(The Year of Coincidences)

(PART 2)


By Russ Jensen

Last time I described all of the seminars at Pinball Expo '96. This time I will conclude my coverage of the show by briefly describing the second "Fireside Chat", followed by descriptions of the Game Auction, Autograph Session, Saturday Night Banquet, and the Exhibit Hall (including a list of all the pingames that were there).


As I said last time, this year there were two "Fireside "Chats" scheduled. The first, which I told about last time, was with veteran pingame designer Wayne Neyens and held on Thursday evening. The second chat was held on Friday evening and was with a great pinball artist of the past, Dave Christensen. who did much of the art for the Bally games of the 1970's.

As with all these "chats", it was held in Rob Berk's suite. When the guest of honor arrived it had been after a session at the hotel bar with friends, Dave arriving "a few sheets to the wind". This affected his answers to questions at the beginning of the session, but after awhile he sobered up pretty well.

Also, last past "chats", Dave was asked some questions by Expo host Rob Berk and some examples of his great artwork were displayed. A little later former Bally employee and Dave's friend Jim Patla joined in, reminiscing with Dave about their years at Bally. As I have said in the past regarding these chats, a detailed discussion of what went on is beyond the scope of this article. Anyway, hearing from this great artist was indeed a pleasure!


This year, as has happened at Expo's in the past several years, there was a game auction conducted on Saturday morning by an auction outfit that specializes in amusement machine auctions. The auction room was literally loaded with games - mostly pinballs, plus a few video games, slot machines, etc.. There were also a few pinball backglasses and playfields offered for sale.

Two interesting things occurred in connection with the auction that were connected with me personally. First, there was a game offered for sale, Bally's BLUE BIRD, which was manufactured in the month and year I was born (October 1936). Secondly, another of the old games offered for sale was Pacific Amusement's CONTACT (a game I currently own) from 1934. I noticed while looking at this machine that the auction people had attached to it in a plastic holder an article written by me several years ago describing the game!

The auction was quite well attended. The following is a list of some of the older pingames (in chronological order) and the prices they brought.

    GAME                          MANUFACTURER   YEAR      PRICE
    CONTACT                       Pamco          1933      170
    BEACON                        Stoner         1935      235
    LUCKY STAR                    Genco          1935      310
    BLUE BIRD                     Bally          1936      295
    CAROM                         Bally          1937      435
    HI-BOY (P/O)                  Mills          1938      1550
    ROTO POOL  (BAD GLASS)        Gottlieb       1958      375
    HULA-HULA                     Chicago Coin   1966      360
    JOUST                         Bally          1969      450
    VAMPIRE                       Bally          1970      350
    CHAMP                         Bally          1973      165
    FLICKER                       Bally          1974      330
    PLAYBOY (SS)                  Bally          1976.     400
    6 MILLION DOLLAR MAN (SS)     Bally          1977      400
    STAR TREK  (SS)               Bally          1978      310


Another annual Expo event, which has been occurring for several years now, is the pinball designers, artists, and author's "Autograph Session" which was held on Saturday afternoon. This year, like two years ago, your's truly was one of the participants, displaying my book "Pinball Troubleshooting Guide". I was sure among great company with the wonderful pinball designers and artists, in addition to author Dick Bueschel!

Now it's time to tell you why I call Expo '96 "the year of coincidences". The first coincidence occurred while I was sitting at the autograph table. A fellow came up to me and we started talking. When he told me he was from New Hampshire I remarked that there was another "New Hampshirite" at the show, Dave Marston, whom he said he would like to meet. Well, in less than a minute who should wander over to the table but Dave himself! I introduced the two and they left talking to each other.

The second coincidence also occurred during the Autograph Session. This involved Dave Marston telling me that he saw that I was doing pretty well in the "1950's game pinball tournament" being held in conjunction with the Expo. This came as a surprise to me because, as I told Dave, I had not even entered! Well, I sort of forgot about it until Sunday morning when Dave and I were visiting in the Exhibit Hall. When we looked at the bulletin board showing tournament standings we saw the name "Russell Jensen". We then went to the lady who had the show attendance records and she confirmed that there were indeed two Russell Jensen's registered at the Expo!

The other Russell Jensen turned out to be from East Lansing Michigan. We next had him paged in the Exhibit Hall, but there was no response - I guess he had probably already left for home. Anyway, one of these days I'm planning to call him on the phone and talk to him.

