THREE SHOWS 1992
By Russ Jensen
Like I did last year, I have again decided to report on three coin-op shows in one article. The first show is the Spring 1992 edition of the "Collector's Fun Fair", and the second the annual Arizona "Pinball Show". The third show I will report on, unlike last year, will not be the Fall edition of the Fun Fair. Instead this year I will tell about a new coin-op show to come to California, the "L.A Vintage Coin Machine and Advertising Show and Sale" put on by Bill and Roseanna Harris, past publishers of COIN SLOT.
The Spring Fun Fair was held, like last year, at the Anaheim Stadium Exposition Center in Anaheim California on Saturday and Sunday, April 4th and 5th.
I left my house Saturday morning for the approximately 90 mile freeway drive to Anaheim. On the way I heard a traffic report on the radio that indicated a section of the freeway comprising the most direct route was closed due to a traffic accident. Knowing the L.A. freeway system as I do (having seen it being constructed as I grew up) I quickly decided on an "alternate route", using other freeways, and arrived at the show site shortly after the 1 PM starting time for the show.
Before describing some of the pingames at this show, let me start by giving a run-down of the quantities of machines which were for sale from each decade. From the 1930's there were only 3 games, none from the 40's, and only 2 each from the 50's and 60's. From the 1970's there were 9 electro-mechanical pins and 5 solid-state games. In addition, there were 11 solid-state games from the 1980's, plus a few assorted new and almost new games from the current decade.
As far a dealers were concerned, there were only 4 that had more than one or two games. Fun Fair regular, for the past 4 or 5 years, Herb Silvers had his usual booth which was set up "side by side" with the offerings of Bill Cowles.
Herb had 2 nice 1970's era electro-mechanicals, in addition to 6 good solid-state machines. Two of the latter were early Stern machines which are somewhat rarer than most solid-state machines from other manufacturers. Herb's machines, as in the past, were all in very nice condition.
Bill (who incidentally covered the show for a popular pinball collector's publication) had 4 nice 70's electro-mechanicals, including the popular Williams SPACE MISSION. In addition, he had a 'partial' Atari TIME 2000 solid-state game with a missing backboard. The game was still playable, however, since all the scores on this game were displayed on the playfield.
Arizona collector/dealer Don Westphal, also a regular at several past Fun Fairs, had several nice machines for sale. He had one of the 3 1930's games at the show, a near 'mint' 1937 payout pingame by Exhibit Supply called BAZAAR. That game had been offered for sale at several past shows, but this time it was sold to another dealer at the show, Neil Jamison from Wichita, Kansas. In addition to that rare game, Don had two nice 'pitch and bat' baseball games and 5 nice solid-state pins.
The last of the larger displays of pingames was that of Wichita dealers Bob Nelson and Neil Jamison. Neil brought along a real nice 1950 Bally 'one-ball horserace' game (one of the two 1950's pins at the show) TURF KING. This game was especially unique because Neil had converted it into a 'direct coin payout'. In addition to that game, Bob and Neil had three solid-state pins for sale, including the first 'multi-level' playfield game, Williams' BLACK KNIGHT from 1980.
In addition to the two older games mentioned above, there were three other pre-1960 pingames at the show, two from the 1930's and one from the 1950's. These were owned by other dealers who had only one or two pins for sale.
One of the two 1930's pins there was the first Ballygame, BALLYHOO, from 1932. This game has appeared for sale at several past Fun Fairs as well as other coin-op shows. The other Thirties pin was a small counter- top pin called BABY GRAND made by a company called A. M. Walzer in 1932.
The other older pin at the show was, however, much more interesting. It was Williams' 1951 horse race motif pingame, HAYBURNERS. This was the first in a series of "horse race pins" put out by Williams over the years, each of which had some form of 'mechanically animated' horse race, either on the playfield (or beneath it in one case) or behind the backglass.
As with all of these games, hitting bumpers or crossing rollovers on the playfield caused one or more of the horses to be mechanically advanced toward a "finish line". In some of the later games of this type a 'selection' for winner was chosen at the start of the game (usually randomly by the machine, but in one case by the player himself), the object of the game being to get that horse to come in first.
In this game, however, there does not appear to be any such 'selection', the player probably just deciding for himself which horse he wants to win, or perhaps betting against a friend. At any rate HAYBURNERS is an interesting and fairly rare pingame from the early 1950's.
