

That ended Dave's presentation and he received a round of applause!




     Rob Berk next introduced the speaker for the next seminar, Joe

Kaminkow, who's topic was "What's Happening At Sega Pinball"  Rob

said that in 1987 Data East Pinball started in business with just

two people - Joe and Gary Stern - remarking that that company

"started from scratch".  After 1987, Rob continued, Joe went

"behind the scenes", helping to make the company "a driving force

in the industry".


     After that Rob told of Joe's participation at past Expos,

including his actual building of the BABY IN THE HOLE game (the

idea for which came from old-time pinball designer Harvey Heiss) to

display at the show.  Rob then remarked "Joe makes things happen".

He then told us that Joe has been responsible for innovations in

the industry, including "digital sound", the "solid-state flipper",

dot-matrix displays, etc..  That brought a round of applause!


     Joe then got up and began by saying that when asked to talk

this year he had to come up with a subject.  He then said that he

was going to tell us some "fun stories".  Joe then said he brought

a video to show which, among other things, showed company President

Gary Stern "bunjee jumping".


     After telling us that he also brought some games which were

never produced, Joe told us that he would be unable to attend this

year's Expo banquet due to other commitments.  But, he went on,

Sega did contribute an item for the banquet charity auction which

had been autographed by NASA astronaut Jim Lovell.  That elicited

a round of applause.


     Joe then told us that they have "lots of fun in their

business", then mentioning that they have even manufactured special

pin games with "wheel chair access" - and also with "sip and puff

control", including one for disabled actor Christopher Reeve.  He

then said he was going to ask the audience some "trivia questions"

(regarding their games over the years) giving the people with the

correct answers prizes.  That then followed.


     After that Joe started talking about some games that never got

into production, showing some of the artwork, etc., which might

have been used.  First, he told us, they almost did a game with a

Mad Magazine theme, saying that they got "cold feet", then showing

the proposed backglass.  After telling us that they almost did a

"Crash Test Dummies" game, Joe told a little of their experiences

with "Slash" of the Guns'n'Roses rock group.  He next showed the

promised video which promoted some of their games, but also showed

Gary Stern "bungie jumping".


     At that point Joe handed out a little gift to everyone in the

audience - a "power prism" which contained many small round

candies.  This was followed by another round of "trivia questions"

and the awarding of small prizes.  He then told the story of

producing  a special "custom game" for the wife of TV producer

Aaron Spelling to give to her husband for his birthday - a game

costing her $175,000, a price which he said she had no trouble

with!  He then showed both the playfield and backglass for that



     Getting back to "unusual stuff" which they never produced, Joe

told of a PULP FICTION game which was never produced - only a

backglass.  We then saw the first prototype of their JURASSIC PARK

backglass, followed by the original art for their LAST ACTION HERO

game, which Joe said Arnold Swartzenegger wanted changes made to.


     After showing a "mock up" of another idea which was never

produced, DEATH BALL 2000, we were shown the original glass for

their TOMMY pin.  Joe then showed a "proof" of the art for PLAYBOY,

and told a little about the making of their TOTAL RECALL pin - then

telling of his company's "can do attitude".  He then asked for

questions from the audience?


     When someone asked Joe how many of their STAR WARS games were

produced, he answered "10,400".  He was next asked "who makes the

decision to 'pull' (not produce) a game?"  Joe answered "me".

Someone then asked if they came close to producing the OPERATION

DESERT STORM game?  Joe answered "not at all!" - then adding that

that artwork was done as a "test" drawing of an artist who was

applying for a job with the company.


     When Joe was then asked if they were going to produce an X-

FILES game, he replied "yes".  When next asked why their KING KONG

game was "pulled", Joe replied that it didn't make much money "on


     At that point someone asked Joe about the cost of "licensed

games"?  He replied that it was "expensive to very expensive", but

that he couldn't say precisely, adding that Roger Sharpe who is

directly involved with that would know better.  He then said that

JURASSIC PARK was their most expensive license.  Someone then asked

if a licensed game's characteristics are closely related to it's

theme, Joe replied "almost always".


     Joe was then asked if they can use actors or other celebrities

to promote their games?  He answered "occasionally".  He then

remarked that many of their games are shipped overseas and that the

U.S. is a small market today because in this country "so many

things are pulling people in many different ways and there's no

time to play pinball".  He then added "nobody cares about pingames

and video games nowadays - home games are more popular" - then

remarking "young people are not our market".


     When someone then asked Joe if they had ever considered doing

a "home game', he answered "no".  He was then asked which of their

past games he would have "pulled" if he had known ahead of time how

it would do"?  Joe answered "TORPEDO ALLEY".  The final question

asked of Joe was regarding the "cost factor" involved in producing

games?  He replied that their company tries to keep costs down, but

that he doesn't think that's what hurting pinball today.


     Joe ended his talk with some brief remarks regarding the new

backbox design they had recently introduced, telling us that a game

using it would be on display in the Exhibit Hall.  He said they

refer to is as the "showcase", then commenting that they hoped it

would increase earnings from their games.


     Finally Joe said that they were going to get back to lower

score numbers (instead of the "billions", etc., they were now

using) and that they were trying to "save pinball by giving it a

new look".  That ended Joe's presentation, him drawing a round of





     At that point Rob Berk introduced the next seminar speaker,

collector/dealer Herb Silvers from California, who was to talk

about how to ship a pinball machine.  Before Herb started his talk,

Rob mentioned the new pinball show in Las Vegas that Herb puts on,

"Pinball Fantasy", the first show having been put on in July 1996.


     Herb began his talk by saying that "pre-planning" was required

before shipping a game, and also some "pre-packing".  He then

remarked that if the game is damaged in a shipping accident there's

not much you can do to replace it, but insurance sometimes helps by

providing some monetary compensation.  In that regard, Herb then

commented, before choosing a trucking company you should call

several and inquire about insurance and how much extra it costs.


          Regarding types of trucking companies, Herb said that

there are "personal carriers", which are usually one or two person

outfits, who drive around the country.  When using one of those for

shipping a pinball, Herb said that the game should be first

"blanket wrapped" and tied.  The balls, etc., he went on, should be

placed in a separate box and all legs should be packaged separately



     Herb next told us that larger freight trucking companies were

usually fast and reasonable.  When using one of these, he went on,

you must put your game in a box, crate, or strap it to a shipping

pallet.  He then said that he had with him a game box which he had

obtained from a game dealer.   If you use a pallet, Herb continued,

it is nice if the game can be attached to it by a "professional".

He then pointed out that a palleted game should be strapped

carefully so the glass doesn't get broken, again suggesting that

this be done by a "knowledgeable person".


     At that point Herb gave a brief demonstration of how to pack

a game in a box using the box he had brought.  He then remarked

that the boxes used for new games are somewhat larger than older

machines.  Herb next told us that both the head and the body of the

game should be wrapped in "bubble wrap", then strapped and put into

the box.  The rest of the box, he went on, should then be filled

with Styrofoam.


     After commenting that the legs should also be "bubble

wrapped", Herb said that you should either tape the top of the box

or strap it.  He then reminded us to mark the top of the box "TOP

SIDE", and also label it with "DON'T FORKLIFT!".  Finally, Herb

said, you should fill out the paperwork and put it in the box.

Herb ended his presentation by handing out to everyone a list of

shippers he has used with good results.





     Rob Berk then introduced the next seminar, a panel discussion

titled "Meet The Pinball Artists", briefly mentioning each of the

guest artists.  Kevin O'Connor, he said, did the art for such

classic pingames as Bally's STAR TREK, KISS, and FLASH GORDON, and

many, many more.  John Youssi, he then told us, was responsible for

GILLIGAN'S ISLAND, FUN HOUSE and many more.  After telling us that

Greg Freres did the art for many games including ROLLING STONES,

FATHOM, and PARTY ZONE, Rob said that Kevin O'Connor would start

off by telling of his background.


     Kevin began by telling us that early in his career he did

video game art.  Later, he went on, he went to Data East for

awhile.  He said he then went to Williams, working with game

designers John Popaduik and John Trudeau, doing such games as JUDGE


then told us that he was currently working on a new game (the name

of which he could not reveal) with designer George Gomez.


     At that point John Youssi got up, and started by telling us

that he'd been in the "pin business" for a relatively short time.

In 1971, he then told us, he did some game art, then going into his

own business as an illustrator for awhile.  John then said he got

back into pins doing the backglass art or Williams' 1990 game

WHIRLWIND, then naming some more of his games.  One of his other

games he said was HURRICANE, adding that he also does art for new

video games and even slot machines.


     Next up was Greg Freres.  He began by saying that he started

working for Bally in 1978 and that Kevin "got him in".  He told us

that he brought a "portfolio" to show at his Bally interview and

was interviewed by veteran Bally artist Paul Faris.  Greg then said

he did a painting for his "try out" and it ended up being the art

used on Bally's 1980 pin SKATEBALL.  He then told us he had done

the art for about 20 games, and also works in management.  Greg

then said his last project was SCARED STIFF, and is currently busy

on another game.