The final "coincidence" actually had nothing whatever to do with the "autograph session", but since I'm on the subject I'll tell about it now. On Friday evening several of us were up until around 2 AM, and ended up conversing while sitting on some couches in the hotel lobby, The next morning, when I was ready to leave my room, I discovered that my "10th Anniversary Pinball Expo jacket" (which I, and others, were given a couple years earlier for attending all of the first ten shows) was missing. The only thing I could figure was that I had left it in the lobby the previous evening.

Well, my roommate Sam and I decided to go to the lobby and check "Lost and Found". When we went downstairs we decided to first check the area where we had been sitting the previous evening. After discovering that the jacket was not on any of the couches, we turned to go to the front desk and ask about "Lost and Found". At that very moment one of the bellhops just happened to open the door of a small storage room across the lobby and Sam saw my jacket hanging up there!

Now, that room is not opened often (and not all of it's interior is visible from the outside when the door is open). But it just happened that the door was opened at the precise moment Sam turned toward it, and the jacket was hung at such a place that it was visible through the open door! So, these are the reasons why I called Expo '96 "the year of coincidences".


Saturday evening, as it has been for all the past Expos, was the time for the annual Expo banquet. And this year, like the past two or three years, the banquet festivities began with a small auction, the items to be sold being donated by various Expo attendees and companies, with all the proceeds going to charity (The Make-A-Wish Foundation). The auctioneer for this event was the professional auctioneer who had conducted the game auction earlier that day. Well, after Rob Berk introduced the auction and auctioneer and gave the "rules", the auction began.

The following is a list of the items auctioned off, and the prices they brought for charity:

    book - Pinball Art                           $60
    Congo backglass, plus 5 game posters         $55
    bricks from demolished Bally plant           $45
    admission package to Pinball Fantasy '97
         show in Las Vegas, plus video tape
         and T-shirt                             $175
    6 Liz-Tech solid-state maintenance manual
         reprints                                $35
    3 CONGO backglass plastics                   $25 each
    Rocket from APOLLO 13 game, autographed
         by astronaut Jim Lovell                 $400
    signed playfield from Capcom's PINBALL MAGIC $75
    10 pinball and video game posters            $60
    2 signed copies of ENCYCLOPEDIA OF PINBALL
         Vol 1 by Bueschel                       $65 each
    pinball art sculpture                        $50
    VOLTAN backglass - signed by artist
         Dave Christensen                        $375
    signed and framed ELVIRA photo               $225
    ATTACK FROM MARS jacket - signed             $260
    2 sets PINBALL MAGIC "high end brochure"
         and T-shirt                             $40 each
    Bally T-shirt                                $40
    2 "Absolute Pinball" video tapes             $35 each
    selection of Bally/Gottlieb coils            $65
    2 Canadian pinball backglasses               $65/$35
    Pro Pinball CD                               $45
    SCARED STIFF T-shirt (signed by Elvira)      $100
    "Golden Gate" art glass by D. Christensen    $150
         backglasses                             $65
    "lock-down bar" end pieces for old
         Gottlieb game                           $45
    Pinball Expo '97 entry                       $85
    3 ATTACK FROM MARS plastic sets              $85 each

The "best" of the auction were, of course, saved for last. Someone from Williams (I believe it was Steve Kordek, - but I'm not sure) donated copies of some old original drawings from the company files - they even had handwritten notes and initials of company founder Harry Williams!

The first drawing to be auctioned was the playfield layout for Williams' 1947 (drawing dated 3/17/47) game CYCLONE, the first pingame to use "wire forms" on it's playfield, it bringing $200. Next was the drawing of YANKS (dated 1/23/48) which was designed by Harry Williams, it also bringing the same price.

The final drawing auctioned was for CONTROL TOWER (dated 1/12/51) which had handwritten notes of Harry Williams to chief engineer Gordon Horlock regarding the design. That brought the final auction bid of $265.

Next on the banquet agenda was a short "fun game" conducted by Philadelphia game dealer Todd Tuckey, similar to a game he did last year. Todd showed slides of pictures of the playfields of some solid-state pingames, the audience guessing which games they were from.

