THREE SHOWS 1991
By Russ Jensen
Ever since 1981 (with one exception - 1983, I believe) I have been reporting on the Annual "Loose Change Fun Fair" around this time. Since the show's inception in 1979, it has been an annual event each Fall; up until 1990 when they added an additional Spring show. I was unable to attend the Spring 1990 show, but this year I did attend the Spring as well as the Fall Fun Fair.
Also this year, two other changes have occurred in the Fun Fair. First of all, Dan Meade (publisher of LOOSE CHANGE magazine, and founder of the Fun Fair) sold out his interest in the show to his partner in the show's production for many years Canning Enterprises of Maywood CA, a long-time promoter of antique shows and "swap meets" in Southern California. This also resulted in "Loose Change" being dropped from the show's name.
Secondly, the location of the show was moved from the Pasadena Exhibit Center, where all but the first show in 1979 had been held. Many people, including myself, were not pleased with this since we had come to like the location which had convenient parking, familiar surroundings, and a close-by hotel where out- of-town visitors to the show could stay. You were also within easy walking distance to at least one restaurant. The Spring 1991 show was held in Anaheim Stadium, and the Fall show at the Long Beach Arena.
This year, as I said, was my first visit to the Spring version of the Fun Fair and I found the "turnout" of old pingames to be rather disappointing. Shortly after that I had the pleasure of attending for the first time, the Pinball Show in Phoenix Arizona; and finally in late September, I again visited the Fall edition of the Fun Fair. I am going to describe all three shows here, including lists of the pingames which appeared at each show.
THE SPRING 1991 FUN FAIR
As I said previously, the turnout of older pingames at this show was quite disappointing to me. There were no games from the 1930's (compared to 7 in Fall 1990); only 1 game each from the 40's, 50's, and 60's (compared to 2, 6, and 5 respectively in Fall 1990). The showing for 1970's electro-mechanicals was quite a bit better with 7 (there were the same number in Fall 1990). There were also 11 solid-state pins from the 70's and 80's combined. In addition, there was one "toy bagatelle", the date of which I was unable to ascertain.
This lack of pins was partly attributed to the lack of dealers offering pingames for sale at the Spring show. Herb Silvers, as usual, had a good showing of pins, although dominated by solid-states, and his booth was again a "center of 'pin activity'" at the show. Arizona dealer Don Westphal also had a nice display of pinball and baseball games. The other dealer to have more than one pingame for sale had his games disassembled, setting on end, and I never saw any one manning the booth.
The 1940's game at the show was Gottlieb's 1948 game BUCCANEER which came out around October of that year, just after Gottlieb's well-known series of "fairy tale" games (which started with the first flipper game, HUMPTY DUMPTY). The six flippers of these games had given way to four on BUCCANEER. The game had a three kickout hole arrangement in the center of the playfield, and a 1 to 6 numbered bumper series.
The sole 1950's game at the show was Williams' mid-1955 game SMOKE SIGNAL. The artwork on this game of course had an "Indian motif". The backglass was in very good condition, but the playfield, sad to say, was extremely poor. This game appeared to have a "spell name" feature and the "gobble hole" which was popular with pin manufacturers around this time. It is also interesting to note the 3 posts between the flippers which would seem to give the player a much better chance of not "draining" the ball. I wonder if these were original on the game, or added by someone who later had the game in his home?
The following is a chronological list of the pingames I saw at the show:
PINGAMES AT THE SPRING 1991 FUN FAIR GAME MANUFACTURER YEAR -------------------- -------------- ----- BUCCANEER Gottlieb 1948 KING OF SWAT (BASEBALL) Williams 1955 SMOKE SIGNAL Williams 1955 BASE HIT (BASEBALL) Williams 1967? PLAYTIME Chicago Coin 1968 CASINO Chicago Coin 1972 WINNER Williams 1972 TRAVEL TIME Williams 1973 TOP SCORE Gottlieb 1975 BLUE CHIP Williams 1976 EIGHT BALL (SS) Bally 1977 FREEDOM Bally 1977 HOT TIP Williams 1978 DOLLY PARTON (SS) Bally 1979 GORGAR (SS) Williams 1979 STELLAR WARS (SS) Williams 1979 XENON (SS) Bally 1980 CENTAUR (SS) Bally 1981 FLASH GORDON (SS) Bally 1981 JUNGLE LORD (SS) Williams 1981 SPEAKEASY (2-PL SS) Bally 1982 SPACE SHUTTLE (SS) Williams 1984 RAVEN (SS) Gottlieb 1986 5-IN-1 ELECTRIC ? ?
After that disappointing showing of old games at the Spring Fun Fair, I decided that if the situation did not greatly improve by the Fall show I might discontinue my coverage of the show, especially if they kept moving around.
