- Best Showing Yet -



                         By Russ Jensen


                      Photos by Don Mueting



     The 10th Anniversary edition of the Loose Change Fun Fair

was again held at the Pasadena Exhibit Center in Pasadena, CA,

where all but the first show (in 1979) were held.  This year it

was on September 30 and October 1, which just happened to

coincide with Pinball Expo '89.  For that reason, this was the

first year I was unable to attend the Fun Fair.  My friend Don

Mueting, however, agreed to take pictures of the pingames at this

year's show so that I could tell you readers about the pins which

were present.


     The 1989 Fun Fair was the largest show ever, being housed in

three large rooms I am told.  There was also a record number of

pins there; over 50!  As in past years, pingames from the decades

of the 1930's and 1970's predominated (between 15 and 20  from

each of those periods).  The 1940's made a slightly better than

average showing with 6 games, which was sort of "balanced" by the

1960's, also with 6.  The important period of the 1950's (very

rare at most past Fun Fairs) was represented by only two machines

(plus 2 others which were not true pinballs), but they were both

in from Excellent to "Near Mint" condition.


     This year, like last year, boasted a wide variety of

pingames, something to suit the taste of almost any pinball

collector.  Don Mueting provided me with so many great photos of

the games there that I have decided to show as many pictures as

possible this time, with a minimum of text.  After all, isn't "a

picture worth 1000 words"?


     I have chosen a wide variety of games to show, which again

will be presented in chronological order, with a short

description of each game's salient features or historical

highlights.  Following this I will provide as complete a list as

I can of all the pingames at the show, again in chronological

order.  So, ON WITH THE GAMES!


     HIGH BALL - One of the several 1932 pins at the show was HI-

BALL, put out by Peo Mfg. Corp.  That game appears to me to be a

"direct rip-off" of BINGO from Bingo Novelty Co, but in those

days many such things happened.  If you would like to make a

comparison, a good picture of the latter game appears in my

article in the previous issue of COIN SLOT.


     WAMPUM BANK - Another 1932 vintage pin was WAMPUM BANK from

Sunnisam Games Co.  This typical "pin and ball game" had a very

colorful playfield with an "Indian blanket" pattern.  The

interesting feature of this game, however, was that it had a

moveable "ball rebound" (at the upper left of the top arch) the

angle of which could be controlled by the player using a lever at

the front of the cabinet.  This allowed him to alter the angle at

which the ball entered the playing area.  As far as I know, this

is probably the only such device ever used in the history of



     WOW - Also from the 1932 era was WOW from Mills Novelty Co.,

the well known slot machine maker.  This was one of the first

pins by Mills; a simple "pin and ball" game with an eye-catching

pattern of black diamonds on a yellow playfield.  Mills was to

continue pin making for several years to come, producing some

pingames a few years later actually containing slot machine



     UNKNOWN GAME - A very interesting pingame showed up at this

year's show with a very colorful playfield.  This game appeared

to be identical in playfield configuration to the pioneer pingame

WHIFFLE, produced in Youngstown Ohio in 1931 and 32. (For more on

the story of that interesting game, see my article next time on

Pinball Expo '89 and the talk by the son of one of the original

designers of WHIFFLE).  The game at the Fun Fair had it's

playfield painted in 5 colors (red, blue, white, yellow and

green) and apparently had no maker's name on it.  As far as I

know none of the true WHIFFLEs had colored playfields, so this

was probably one of the many "rip-offs" of that classic pingame.


     LOOP BALL - Another quite unique 1932 era pin (maybe more of

a "trade stimulator" because it had no pins) was a counter-top

game bearing the name LOOP BALL.  This game employed a form of

"turret shooter" (an idea picked up many years later by both

Gottlieb and Williams).  It used standard marbles which the

player tried to shoot into scoring "lanes" at the upper end of

the field. The player got 12 shots for a nickle, and a sign

painted on the glass indicated "orange balls count double".


     PLAY ROULETTE - Another unusual and colorful early pingame

at the show was a square machine, with a multi-colored circular

pin studded playfield, called PLAY ROULETTE.  The manufacturer's

name was National Games.  An interesting feature of this game was

that the ball, when shot, made a complete circle in a trough

around the playfield before entering the scoring area.