Next up was the "feature event" of the banquet - but nobody knew what that was because Expo host Rob Berk had kept that "a dark secret". Historian/author Dick Bueschel first came up to the speaker's stand and began by saying we were going to "roast" long- time pingame designer Steve Kordek who had been in the pingame industry for 60 years! Dick then began reciting a long poem chronicling Steve's long career.

Rob Berk then got up and told us that tonight we are going to pay a tribute to Steve for his 60 years in the industry. The first tribute to be given, he went on, was from Japan. Rob then introduced Masaya Horiguchi to give his brief tribute to Steve.

Masaya first told us that he was representing a Tokyo pinball players' organization and was there to celebrate Steve Kordek's sixty years in the pinball industry on behalf of the pinball lovers of Japan. He then told us that he started playing pinball about fifty years ago and never dreamed that he would be able to meet an actual pinball game designer in person!

He then told of first meeting Steve at an Expo several years back, remarking how Steve warmly welcomed him and the other pinball players that had come over from Japan. Masaya ended by saying that he was very happy to give congratulations to Steve on his 60 years in the industry!

After Masaya completed his tribute, Rob read two letters from two of Steve's good friends. The first letter was from a gentleman named Don Curnew. He began by saying "hi" to Steve and congratulating him on his 60 years in the industry. Don then said that he had recently seen Steve on TV and that he still "looks like a young fellow". He then said that he had enjoyed the years he worked with Steve at Williams. Finally, Don remarked that he wished Steve continued good health and told him to go on designing new games.

The next letter was from Steve's long-time friend and co- worker Norm Clark. Norm began by saying he was sorry he could not attend the Expo this year and help celebrate Steve's 60 years in the industry. He then commented that he and Steve worked side by side for many years and had a terrific relationship as co-workers, and an even better one as friends.

Norm then remarked that over the years they had traveled together and played golf together - quipping that Steve never gave him any "strokes"! He then said the he, Steve, and their wives had also taken vacations together in past years. "Until I left in 1975", Norm went on, "Steve and I were the only game designers at Williams". After saying those were great years he'll never forget, Norm ended by wishing Steve many more years of turning out great games!

After that, Rob played a video tribute to Steve from pingame designer Steve Ritchie who was currently working in California. Mr. Ritchie began by saying "hi" to Steve and hello to all his "Expo friends". He said that he also was sorry he could not attend the show but that he had a new job with a new company and that was "demanding all his attention". Steve then also congratulated Steve Kordek on his 60 years in the industry.

He next remarked that Steve's stamina, grace, and strength made him both a "great role model" and a "great man". Steve then commented that he and fellow game designer George Gomez often talked about what they called "pinball dads". This, he said, was the guy who "shows you the ropes" by telling you things nobody else can. He then remarked that when he first saw Steve's game SPACE MISSION he knew Steve Kordek would be his "pinball dad"!

After saying that other people at Williams also thought of Mr. Kordek as their "dad", Steve said he missed a lot of things not being at Williams anymore. He then said, for example, he missed having Steve's office just down the hall from his, remarking that the 10 minute talks he often had with Steve in the mornings almost always resulted in him learning something new.

Mr. Ritchie then commented that he often thought about asking Steve's bosses to transfer him to California. He said that if Steve moved west he could play golf all year round! After then commenting that "he never understood the 'magic' Steve found in the 'little white ball'", Steve quipped "but I guess you never cared much about dirt bikes (Steve Ritchie's personal pastime) either".

After then remarking that the game "keeps Steve in great shape", he said that he wished Steve "many more years of playing". Steve then said there were two golf courses within a three mile radius of him, and he expected Mr. Kordek to come visit next winter.

Mr. Ritchie then said that the pinball industry owes Steve a great amount of gratitude for the "thumper bumper" and "thousands of other devices, production tricks, and ideas, as well as complete game designs". He then commented that Steve had "accomplished so much more than most people in the business" - adding that he didn't see how anyone could surpass Steve's accomplishments"!

After commenting that he will always admire Steve's loyalty to Williams, Mr. Ritchie remarked that Steve would "always speak out when the time was right". He ended by saying "the coin-op amusement business is a better place due to Steve Kordek's contributions to it". Finally, he offered his "heartfelt congratulations" to Steve, adding "God Bless you Steve". That drew a round of applause!

When the video ended Rob Berk asked Dutch pin-fan Henk DeJager to come up to honor Steve. Henk began by saying that when he was a small boy he began putting his "pocket change" into pinball machines at a local hamburger shop. He then said that he first played Williams' 1965 game BIG CHIEF which he said "got me hooked on pinball".