The following is a complete chronological listing of all the pingames at this show:
PINGAMES AT THE SPRING 1992 FUN FAIR NAME MFG YEAR PRICE ----------------------- ------- ------- ------ BALLYHOO Bally 1932 250? BABY GRAND A.M. Walzer 1932 175 BAZAAR Exhibit 1937 SOLD TURF KING (1-BALL) Bally 1950 1300 HAYBURNERS Williams 1951 650 AIRPORT Gottlieb 1969 350 COSMOS Bally 1969 750 LINE DRIVE (Baseball) Williams 1972 1000 PRO POOL Gottlieb 1973 650 OXO Williams 1974 500 SKY RIDER Chicago Coin 1974 500 STRATO-FLITE Williams 1974 500 ATLANTIS Gottlieb 1975 ??? BOW AND ARROW Bally 1975 275 TOP SCORE Gottlieb 1975 625 SHIP AHOY Gottlieb 1976 600 SPACE MISSION Williams 1976 400 EIGHT BALL Bally 1977 750 TIME 2000 (BACK MISSING) Atari 1977 200 PLAYBOY Bally 1978 395,800 STARS Stern 1978 550 METEOR Stern 1979 700 STAR TREK Bally 1979 795 BLACK KNIGHT Williams 1980 750 FIREPOWER Williams 1980 495 BLACK HOLE Gottlieb 1981 650 EIGHT BALL DELUXE Bally 1981 650 FATHOM Bally 1981 650 VECTOR Bally 1982 800 FAREALLA Zacaria 1983 800 COMET Williams 1985 650 RAVEN Gottlieb 1986 800 ROAD KINGS Williams 1986 550 SPACE STATION Williams 1988 950 ADDAMS FAMILY Data East 1991 NEW STAR SERIES (Baseball) Williams ?? 1250 DELUXE BATTING CHAMP (BB) Williams ??? 650 LATE SS's, BANZAI RUN,ETC VARIOUS VARIOUS HIGH
After scouring the show to see what all in the way of pingames and associated items were available, my friend and fellow collector Sam Harvey and I decided to leave the show and have dinner with our friend Pat Feinaur. Pat had been unable to attend the show because he had to work that afternoon at the game arcade in which he was employed.
After following Sam for about 10 miles (over freeways, side streets, and even a "back alley") we arrived at the arcade when Pat was just getting off work. The three of us then went to a local restaurant for dinner, during which the tab;e discussions centered, of course, around pinballs.
After this nice ending to the evening, I got into my car and made the long freeway trip back home to Camarillo.
THE 1992 ARIZONA "PINBALL SHOW"
The second show I will report on is the 3rd edition of the annual "Pinball Show" held in Scottsdale, Arizona. Although this was the third year of the show, I have only attended the last two. This year the show was held on Friday and Saturday, June 12th and 13th. This show is the biggest all pinball show west of the Mississippi and is really great!
As I did last year, I again traveled to the show with my friends Sam Harvey and Pat Feinaur, this year, however, we traveled by air.
On Friday morning I drove the seventy or so miles to Sam's house and Pat did the same. Sam's mother, who lives down the street, then kindly drove the three of us to the Ontario, California airport where we were to board our flight to Phoenix.
Getting through the "metal detector" at the airport proved to be somewhat of a problem. When I walked through it buzzed. After trying several times (after removing my watch, and even my belt) still no luck. Finally, the security people asked me and Sam (who also did not "pass the test") to stand aside and wait.
After about 5 minutes, during which time we heard the machine buzz for almost everyone who passed through, the security people finally came over and told us that we could go on to the plane, offering us no further explanation whatsoever. I think the machine must have been malfunctioning. I almost, however, forgot to retrieve my watch which they had on their little tray.
After the short flight to Phoenix we were met at the airport by two fellow collectors, Jay Stafford from the local area and Tucker Flandrena who had come to the show all the way from Iowa.
After arriving at the hotel and checking into our room, we proceeded directly to the Exhibit Hall. Upon entering the lobby area I noticed that my good friend Don Mueting and his wife Ann had already set up their table to sell Don and Rob Hawkins' latest pinball reference book "Pinball Resource". That book, incidentally, I reviewed in the previous issue of COIN SLOT.
Throughout the Exhibit Hall hours of operation I spent quite a bit of time sitting at their booth talking with Don and his wife. They also kindly exhibited copies of my book, "Pinball Troubleshooting Guide", at their table and as a result I sold several copies.
The Exhibit Hall this year, as it was last time, consisted of two rooms. The main room was the primary exhibit and playing area and had two double-sided aisles loaded with pingames for viewing, buying, and playing. The machines ranged in age from a couple from 1932, through the 1940's and 1950's, quite a few from the 1960's and 1970's, as well as many solid-state games from the Eighties and Nineties.
The second room contained the booths of a few more dealers with more pins, parts, paper, etc., and the new Williams GETAWAY games which were to be used for the pinball tournament to be held in connection with the show.