THE ARIZONA "PINBALL SHOW"
In June 1990 a group of Arizona collectors decided to put on an all pinball show in the Phoenix area. The advertisements for the show sounded very tempting, but the thought of the 100 degree plus temperatures (I HATE HEAT!!), especially if I drove in my non-air conditioned car, finally caused me to decide to stay home.
This year, however, I was made "an offer I could not refuse". A couple of weeks before the Arizona show my good friend Sam Harvey called and told me a young couple he knew were driving their van to the show and offered to take Sam (and me if I wanted to come) along with them. Well, the thought of being driven there (after I drove the 60 or 70 miles to Sam's house) in an air conditioned van sounded OK to me, so I said "yes".
On the day of the start of the show, Friday June 14, we left Sam's house with those young pinball fans, Pat Feinauer and his girlfriend Angie, just before noon. Sam's mother, who lives a few houses down from Sam, graciously packed some delicious tuna salad sandwiches for all of us, and with the sodas that Pat and Angie brought along we did not have to stop for lunch. The ride was quite nice with all that pleasant company and good food, and before we knew it we had arrived in the Phoenix area.
After a little problem finding our way to the hotel (the map provided with the show brochure left a lot to be desired) we arrived at the hotel which was located in the Phoenix suburb of Scottsdale. The hotel was a very nice resort type hotel; after all, Scottsdale is a well-known winter resort area. After checking into our rooms we went directly to the Exhibit Hall to join the festivities, which had started several hours earlier.
Before I start describing the show, let me first remark that this show, unlike the annual Pinball Expo in Chicago, had no seminars (well, actually there was one on Saturday which dealt only with solid-state game systems). For this reason I could "relax" more, not having to take copious notes, and have more time to enjoy the games, and to visit with the great "pin people" who were there.
Speaking of good people, during the show I got to meet, among many others of course, two people whom I had wanted to meet after reading articles and letters by them in Pinball Trader and Pingame Journal. These two were fellow Southern Californian Bill Cowles and Oklahoma collector Bart Bush who incidentally had a very nice display of pingames which he had brought with him all the way from Oklahoma.
Of course, I also got reacquainted with many old pinball friends, including one I had not seen for many years, Jim Tolbert. Jim, back in 1978, had published a small magazine called "Amusement Review" in which I started my "writing career". It was nice seeing Jim after all those years.
The Exhibit area consisted of two large rooms, with the second being sort of an "overflow area" and also where the new GILLIGAN'S ISLAND machines, which were used in the pinball tournament, were located.
The pingames on display in the exhibit area could generally be grouped into three categories: games which were "on display" for viewing and playing (but knot for sale); games for sale which were also set up to be played; and finally, "as-is" machines at a lower price which were not set up.
The machines ran the gamut from a few early games from the 1930's, through some 50's and 60's classics, to 70's electro- mechanicals and the later (right up to 1991) solid-state machines. If one wanted to play a game from almost any era it was possible at this show (although games from the 30's and 40's were very limited).
Before I describe a few of the "classic" pingames to put in an appearance at the show, I want to digress for a moment on something of a personal nature. My sister Suzanne, it turns out, now lives in Tucson, Arizona not too far away from Scottsdale. Well, at my invitation, she and her husband Tom drove up and met me at the Exhibit Hall Saturday morning. After my showing them around the hall we had a nice lunch in the hotel coffee shop. My sister still remembers the old pingames I had when we were growing up. It was nice to be able to visit with them as I don't get to see them too often.
Well, back to the games! Probably the earliest game there was a small, brightly colored "pin-and-ball" game, FLASH. It was probably produced in 1932, but I am unsure of it's maker. A similar Bally game of 1932, GOOFY, was also shown.
A game from the 30's, whose operation was very interesting to me, was Exhibit's 1937 payout pingame, BAZAAR. When the player inserted a coin, a group of "score values" would randomly light up on the short backboard. When the one ball was shot, the bumpers it hit increased a score projected on the backboard. If his final score matched any of the score values which were lit at the start of the game, the player would receive a coin payout of 2 or more nickels, depending on the "odds" which also were lit at the start of the game. A very novel game indeed!
Skipping to the 1940's, there were two nice games from 1949. Gottlieb's BUTTONS AND BOWS certainly must have been named after the popular song of the same name from the Bob Hope movie "Paleface", one of my favorite movies and songs when I was a kid. The backglass art featured an old western town with a fancy woman walking down the street in her "buttons and bows". The playfield had two "reverse action" flippers near the bottom, just above the game's only eject hole. A rollover button in the center of the playfield was used to advance the game's "bonus feature".
The other 1949 game was Chicago Coin's PIN BOWLER. This appears to be a very nice bowling theme pin, having a "bowling score system" as well as standard scoring. It too had the "reverse action" flippers at the bottom of the field. This was one of the best looking Chicago Coin games I have seen as far as the artwork was concerned. Chicago Coin woodrail flipper games are fairly rare compared to other company's games.