After that, Henk went on, I started looking for more places to play pinball and "met my favorites - APOLLO, CASANOVA, STUDENT PRINCE, etc." Years later, he continued, I became a pinball operator by profession and also bought for myself the games I enjoyed such as JUBILEE, HONEY, SKY LAB, and SPACE MISSION. Henk then remarked that he saw something in the design of many games which indicated to him that they should "make money". "I didn't know the man behind these game ideas at the time", he went on, "but later I met him - Steve Kordek"

"I am sure the industry would never have been what it is today", Henk then commented, "without the innovations and ideas you brought to it - thank you". He then said that it was a great honor for him to be able to congratulate Steve on his 60 years in the pinball industry.

Henk ended by saying that on behalf of the thousands of Dutch pinball players who have enjoyed Steve's games over the years, and those who like to play and collect them today, that he wanted to ask everyone in the room to recognize Steve for his many accomplishments of the past 60 years. He then thanked Steve again, drawing a round of applause.

At that point Rob Berk came back up and showed a chronological "slide show" of the brochures for the games Steve had designed over the years. The list contained 89 games, beginning with Genco's TRIPLE ACTION from 1948, and ending with Williams' 1978 game POKERINO.

After the slide show ended Rob said that some other important people in Steve's life had come to share the evening with him. He then invited Steve's daughter Donna and his son Rick to come up.

Donna began by saying "hi dad" and then saying how she wished her appearance at the banquet could have been kept a surprise, but that Steve had seen her earlier out in the hall when he was on his way to the Men's Room. She then said that she first wanted to read a couple notes to him she had recently received.

The first note Donna read was from Steve's other daughter Kathy who lived in California. The note began with Kathy saying that it was difficult to find words to accurately describe their feelings for "the man known as Steve Kordek" for his many years of service and dedication to the pinball industry where he "offered all his fire, talent, and love for the industry and his fellow man". Kathy ended by congratulating her father for "55 years of dedication to his wife, children, grandchildren - and now his great-grandchildren."

Donna next read a short note from Steve's son in Michigan, Father Frank. He began his note with "God bless you dad for all that you have done and all that you are". "You're Gods gift to a lot of people", he went on, "to your friends, family, and everyone who knows you". Father Frank then congratulated Steve on his 60 years in the pinball industry, adding "I know it's been very special to you - love you a lot - your son Father Frank".

The last "note" Donna read was a FAX she had recently received from her nephew (Steve's grandson) Mark from California. Mark began by saying "congratulations gramps on 60 years in the industry". He then remarked that that was "twice as long as I've been alive!" Mark then remarked that Steve has "offered me a lot to think about", adding "I hope I can stay in my teaching career for 60 years". After commenting "I've learned a lot from you", he ended by saying "congratulations again - your grandson Mark". That drew another round of applause.

At that point Donna gave her own personal tribute to her father. She began by remarking that when she was invited to speak at the banquet she was asked to talk about her first memories of her father's involvement with the pinball industry. She then said that probably her earliest such memory occurred when she was about seven years old and in the Second Grade at Catholic school. Donna then said that her teacher had asked each student to get up and tell the class what their fathers did for a living.

She said she thought for a moment, and when it was her turn she got up and told the class that her father "made adult toys"! Donna told us that after that the Sister asked her to have her parents come to school to see her. She then said that her parents did come and explain to the teacher what Steve did. This brought a good laugh from the audience!

Donna next commented that her dad was always happy with his job - then, as well as now - adding that she thought it important for people to enjoy their work. She then remarked that often at home when her dad would hear or see something (like on TV) he would often grab a pencil and paper and start designing a game.

The next memory Donna related was a few years back when she was looking for a gift for her father. She said she went to a bookstore to look around and spied a book on of all things the pinball industry. Upon leafing through it, Donna continued, she saw her father's name mentioned and excitedly purchased it for him. When she got home she said to her father "you won't believe it, but I found a book with your name in it!" But, she told us, her father told her that he "knew all about it".

After remarking that her father seldom talked about being interviewed for books, etc, - even when his picture once appeared in an article in LIFE Magazine - Donna began telling how proud she was of his accomplishments. She said it was amazing to her to think of him being in the industry for 60 years, which she remarked, was more years than the age of most people in the room!