     At that point John Youssi told of also doing music album

covers, including some Country & Western albums for Mercury

Records.  We were then asked if we had any questions?


     The first question asked was what pinball artist Dennis

Nordman was doing?  One of the panelists answered that he was

currently working on "novelty games", but was hoping to get back to

pinballs.  Someone then asked the artists who influenced their

work?  Kevin answered that for him it was probably "movie poster"

or "fantasy" artists.  John Youssi answered "adventure artists" and

illustrator Charles White.  Greg then said that he agreed with the

others, but was also influenced by the artists who did Mad

Magazine.  Finally, Kevin said that he was also influenced by Dave



     Someone next asked Kevin about his musical background?  He

replied that he "moonlights" playing guitar and also singing in

night clubs.  Rob Berk then asked Kevin about his use of

computers"?  He replied that he uses them more as a "tool",

commenting "I can get a better flare with my hands", but that they

were great for "typesetting".


     Kevin was next asked how much influence the members of the

"Kiss" rock group had in the Bally game of the same name?  Kevin

said that they only supplied them with reference material,

remarking that it's not like doing a "license game" today.  He then

said that he did the artwork more or less "by the seat of my

pants", adding that seeing the group perform was a big influence to

him, but he never met them in person.

     When Kevin was then asked if he did any of the changes to the

KISS game requested by the German distributors, he replied that

only his painting was used, and others made any changes to the

final glass.  When someone then asked the panel who gets what

projects at the company, Greg replied that in the old days the

game designers usually chose the artist, but nowadays it's "whoever

is ready to work".


     Rob Berk next asked the panel how much influence the artists

have on the game designers?  The answer given was "none at all".

Rob then asked the artists who "oversees" their work?  One of the

artists answered that they have pretty much of a "free hand", but

that if the designers choose to get involved "you have to make them



     Continuing his questions to the panel, Rob asked when the

score numbers were still part of the backglass art was it harder to

do the art?  John Youssi answered "yes, it was".  Rob then asked if

the European market had any influence on the artwork?  One of the

panelists said that it really didn't, the art being really a "theme

solution problem".


     When someone next asked if any of the artists ever tried to

"personalize" their work, the answer was that "we all do that in

some ways".  The artists were then asked about their favorite

pinball art - both of their own work and that of others?  Kevin

began by saying that "your latest is always the nicest", naming his

last game, CONGO, as an example.  As far as his past art was

concerned, he said it would probably be Bally's 1976 pin MATA HARI.


     John Youssi next answered saying of his own art his favorite

was probably TWILIGHT ZONE.  As far as others work was concerned he


Greg said that of his work he liked SCARED STIFF and STAR TREK -

THE NEXT GENERATION.  For others work he named CAPT. FANTASTIC,



     The panel members were next asked if any of them had any

enthusiasm for pinball before getting into the industry?  Kevin

said that he just answered an ad from a large coin-op manufacturer.

John Youssi told us that he always has been "mesmerized" by the

arcade scene, and that it was more than just a business to him.


     Greg then told us that he grew up in Chicago where pinballs

were not allowed.  But, he continued, on family vacations in

Wisconsin he saw a baseball machine and thought it was "cool".

When he later went to college, Greg said he began a rapport with

pinball, playing such games as WIZARD and SPANISH EYES.


     When someone next asked if the game PARTY ZONE was a "license

game", the answer given was "no".  Rob Berk then asked Kevin about

his miniature toy collection?  Kevin said that he started

collecting antique toys years ago, adding that he also has an

extensive library of books.


     At that point Greg said that he wanted to tell something about

late game artist/sculptor Jerry Pinzler.  He told us that Jerry had

worked for Bally for seven years, doing things for many games

including their 1990 pin DR. DUDE.  Prior to that, he went on,

Jerry had been a toy designer.  Greg then said that Jerry died

while working at Williams.  Finally, he talked about Jerry's great

character and aptitude, adding that he worked on 34 pingames over

a period of seven years!


     Someone then asked the artists if they had any games at home?

Kevin began by saying he has WORLD CUP SOCCER, and THE FLINTSTONES.

John Youssi then said that he owned a couple pins including

WHIRLWIND.  Greg then told us that he has a "long list" of games at



     One of the artists then began talking about some people

"behind the scenes" at Williams.  He first mentioned a Paul Barker

who works on dot-matrix displays, and acts as "production/art

coordinator".  The next person mentioned was a lady named Linda

Deal who also works behind the scenes, the person speaking

remarking "we don't do everything ourselves - we try to have one

person accountable for the 'entire look' of the project".  Then it

was said that artist Margaret Hudson does their "color



     Rob Berk then asked the artists if paintings exist for all the

game art?  One of the artists answered "yes - all of the paintings

do exist, although some are 'layered' in pieces".  He then added

that paintings for some of the older games are in an "archive".  At

that point some of the artist's artwork was displayed.


     Kevin showed his art for CONGO and THE FLINTSTONES game,

including the cabinet art.  John Youssi displayed his art for

WHIRLWIND, and his sketch for FUN HOUSE, followed by the art for

JOHNNY MNEMONIC, the "first rough" for TWILIGHT ZONE, and finally

SAFE CRACKER, which he said was the last game he worked on.


     Rob Berk then asked the artists' opinions of 1950's and 1960's

pinball art?  Kevin was first to reply, saying that the early

pinball art was more "stylized", where today there is more

"realism", the abstract not being too acceptable.  John then

remarked that he loves the art of Roy Parker.  Greg then told us

that he had learned a lot from past art, adding that it "set

precedents for what's expected of pinball art today".


     Someone next asked the artists if there ever was anything they

had wanted to do, but were not allowed to?  After Kevin said he

couldn't think of anything, Greg said that he "agonized" over Data

East's decision to use "photographic backglasses" rather than

drawings.  John Youssi then replied that with him "it happens every

day with small things".


     Rob Berk then thanked the artists for appearing on the panel,

that drawing a round of applause.  After that there was a short

period when people took pictures of the displayed artwork.  Then we

broke for lunch!





     The first Friday afternoon seminar featured Steve Young of The

Pinball Resource, a major supplier of parts and literature involved

with repair/restoration of pinball machines.  The title of Steve's

presentation was "The Repro-parts Truth Is Out There".


     Rob Berk introduced Steve, first saying that Steve has been a

big part of Pinball Expo since it's beginning.  After remarking

that Steve is involved with publications and parts, he commented

that reproduction of pinball parts was Steve's "forte".


     Steve then began his talk by welcoming everyone to the Expo.

He then thanked all the people "behind the scenes" at his outfit

The Pinball Resource.  Steve then began to present a slide show

depicting what they do.  He first showed pictures of some of the

reproduced  pinball items they provide including: flipper linkages,

Gottlieb front and back doors, bell assemblies, and rebound



     We next saw some views of their parts and storage area, their

UPS shipping computer, and bumper cap storage.  This was followed

by some scenes illustrating the reproduction bumper cap production

process which was done at Donal Murphey's Electrical Windings plant

in Chicago.  After that we saw where reproduction bumper bodies and

Gottlieb and Bally drop targets were produced.  Steve then asked

for questions from the audience?


     The first question Steve was asked was if there ever was any

"waste" when more items are made than are subsequently ordered?

Steve answered that as orders increase making extras of an item is

best.  He then said a little about how they try to eliminate "big

color variations" in the parts they reproduce - adding that their

products have to pass the "buyer test", which he remarked was more

stringent than the tests the original manufacturer put them

through.  Steve then told of various people/collectors all around

the world that have helped him with some of his projects.


     Some one then asked Steve if he has any trouble with current

game manufacturers objecting to him reproducing pinball parts?

Steve answered "no, they're actually 'endorsing' it".  He then

commented that Premier was great while they were still in business,

and that Williams is a little harder to deal with, but are "OK".

     Steve was then asked how he "breaks even" in his business?  He

first replied jokingly "I have lots of cheap help".  Steve then

said that his parts reproduction partner, Donal Murhpey, tries to

keep from using his paid employees and often works on their parts

during his lunch hour.  He then commented that customer gratitude,

and orders (of course) really help!  Finally, he added "if demand

gets too heavy in the future for Donal we might have to go

somewhere else".


     Next someone asked Steve if he was considering doing pinball

cabinet decals?  He answered that others have done a little of

that, but he didn't see his outfit getting into stencils or decal

production, but that he could direct people to those that do that

kind of thing.  When someone then asked how many orders he receives

in a month, Steve replied "approximately 700".  Five years ago, he

went on, I was doing this only part time and processed only about

40 orders per month - adding that his business has had "very

significant growth".