     5-GAME - The last of the "pin and ball games" I have shown

was a small game which appeared to be a toy "bagatelle" and not

coin operated nor covered by a playfield glass.  The name at the

top of the playfield read "5 GAME - ELECTRIC".  The name appeared

to imply that any of 5 different games could be played on it, the

playfield graphics illustrating such sports as baseball, bowling,

and golf.  The use of the term "electric" appeared to be because

there were 5 "light-up" scoring pockets with lights which were

probably battery powered.   Although this was not a coin-op

pingame, I thought it was interesting to show.  Even though it

looks "1930-ish", toy games like this were made for many years

and therefore it could have been made in the 1930's, 1940's, or

even as late as the 1950's.


     FIFTY GRAND - A rare and unusual pingame appeared for a

short time at this year's show, but was quickly acquired by my

good friend Richard Conger (in fact, I believe he purchased it

during the "preview evening" before the show opened) to add to

his impressive pinball collection.  The manufacturer's name on

the game was Automatic Games of Inglewood, CA (the town where I

went to High School, incidentally).  The game had a natural wood

cabinet with quite ornate legs.  This game's unusual light-up

backboard used lighted "jewels" to indicate score of the type

that were used in those days for "pilot lights" on electronic

equipment.  Balls landing in playfield holes simply lighted

corresponding lamps in the backboard.  By it's overall appearance

I would estimate it's year of manufacturer to be 1935.  An

unusual game indeed!


     TRACK MEET - A distinctive game from the 1937 era was

Exhibit Supply's TRACK MEET.  It had a short backboard, typical

of the 1936 - 1938 period, with "light-up" scoring (there were

apparently 2 separate scoring systems - "Distance" and "Time").

The advertisement for this game, appearing in BILLBOARD Magazine,

boasted "10 New - Different Money Making Features".  Among these

were its metallic playfield (which they emphasized had "double

reflecting action") and "light-up" bumper springs.  Games from

the 1937 - 1941 era have been fairly rare at past Fun Fairs, and

this was an outstanding example of the early end of that period.


     ROCKET and BALLYHOO - Passing from the pre-war to the post-

war era, we next had two fine examples of Bally "amusement" pins

from 1947.  The first of these, ROCKET, came out around April of

that year.  It had an interesting depiction of a rocket ship on

it's backglass.  The playfield contained one of the diamond-

shaped bumpers very popular at the time, as well as five "kickout



     BALLYHOO, which was released a couple months later, had two

diamond bumpers and 7 kickout holes arranged in such a manner

that the balls could be kicked from one to the other, etc.  Many

of you should know that this game was named after the first Bally

pingame which came out in late 1931.  Probably a much smaller

number of people are aware that this famous name was used once

more by Bally for a four-player pingame in 1969.


     NIFTY - The pingames of the 1950's (referred by many as

"Pinball's Golden Age") have been quite rare at past Fun Fairs.

This year, however, there were two games of that decade, both in

almost "mint" condition.  The first was Williams' NIFTY from

1950, boasting a colorful backglass, by pinball art great George

Molentin, depicting an ice-skating scene.  The playfield

contained two of the new "thumper bumpers", which I believe were

introduced by Williams on SARATOGA late in 1948.

     WONDERLAND - The other 1950's pin at this year's show was

also by Williams.  It was WONDERLAND, coming out in the Spring of

1955.  It's beautiful George Molentin backglass depicted Lewis

Carroll's famous Alice in Wonderland.  Its playfield, also

beautifully decorated by George's artwork, boasted three "thumper

bumpers:, one "kickout hole" and a hole labeled "Skill Hole" in

the center of the playfield.  A ball falling into that hole would

score 500,000 points, but would be lost from further play.  This

type of hole was frequently used on pins of the mid to late

1950's, and is often referred to by players as a "gobble hole".