A true "classic" pingame of the 1950's at the show was Gottlieb's QUEEN OF HEARTS from 1952. The backglass artwork was so striking that pinball aficionado Steve Young chose it to make a poster from a few years ago. This was certainly a prime example of the great playing card theme games for which Gottlieb was so famous. It also featured five of the "gobble holes" which were used quite extensively during the mid Fifties, and the flippers were facing in the right direction too!
Another fairly rare "gobble hole Gottlieb" at the show was their 1954 game LOVELY LUCY. It has been rumored that the then popular "I Love Lucy" TV show was the inspiration for this game, but the face on the backglass sure doesn't look like Lucille Ball! This game had a "number sequence" employing 5 "dead bumpers" and a "nest" of 3 pop-bumpers near the top of the playfield, in addition to it's 5 "gobble holes".
Another rare 50's flipper game to be seen was Gottlieb's (SWEET) ADD-A-LINE dating from 1955. This game only had two of the dreaded "gobble holes", but boasted four pop-bumpers. It's "number sequence" feature was apparently connected with the eight lines of four numbers depicted on the backglass, but exactly how this worked I don't really know. It's obviously Roy Parker backglass had that artist's usual "comical touches".
Probably the most unusual and rare flipper game of the 1950's to appear at the show was Bally's 1956 game BALLS-A- POPPIN'. This beautifully restored machine was the pride and joy or Arizona collector Jay Stafford. For quite some time is was rumored that this was the only flipper game Bally put out in the mid 1950's while they were concentrating on their "in-line" ("bingo") pingames.
I myself discovered, while looking at back issues of BILLBOARD magazine several years ago, that Bally produced two other flippers during that era: CIRCUS, which was almost identical to BALLS-A-POPPIN'; and CARNIVAL, which used "score reels" for scoring instead of "lighted panels" as were used on the other two.
BALLS-A-POPPIN' got it's name from the fact that at one point in the game it was possible to have many balls in play at once (I believe the maximum was 7 or 8), this being the first true "multi-ball" pingame. Sam Harvey's friend Pat (who had driven us to Arizona) was so intrigued with playing this game that he insisted on Sam getting his own CIRCUS working as soon as possible after returning home.
There were many "classic" 60's pins at the show such as Gottlieb's SLICK CHICK, BOWLING QUEEN, BUCKAROO, and BANK-A-BALL, just to name a few. But the game I have chosen to describe is the first pingame I bought in the early Seventies after my interest in pinball was revived at that time.
The game is Williams' 1966 pin EIGHT BALL. This game was an excellent "pool theme" game with a 15 pool ball sequence feature. A novel semi-circular "run-around" in the center of the playfield provided a little added action. The artwork on both the playfield and backglass well depicted the pool game motif.
There were also, of course, many electro-mechanical pins from the 70's (more than any other era in fact) at the show, and many solid-state games as well. But, I won't attempt to describe any of these "later games". The following is a chronological listing of all the games that were there:
PINGAMES AT THE 1991 ARIZONA PINBALL SHOW (AIS) - "AS-IS" CONDITION NFS - NOT FOR SALE NAME MFG YEAR PRICE _________________________ ___________ _____ _____ FLASH ? 32 GOOFY Bally 32 BAZAAR Exhibit 37 600 FORMATION Genco 40 600 BALLY HOO Bally 47 TREASURE CHEST Exhibit 47 125 BUTTONS AND BOWS Gottlieb 49 NFS PIN BOWLER Chicago Coin 49 400 FIGHTING IRISH Chicago Coin 50 650 HAYBURNERS Williams 51 600 DOMINO Williams 52 NFS JUMPING JACK (UPRIGHT) Genco 52 95 QUEEN OF HEARTS Gottlieb 52 NFS LOVELY LUCY Gottlieb 54 NFS SOUTHERN BELLE Gottlieb 55 SWEET ADD-A-LINE Gottlieb 55 NFS BALLS-A-POPPIN' Bally 56 NFS DELUXE OFFICIAL BASEBALL (AIS) Williams 57 150 FALSTAFF Gottlieb 57 NFS MAJESTIC Gottlieb 57 500 CYPRESS GARDENS (BINGO) Bally 58 SHORT STOP (BASEBALL) Williams 58 MISS ANNABELLE Gottlieb 59 UNIVERSE Gottlieb 59 SLUG FEST (SS BASEBALL) Williams 5? MERRY-GO-ROUND Gottlieb 60 BOBO Williams 61 500 FLIPPER FAIR Gottlieb 61 NFS FASHION SHOW Gottlieb 62 NFS LIBERTY BELLE Gottlieb 62 SLICK CHICK (AIS) Gottlieb 63 400 SWING ALONG Gottlieb 63 NFS BOWLING QUEEN Gottlieb 64 HAPPY CLOWN Gottlieb 64 ALPINE CLUB Williams 65 BANK-A-BALL Gottlieb 65 BUCKAROO Gottlieb 65 COWPOKE Gottlieb 65 800 EIGHT BALL Williams 65 FLIPPER POOL Gottlieb 65 NFS LUCKY STRIKE Williams 65 350 A-GO-GO Williams 66 200 MASQUERADE Gottlieb 66 600 APOLLO Williams 67 KING OF DIAMONDS Gottlieb 67 NFS MAGIC CITY Williams 67 SING ALONG Gottlieb 67 500 HEARTS AND SPADES Gottlieb 69 550 BASEBALL Gottlieb 70 600 CARD TRIX Gottlieb 70 FLIP-A-CARD Gottlieb 70 FLIP-A-CARD Gottlieb 70 250 SEE SAW Bally 70 500 STRAIGHT FLUSH Williams 70 200 SUSPENSE Williams 70 225 TRAIL DRIVE Bally 70 250 ASTRO Gottlieb 71 450 BIG FLIPPER Chicago Coin 71 250 EXPRESSWAY Bally 71 EXTRA INNING (AIS) Gottlieb 71 100 FOUR MILLION B.C. Bally 71 FOUR SQUARE Gottlieb 71 375 LOVE BUG Williams 71 250 CASINO Chicago Coin 72 FAN-TAS-TIC Williams 72 350 FIREBALL Bally 72 1200 FLYING CARPET Gottlieb 72 200 GRANADA Williams 72 75 GRAND SLAM Gottlieb 72 175 LINE DRIVE (BASEBALL) Williams 72 995 SPANISH EYES Williams 72 250 SPANISH EYES Williams 72 300 DARLING Williams 73 350 HIGH HAND Gottlieb 73 200 JUBILEE (AIS) Williams 73 100 MONTE CARLO Bally 73 NFS NIP-IT Bally 73 NFS ODDS AND EVENS Bally 73 NFS TRAVEL TIME Williams 73 BIG BRAVE Gottlieb 74 275 BOW AND ARROW Bally 74 300 BOW AND ARROW Bally 74 350 ABRA-CA-DABRA Gottlieb 75 75 ATLANTIS Gottlieb 75 200 ATLANTIS Gottlieb 75 400 EL DORADO Gottlieb 75 125 FAST DRAW Gottlieb 75 OLD CHICAGO Bally 75 PAT HAND Williams 75 450 SATIN DOLL Williams 75 150 WIZARD Bally 75 650 ALADDIN'S CASTLE Bally 76 BUCCANEER Gottlieb 76 200 CAPTAIN FANTASTIC Bally 76 600 CAPTAIN FANTASTIC Bally 76 1200 CARD WHIZ Gottlieb 76 250 FLIP-FLOP Bally 76 325 HOLLYWOOD Chicago Coin 76 PIONEER Gottlieb 76 350 SURFER Gottlieb 76 350 CLEOPATRA (SS) (AIS) Gottlieb 77 50 DISCO Stern 77 250 EIGHT BALL (SS) Bally 77 250 EVIL KNIEVEL Bally 77 175 MATA HARI Bally 77 NIGHT RIDER Bally 77 225 BLACK JACK Bally 78 325 JOKER POKER (SS) (AIS) Gottlieb 78 50 LOST WORLD (AIS) Bally 78 100 PHOENIX Williams 78 SINBAD (SS) (AIS) Gottlieb 78 150 STRIKES AND SPARES Bally 78 DOLLY (PARTON) Bally 79 550 FLASH Williams 79 GORGAR (AIS) Williams 79 150 GORGAR Williams 79 KISS Bally 79 METEOR Stern 79 450 PARAGON Bally 79 450 PARAGON Bally 79 300 SOLAR RIDE (AIS) Gottlieb 79 50 STAR TREK Bally 79 STAR TREK Bally 79 175 STELLAR WARS Williams 79 400 SUPER SONIC (AIS) Bally 79 150 TRI-ZONE Williams 79 350 ALIEN POKER Williams 80 ASTEROID ANNIE Gottlieb 80 BLACK KNIGHT Williams 80 350 SEAWITCH Stern 80 SILVERBALL MANIA (SS) (AIS) Bally 80 150 SPACE INVADERS Bally 80 250 TORCH (SS) (AIS) Gottlieb 80 50 XENON Bally 80 450 CAVEMAN Gottlieb 81 EIGHT BALL DELUXE Bally 81 600 EIGHT BALL DELUXE Bally 81 HYPERBALL Bally 81 450 MEDUSA Bally 81 BMX Bally 82 DEVIL'S DARE Gottlieb 82 300 VECTOR Bally 82 JACKS TO OPEN Gottlieb 83 ATILLA THE HUN Game Plan 84 75 SPACE SHUTTLE Williams 84 COMET Williams 85 EIGHT BALL CHAMP Bally 85 EIGHT BALL CHAMP Bally 85 FIREBALL CLASSIC Bally 85 SORCERER Williams 85 GENESIS Gottlieb 86 GENESIS Gottlieb 86 GRAND LIZARD Williams 86 PINBOT Williams 86 RAVEN Gottlieb 86 F-14 TOMCAT Williams 87 BACK TO THE FUTURE Data East 90 CACTUS JACK'S Gottlieb 91 GILLIGAN'S ISLAND Williams 91 CAR HOP Gottlieb 9?