     Steve was next asked if he planned on reproducing "deco bumper

caps"?  He replied that currently there was a "hold up" on that

because they were trying to figure out how to produce "marbleized

plastic" - adding that their initial discussions on that subject

brought up several questions which still needed to be answered.

Steve then commented that it would probably cost 10 to 15 thousand

dollars to come up with the special molds required.


     At that point Steve said he wanted the audience to vote for

what they would like him to produce in the future?  The three  most

voted for items were: Bally "door skins" (which Steve said would

sell for $70); BLACK KNIGHT 2000 targets (which he said might cause

a copyright problem); and spinner targets (both metal and plastic).

Regarding the latter, Steve said that he could do the plastic ones

without much trouble, but for the metal ones they might need to use

a decal rather than paint them.


     Steve then thanked everyone and said he wanted to wrap up his

seminar by recognizing four people who help him a lot in his

endeavors.  Those people he said were Donal Murphey who helps

produce parts in his factory, Gloria Puller and Tim Ferrante who

work for him, and Gordon Hasse.  That drew a round of applause.


     Finally, Steve said he would also like to praise the

collectors who have collaborated with him, as well as the collector

community in general who purchase his products, then asking and

receiving a round of applause for them.  The seminar then concluded

with a round of applause for Steve.





     The final Expo seminar was a little "fun thing" put on by

modern pingame designer Pat Lawlor, assisted by some of his cohorts

from Williams.  Pat called it the "Pat Lawlor Show" and patterned

it after the popular TV show "Let's Make A Deal".


     Rob Berk began his introduction of Pat's presentation by

saying "you've waited a year to see him - and now he's back".  He

then named some of Pat's designs, ending by saying he wanted to

introduce "an Expo favorite - Pat Lawlor", drawing a round of



     Pat began by thanking Rob for his "build up" which brought a

round of applause.  He then said that his presentation this year

would be "close to last year's", adding "the views expressed will

be ours, and not the company's."


     Then getting to the "rules of the game", Pat said that we were

allowed to ask them questions and that they had "a lot to give

away".  He said we could even ask about how bad the industry was

doing, but could not ask "personal" questions, adding that they

could not, however, talk about other companies.  Pat then asked for

a show of hands of how many "new Expo attendees" were present -

quite few raising their hands.


     Pat then introduced his cohorts, who he said covered all the

"major disciplines" in the business.  First was artist John Youssi,

followed by game designer George Gomez.  He next introduced their

Head Of Software, Ted Estes, and Mechanical Designer John Crutch.

Pat then introduced their ace marketing man Roger Sharpe, who he

called "Mr. Pinball", who was in charge of their game "licensing".

Finally, he introduced a "newcomer", Louis Koziarz who he said

would help him distribute the prizes, and also Head of Engineering,

Larry DeMar, who was in the audience.  Each person Pat introduced

drew a round of applause.


     At that point Pat said "let's make a deal", telling the

audience "you can ask us questions, and we can also ask you

questions - it's all meant to be fun".  He then asked for the first



     The first question was for Roger Sharpe and was what was his

all-time favorite pin?  Roger answered that he was influenced in

his earlier designs by Gottlieb's 1974 games FREE FALL and SKY

JUMP, but that his personal favorites were that company's

MAJORETTES (1964), COW POKE (1965), and HURDY GURDY (1966).  Pat

then told the questioner that he could choose as his prize either

what he had in his pocket or what was on a card held by one of his

cohorts.  The person chose the card and received a sketch by artist

John Youssi


     Someone then asked the Williams guys why their new game SAFE

CRACKER was made smaller than other pingames?  The answer given was

that the General Manager of the company asked them to try

"something different", so they modeled the game after smaller

European games, adding that they tried to make it "stand out".

When offered the choice of what was in Pat's pocket or on the card

in front of George Gomez, the questioner chose the latter,

receiving a SAFE CRACKER backglass.


     Continuing with SAFE CRACKER questions, someone asked if they

had had any trouble with local authorities because the game

dispensed tokens?  The answer given was that the company lawyers

checked the laws of various jurisdictions, and found that in most

places they were "OK".  The person asking that question decided to

take what was in Pat's pocket, but after some "trading" ended up

with a Williams tee-shirt.


     The next question asked was whether it was easier or harder to

design "licensed games", versus those done "from scratch"?

Designer George Gomez answered that it was sometimes "each way".

The "good thing" in favor of licensed games, he went on, is that

everyone is exposed to the same "vision".  On the "bad side", he

continued, your implementation is "scrutinized" by the licenser,

giving as an example his game CORVETTE.  The person asking that

question had a choice between Pat's hat and what was on a card in

front of George.  When he selected George's card he still got a



     Someone then asked Pat how he convinced Williams to produce

their 1988 game BANZAI RUN?  Pat answered that he first built a

working prototype which he showed to company personnel.  After

seeing that, he went on, they decided to build it.  When a question

was then asked about the material used in the "power ball" used in

their game TWILIGHT ZONE, it was answered that it was made of "a

highly ground and polished ceramic" which was quite expensive and

had the properties of being non-magnetic, light weight, and the

same size as a standard pinball.  When given the choice of a hat or

tee-shirt the questioner opted for the shirt.


     When Pat was next asked if there was a chance of a game

similar to BANZAI RUN being made in the future, Pat answered

"probably not in the foreseeable future" - the questioner then

receiving a mouse trap as a prize.  Roger was then asked if he

thought it "ironic" that after helping to re-legalize pins in New

York (showing they were not "gambling devices") that he now works

for Williams who also produces slot machines?  Roger answered "I

guess it is".  The prize offered for that question was either what

was in Pat's pocket or on the card in front of Roger - he choosing

Rogers's card and receiving an "eagle" from the top of Williams'

1993 game JUDGE DREAD.


     Someone then asked, considering the current state of the

industry, will Williams produce more "licensed games"?  Roger

answered that it was not "cost prohibitive" to use licenses, but

they are not the only types of games they will do.  The questioner

ended up with some "stand-up" plastics from the game ROAD SHOW.


     Somebody next asked about an "upright, 3-D, circus motif"

game, asking what it was?  The answer given was that it was "Top

Secret"!  That person's prize ended up being a backglass from NO

FEAR.  The next question was when trying to get a license do you

ever get into "bidding wars"?  Roger answered "sometimes, but we

try to get out there early enough to prevent that.  He then

remarked that they had "sometimes gotten a license for less than

their competitors because the license owner "likes us".  When

offered either a hat or what was on a card, the questioner opted

for the card and received a CONGO backglass.


     When the mechanical designer John Crutch was then asked if the

design team has ever asked him to design something very difficult,

John replied "not yet".  The person asking that question receiving

a nice coffee mug.  When someone then asked when the playfield

coating "Diamond Plate" was first used by williams on their games,

it was said that it was on their 1988 game BANZAI RUN, the comment

then being made that it "works great, and playfields made with it

never go bad"!  When the person asking that question was given the

choice of a hat or Pat's pocket, he chose the pocket, receiving a

"Slim Jim".


     At that point Roger Sharpe was asked about the rumored

"reprinting" of his classic pinball book of the 1970's, "PINBALL!"?

He re[plied that he was "thinking about it" and had two choices -

to either reprint the original version or "revise" it.  Roger said

that was a "tough call", adding that he might just reissue the

original version, possibly next year.  That questioner ended up

being awarded a Williams "fun box" (containing plastics from two

games), plus a coffee mug.


     After that a few more questions were asked, and prizes

awarded, but I think the above gives probably a good idea of how

that went.


     Pat next started talking about the question "where do you see

pinball in the next four years?"  Historically, he began, the

industry has always experienced "peaks and valleys" - commenting

that "games conform to current surroundings".  Pinball, he then

remarked, is not "revolutionary", it's "evolutionary".  We were

then told by Pat that he thinks the current "valley" has "bottomed

out" and there are signs of recovery.  He then said he believed

that now the industry has a "chance to catch up", then adding that

"games are a form of entertainment".


     After commenting that some of the nicest people in the

industry are "not hear anymore", Pat remarked that when people stop

playing pinball, they won't need us"  After telling us that there

is new technology all the time, Pat remarked that the question for

pinball is "is it a 'buggy whip' or a 'money making device'"? 

     On that theme Pat remarked that for pinball to survive

operators need to get a return on their investment.  Some

operators, he then said, love the games and have faith in them.

"Nobody knows the answer", Pat went on, then saying that the

current mandate at Williams is "build the neatest pins you can to

show the operators that pingames can be profitable".


     "What will there be in 2000?", Pat then said, "I can't tell

you now".  That ended the seminar, Pat receiving a good round of

applause.  That also ended the Pinball Expo '96 seminars.


     And that also ends Part 1 of my coverage of Pinball Expo '96.

You'll have to wait until next time for Part 2, describing the

second "Fireside Chat", the game auction, the autograph session,

the Saturday night banquet, and the Exhibit Hall.  You'll also have

to wait to find out why I call Expo '96 "the year of coincidences"!