In addition to the games that were set up in the main room, there were a number of older games for sale which were not set up for play, but propped up against the wall. (See photo of GUYS - DOLLS)
I will now give brief descriptions of several of the older pins to give some idea of the variety of pingames presented.
Gottlieb's ROUND UP, which came out late in 1948, was a good example of an early wood-rail flipper game. This game did not have 'pop-bumpers', although they were introduced by Williams on SARATOGA about a month earlier. The game did have a form of 'build-up bonus', had three kickout holes and an 11 number sequence, a feature used on many pins since the late 1930's. The ROUND UP was in pretty good condition, except for the backglass which could be replaced.
Another unusual pin at the show was Chicago Coin's BLONDIE from mid 1956. Chicago Coin wood-rail flippers are quite rare today. Unlike ROUND UP, this game had two 'pop-bumpers', plus four standard 'dead bumpers'. BLONDIE, however, had no kickout holes, having instead a 'gobble hole' in the center of the playfield, a feature found on many pins in the mid 1950's. The game also had a 10 number sequence. BLONDIE was only in 'mediocre' condition and was offered for sale "as is".
A classic mid-60's pin which was at the show was Gottlieb's WORLD FAIR from 1964. The WORLD FAIR at the show was in almost 'mint' condition, and was a very colorful and 'action packed' little pin.
Another very nice 1960's pin shown was a great example of the 'add-a- ball' pins first introduced in the early 1960's to get around certain local and state laws forbidding 'free games' ('replays') on pinball machines. Gottlieb's FLIPPER POOL, from late 1965, was one of those machines. Instead of awarding 'free games' for skilful play, these games allowed the player to shoot more balls. Other than that, the play of these games was not that much different that their 'replay' cousins. The FLIPPER POOL at the show was in excellent condition.
The final game I'm going to show is another Chicago Coin piece. I again decided to show it as Chicago Coin pingames are not seen too often today. SOUND STAGE, from mid 1976, was one of the last of the Chicago Coin pins, the company being bought up by long-time coin machine industry executive Sam Stern shortly afterward, with it's name being changed to Stern Electronics. This game, incidentally, was offered as a raffle prize in a special charity raffle, but more about that later. The following is a chronological list of pingames which were in the Exhibit hall this year:
NAME MFG DATE PRICE _________________________ _____ _____ _____ BALLYHOO Bally 31-12 ? BUMPER Bally 36-12 300 FORMATION Genco 40-08 600 MELODY Bally 47-11 250 LADY ROBINHOOD Gottlieb 48-01 1200 CINDERELLA Gottlieb 48-03 250 BUCCANEER Gottlieb 48-10 250, 750 ROUND UP Gottlieb 48-11 - COLLEGE DAZE Gottlieb 49-08 450 KING ARTHUR Gottlieb 49-10 750 NEVADA United 49-10 - PIN BOWLER Chicago Coin 49-11 - STAR SERIES (BASEBALL) Williams 49? 900 JUST 21 Gottlieb 50-01 - ROCKETTES Gottlieb 50-08 650 HAYBURNERS Williams 51-06 - CHINATOWN Gottlieb 52-10 650 GUYS - DOLLS Gottlieb 53-05 650 STAGE COACH Gottlieb 54-11 350 WISHING WELL Gottlieb 55-09 650 HOT DIGITY Williams 56-05 750 BLONDIE Chicago Coin 56-06 300 ROCKET SHIP Gottlieb 58-04 DISPLAY GOLDEN BELLS Williams 59-02 - ATLAS Gottlieb 59-05 - ALOHA Gottlieb 61-12 250 THREE COINS Williams 62-02 175 RACK-A-BALL Gottlieb 62-12 OFFER SWING ALONG Gottlieb 63-07 - SWEETHEARTS Gottlieb 63-09 850 WORLD FAIR Gottlieb 64-04 - HEAT WAVE Williams 64-07 200,625 FLYING TURNS Midway 64-? - BIG LEAGUE (BASEBALL) Chicago Coin 65-04 700 BUCKAROO Gottlieb 65-05 1050 BANK-A-BALL Gottlieb 65-07 - FLIPPER POOL Gottlieb 65-10 - PARADISE Gottlieb 65-11 375 CENTRAL PARK Gottlieb 66-04 OFFER