Saturday evening was set aside for the banquet. After a pretty nice meal, one of our hosts got up on the platform to begin the after dinner program. He began by thanking the people who came from "far away", especially the young man, Dave Dutton, from England who won the show's pinball tournament, and his wife; another fellow from there; and two gentlemen who came from Hawaii.
He then introduced Pinball Expo producer Rob Berk so he could tell us what to expect at the up-coming Pinball Expo '91 in Chicago in October.
Rob began by remarking that this year there would be "lots of surprises". He then introduced his co-producer Mike Pacak to tell us what would be happening in the Expo's Exhibit Hall.
Mike said that one "special surprise" would be the game auction to be held on Sunday, and that it would have a minimum of 150 pinballs (as well as other types of games) and would probably last until 4 or 5 PM. Mike then said that this would be "the grandest year for exhibits" at the Expo.
Rob then gave us a brief run-down on the lectures which had been set up to that point. He ended by congratulating the producers of the Arizona show for putting on such a fine presentation.
At that point the featured speaker, Tim Arnold, was introduced to tell us about his extensive pingame collection, and the special plans he has for it. Tim began by joking that this was the first banquet he had ever attended where "the waiters were better dressed than the guests", a reference to the fact that most of us were casually dressed, probably due in part to the high temperatures.
Tim then fired up the slide projector to show us slides of various games in his collection throughout his talk. He said the games he would show were from one section of one floor of the collection and consisted mostly of games of the 40's and 50's. He said that the colored backgrounds of the pictures indicated which heads were from complete games and which were only "partials".
Tim then began relating his personal history. He said he started in the coin machine business in 1969 with a "bubble gum route", and bought his first pingame in 1972. By 1976, he went on, he had his own arcade in a college town in Michigan.
Tim then told us that when video games started getting popular there was "money all over the place". At that point, he said, he started buying old pingames, including some entire collections such as the large Barry Nye/Pat Hamlett collection and another in South Carolina.
At the present time, Tim told us, he has approximately 500 pingames and is in the process (now about 50 percent complete) of moving them from Michigan to his new home in Las Vegas. He gave us his phone number in Vegas and told us that if any of us was ever in town to give him a call and he would even pick you up downtown and take you to his country home.
Tim said he was moving the games himself and is removing the backglasses and packing them in separate boxes for safety. He said he also had about 180 crates of parts, telling us that he had in the past bought parts from several large distributorships which were going out of business.
Tim then told us that his new house in the country was approximately 3400 sqft., and had 1200 sqft. of garage space. It also had a tennis court, he went on, which he was going to build a building over and use to house many of his games, saying that this would result in around 7800 sqft. of display area. This he said would give him space to set up 300 to 400 games, adding that he might enlarge it later to double the capacity. He then remarked that that part of the country was "a good dry, safe, and secure place" to keep games.
Tim next told us that he will first set the bodies and heads on the tennis court to check for "proper matches". After that he told us he would start refurbishing each game in a shop area set up in one of the garages.
Each backglass, he told us, would be treated with "Cover Your Glass", but no attempt would be made to "retouch" them. The cabinets would be cleaned and waxed, but again no modification of the paint, unless the entire cabinet had been repainted by an "amateur". Tim then remarked that most of his effort will be on the "workings" rather than the "esthetics" of the games.
The next step, Tim Went on, would be what he referred to as "test marketing", which he said would be done in "small steps". If the public "rejects" the project at any point, he said, he would abandon it and just keep the games for himself.
First, Tim said, he planned to start a "not for profit fraternal club" as defined by the IRS, which he described as "a non-profit organization without all the paper work". All money taken in, he explained, is given back to charity with none returned to the members which simplifies IRS reporting. Tim next told us of some ideas for a name for the organization, most of a comical nature.
The requirement to join the organization was said to be one dollar and a driver's license; these being "something of value" and a "form of identification" to keep out the "riff-raf". The club's monthly meetings, Tim said, would be held in his "tennis court", with all games set up for Quarter play and all money taken in going to "the charity of the evening". There would also be a monthly tournament with a trophy for the "monthly champ".
Tim then said that he may also place a few of his old games, set up for Quarter play, in what he called "nice, quiet locations" (a "family pizza parlor", for example). He said this way he could get some "feedback" to see if people will play old games. The profit from these games would of course all go to charity, and this would be stated on a sign on each game.