                       PINBALL EXPO '96

                   (The Year of Coincidences)

                            (PART 2)


                         by Russ Jensen



     Last time I described all of the seminars at Pinball Expo '96.

This time I will conclude my coverage of the show by briefly

describing the second "Fireside Chat", followed by descriptions of

the Game Auction, Autograph Session, Saturday Night Banquet, and

the Exhibit Hall (including a list of all the pingames that were





     As I said last time, this year there were two "Fireside

"Chats" scheduled.  The first, which I told about last time, was

with veteran pingame designer Wayne Neyens and held on Thursday

evening.  The second chat was held on Friday evening and was with

a great pinball artist of the past, Dave Christensen. who did much

of the art for the Bally games of the 1970's.


     As with all these "chats", it was held in Rob Berk's suite.

When the guest of honor arrived it had been after a session at the

hotel bar with friends, Dave arriving "a few sheets to the wind".

This affected his answers to questions at the beginning of the

session, but after awhile he sobered up pretty well.


     Also, last past "chats", Dave was asked some questions by Expo

host Rob Berk and some examples of his great artwork were

displayed.  A little later former Bally employee and Dave's friend

Jim Patla joined in, reminiscing with Dave about their years at

Bally.  As I have said in the past regarding these chats, a

detailed discussion of what went on is beyond the scope of this

article.  Anyway, hearing from this great artist was indeed a





     This year, as has happened at Expo's in the past several

years, there was a game auction conducted on Saturday morning by an

auction outfit that specializes in amusement machine auctions.  The

auction room was literally loaded with games - mostly pinballs,

plus a few video games, slot machines, etc..  There were also a few

pinball backglasses and playfields offered for sale.


     Two interesting things occurred in connection with the auction

that were connected with me personally.  First, there was a game

offered for sale, Bally's BLUE BIRD, which was manufactured in the

month and year I was born (October 1936).  Secondly, another of the

old games offered for sale was Pacific Amusement's  CONTACT (a game

I currently own) from 1934.  I noticed while looking at this

machine that the auction people had attached to it in a plastic

holder an article written by me several years ago describing the



     The auction was quite well attended.  The following is a list

of some of the older pingames (in chronological order) and the

prices they brought.






GAME                          MANUFACTURER   YEAR      PRICE


CONTACT                       Pamco          1933      170

BEACON                        Stoner         1935      235

LUCKY STAR                    Genco          1935      310

BLUE BIRD                     Bally          1936      295

CAROM                         Bally          1937      435

HI-BOY (P/O)                  Mills          1938      1550

ROTO POOL  (BAD GLASS)        Gottlieb       1958      375

HULA-HULA                     Chicago Coin   1966      360

JOUST                         Bally          1969      450

VAMPIRE                       Bally          1970      350

CHAMP                         Bally          1973      165

FLICKER                       Bally          1974      330

PLAYBOY (SS)                  Bally          1976.     400

6 MILLION DOLLAR MAN (SS)     Bally          1977      400

STAR TREK  (SS)               Bally          1978      310





     Another annual Expo event, which has been occurring for

several years now, is the pinball designers, artists, and author's

"Autograph Session" which was held on Saturday afternoon.  This

year, like two years ago, your's truly was one of the participants,

displaying my book "Pinball Troubleshooting Guide".  I was sure

among great company with the wonderful pinball designers and

artists, in addition to author Dick Bueschel!


     Now it's time to tell you why I call Expo '96 "the year of

coincidences".  The first coincidence occurred while I was sitting

at the autograph table.  A fellow came up to me and we started

talking.  When he told me he was from New Hampshire I remarked that

there was another "New Hampshirite" at the show, Dave Marston, whom

he said he would like to meet.  Well, in less than a minute who

should wander over to the table but Dave himself!  I introduced the

two and they left talking to each other.


     The second coincidence also occurred during the Autograph

Session.  This involved Dave Marston telling me that he saw that I

was doing pretty well in the "1950's game pinball tournament" being

held in conjunction with the Expo.  This came as a surprise to me

because, as I told Dave, I had not even entered!  Well, I sort of

forgot about it until Sunday morning when Dave and I were visiting

in the Exhibit Hall.  When we looked at the bulletin board showing

tournament standings we saw the name "Russell Jensen".  We then

went to the lady who had the show attendance records and she

confirmed that there were indeed two Russell Jensen's registered at

the Expo!


     The other Russell Jensen turned out to be from East Lansing

Michigan.  We next had him paged in the Exhibit Hall, but there was

no response - I guess he had probably already left for home. 

Anyway, one of these days I'm planning to call him on the phone and

talk to him.


     The final "coincidence" actually had nothing whatever to do

with the "autograph session", but since I'm on the subject I'll

tell about it now.  On Friday evening several of us were up until

around 2 AM, and ended up conversing while sitting on some couches

in the hotel lobby,  The next morning, when I was ready to leave my

room, I discovered that my "10th Anniversary Pinball Expo jacket"

(which I, and others, were given a couple years earlier for

attending all of the first ten shows) was missing.  The only thing

I could figure was that I had left it in the lobby the previous



     Well, my roommate Sam and I decided to go to the lobby and

check "Lost and Found".  When we went downstairs we decided to

first check the area where we had been sitting the previous

evening.  After discovering that the jacket was not on any of the

couches, we turned to go to the front desk and ask about "Lost and

Found".  At that very moment one of the bellhops just happened to

open the door of a small storage room across the lobby and Sam saw

my jacket hanging up there! 


     Now, that room is not opened often (and not all of it's

interior is visible from the outside when the door is open).  But

it just happened that the door was opened at the precise moment Sam

turned toward it, and the jacket was hung at such a place that it

was visible through the open door!  So, these are the reasons why

I called Expo '96 "the year of coincidences".




     Saturday evening, as it has been for all the past Expos, was

the time for the annual Expo banquet.  And this year, like the past

two or three years, the banquet festivities began with a small

auction, the items to be sold being donated by various Expo

attendees and companies, with all the proceeds going to charity

(The Make-A-Wish Foundation).  The auctioneer for this event was

the professional auctioneer who had conducted the game auction

earlier that day.  Well, after Rob Berk introduced the auction and

auctioneer and gave the "rules", the auction began.


     The following is a list of the items auctioned off, and the

prices they brought for charity:


book - Pinball Art                           $60

Congo backglass, plus 5 game posters         $55

bricks from demolished Bally plant           $45

admission package to Pinball Fantasy '97

     show in Las Vegas, plus video tape

     and T-shirt                             $175

6 Liz-Tech solid-state maintenance manual

     reprints                                $35

3 CONGO backglass plastics                   $25 each

Rocket from APOLLO 13 game, autographed

     by astronaut Jim Lovell                 $400

signed playfield from Capcom's PINBALL MAGIC $75

10 pinball and video game posters            $60

2 signed copies of ENCYCLOPEDIA OF PINBALL

     Vol 1 by Bueschel                       $65 each

pinball art sculpture                        $50

VOLTAN backglass - signed by artist

     Dave Christensen                        $375

signed and framed ELVIRA photo               $225

ATTACK FROM MARS jacket - signed             $260

2 sets PINBALL MAGIC "high end brochure"

     and T-shirt                             $40 each

Bally T-shirt                                $40

2 "Absolute Pinball" video tapes             $35 each

selection of Bally/Gottlieb coils            $65

2 Canadian pinball backglasses               $65/$35

Pro Pinball CD                               $45

SCARED STIFF T-shirt (signed by Elvira)      $100

"Golden Gate" art glass by D. Christensen    $150


     backglasses                             $65

"lock-down bar" end pieces for old

     Gottlieb game                           $45


Pinball Expo '97 entry                       $85

3 ATTACK FROM MARS plastic sets              $85 each


     The "best" of the auction were, of course, saved for last.

Someone from Williams (I believe it was Steve Kordek, - but I'm not

sure) donated copies of some old original drawings from the company

files - they even had handwritten notes and initials of company

founder Harry Williams!


     The first drawing to be auctioned was the playfield layout for

Williams' 1947 (drawing dated 3/17/47) game CYCLONE, the first

pingame to use "wire forms" on it's playfield, it bringing $200.

Next was the drawing of YANKS (dated 1/23/48) which was designed by

Harry Williams, it also bringing the same price.


     The final drawing auctioned was for CONTROL TOWER (dated

1/12/51) which had handwritten notes of Harry Williams to chief

engineer Gordon Horlock regarding the design.  That brought the

final auction bid of $265.