KICKER Chicago Coin 66-08 325 HOT LINE Williams 66-09 500 KING OF DIAMONDS Gottlieb 67-02 - APOLLO Williams 67-06 150, OBO SING-A-LONG Gottlieb 67-09 400 LADY LUCK Williams 68-03 - PALACE GUARD Gottlieb 68-03 650 DOMINO Gottlieb 68-10 400, 550 SPIN-A-CARD Gottlieb 69-02 325 EXPO Williams 69-10 450 SEVEN UP Williams 69-12 450 CAMELOT Bally 70-02 450 JIVE TIME Williams 70-04 125 ROCK 'N ROLL Williams 70-04 250 DOODLE BUG Williams 71-03 - FOUR MILLION BC Bally 71-05 - FIREBALL Bally 72-02 1200 WINNER Williams 72-02 400 TWIN JOKER (LIKE BINGO) Bally 72-06 - PRO FOOTBALL Gottlieb 73-02 300 GULF STREAM Williams 73-05 75 TIME ZONE Bally 73-05 650 UPPER DECK (BASEBALL) Williams 73-05 1000 NIP IT Bally 73-07 350, OBO JUMPING JACK Gottlieb 73-08 RAFFLE TRIPLE ACTION Williams 74-03 100 TOP CARD Gottlieb 74-09 SOLD? STRATO FLITE Williams 74-10 250 MYSTIC GATE (BINGO) Bally 74-12 700 KNOCKOUT Bally 75-04 100 WIZARD Bally 75-05 1100 SPIN OUT Gottlieb 75-08 225 ABRA-CA-DABRA Gottlieb 75-11 495, OBO CAPTAIN FANTASTIC Bally 76-06 200, OFFER EVEL KNIEVEL Bally 76-07 450 SOUND STAGE Chicago Coin 76-07 RAFFLE GRAND PRIX Williams 76-12 150 LOST WORLD Bally 77-02 325 POWER PLAY Bally 77-02 450, OBO STAR TREK Bally 78-01 295 KISS Bally 78-04 580 SINBAD Gottlieb 78-04 250 DOLLY PARTON Bally 78-10 400 FLASH Williams 79-01 400, OBO SPACE INVADERS Bally 79-05 600 METEOR Stern 79-09 ? XENON Bally 79-11 595 BUCK ROGERS Gottlieb 79-12 200 FIREPOWER Williams 80-03 595, OBO EIGHT BALL DELUXE Bally 80-09 475, 550 MEDUSA Bally 81-02 1000 PINK PANTHER Gottlieb 81-03 400 SPECTRUM Bally 81-04 800 BLACK HOLE Gottlieb 81-10 375 CATACOMB Stern 81-10 ? HYPERBALL Williams 81-12 350, OBO MR. & MRS. PAC MAN Bally 82-05 600 PUNK Gottlieb 82-11 400 FIREPOWER II Williams 83-09 - FIREBALL CLASSIC Bally 85-02 - COMET Williams 85-09 500, 600 HIGH SPEED Williams 86-01 - RAVEN Gottlieb 86-02 550 GENESIS Gottlieb 86-08 550 GOLD WINGS Gottlieb 86-10 550 PINBOT Williams 86-10 750 STRANGE SCIENCE Bally 86-10 750 MONTE CARLO Gottlieb 87-01 ? HEAVY METAL MELTDOWN Bally 87-08 650 SPACE STATION Williams 88-01 - SECRET SERVICE Data East 88-03 950 FUN HOUSE Williams 90-12 2000 SIMPSONS Data East 90-12 2500 TERMINATOR II Williams 91-07 - OPERATION THUNDER Gottlieb 91-12 - HOOK Data East 91-12 - GETAWAY Williams 92-04 - LETHAL WEAPON 3 Data East 92-?? -
After viewing and playing games in the Exhibit hall, and conversing with many of the pin fans there, may friend Sam and I, with a small group of other 'pin buddies', walked across the street for dinner. The mall directly across from the hotel featured an area containing several small 'stands' serving various types of foods (Mexican, Pizza, Deli, etc.) allowing each of us to choose the type of food we wanted for dinner. After eating we all returned, of course, to the Exhibit Hall to finish out the evening.
The next morning (Saturday), after having breakfast, we again returned to the hall for more pinball fun. Around noon my sister and niece, who lived about 100 miles away in Tucson, came to the show to see me. After giving them a brief tour of the Exhibit Hall we had lunch in the hotel coffee shop, having a very enjoyable reunion.
One of the highlights of "Saturday afternoon at the Exhibit Hall" was the unusual "rat raffle" conducted for charity by the 'infamous' Tim Arnold from Las Vegas. By now Tim's many charitable exploits involving pinball are well known among the 'pinball community'..
Tim's raffle gave away many prizes, donated by various individuals, including a grand prize of your choice of one of two pinball machines (Chicago Coin's SOUND STAGE mentioned earlier or Gottlieb's JACK IN THE BOX from 1973). Other prizes included a myriad of items such as backglasses, books, magazine subscriptions, and other items all related to pinball.