The WONDERLAND at the show appeared to be in almost "mint"



     BEAUTY CONTEST - Passing into the 1960's, we next see an

interesting Bally game called BEAUTY CONTEST from early 1960.  At

this point in time Bally had not yet re-entered flipper game

production which they quit for all practical purposes in the

early Fifties, except for 3 flipper games which they came out

with in 1956 and 1957.  During the period between 1951 and 1963

Bally concentrated on their "bingo" pinballs and other types of

coin-operated machines.  BEAUTY CONTEST was the first of a series

of four flipperless pingames which Bally released in 1960 which

resembled flipper games, except for the absence of flippers.

These games are what I refer to as the "Queen's Games" as all but

this one had the word "Queens" in their name (BEAUTY QUEENS,

BEACH QUEENS, and ISLAND QUEENS).  These games employed point

scoring as well as a number sequence (1 - 11 on BEAUTY CONTEST)

each number always being represented by a beautiful girl on the



     TEXAN - Gottlieb's 4-player TEXAN, also from 1960, was a

good example of the multi-player pingames which originated in the

mid 1950's with Gottlieb's SUPER JUMBO in late 1954.  As you can

see, the four player games had little room for artwork on their

backglasses due to the space required for the new digital "score

reels" which indicated the player's score, instead of the lighted

numbered panels (which were integrated into the artwork) which

were still being used for score indication on most single player

games at that time.  On TEXAN's playfield you will notice two of

the "gobble holes" which I mentioned earlier, in addition to 2

"kickout holes", 3 "thumper bumpers", 5 standard bumpers, and a

"roto-target" in the center.


     KING OF DIAMONDS - Jumping ahead to 1967 we had two nice

examples of the pingames from that year.  KING OF DIAMONDS,

coming out early in the year, was one of the many Gottlieb

pingames over the years using a playing card theme; in fact some

have called that company "the king of the card games".  The game

employed a "card sequence" (2 thru 10, J, Q, K, A) the cards

spotted being indicated by a "drop flag" unit behind the

backglass, which incidentally also boasted an interesting "old

West" scene, probably done by famed pingames artist Roy Parker.

These cards could be spotted by the player via various targets

and rollovers on the playfield, as well as by the "roto-target".


     APOLLO - The other 1967 pin was Williams' APOLLO which came

out around the middle of the year, and obviously commemorated the

famed space project of the same name.  This space theme was

depicted by the game's artwork as well as the play

characteristics.  The series of "count-down" rollover buttons on

the playfield, when lit one-by-one in sequence until the top one

was lit, triggered the "rocket launcher" unit behind the

backglass.  This launched a small steel ball which fell through

the small "pachinko game" unit and eventually scored either 50 or

300 points, or one replay if the ball landed in the "special"



     ODDS & EVENS - Of the 15 or so games made during the 1970's

which were at the Fun Fair, I have chosen four interesting and

varied examples to show.  The earliest of these was Bally's ODDS

& EVENS which was released in the Summer of 1971.  This single

player game, and it's two-player version, MONTE CARLO, released

over a year later, both depicted the popular gambling game of

roulette.  This theme is very nicely depicted by the artwork on

both the backglass and playfield.       


     OLYMPIC HOCKEY - An example of a Williams game from the

early 1970's was OLYMPIC HOCKEY from 1972.  Ever since the

beginnings of pingames in the early 1930's, sports themes have

been very popular, especially baseball, football, and

horseracing.  The game of hockey was only used as a theme on a

few games over the years including this one.  I showed this game

here for that reason, and because of the interesting hockey game

"animation unit" in it's backboard.  This is connected with the

"advance buttons" on the playfield which advance it.


     TIME ZONE - Another nice example of 1970's era Ballygames

was TIME ZONE from 1972.  The artwork's space theme was

complimented by the three-dimensional "time tunnel" unit near the

bottom of the playfield.


     CINEMA - The old Chicago Coin Machine Co., later renamed

Chicago Dynamic Industries, was in the coin machine business

since the early 1930's, but never at the "top of the heap".

During the 1960's and 1970's that outfit was always "number 4" in

the pinball business, behind Bally, Gottlieb, and Williams.  For

this reason Chicago Coin pinballs are somewhat more difficult to

find today than those by the major manufacturers.  Their 1976

game, CINEMA, shown at this year's show, was somewhat typical of

that companies pingame output.  I thought the backglass was

interesting because of it's depictions of old movie personalities

and themes.