     Next on the banquet agenda was a short "fun game" conducted by

Philadelphia game dealer Todd Tuckey, similar to a game he did last

year.  Todd showed slides of pictures of the playfields of some

solid-state pingames, the audience guessing which games they were



     Next up was the "feature event" of the banquet - but nobody

knew what that was because Expo host Rob Berk had kept that "a dark

secret".  Historian/author Dick Bueschel first came up to the

speaker's stand and began by saying we were going to "roast" long-

time pingame designer Steve Kordek who had been in the pingame

industry for 60 years!  Dick then began reciting a long poem

chronicling Steve's long career.


     Rob Berk then got up and told us that tonight we are going to

pay a tribute to Steve for his 60 years in the industry.  The first

tribute to be given, he went on, was from Japan.  Rob then

introduced Masaya Horiguchi to give his brief tribute to Steve.


     Masaya first told us that he was representing a Tokyo pinball

players' organization and was there to celebrate Steve Kordek's

sixty years in the pinball industry on behalf of the pinball lovers

of Japan.  He then told us that he started playing pinball about

fifty years ago and never dreamed that he would be able to meet an

actual pinball game designer in person!


     He then told of first meeting Steve at an Expo several years

back, remarking how Steve warmly welcomed him and the other pinball

players that had come over from Japan.  Masaya ended by saying that

he was very happy to give congratulations to Steve on his 60 years

in the industry!


     After Masaya completed his tribute, Rob read two letters from

two of Steve's good friends.  The first letter was from a gentleman

named Don Curnew.  He began by saying "hi" to Steve and

congratulating him on his 60 years in the industry.  Don then said

that he had recently seen Steve on TV and that he still "looks like

a young fellow".  He then said that he had enjoyed the years he

worked with Steve at Williams.  Finally, Don remarked that he

wished Steve continued good health and told him to go on designing

new games.


     The next letter was from Steve's long-time friend and co-

worker Norm Clark.  Norm began by saying he was sorry he could not

attend the Expo this year and help celebrate Steve's 60 years in

the industry.  He then commented that he and Steve worked side by

side for many years and had a terrific  relationship as co-workers,

and an even better one as friends.


     Norm then remarked that over the years they had traveled

together and played golf together - quipping that Steve never gave

him any "strokes"!  He then said the he, Steve, and their wives had

also taken vacations together in past years.  "Until I left in

1975", Norm went on, "Steve and I were the only game designers at

Williams".  After saying those were great years he'll never forget,

Norm ended by wishing Steve many more years of turning out great



     After that, Rob played a video tribute to Steve from pingame

designer Steve Ritchie who was currently working in California.

Mr. Ritchie began by saying "hi" to Steve and hello to all his

"Expo friends".  He said that he also was sorry he could not attend

the show but that he had a new job with a new company and that was

"demanding all his attention".  Steve then also congratulated Steve

Kordek on his 60 years in the industry.


     He next remarked that Steve's stamina, grace, and strength

made him both a "great role model" and a "great man".  Steve then

commented that he and fellow game designer George Gomez often

talked about what they called "pinball dads".  This, he said, was

the guy who "shows you the ropes" by telling you things nobody else

can.  He then remarked that when he first saw Steve's game SPACE

MISSION he knew Steve Kordek would be his "pinball dad"!


     After saying that other people at Williams also thought of Mr.

Kordek as their "dad", Steve said he missed a lot of things not

being at Williams anymore.  He then said, for example, he missed

having Steve's office just down the hall from his, remarking that

the 10 minute talks he often had with Steve in the mornings almost

always resulted in him learning something new.


     Mr. Ritchie then commented that he often thought about asking

Steve's bosses to transfer him to California.  He said that if

Steve moved west he could play golf all year round!  After then

commenting that "he never understood the 'magic' Steve found in the

'little white ball'", Steve quipped "but I guess you never cared

much about dirt bikes (Steve Ritchie's personal pastime) either".


     After then remarking that the game "keeps Steve in great

shape", he said that he wished Steve "many more years of playing".

Steve then said there were two golf courses within a three mile

radius of him, and he expected Mr. Kordek to come visit next



     Mr. Ritchie then said that the pinball industry owes Steve a

great amount of gratitude for the "thumper bumper" and "thousands

of other devices, production tricks, and ideas, as well as complete

game designs".  He then commented that Steve had "accomplished so

much more than most people in the business" - adding that he didn't

see how anyone could surpass Steve's accomplishments"!


     After commenting that he will always admire Steve's loyalty to

Williams, Mr. Ritchie remarked that Steve would "always speak out

when the time was right".  He ended by saying "the coin-op

amusement business is a better place due to Steve Kordek's

contributions to it".  Finally, he offered his "heartfelt

congratulations" to Steve, adding "God Bless you Steve".  That drew

a round of applause!


     When the video ended Rob Berk asked Dutch pin-fan Henk DeJager

to come up to honor Steve.  Henk began by saying that when he was

a small boy he began putting his "pocket change" into pinball

machines at a local hamburger shop.  He then said that he first

played Williams' 1965 game BIG CHIEF which he said "got me hooked

on pinball".


     After that, Henk went on, I started looking for more places to

play pinball and "met my favorites - APOLLO, CASANOVA, STUDENT

PRINCE, etc."  Years later, he continued, I became a pinball

operator by profession and also bought for myself the games I

enjoyed such as JUBILEE, HONEY, SKY LAB, and SPACE MISSION.     

Henk then remarked that he saw something in the design of many

games which indicated to him that they should "make money". "I

didn't know the man behind these game ideas at the time", he went

on, "but later I met him - Steve Kordek"


     "I am sure the industry would never have been what it is

today", Henk then commented, "without the innovations and ideas you

brought to it - thank you".  He then said that it was a great honor

for him to be able to congratulate Steve on his 60 years in the

pinball industry.


     Henk ended by saying that on behalf of the thousands of Dutch

pinball players who have enjoyed Steve's games over the years, and

those who like to play and collect them today, that he wanted to

ask everyone in the room to recognize Steve for his many

accomplishments of the past 60 years.  He then thanked Steve again,

drawing a round of applause.


     At that point Rob Berk came back up and showed a chronological

"slide show" of the brochures for the games Steve had designed over

the years.  The list contained 89 games, beginning with Genco's

TRIPLE ACTION from 1948, and ending with Williams' 1978 game



     After the slide show ended Rob said that some other important

people in Steve's life had come to share the evening with him.  He

then invited Steve's daughter Donna and his son Rick to come up.


     Donna began by saying "hi dad" and then saying how she wished

her appearance at the banquet could have been kept a surprise, but

that Steve had seen her earlier out in the hall when he was on his

way to the Men's Room.  She then said that she first wanted to read

a couple notes to him she had recently received.


     The first note Donna read was from Steve's other daughter

Kathy who lived in California.  The note began with Kathy saying

that it was difficult to find words to accurately describe their

feelings for "the man known as Steve Kordek" for his many years of

service and dedication to the pinball industry where he "offered

all his fire, talent, and love for the industry and his fellow

man".  Kathy ended by congratulating her father for "55 years of

dedication to his wife, children, grandchildren - and now his



     Donna next read a short note from Steve's son in Michigan,

Father Frank.  He began his note with "God bless you dad for all

that you have done and all that you are". "You're Gods gift to a

lot of people", he went on, "to your friends, family, and everyone

who knows you".  Father Frank then congratulated Steve on his 60

years in the pinball industry, adding "I know it's been very

special to you - love you a lot - your son Father Frank".


     The last "note" Donna read was a FAX she had recently received

from her nephew (Steve's grandson) Mark from California.  Mark

began by saying "congratulations gramps on 60 years in the

industry".  He then remarked that that was "twice as long as I've

been alive!"  Mark then remarked that Steve has "offered me a lot

to think about", adding "I hope I can stay in my teaching career

for 60 years".  After commenting "I've learned a lot from you", he

ended by saying "congratulations again - your grandson Mark".  That

drew another round of applause.


     At that point Donna gave her own personal tribute to her

father.  She began by remarking that when she was invited to speak

at the banquet she was asked to talk about her first memories of

her father's involvement with the pinball industry.  She then said

that probably her earliest such memory occurred when she was about

seven years old and in the Second Grade at Catholic school.  Donna

then said that her teacher had asked each student to get up and

tell the class what their fathers did for a living.


     She said she thought for a moment, and when it was her turn

she got up and told the class that her father "made adult toys"!

Donna told us that after that the Sister asked her to have her

parents come to school to see her.  She then said that her parents

did come and explain to the teacher what Steve did.  This brought

a good laugh from the audience!


     Donna next commented that her dad was always happy with his

job - then, as well as now - adding that she thought it important

for people to enjoy their work.  She then remarked that often at

home when her dad would hear or see something (like on TV) he would

often grab a pencil and paper and start designing a game.


     The next memory Donna related was a few years back when she

was looking for a gift for her father.  She said she went to a

bookstore to look around and spied a book on of all things the

pinball industry.  Upon leafing through it, Donna continued, she

saw her father's name mentioned and excitedly purchased it for him.