Almost since the Exhibit Hall opened, Tim had been selling raffle tickets for $2.00 each (or 3 for $5.00). Tim's comical gimmick (he always has a comic touch to all his undertakings) was that after filling out your ticket you had to stuff it into the posterior of a black rubber rat, which was then placed in a long drum.
By the time of the drawing, the drum was so full of rats that it could not be used. Instead, it's entire 'rat contents' was dumped in a big pile on the floor and a young boy was chosen to randomly select the 'winning rats'. Well, the drawing drew quite a crowd, was a lot of fun for all, and netted over $1000 for charity - nice going Tim!
Saturday night was the finals of the pinball tournament and, of course, the banquet. The tournament lasted quite a bit longer than expected so many who did not watch it sat at their tables and talked pinball until the tournament ended and the finalists and viewers were ready for the banquet.
Two of the winners, the winner of the women's division, Barbara Slayton, and the second place winner of the open division, Lyman Sheets, ended up sitting at our table, discussing tournament play during the meal.
When it was time for the banquet festivities, one of the show hosts, Bruce Carlton, got up and introduced long-time industry personage, Steve Kordek.
Steve congratulated Bruce and his fellow show promoters Mark Pratt and Jan Bradbury for putting on such a good show. This drew a round of applause. Steve said that he had brought six of his people from Williams/Bally/Midway with him from Chicago.
Bruce next came back and announced the tournament winners, in both the 'open' and 'women's' divisions. Our roommate, Pat Feinaur, incidentally, took third place in the 'open' division. Bruce next thanked all for coming to the show, and for bringing games, then thanking his partners. He then introduced local operator/collector Dann Frank to introduce the guest speaker Steve Ritchie.
Dann began by saying that he had known Steve for quite awhile, he then remarked, "If you play pinball you have probably played a Ritchie game". Dann next told us that a list of Steve's designs "read like a catalog of all the best digitals", naming HIGH SPEED, FIREPOWER, TERMINATOR 2, F14 TOMCAT, and GETAWAY as just some examples.
Dann next told us that Steve started at Atari as a technician doing wiring harnesses, then went up to Engineering doing design of test fixtures, and finally to the pinball prototype lab where he learned the art and craft of pinball design.
Dann then told us that Steve's first Atari game was ATARIAN, a wide body game featuring rotary flippers, but which was not too successful. The next year, he told us, Steve developed his own game at night and showed it to his supervisor who rejected it. Dann then said that Steve next took the game to the company President, Nolan Bushnell, who ordered it made. This was AIRBORNE AVENGER which was a mild success.
After that, Dann went on, Steve was given more freedom to design, and his next game was SUPERMAN. Later, Dann told us, Steve Kordek heard of him and offered him a job at Williams, adding "the rest is history".
Dann told us that he first met Steve at a coin machine trade show in 1980. He then said that in those days there were no "pinball shows" like today, pin fans having to spend big money to go to coin machine industry trade shows if they wanted to mingle with industry people or see the new games.
Finally, Dann said that when Steve was a kid and was asked what he wanted to be when he grew up, he answered "a mad scientist in a toy factory".
When Steve got up he began by correcting Dann's last statement, saying that he didn't say that; it was what his fellow 8th graders said he would be. He then said that he was going to touch on his games a little.
Steve told us that he had to do "a lot of 'grunt work' before getting into design." When he first started at Atari he said there were a lot of good looking girls there and thought to himself "this is going to be fun".
He next told of AIRBORNE AVENGER which he did with a fellow named Eugene Jarvis who he said was a good designer. Steve said he didn't like the score reels in lower arch but company wanted it that way. After many whitewoods, he told us, the design finally came together.
Regarding his job offer at Williams, Steve said he thought "this is a real pinball company; displays, backglasses, a real factory - awesome!" His first game at Williams he said was FLASH. Next, he told us, he worked on STELLAR WARS which he said was a "pain". Steve said that the company wanted a wide body fast, which took about one month on the drawing board. After playing the whitewood he said he discovered many bad things, so the next day he started all over!
FIREPOWER II, Steve said, took 13 months to make. He then told of playing it one night when "it seemed I could do no wrong". With HYPERBALL, he said, they had problems on the assembly line and the company President helped straighten them out.
Steve then told us that he moved back to California for awhile working on video games, but shortly afterwards Williams got him to come back to Chicago, where he did HIGH SPEED with Larry DeMar and then BLACK KNIGHT. He said that Larry was "a most powerful programmer".