The next step, Tim then explained, would be to get something like the "center aisle of a mall", a State Fair, etc., and place about 100 games there for a week or so, also set for 25 cent play. A "high score contest", he said, would be held for each game using small prizes donated by the merchants. Tim told us he thought he could make between 1 and 15 thousand dollars for charity by this method. He then added that he could "stand and observe" what games people would play. Also, he thought of having some sort of drawing, the names and addresses of the entrants also being used to start up a mailing list.
The "biggest step" in his plan (the "end of his dream") Tim told us, would be to get what he called a "permanent clubhouse". For this he said he would need a large building, in an area zoned for business, such as an old supermarket or bowling alley, which he hoped might be "donated" (at least in part) by the owner.
This clubhouse, Tim continued, would be set up as sort of a "hands-on museum" (a "fun-time arcade") open to the public and staffed by volunteers. The hours he said would probably start after 3 PM (so parents couldn't accuse him of keeping their kids away from school), and close by midnight so they would not be bothered by the "late night crowd". To enter you would again have to show a driver's license and be given a badge to be worn inside. He then referred to this place as sort of a "kinder, gentler arcade".
Tim also said that smoking, food, and soda drinking would not be allowed around the games, but that a special room would be provided for the "nicotine fiends". He said he really didn't know whether or not people would play pre-flipper games because it really hadn't been tried yet. Tim added that this display of games of different eras would probably be helpful to "pinball researchers", as well as to game designers who could get ideas for new games from the great ideas of the past (such as the "disappearing pop bumper").
Next Tim told us that one of the "main guiding forces" for him coming up with his plan was that he thought it was stupid to own so many games and not have them set up. He then mentioned what he called the "three digit collectors" (those with over 100 games) who only had 20 or so set up for viewing and playing. Those of us with less than 100 pins he jokingly referred to as "pikers".
Tim said that since he had the space to set up a large number of games for playing that was what he wanted to do. He next told us of a "personal goal" of acquiring all the Gottlieb electro-mechanical flipper games, of which he now owns a little more than half. He handed out to us a hand-written list of the electro-mechanical flipper games by Gottlieb and Williams, with an indication of which he had and which he was looking for. Tim then said if we find anyone "throwing out" any of those games to please save it for him.
Finally Tim said if any of us have any comments on his plan (either pro or con) to get in touch with him, either in person or by phone, saying he would also be available at the Expo in October. (Author's note: more about Tim's "charitable exploits" when I report on that show next time.) Tim then remarked that he thought his plan could be "a lot of fun".
Tim then thanked the show promoters and turned the podium over to Rob Berk to add a little more about the up-coming Expo in Chicago. Rob then gave us some information on the plant tour and the proposed banquet guest speaker.
At that point Williams/Bally/Midway's Steve Kordek was called up to say a few words. After remarking that his talk would be short because he had an early morning golf date, he congratulated the show's producers which drew a round of applause.
Steve next thanked Tim for the nice backglass slides he had shown during his talk, remarking especially about Roy Parker's art and his portrayal of women. He then remarked that he wished that he had sat down with Roy when he was still alive and discussed his work with him.
The other great old-time artist, George Molentin, Steve said was still alive but very sick at the time. He then related to us a sad story about how George had recently thrown out some old records he had from both the old Reproductions outfit and Advertising Posters listing all their artists and which games each one had done. He remarked what a gift that would have been to one of us pinball historians, adding that he would have liked to have that himself!
Steve then began talking about Williams' "disappearing pop bumper" which they had used on a few games in the late 1950's, remarking that GUSHER (one of these games) was one of the company's better games of the past. He then told us that they had been thinking about using such a device on their current games, but that the added manufacturing cost of 30 to 45 dollars per game made it somewhat impractical, although he added that it was possible that this might be done sometime in the future.
Steve next said that he was really enjoying the show and visiting with all the attendees. He said that his company was doing everything they can to build great games, but that he couldn't tell us what they were currently working on. He then remarked that he thought that their current game, GILLIGAN'S ISLAND, was a "sleeper". He said that this show was really fun and that he hoped that we could all attend the Expo in Chicago in October.
Steve ended by telling us that he hoped he would last another year or two, remarking that he and his wife had recently celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary.
Finally, one of the show's producers got up and told us that this year's turnout was bigger than last year and that they hoped next year would be even better. He then remarked that many people commented that they would like to see more parts available for sale in the exhibit hall, asking exhibitors to try and bring some next year. He then thanked all for attending and said "let's all go back to the exhibit hall and play some pinball!"
Sunday morning, after loading up the van with the two games that Sam and Pat bought (there was barely enough room for Sam and I in the back seat - we had to squeeze past a game cabinet to get into the vehicle), we drove to the home of local collector Dan Frank, who was holding an "open house" for show visitors. A sign outside Dan's house proclaimed it the "House of Pinball", which it certainly was.