After then commenting that serving for 60 years in any industry was something anyone could be proud of, Donna ended by telling her dad she was proud of him and "loved him a lot"! She then thanked Rob and Mike for asking her to speak about her father. Donna then drew a good round of applause.

Donna's brother Rick next said a few words. He began by commenting that if his father was considered to be "the father of pinball", the we (not only he and his sister, but all who have enjoyed Steve's contributions to the industry) must be "the children of pinball". He then remarked that his father has been "father of pinball" for sixty years, yet he himself was only fifty years of age!

Rick then told us that he not only wanted to thank his father for his contributions to the industry, but also for his contributions to God and his family! He ended by saying "thanks a lot dad; I'm proud of you and of being under the Kordek name"! That drew a found of applause.

At that point another video tribute to Steve was presented, recorded by several of his cohorts at Williams.

The first speaker on the video was Williams' current Director of Marketing, and former pinball author, Roger Sharpe. Roger began by saying that Steve was a "beacon" for him, then commenting it was lucky for him to have gotten involved with pinball in the early 1970's when he did. He then said that he thought it "most miraculous" to him for a man like Steve (who was old enough to be his father - or even grandfather) to have known exactly what he himself would like in a pinball game!

Roger then remarked that it was Steve who gave the game "personality" and a "humanistic quality". He then commented that Steve was also the person responsible for providing "endless hours of entertainment" to millions of pinball players by knowing what they would like - not only once, but repeatedly! "His zest, vitality, and passion", Roger went on, "have been embodied more than once in his games."

Roger next mentioned his own personal experience while writing his 1977 book "Pinball". He said he was glad to be able to capture these people's (the designers such as Steve) personal histories, as well as to "popularize the art form" they were responsible for.

After again remarking that he was fortunate to get involved with pinball when he did, he said he was also fortunate to have lasted as long as he has. Roger then told us that he was "blessed to have my life enriched by Steve Kordek and others like him". He ended by saying that he felt that Steve was "truly a marvel and an inspiration"!

Next up on the video was Williams' Vice President of Sales Joe Dillon. Joe began by saying that he thought Steve Kordek's biggest contribution to the industry was the "level of integrity" he brought to the games. He then said that Steve had always "taken the high road" as far as the themes for his designs were concerned - keeping them "above reproach".

Joe then commented that working with Steve was like working with a "master of the trade", adding that Steve's wealth of knowledge and experience enabled him to tell those at Williams if they were "heading down the wrong path". He ended by complimenting Steve for being a "resource they could always call on, whether it came to history or guidance."

Next up was a gentleman named Marty Glazman. He first said that when he met Steve for the first time he was in "awe" of the man! When he called Steve "Mr. Kordek", he continued, Steve told him to just call him "Steve". After that, he went on, Steve tried to get his ideas, rather than he getting ideas from Steve. He then said "he wanted my opinions".

Marty then remarked that you always felt comfortable around Steve, and that he was a person who gathered other people's ideas and then communicated them to others. After again emphasizing how Steve was always looking for new ideas from others, he ended by saying that with Steve "it's awesome" - "it's incredible".

A Brian Eddy was next to speak on the video. He began by commenting that Steve "almost created the industry himself", and that he was with the industry "almost since the beginning". He then told of Steve putting flippers "at the bottom of the playfield where they belonged" - adding that he thought of Steve as "a living legend in pinball terms!"

Brian then called Steve "an amazing historian of everything", adding that there was probably no one in the industry today who has been around as long as Steve. He then commented that Steve has seen the industry through it's "ups and downs" and "knows everything".

"If you have questions regarding almost any game from the past", Brian went on, "all you have to do is ask Steve and he'll go to the files in his office and pull out a copy of the brochure!" "It's great to have such a knowledgeable person", Brian then commented. He ended by saying that Steve had "incredible energy" and is still "gung ho" when it comes to the industry after all these years. "He's great" was his final comment.

Next on the video was Larry DeMar, long-time Williams designer, now executive. Larry began by saying that he has been in the industry for 17 years (which he thinks is a "long time"), but that it's short compared to Steve's years. "One thing that has always amazed me", Larry said, "was the 'little kid' inside Steve". He is "always energetic", he went on, "coming to work every day on some 'new mission'".