When she got home she said to her father "you won't believe it, but

I found a book with your name in it!"  But, she told us, her father

told her that he "knew all about it".


     After remarking that her father seldom talked about being

interviewed for books, etc, - even when his picture once appeared

in an article in LIFE Magazine - Donna began telling how proud she

was of his accomplishments.  She said it was amazing to her to

think of him being in the industry for 60 years, which she

remarked, was more years than the age of most people in the room!


     After then commenting that serving for 60 years in any

industry was something anyone could be proud of, Donna ended by

telling her dad she was proud of him and "loved him a lot"!  She

then thanked Rob and Mike for asking her to speak about her father.

Donna then drew a good round of applause.


     Donna's brother Rick next said a few words.  He began by

commenting that if his father was considered to be "the father of

pinball", the we (not only he and his sister, but all who have

enjoyed Steve's contributions to the industry) must be "the

children of pinball".  He then remarked that his father has been

"father of pinball" for sixty years, yet he himself was only fifty

years of age!


     Rick then told us that he not only wanted to thank his father

for his contributions to the industry, but also for his

contributions to God and his family!  He ended by saying "thanks a

lot dad; I'm proud of you and of being under the Kordek name"!

That drew a found of applause.


     At that point another video tribute to Steve was presented,

recorded by several of his cohorts at Williams.


     The first speaker on the video was Williams' current Director

of Marketing, and former pinball author, Roger Sharpe.  Roger began

by saying that Steve was a "beacon" for him, then commenting it was

lucky for him to have gotten involved with pinball in the early

1970's when he did.  He then said that he thought it "most

miraculous" to him for a man like Steve (who was old enough to be

his father - or even grandfather) to have known exactly what he

himself would like in a pinball game!


     Roger then remarked that it was Steve who gave the game

"personality" and a "humanistic quality".  He then commented that

Steve was also the person responsible for providing "endless hours

of entertainment" to millions of pinball players by knowing what

they would like - not only once, but repeatedly!  "His zest,

vitality, and passion", Roger went on, "have been embodied more

than once in his games."


     Roger next mentioned his own personal experience while writing

his 1977 book "Pinball".  He said he was glad to be able to capture

these people's (the designers such as Steve) personal histories, as

well as to "popularize the art form" they were responsible for.


     After again remarking that he was fortunate to get involved

with pinball when he did, he said he was also fortunate to have

lasted as long as he has.  Roger then told us that he was "blessed

to have my life enriched by Steve Kordek and others like him".  He

ended by saying that he felt that Steve was "truly a marvel and an



     Next up on the video was Williams' Vice President of Sales Joe

Dillon.  Joe began by saying that he thought Steve Kordek's biggest

contribution to the industry was the "level of integrity" he

brought to the games.  He then said that Steve had always "taken

the high road" as far as the themes for his designs were concerned

- keeping them "above reproach".


     Joe then commented that working with Steve was like working

with a "master of the trade", adding that Steve's wealth of

knowledge and experience enabled him to tell those at Williams if

they were "heading down the wrong path".  He ended by complimenting

Steve for being a "resource they could always call on, whether it

came to history or guidance."


     Next up was a gentleman named Marty Glazman.  He first said

that when he met Steve for the first time he was in "awe" of the

man!  When he called Steve "Mr. Kordek", he continued, Steve told

him to just call him "Steve".  After that, he went on, Steve tried

to get his ideas, rather than he getting ideas from Steve.  He then

said "he wanted my opinions".


     Marty then remarked that you always felt comfortable around

Steve, and that he was a person who gathered other people's ideas

and then communicated them to others.  After again emphasizing how

Steve was always looking for new ideas from others, he ended by

saying that with Steve "it's awesome" - "it's incredible".


     A Brian Eddy was next to speak on the video.  He began by

commenting that Steve "almost created the industry himself", and

that he was with the industry "almost since the beginning".  He

then told of Steve putting flippers "at the bottom of the playfield

where they belonged" - adding that he thought of Steve as "a living

legend in pinball terms!"


     Brian then called Steve "an amazing historian of everything",

adding that there was probably no one in the industry today who has

been around as long as Steve.  He then commented that Steve has

seen the industry through it's "ups and downs" and "knows



     "If you have questions regarding almost any game from the

past", Brian went on, "all you have to do is ask Steve and he'll go

to the files in his office and pull out a copy of the brochure!"

"It's great to have such a knowledgeable person", Brian then

commented.  He ended by saying that Steve had "incredible energy"

and is still "gung ho" when it comes to the industry after all

these years.  "He's great" was his final comment.


     Next on the video was Larry DeMar, long-time Williams

designer, now executive.  Larry began by saying that he has been in

the industry for 17 years (which he thinks is a "long time"), but

that it's short compared to Steve's years.  "One thing that has

always amazed me", Larry said, "was the 'little kid' inside Steve".

He is "always energetic", he went on, "coming to work every day on

some 'new mission'".


     Larry next said that Steve was a "role model" to him, teaching

him to make sure he doesn't "take things too seriously", and to

also make sure "I never grow up".  When Steve started in the

industry, Larry then remarked, there were no such things as

flippers, sounds (except bells), microprocessors, special effects,

speech, ramps, etc., yet today he understands how to use the latest

technology to "advance the product".


     After commenting that Steve has "seen just about everything",

Larry said that he has seen many "ups and downs" in pinball over

the years.  "But", he went on, "even through lean times in the

industry Steve 'stuck with pinball'".  Larry then said that he

himself had been through three "drops in the pinball market".  He

ended by saying that in the early 1980's when the company shifted

to an emphasis on video games, Steve "kept focused on pinball" and

"helped to bring it back"!


     Next we heard from current Williams pin designer George Gomez

on the video.  George began by commenting that there were probably

hundreds (maybe thousands) of things that Steve contributed to the

industry over the years, saying he was "definitely one of the most

influential people in moving pinball in the direction it has

taken".  "Definitely", he went on, "a key player in the evolution

of the game".


     George then told about working on the design for his recent

game CORVETTE and having trouble figuring out how to arrange the

rubber rings in a certain area of the playfield to accomplish a

particular result.  He said Steve walked up and within minutes told

him what to do - and it worked!  George ended by remarking that a

lot of times we think we're doing something new and come to find

out that it has been done thirty or forty years ago - and "Steve

can show you how!"


     The final person to speak on the video was Williams designer

Pat Lawlor.  Pat began by commenting that Steve was a perfect

example of how one man's life teaches many people without them ever

knowing, meeting or seeing him!  He then said that Steve epitomizes

what he likes to think all designers do.  "When we design a game",

Pat went on, "it goes out and is seen by tens of thousands of

people in a lifetime, yet they don't know who designed it?"


     Pat then continued, remarking that it's important for game

designers to realize that their designs can affect other persons'

lives.  "Think of the blue-collar guy", he went on, "who goes out

in the evening thinking he is going to have a little fun, going

into a bar, playing a game, and maybe meeting the girl he's going

to marry".


     Steve's work, Pat went on, over a period of years has touched

people who he'll never meet.  He then said "we affect people in

ways we can't possibly dream of - we are in the 'entertainment

business', and it's important to know that the 'end user' is the

one you're trying to entertain".


     Pat then remarked that Steve's career started when games were

still powered by batteries, and he later was the first to put

flippers at the bottom of the playfield where they belonged.  He

then commented that 'relay logic' was used in electro-mechanical

games to create 'rudimentary gates', similar to the logic of

today's computer-controlled games.  From there, he continued, he

went through the "era of transistors" into the "microprocessor age"

with it's complicated game rules.


     Three years ago, Pat then said, Steve put a computer on his

desk.  "Just think about it", he went on, "over his life Steve has

gone from batteries to 'Autocad' designing, staying involved

through 'sheer will'".  He ended by saying that Steve "treats the

world as a big wonderful toy - a great way to look at it!" 


     When Pat had concluded his remarks, Roger Sharpe came back on

the video for a final tribute to Steve.  After thanking him for the

memories he had given him, Roger again thanked Steve for his

enthusiasm, commitment, and passion he had for the pinball

industry.  He then commented that Steve "has brought so much joy to

the incredible world of pinball".


     Finally, Roger thanked Steve again, then remarking that he

"hoped to be around for the next 60 years to see what happens in

the industry", and also said he wanted to play more golf with

Steve,  Roger ended by saying that Steve was a "personal

inspiration" to him, then thanking him one more time!


     The video ended with each of the previous speakers giving

their final tribute to Steve.  After that Steve was given a

standing ovation!


     At that point the guest of honor came up, first telling us

that on December 26 he would be 85 years old, bringing on a big

round of applause.  He then remarked that the pinball industry is

responsible for "the way I am today".  Steve then thanked the

people who had paid tribute to him.  That brought on a long

standing ovation!            


     Rob Berk then got up and presented Steve with a diamond.

After Steve thanked them for the gift, he was given still another

standing ovation!