Steve next told us that F-14 TOMCAT took 8 or 9 months, and BLACK KNIGHT 2000 took around 13. After that he said he did ROLLER GAMES, but added, "I don't even want to talk about that one". He next talked about the TERMINATOR 2 license game, which he said Roger Sharpe made possible, remarking that it was "'outrageous' - more than you can believe".
Steve then told us that people often ask how he goes about designing a game. He said that he starts with a drawing with flippers, slingshots, etc., saying that he doesn't believe in "messing with flippers and drain lanes", but maybe he might in the future. Steve then said he next works around the outside of playfield, from left to right.
'Smoothness', Steve told us, was what he considered to be the most important design consideration (combination shots, etc.). The next step, he said, was having the whitewood made, today on a computer controlled routing machine.
After that, Steve went on, you play the whitewood for a week to a month or so, and also get opinions on it from others at the plant, which he said was important. Steve then told about some of the good people at the plant. He said that Dwight Sullivan was another good programmer, and then spoke of a 68 year old mechanical engineer who he said had a wealth of experience. Greg Freres, Steve said, he considered to be a "powerful artist".
As for the kinds of games he likes to design, Steve told us "I don't do 'cute', I like macho games". He then said he wanted to talk about Mr. Kordek, saying that he visits Steve's office about once each day for anywhere from between 15 minutes to 5 hours. Steve said he appreciates Mr. Kordek because of his wealth of experience, saying that he has "little 'fixes' you wouldn't believe", adding that he really appreciates Steve's help.
Regarding Williams management, Steve said that they were "really interesting people", some of which are ex designers. Many times, Steve told us, they would tell him that something he has planned for a new game is too expensive to produce, telling him to take it out.
After he does that, Steve went on, they would play the game again and then tell him to put it back in. When this happens, he said, he puts his original feature back, but adds even more! When they play the game again they usually like it and it gets produced that way.
Steve then told us that a good game "must have many interesting features to make it sell and fun to play", but that the designer also must consider the cost to produce the machine because the "bottom line" is to make money for the industry.
At that point Steve said it was time to present his "slide show". The show consisted of many photos taken in the Williams/Bally/Midway plant, primarily of various people who worked there, Steve telling us some interesting facts about many of them. Interdispersed with these photos were shots of various motorcycles, Steve's other love.
When his slide show was over Steve paid tribute to the show's producers and thanked Dann Frank for taking care of him while he was in town. He then thanked all of us for coming to the show. Steve ended by telling us "I'm just a regular guy".
Show host Bruce Carlton next came back up and thanked everyone for coming also, He then asked that the local collectors bring more pins next year. Bruce next reminded us of the upcoming "Pinball Expo '92" (which, incidentally, I will provide complete coverage of in the next issue). He then introduced Expo producer Rob Berk to tell us about his show.
Rob first told Bruce, Mark, and Jan, "you did a wonderful job", and that he and Mike Pacak enjoyed themselves very much. He then told us that they had an exciting show coming up in November at the same place as last year. Rob then introduced his co-producer Mike Pacak.
Mike told us that they would have twice the exhibit hall space they had last year. He also said they would again have an auction (although there were many pro's and con's about when it should be held), and that we will be touring the Gottlieb/Premier pinball plant.
Mike ended by telling us that they would again have an autograph session and an art contest (which would be expanded over last year), an expanded tournament (including a "youth division"), and a "pinball skill school".
The banquet ended with a special presentation to Steve Kordek for his 55 years in the industry!
On Sunday there were no 'official' show activities. But, like last year (and maybe even the first year - but I don't know), one of the local collectors, Dann Frank and his wife, held a 'pinball open house' at their "House of Pinball" from about noon into the evening. In the morning, and part of the afternoon, Sam, Pat and I hung around the Exhibit Hall during the breakdown of the exhibits waiting for a ride to the open house which had previously been offered to us by exhibitors Steve Engle and his wife Laura.
The open house was again a very nice gathering with many games to play from the Frank's fine collection and much 'pinball conversation'. In addition, there was also some good food and punch available provided by our gracious hosts.
Well, after enjoying the open house for a little while it was soon time to head for the airport. Again Steve and Laura drove us there where we boarded our plane for California.
During our return flight Sam and I both got into conversations with a man sitting across the aisle from us. It seemed we had several things in common with him. He and Sam were both quite knowledgeable about rock music of the 50's and 60's (incidentally, besides Sam being a pinball collector he also collects 45 RPM records, having over 10,000 of them), and also he and his wife owned a small computer software company so he and I talked about the future of the computer business.
When we arrived back at the Ontario airport a quick phone call brought Sam's mother to pick us up. After the short ride to Sam's house (with a brief stop at a fast food place) I got into my car for the approximately hour and a half drive home. So ended another enjoyable weekend at the Arizona "Pinball Show".