Dan's wife had prepared some delicious snacks and there was also soda and beer available to the guests. The game room was lined with pins, and there were even a few in other areas of the house. One bedroom had even been set aside as a storeroom for parts and supplies. All in all we had a real nice time playing Dan's games and visiting with him, his wife, and the other collectors who had accepted the Frank's gracious hospitality.
After leaving Dan's we squeezed back into the van and began the long drive back to California. All in all, I would say I had a very enjoyable time, saw some really nice pingames, and got to relax and visit with many fellow "pinophiles". I think I will seriously consider attending the Arizona show next year and strongly recommend it to all pinball fans.
THE FALL 1991 FUN FAIR
After the small "pin turnout" at the Spring Fun Fair, which I mentioned earlier, I was somewhat apprehensive as to what would show up at the Fall show. But I decided to give it a try.
I started out plenty early for the approximately 75 mile drive to Long Beach. It was a good thing I did because I ended up on the wrong freeway (I hadn't been to Long Beach for awhile) at the last part of the trip and had to "back track" a little before arriving at the show site. The parking lot was quite confusing (no one to direct you where to park after paying the whopping $5 fee), but I finally found a place to squeeze in between two trucks.
Another reason for my attending was that my good friend Jack Atkins from Ogden Utah had told me that he would be there. I ran into Jack just before entering the show area, and we went in together and also went to dinner that evening, but more about that later.
The show was held at the Long Beach Arena which was an indoor stadium. High above the floor where the show was situated you could see tiers of seats. The floor area for the show appeared to be a little larger than that of the Spring show (held in another stadium).
The "pin turnout" in the Fall was somewhat better than for the Spring show, but still not up to par with the Fun Fairs of past years. The line-up of games, by decade, went something like this: 2 from the 30's, compared to none in the Spring; one from the Forties as in the Spring; 4 and 6 respectively from the 50's and 60's, compared to only one from each decade in the Spring; 18 electro-mechanicals from the 70's, up from 7 at the Spring show; and 18 solid-state pins, 11 having been show previously.
As far as pin dealers where concerned, the show was again dominated by two; Herb Silvers' Fabulous Fantasies from Los Angeles, and Don Westpahl's Amusement Sales from Glendale Arizona. These same people definitely dominated the pin displays at the Spring show.
Mullikin Amusements of Nipomo, California had one 50's bingo with a broken backglass, some nice electro-mechanicals and some solid-state games, including Game Plan's SHARPSHOOTER and Stern's CATACOMB. There was also one dealer selling very late model games to home buyers who could afford their steep price tags. The other games (both old and new) were scattered around the hall in various dealer's booths along with other items.
I shall now attempt to briefly describe a few of the more interesting older games at the show.
The oldest game at the show was a small, counter-top pin made in Los Angeles sometime in 1932. This game, called (THE) MIDGET, was made by an outfit calling itself the E. E. Junior Manufacturing Company. The game had previously appeared at a Fun Fair a year or so ago and was a very well built little game of the simple "pin and ball" variety prevalent in that early year of the pinball industry. By the way, the only other 1930's pin at the show was the same Exhibit BAZAAR from 1937 described earlier from the Arizona show.
The only 1940's game to be seen this time was Bally's 1949 "one-ball horserace" pin CITATION. One-balls have been quite scarce at past shows, I being only able to remember one other, Bally's 1950 game TURF KING a year or so ago. CITATION was noteworthy in "one-ball history" as being the first game of this type with what were known as "guaranteed advancing odds". In past one-balls the odds received by a player upon depositing a coin could possibly be reduced when the next coin was inserted before playing a game. With this new system the odds could only either advance or stay the same, a great plus for the one-ball player.
Of the four 1950's vintage games to be shown, three were of the "gambling type". They included one of the first "bingo pinballs", United's ABC from 1951; a Genco "upright" game called JUMPING JACKS (1952); and another bingo, Bally's 1957 game SHOW TIME, which unfortunately had a broken backglass.
The Fifties game I have chosen to describe, however, was a "near mint" example of Gottlieb's 1958 flipper game SITTIN' PRETTY owned by Herb Silvers. This was possibly the best condition 1950's woodrail pin I have ever seen. The backglass art depicted a very colorful "carnival" theme.
The playfield appeared to be "action packed", with four pop bumpers, two "slingshot kickers", with two flippers in the customary bottom of the field position. If you look closely at the backglass you will see that the game had a "skill meter" ('FAIR' up to 'GENIUS') which was found on several Gottlieb games of the period.
Another interesting item in Herb's booth was a coffee table made from a late 1930's pingame playfield and cabinet. The manufacturer's name, Keeney, was indicated on the field, but the game's name did not appear anywhere. It would have been on the backglass, which of course, was not used for the table.