     Rob Berk then introduced the people sitting with him at the

"head table".  They included his wife Brigitt, Mike Pacak, and a

lady named Jan Holmes.  He then did a slight variation on what has

become an "Expo tradition" for the past several years.


     The "first timers" attending the Expo were asked to stand up,

they receiving a round of applause.  Rob then asked all of us who

had attended all thirteen Expos to stand up, we also received a

round of applause.  Finally, he asked all foreign visitors to the

show to stand.  They were also given a round of applause.  Rob then

began presenting some awards.


     The first award given was a plaque given to Donal Murphey of

Electrical Windings Inc. in appreciation for letting the Expo

visitors tour his plant this year.  Next the award for the "best

restored pingame" at the show was presented to Herb Silvers of

Fabulous Fantasies in southern California - Herb accepting the

award and then telling about his pinball show "Pinball Fantasy

'97", which was to be held in Las Vegas on July 18 through 20,

1997.  Finally, Rob gave out the award for "best exhibit" to Jim

and Judy Tolbert of For Amusement Only of Berkeley, California.


     Rob then asked former Bally game designer Greg Kmiek to come

up front.  Greg said he was there to disclose this year's nominee

to the "Pinball Hall of Fame", a tradition started at Pinball Expo

several years ago.  After reading the list of past "hall-of-

famers", Greg said that this year's inductee was none other than

famed pinball artist Dave Christensen (the guest of honor at Friday

night's Fireside Chat).  That brought a good round of applause from

the audience!


     Next Rob presented a plaque to Sega Pinball for their loaning

of the new pingames for use in the Flip-Out Tournament.  A Sega

representative then accepted the plaque, thanking Rob and Mike for

it.  At that point the lady named Lisa, who represented the

"sponsor" of this year's Expo, Interplay, came up to tell a little

more about her company.


     After thanking Rob and Mike for producing such a great show

(which got them a round of applause), Lisa began telling about the

computer pinball simulator Interplay produces.  She then showed a

video telling about their "Pro Pinball" game.  When Lisa finished

Rob Berk presented her with a plaque - that also drawing a round of

applause for her and her company.


     After Mike Pacak presented Jim Schelberg (publisher of the all

pinball publication Pingame Journal) an award for being the Expo's

"official, unofficial photographer", Mike asked John Wyatt of the

British Pinball Owners Association to present that organization's

award for the "best pingame of the past year".


     John began by giving his personal tribute to Steve Kordek and

telling of Steve giving him a personal tour of the Williams factory

in 1991.  He then said that the game they had chosen for their

award was Williams' ATTACK FROM MARS which brought on a round of

applause from the audience, the award then being accepted by

someone from the company.


     At that point Rob Berk came back up and mentioned that at the

Thursday evening Fireside Chat it was brought out that designer

Wayne Neyens had designed a total of 158 pingames during his

illustrious career!  Rob then presented Wayne with a plaque for

being the "most prolific pinball designer".  Wayne accepted the

plaque bringing on a round of applause.


     Richard Shapero from Louisville, Kentucky next got up and

thanked the instructors from his "learn to play pinball" session

held Thursday afternoon, naming each individually - each of them

being given a round of applause.  Rob Berk then announced the

winner of the "Pinball Art Contest", a young man named Rod winning

it for his piece titled "Fantasy Pinball".


     Rob then thanked his Expo staff and his wife's parents who

were also given a round of applause.  He then thanked his co-host

Mike Pacak who was also applauded.  It was then time for the annual

banquet raffle.


     The pinball machine to be given away this year was a 1980

Williams BLACKOUT - the first time a new game was not donated by

one of the manufacturers, I believe.  Rob then pulled out five

tickets in order, remarking that if the owner of the first ticket

did not claim the game then the second one could, etc.  There was

some confusion over who got the game and I was never sure who ended

up with it?

     At that point Dann Frank from Arizona came up to talk about

his forthcoming pinball show, The Wild West Pinball Fest, to be

held in Scottsdale, Arizona the first weekend in May, 1997.  After

announcing his show, Dann gave his own personal thanks to Steve

Kordek for his contributions to pinball over the years, eliciting

still another round of applause for Steve!


     After Rob Berk announced that the finals of the Flip-Out

tournament would be held Sunday morning in the Exhibit Hall, he

told us that Pinball Expo '97 had already been scheduled for

November 13 - 16, 1997.  He then asked Steve Kordek and Wayne

Neyens to come up front.


     When Steve and Wayne came up Rob said that not only were we

celebrating Steve's 60 years in the industry, but also Wayne and

his wife's 50th Wedding Anniversary!  He then said they had a cake

to celebrated both events.


     Finally, Rob reminded everybody that the Exhibit Hall would

again be open all night for those who wished to play pinball in the

"wee hours".  That ended the banquet and brought forth a final

round of applause!




     As I have always said in past Expo articles, the Exhibit Hall

is really "the heart of the show". It is the place where a good

part of the "visiting" is done between the pinball fans attending

the show - at least I know it is for me.  It is also the place, of

course, where all of the pinball playing is done, and that is why

many of the Expo attendees come to the show.  Finally, it's the

place where all the buying and selling of games and associated

parts and literature takes place - another reason many attend.


     This year, as in most of the past years, the Exhibit Hall

consisted of two rooms filled with pinball machines (both old and

new) and dealer's booths selling games,  parts, and literature.

The front area of the hall was also the location of the long line

of INDEPENDENCE DAY pins used during the "qualifying rounds" of the

Flip-Out pinball tournament.


     The first booth when you entered the hall was that of Expo

Exhibit Hall Chairman Mike Pacak, selling mostly pinball

advertising flyers, plus miscellaneous books, etc..  There is

always much activity at Mike's booth as many people collect these



     Two of the major game dealers at the show were Herb Silver's

Fabulous Fantasies from the Los Angeles area, and Jim and Judy

Tolbert's For Amusement Only outfit from the San Francisco area.

The Tolberts also sold parts and literature.


     Probably the largest dealer in pinball parts (including their

fine reproduction parts) and literature (other than flyers) was

Steve Young's Pinball Resource.  This was also the place where Dick

bueschel's newly released pinball book, Encyclopedia of Pinball -

Vol 1, was for sale - in fact that was the first thing I picked up

the moment the Exhibit Hall opened on Thursday evening!


     In addition to the larger dealers, which also included Steve

Engle's Pinball Supermarket which sells a lot of parts, there were

many smaller outfits and individuals selling games, as well as

parts and literature.  Expo "sponsor" Interplay also had a booth

where you could try out their excellent pinball simulator Pro

Pinball, and it was busy most of the time.


     Now for a rundown of the pingames available for sale and/or

playing this year in the Exhibit Hall.  There were 8 games from the

1930's, 7 from the 1940's, 21 from the 1950's, and 29 from the

1960's.  From the 1970's there were 44 electro-mechanical pins and

14 solid state.  There were 34 games from the 1980's, and 38 from

the current decade.


     The following is a chronological listing of most of the

pingames in the Exhibit Hall:



GAME                              MFG.            YEAR   PRICE


FIVE STAR FINAL                   Gottlieb        1932   

AIRWAY                            Bally           1933   

JIGSAW (WORLDS FAIR)              Rockola         1933   

SKY RIDE                          Genco           1933   

WORLD SERIES                      Rockola         1933   

KELLY POOL                        Gottlieb        1935

THREE IN LINE                     Bally           1935   

RED SAILS                         Pamco           1936   

CHUBBIE                           Stoner          1938    350

CAPTIAL KIDD                      Genco           1941   

HUMPTY DUMPTY                     Gottlieb        1947    800

BALLERINA                         Bally           1948    495

TROPICANA                         United          1948    450

YANKS                             Williams        1948    450

GOLDEN GLOVES                     Chicago Coin    1949   

BUBBLES                           Genco           194?   

NIFTY                             Williams        1950    400

BOMBER                            Chicago Coin    1951    950

GLAMOUR                           Gottlieb        1951   

CHINATOWN                         Gottlieb        1952    700

QUARTETTE                         Gottlieb        1952    650, 750

SLUG FEST  (BB)                   Williams        1952   

C.O.D.                            Williams        1953    NFS

QUINTETTE                         Gottlieb        1953   

LOVELY LUCY                       Gottlieb        1954    700

STAGE COACH                       Gottlieb        1954    450

JUBILEE                           Gottlieb        1955   

DELUXE FOUR BAGGER  (BB)          Williams        1956    995

DERBY DAY                         Gottlieb        1956    800

RAINBOW                           Gottlieb        1956   

CROSSWORD                         Williams        1959    450

DELUXE PINCH HITTER  (BB)         Williams        1959    895

HI DIVER                          Gottlieb        1959    950

LIGHTNING BALL                    Gottlieb        1959    650, 750

STRAIGHT SHOOTER                  Gottlieb        1959    750

TIC TAC TOE                       Williams        1959   

UNIVERSE                          Gottlieb        1959   

BIG STRIKE  (BOWLER)              United          195?   