THE L.A. VINTAGE COIN MACHINE AND ADVERTISING SHOW AND SALE
Ever since the Fun Fair went from an annual to a semi-annual affair, and moved out of the Pasadena Exhibit Center, I have noticed that the number of vintage pinball machines at that show have been greatly reduced lessening my personal enjoyment of the show. In addition, the new locations for the show, both in 'stadium' type arenas, and far from local restaurants, etc., have also detracted from my past enjoyment of the Fun Fairs. (I have recently heard a rumor, however, that the show may move back to Pasadena, and also go back to an annual format next year. If so we'll see if that helps; I will surely like that better.)
So this Fall, when I heard that Bill and Roseanna Harris were going to hold a coin-op show in Pomona the week before the Fall Fun Fair, I had pretty well made up my mind to go to their show and skip the Fun Fair altogether. Then about two weeks before the show I got a personal phone call from Roseanna inviting me to her show and offering me a complimentary pass to the show, including the show 'preview' which normally costs $30 extra. Well, I certainly couldn't turn down that offer, especially when she told me that Dick Bueschel would also be there (his first trip to California in over 10 years), so my mind was made up.
The show was held on Saturday and Sunday, October 10 and 11, and I decided to go on Saturday. My sister, who was visiting me at the time, happened to have a friend who lived less than five miles from Pomona so she decided to accompany me on the 70 or so mile drive, visiting with her friend while I attended the show.
After dropping my sister off at her friend's place, I proceeded to try and find the L.A. County Fairgrounds where the show was being held. I hadn't been to the fairgrounds since I was a young teenager (many years ago), but I finally found it. The grounds had been expanded quite a bit over the years and now you park in a large parking lot and are transported on a tram to the various venues.
When I arrived at the show I was greeted by Roseanna who told me that Dick Bueschel was over near the wall. Well, at first I could not locate him after making a 'quick pass' through the hall. Finally I found Dick busily taking pictures of the goodies there. Also, during my hunt for Dick, I found Marshall Fey who was sharing a booth with him and said hello to him.
The hall was rather large and there were quite a few exhibitors. Many of these dealers had juke boxes and related items, and many more had slots. Dick and Marshall's booth featured the books and magazine with which they both were associated. Pingames, however, were in the minority.
The dealer with the largest number of pingames was Don Westphal from Arizona who has shown games at all the recent Fun Fairs, plus the Arizona Pinball Show which I previously described. Don had five pingames and two upright 'flasher' gambling games, one with an interesting dice game motif which was called DANCING DOMINOS.
Another dealer had an 'as is' ICE FROLICS bingo pin. Los Angeles area collector/dealer Herb Silvers had only two pingames at this show, Bally's 1972 hit MONTE CARLO and Williams' 1988 solid-state pin CYCLONE.
In addition to those pins,, Herb had a beautifully restored Williams baseball machine and a nice Chicago Coin basketball game. While talking to Herb he told me of his plan to open a game showroom in the San Fernando Valley, also telling of possible future plans for starting a pinball collector's show in the L.A. area. On both these projects I wish him luck!
One dealer had two early pins along with other coin machines and related items. One of these games was THE MIDGET, a small counter-top 'pin and ball game' from a Los Angeles manufacturer, the E.E. Junior Co. The other counter-top pin he had was PLAY ROU-LETTE, a square machine with a colorful playfield made by an outfit called National Games. Both games were probably made in 1932.
There was also an interesting little game at the show, which while really not truly a pingame, had an interesting play concept and was also a game I had been briefly associated with in the past. This game, owned by Long Beach dealer Ray Dier, was called WHIZZ and was put out by Genco in 1946. It was a fairly short machine with a vertical playfield somewhat resembling that of a Japanese Pachinko machine. The player was given 10 balls per game which he launched upward to then fall down the field.
At the bottom of the field are 10 vertical slots numbered '1' through '10' into which one or more balls could end up (all 10 balls have to end up in these slots, but several balls could land in the same slot - and often do). The object of the game is to get balls in as many consecutive slots (starting with '1') without an "open" number.
At the end of the game the player would get a score (indicated in thousands of points on the glass, similar to score panels on the pingames of the day) each 1000 representing one free game. The amount of this "score" (and hence the number of free games) was a function of how long a sequence the player was able to complete (all 10 numbers being a 'jackpot' score).
This little game was especially interesting to me because several years ago I repaired one for a friend. I had it in my house for several months, and after fixing it spent hours sitting on the floor playing this fascinating and challenging little machine.
Well, to sum up the "pinball situation" at the show, there weren't too many pins this time but show promoter Roseanna Harris has promised to try and get more pin dealers to participate in future shows, the next of which has already been scheduled for April 3rd and 4th at the same location.