NOTE: About a year after producing this game Chicago Dynamic

Industries was taken over by veteran pinball executive Sam Stern

and renamed Stern Electronics to produce the new solid-state

games which began to replace the old electro-mechanical games at

that time.


     SEXY GIRL - Although my personal interest in pingames and

their history essentially ends with the end of the "electro-

mechanical era" around 1977, I usually show at least one

interesting solid-state pin in my Fun Fair coverage.  This time I

have chosen SEXY GIRL made in 1980.  I thought this game was

interesting because it was made in Switzerland.


     Well, that ends my discussion of some of the more

interesting of the 40 plus pingames appearing at the 1989 Loose

Change Fun Fair.  Following is as complete a list as I can give

of all the pingames shown, their manufacturers, and year of




GAME                              MANUFACTURER             YEAR

________________________________  ______________________   ____

BINGO                             Bingo Novelty Co.        1931

? (Like WHIFFLE)                  ?                        1932?

?? (Like Bally PRESIDENT)         Automatic Games          1932?

'5-GAMES (ELECTRIC)               ?                        1932?

ACE HIGH                          Pierce Tool & Mfg.       1932

BAFFLE BALL (BABY)                Gottlieb                 1932

HI-BALL                           Peo Mfg.                 1932

LOOP BALL                         ?                        1932?

MONTE CARLO                       Genco                    1932

PLAY ROULETTE                     National Games           1932?

WAMPUM BANK                       Sunnisam Games           1932

WOW                               Mills                    1932

JIGGERS                           Genco                    1933

SKIPPER                           Bally                    1933

WORLD SERIES                      Rockola                  1933

T-N-T                             Rockola                  1935

FIFTY GRAND                       Automatic Games          193?

                                  Inglewood, CA

TRACK MEET                        Exhibit                  1937

SPINNING REELS                    Mills                    1940

BOSCO                             Genco                    1941

BALLYHOO                          Bally                    1947

RANGER                            Exhibit                  1947

ROCKET                            Bally                    1947

STOP AND GO                       Genco                    1949

NIFTY                             Williams                 1950

WONDERLAND                        Williams                 1955

SKILL PARADE                      Bally                    1958

SKILL CARDS                       ?                        195?

BEAUTY CONTEST                    Bally                    1960

TEXAN                             Gottlieb                 1960

2-IN-1                            Bally                    1964

BANK-A-BALL                       Gottlieb                 1965

APOLLO                            Williams                 1967

KING OF DIAMONDS                  Gottlieb                 1967

ODDS AND EVENS                    Bally                    1971

FIREBALL                          Bally                    1972

FIREBALL (GERMAN)                 Bally                    1972

HONEY                             Williams                 1972

NIP-IT                            Bally                    1972

OLYMPIC HOCKEY                    Williams                 1972

TIME ZONE                         Bally                    1972

TRAVEL TIME                       Williams                 1972

TWIN JOKER                        Bally                    1972

JACK IN THE BOX                   Gottlieb                 1973

RIVERIA                           Chicago Coin             1973

SPANISH EYES                      Williams                 1973

WIZARD                            Bally                    1974

CINEMA                            Chicago Coin             1976

SPACE MISSION                     Williams                 1976

EIGHT BALL                        Bally                    1977

VULCAN                            Gottlieb                 1977

FLASH                             Williams                 1979

STAR TREK                         Bally                    1979

SEXY GIRL                         Ranco (Switzerland)      1980

SPACE INVADERS                    Bally                    1980



     That's it for this year!  I was sure sorry I was not able to

attend this show, especially since I have attended ALL of the

past 10 Fun Fairs, but when it came to a choice between the Fun

Fair and the ALL PINBALL Pinball Expo '89, the latter won out.


     Next year, however, I will have no such problem as Pinball

Expo '90 has already been scheduled for November, one month later

than the usual Fun Fair weekend.  Also, I have been given to

understand that there will be two Fun Fairs a year starting in

1990, the next one being held in the Spring.