CRISS CROSS HOCKEY                Chicago Coin    195?    695

MIDGET ALLEY  (BOWLER)            Williams        195?    3295

BALL PARK                         Bally           1960    350

KEWPIE DOLL                       Gottlieb        1960    500

OFFICIAL BASEBALL  (BB)           Williams        1960    1500

BIG CASINO                        Gottlieb        1961    200

BOBO                              Williams        1961    300

FLIPPER FAIR  (AAB)               Gottlieb        1961   

TEN SPOT                          Williams        1961    450

FLIPPER CLOWN  (AAB)              Gottlieb        1962    800

TROPIC ISLE                       Gottlieb        1962    900

MAJOR LEAGUE  (BB)                Williams        1963    850

SLICK CHICK                       Gottlieb        1963    950

NORTH STAR                        Gottlieb        1964    575, 650,


WING DING                         Williams        1964    300

WORLD FAIR                        Gottlieb        1964    625, 1250

COWPOKE  (AAB)                    Gottlieb        1965   

ICE REVIEW                        Gottlieb        1965    625

SKYLINE                           Gottlieb        1965    750, 900

CROSSTOWN                         Gottlieb        1966   

HURDY GURDY                       Gottlieb        1966    1095

APOLLO                            Williams        1967   

BLAST OFF                         Williams        1967    400

DIAMOND JACK  (AAB)               Gottlieb        1967    400

MAGIC TOWN  (AAB)                 Williams        1967    600

SURF SIDE                         Gottlieb        1967    650

AIRPORT                           Gottlieb        1969    395

MIBS                              Gottlieb        1969    1500

MINI POOL                         Gottlieb        1969    400

SPIN-A-CARD                       Gottlieb        1969    400

AQUARIUS                          Gottlieb        1970    400

BATTER UP                         Gottlieb        1970    400

CRESCENDO                         Gottlieb        1970    450

FOUR MILLION BC                   Bally           1970    695

STRAIGHT FLUSH                    Williams        1970    400

FIREBALL                          Bally           1971    595

FOUR SQUARE                       Gottlieb        1971    425

PLAYBALL                          Gottlieb        1971   

HONEY                             Williams        1972    395

KING KOOL                         Gottlieb        1972    595

MONTE CARLO                       Bally           1972    500

TIME ZONE                         Bally           1972    450

CIRCUS                            Bally           1973    450

HI-LO ACE                         Bally           1973    400

UPPER DECK  (BB)                  Williams        1973    695

BIG INDIAN                        Gottlieb        1974    495

BOW AND ARROW                     Bally           1974    395

DEALER'S CHOICE                   Williams        1974    495

MAGNOTRON                         Gottlieb        1974    595

SKY JUMP                          Gottlieb        1974    350

TWIN WIN                          Bally           1974    425

WIZARD                            Bally           1974    550

BLUE MAX                          Chicago Coin    1975    250

CAPT. FANTASTIC                   Bally           1975   

FREEDOM                           Bally           1975    395

KICK OFF                          Bally           1975    500

PAT HAND                          Williams        1975    395

PIN UP                            Gottlieb        1975    250

SATIN DOLL                        Williams        1975    395, 400

STAR POOL                         Williams        1975    175

TOP SCORE                         Gottlieb        1975    495

TOP TEN                           Chicago Coin    1975   

AZTEC                             Williams        1976    595

BLACK JACK                        Bally           1976    495

BLUE CHIP                         Williams        1976    400

FREEDOM  (EM)                     Bally           1976    200

HANG GLIDER                       Bally           1976    425

PLAYBOY                           Bally           1976    575, 800

ROYAL FLUSH                       Gottlieb        1976    695

SURE SHOT                         Gottlieb        1976    495

SURF CHAMP                        Gottlieb        1976   

BIG DEAL                          Williams        1977   

CARNIVAL                          Playmatic       1977   

LIBERTY BELL                      Williams        1977   

STRIKES AND SPARES                Bally           1977    250

DOLLY PARTON                      Bally           1978    500

HIT THE DECK                      Gottlieb        1978   

KISS                              Bally           1978    900

NUGENT                            Stern           1978   

PARAGON                           Bally           1978    995

STAR TREK                         Bally           1978    595, 650

BUCK ROGERS                       Gottlieb        1979    550

CHARLIE'S ANGELS                  Gottlieb        1979    375

GORGAR                            Williams        1979    795

HERCULES                          Atari           1979   

SPACE INVADERS                    Bally           1979    450

TRIDENT                           Stern           1979    125

XENON                             Bally           1979    795

ALIEN POKER                       Williams        1980   

BLACK KNIGHT                      Williams        1980    850

BLACK OUT                         Williams        1980    500

FATHOM                            Bally           1980   

FIREPOWER                         Williams        1980    500, 595

FLASH GORDON                      Bally           1980    575

FLIGHT 2000                       Stern           1980    750

PANTHERA                          Gottlieb        1980    500

SEA WITCH                         Stern           1980   

BLACK HOLE                        Bally           1981    295

CAVEMAN                           Gottlieb        1981    295

JUNGLE LORD                       Williams        1981    450

SPECTRUM                          Bally           1981   

VECTOR                            Bally           1981    750

BABY PACMAN                       Bally           1982    795

EIGHT BALL DELUXE (LTD EDITION)   Bally           1982    695

FIREBALL CLASSIC                  Bally           1982    799

MR. AND MRS. PACMAN               Bally           1982    795

ORBITOR 1  (CUSTOM)               Stern           1982   

RAPID FIRE                        Bally           1982    695

SPEAKEASY                         Bally           1982    550

GRAND SLAM                        Bally           1983    625

GRANY & THE GATORS                Bally           1983   

EIGHT BALL CHAMP                  Bally           1985   

GAMATRON                          Pinstar         1985    525

HIGH SPEED                        Williams        1986    800

PINBOT                            Williams        1986    600, 700

BIG GUNS                          Williams        1987    850

SPRING BREAK                      Gottlieb        1987   

SPACE STATION                     Williams        1988   

TAXI  (LOLA)                      Williams        1988    995

BIG HOUSE                         Gottlieb        1989    600

EARTHSHAKER                       Williams        1989   

JOKERZ!                           Williams        1989    600

BUGS BUNNY'S BIRTHDAY BALL        Bally           1990   

FUNHOUSE                          Williams        1990    1000

NIGHT MOVES                       Int'l Concepts  1990   

RADICAL                           Bally           1990    775

RIVERBOAT GAMBLER                 Williams        1990    1200

ROLLER GAMES                      Williams        1990    900

BATMAN                            Data East       1991   

HOOK                              Data East       1991   

TERMINATOR 2                      Williams        1991    1300

FISH TAILS                        Williams        1992    1350

LETHAL WEAPON 3                   Data East       1992    1250

STAR WARS                         Data East       1992   

SUPER MARIO BROS.                 Gottlieb        1992    1500

WORLD TOUR                        Alvin G.        1992   

DINOSAUR EGGS  (REDEMPTION)       Alvin G.        1993    495

FREDDY'S NIGHTMARE                Gottlieb        1993   

LAST ACTION HERO                  Data East       1993   

POPEYE                            Bally           1993   

STAR TREK - THE NEXT GENERATION   Bally           1993    1995

TWILIGHT ZONE                     Bally           1993    1300

TWILIGHT ZONE  (PROTOTYPE)        Bally           1993    1600

DEMOLITION MAN                    Williams        1994   

DIRTY HARRY                       Williams        1994    1500

ROYAL RUMBLE                      Data East       1994   

BIG HURT                          Gottlieb        1995    1800

WATER WORLD                       Gottlieb        1995    1995

ATTACK FROM MARS                  Bally           1996   

BIG BANK                          Capcom          1996   

BREAK SHOT                        Capcom          1996   

CONGO                             Williams        1996    2100

FLIPPER FOOTBALL                  Capcom          1996   

INDEPENDENCE DAY                  Williams        1996    TOURNY

JOHNNY MNEMONIC                   Williams        1996    1500

SAFE CRACKER                      Bally           1996   

SCARED STIFF                      Williams        1996   

SPACE JAM                         Sega            1996   

TALES OF THE ARAIBIAN NIGHTS      Williams        1996   

TWISTER                           Sega            1996   



     This concludes my description of the Exhibit Hall.


     Well, like I said earlier, Pinball Expo '97 has already been

scheduled for November 13 through 16, 1997.  I hope I will be able

to attend for the fourteenth year, but I don't know now what my

"financial situation" will be at that time (especially considering

the constantly escalating cost of attending the show), but only

time will tell?  Anyway, I had a great time attending Pinball Expo

up 'till now, and if I am able to again attend in 1997 I will again

report on the show.