The following is a chronological list of the pins at this show:
NAME MANUFACTURER YEAR PRICE THE MIDGET E.E. Jr. 1932 525 PLAY ROU-LETTE National Games 1932 485 WHIZZ (Upright) Genco 1946 350 ICE FROLICS (BINGO) Bally 1953 - RACK-A-BALL Gottlieb 1962 625 LITTLE JOE Bally 1971 275 MONTE CARLO Bally 1972 725 KING PIN Gottlieb 1973 250 TARGET ALPHA Gottlieb 1977 275 CYCLONE Williams 1988 1400 ADDAMS FAMILY Williams 1991 2995
Before i finish here, let me tell of several things that happened during this show.
Well, when the official opening time of 11 AM came around (as I said earlier I first attended the "preview" which started at 9 AM) my friend Sam Harvey, who lives in Pomona, showed up. A little while later I took Sam over to talk to Dick Bueschel and he asked Dick if he wanted to go to lunch later and also see his pinball collection. Dick thought that was a great idea and before long the three of us left in Dick's rental car which was parked nearby.
Dick quickly decided that seeing Sam's collection was more important than lunch, and we first went to the 'mini storage' where Sam had a large portion of his collection (I don't know how many pingames he has by now, but it's somewhere between 200 and 400 machines I believe) was stored. The three bay storage unit was chucked full of pinball cabinets and backboards with absolutely no room for human ingress.
After leaving the storage place we heeded for Sam's house. On the way Sam showed Dick some interesting old Pomona homes which Dick enjoyed seeing very much.
After arriving at the house Dick received the 'grand tour' which included the garage (full of games), the 'pool room' (with a little room for standing - but not enough for playing pool), and a storage shed in back of the garage housing minor parts, etc.
Finally, we went into the house. There were pingames in every room except for the kitchen and one bathroom (the only other bathroom had years ago been taken over by pinball items). In one room Sam had most of his extensive pinball literature collection, plus many "new old-stock" playfields, etc. Sam's house, as you can see, is certainly a "pinball paradise".
When we returned to the show Roseanna immediately notified Dick and I that she was holding an "ask the authors" session at 2 PM in which she had planned for us to participate. That was a surprise to me, and possibly to Dick also.
When that session was announced at 2 PM Dick, myself, Marshall Fey, and coin machine book author/publisher Dan Meade sat down at the table provided. There was a group of chairs in front of the table but they were so far away that communication with us 'panelists' would have been next to impossible due to the noise in the hall.
After we moved these chairs closer to our table, a small group of people (somewhere between 4 and 8, I believe) gathered around and several things were discussed by our little group. One subject discussed was the internal and play principles of the video poker games, the subject of a recent book by Dan Meade.
The final topic of discussion was brought up by one of the people in our little audience. He asked if anybody had compiled, or was considering compiling, a cross-reference of the various slot machine books so a person could look up a particular model and find all references to it.
The panel told him that that had not been done, and then pointed out that it would be a big task and would have to be continually updated as new books came out. That same idea, by the way, has been attempted by at least two individuals as far as pingames are concerned.
Several years ago a gentleman named Rod Cornelius in New Zealand started such a computer database, cross-referencing article references in several pinball hobby magazines. More recently, a young man in Pennsylvania named Doug Landman has created a similar database which he is constantly updating, and which soon will include references to pinball books as well as magazine articles. So far, however, it appears that no such thing has happened as far as slots are concerned. Hooray for pinball people!
Also, around that time, my good friends Rob Hawkins and Don Mueting (authors of the new PINBALL COLLECTORS RESOURCE which I reviewed in the last issue) showed up at the show. They immediately found a dealer selling some old pinball brochures, etc., but his prices were quite high. Don and Rob could only stay for a short time, as they had other matters to attend to that day, so I only had a brief visit with them in the middle of their 'paper perusing'. A short time later Sam Harvey found the same 'paper mine' and he dug in right away. Sam loves pinball paper!
Well, it finally came time to leave the show which I had enjoyed very much. Roseanna invited me back next time and I'm planning to do just that.
On the way home my sister and I stopped at a large shopping mall in Glendale (where we lived when we were children) so she could do some shopping. While there we ate in a "Bob's Big Boy" coffee shop, an old chain of restaurants which is now being phased out after over 50 years of operation. On a personal note, I have been eating at Bob's since World War II and will surely miss the famous "Big Boy' hamburger I have enjoyed all these years!
After that we returned home. I really enjoyed my visit to the L.A Vintage Coin Machine and Advertising Show and Sale and hope to visit the next one.
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