By the style of the bumpers it appeared that the game was probably made between 1937 and 1939. I told Herb that I would look at my copies of Billboard magazine ads from 1937 and 1938 to see if I could find an ad for it and identify the game for him. Well, I did, but with no luck. Then I looked at a roll of microfilm I had purchased for Billboard during the first part of 1939 and "low and behold" there it was!
The game turned out to be Keeney's UP AND UP which was first advertised in Billboard in late May of 1939. The ad started out saying "Well, maybe not 'Ten Billion Nickels'", which obviously to me was a reference to the anti gambling machine article by that name which had appeared in Saturday Evening Post only about one month earlier. That article, by the way, was described in my past COIN SLOT article "Pinball Literature - Part 1" which appeared in the Winter 90/91 issue.
Two of the more interesting solid-state games at the show were Stern's CATACOMB from 1981 (which had a small "pachinko like" unit in the backboard); and Game Plan's 1979 pin SHARPSHOOTER, which was designed by industry personage Roger Sharpe. Other very late model solid-state games at the show included three of the latest by the "new kid on the pinball block" Data East Pinball. These included their CHECKPOINT, the very popular TV show inspired SIMPSONS, and their latest at the time, BATMAN.
A chronological listing of all the pins appearing at the show is as follows:
PINGAMES AT THE FALL 1991 FUN FAIR NAME MFG YEAR PRICE ------------------------- ------ ------ --------- MIDGET (THE) E.E. JR. MFG. 1932 625 BAZAAR (PAYOUT) Exhibit 1937 800 CITATION (1-BALL) Bally 1949 725 A-B-C (BINGO) United 1951 135 JUMPING JACKS (UPRITE) Genco 1952 135 SHOW TIME (BINGO) Bally 1957 125 SITTIN' PRETTY Gottlieb 1958 2000 FASHION SHOW Gottlieb 1962 600 SWEET HEARTS Gottlieb 1963 525 FUNLAND Gottlieb 1966 500 SING ALONG Gottlieb 1967 600 HEARTS AND SPADES (AAB) Gottlieb 1969 495 SEVEN UP Williams 1969 325 4 ACES Williams 1970 725 JIVE TIME Williams 1970 600 DOODLE BUG Williams 1971 600 FLYING CARPET Gottlieb 1972 450 KING ROCK Gottlieb 1972 650 FLIP-A-CARD Gottlieb 1972 375 CIRCUS Bally 1973 1650 HEE HAW Chicago Coin 1973 600 JUBILEE Williams 1973 500 NIP-IT Bally 1973 600 PRO FOOTBALL Gottlieb 1973 299 SWINGER Williams 1973 500 TOP CARD Gottlieb 1974 395 WIZARD Bally 1975 360 WIZARD Bally 1975 1095 BLUE CHIP Williams 1976 250 CAPTAIN FANTASTIC Bally 1976 650 HOKUS POKUS Bally 1976 700 RAWHIDE Stern 1977 350 6 MILLION DOLLAR MAN (SS) Bally 1978 350 LOST WORLD (SS) Bally 1978 650 GORGAR (SS) Williams 1979 600 SHARPSHOOTER (SS) Game Plan 1979 350 CONEY ISLAND (SS) Game Plan 1980 325 FLIGHT 2000 (SS) Stern 1980 500 BLACK HOLE (SS) Gottlieb 1981 695 CATACOMB (SS) Stern 1981 575 BMX (SS) Bally 1982 550 DEVIL'S DARE (SS) Gottlieb 1982 475 SPEAKEASY (SS) Bally 1982 600 X'S AND O'S (SS) Bally 1983 600 COMET (SS) Williams 1985 1295 CYCLONE (SS) Williams 1988 1895 TAXI (SS) Williams 1988 1895 CHECKPOINT (SS) Data East 1990 2995 SIMPSONS, THE (SS) Data East 1990 2995 BATMAN (SS) Data East 1991 3295
When it got to be time to eat dinner, myself, Jack Atkins, Sam Harvey, and Sam's friend Pat (yes, the same nice fellow who drove us to Arizona) decided to go out to eat. We took my car, and none of us knowing anything about Long Beach, we started driving around trying to find a restaurant. Well, we finally found one and eventually got to eat.
When dinner was over we left the restaurant and attempted to return to the show site. By this time it was dark and the area was not very well lit. Well, we made a wrong turn somewhere and ended up on a freeway heading away from our destination. After deciding we were not going right we found that the next exit was closed for repairs, but we finally got back onto the surface streets.
After driving for a few minutes we discovered we were back to the restaurant where we started. This time, however, we found our way back to the arena. I then let my friends off to go back to the show, but I decided to start out on the approximately two hour drive home.
Since the turnout of pingames was a little better than at the Spring show I decided that I probably would not completely avoid all future shows, at least not the Fall shows, unless of course, they really move them far away.
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