Larry next said that Steve was a "role model" to him, teaching him to make sure he doesn't "take things too seriously", and to also make sure "I never grow up". When Steve started in the industry, Larry then remarked, there were no such things as flippers, sounds (except bells), microprocessors, special effects, speech, ramps, etc., yet today he understands how to use the latest technology to "advance the product".

After commenting that Steve has "seen just about everything", Larry said that he has seen many "ups and downs" in pinball over the years. "But", he went on, "even through lean times in the industry Steve 'stuck with pinball'". Larry then said that he himself had been through three "drops in the pinball market". He ended by saying that in the early 1980's when the company shifted to an emphasis on video games, Steve "kept focused on pinball" and "helped to bring it back"!

Next we heard from current Williams pin designer George Gomez on the video. George began by commenting that there were probably hundreds (maybe thousands) of things that Steve contributed to the industry over the years, saying he was "definitely one of the most influential people in moving pinball in the direction it has taken". "Definitely", he went on, "a key player in the evolution of the game".

George then told about working on the design for his recent game CORVETTE and having trouble figuring out how to arrange the rubber rings in a certain area of the playfield to accomplish a particular result. He said Steve walked up and within minutes told him what to do - and it worked! George ended by remarking that a lot of times we think we're doing something new and come to find out that it has been done thirty or forty years ago - and "Steve can show you how!"

The final person to speak on the video was Williams designer Pat Lawlor. Pat began by commenting that Steve was a perfect example of how one man's life teaches many people without them ever knowing, meeting or seeing him! He then said that Steve epitomizes what he likes to think all designers do. "When we design a game", Pat went on, "it goes out and is seen by tens of thousands of people in a lifetime, yet they don't know who designed it?"

Pat then continued, remarking that it's important for game designers to realize that their designs can affect other persons' lives. "Think of the blue-collar guy", he went on, "who goes out in the evening thinking he is going to have a little fun, going into a bar, playing a game, and maybe meeting the girl he's going to marry".

Steve's work, Pat went on, over a period of years has touched people who he'll never meet. He then said "we affect people in ways we can't possibly dream of - we are in the 'entertainment business', and it's important to know that the 'end user' is the one you're trying to entertain".

Pat then remarked that Steve's career started when games were still powered by batteries, and he later was the first to put flippers at the bottom of the playfield where they belonged. He then commented that 'relay logic' was used in electro-mechanical games to create 'rudimentary gates', similar to the logic of today's computer-controlled games. From there, he continued, he went through the "era of transistors" into the "microprocessor age" with it's complicated game rules.

Three years ago, Pat then said, Steve put a computer on his desk. "Just think about it", he went on, "over his life Steve has gone from batteries to 'Autocad' designing, staying involved through 'sheer will'". He ended by saying that Steve "treats the world as a big wonderful toy - a great way to look at it!"

When Pat had concluded his remarks, Roger Sharpe came back on the video for a final tribute to Steve. After thanking him for the memories he had given him, Roger again thanked Steve for his enthusiasm, commitment, and passion he had for the pinball industry. He then commented that Steve "has brought so much joy to the incredible world of pinball".

Finally, Roger thanked Steve again, then remarking that he "hoped to be around for the next 60 years to see what happens in the industry", and also said he wanted to play more golf with Steve, Roger ended by saying that Steve was a "personal inspiration" to him, then thanking him one more time!

The video ended with each of the previous speakers giving their final tribute to Steve. After that Steve was given a standing ovation!

At that point the guest of honor came up, first telling us that on December 26 he would be 85 years old, bringing on a big round of applause. He then remarked that the pinball industry is responsible for "the way I am today". Steve then thanked the people who had paid tribute to him. That brought on a long standing ovation!

Rob Berk then got up and presented Steve with a diamond. After Steve thanked them for the gift, he was given still another standing ovation!

Rob Berk then introduced the people sitting with him at the "head table". They included his wife Brigitt, Mike Pacak, and a lady named Jan Holmes. He then did a slight variation on what has become an "Expo tradition" for the past several years.

The "first timers" attending the Expo were asked to stand up, they receiving a round of applause. Rob then asked all of us who had attended all thirteen Expos to stand up, we also received a round of applause. Finally, he asked all foreign visitors to the show to stand. They were also given a round of applause. Rob then began presenting some awards.

The first award given was a plaque given to Donal Murphey of Electrical Windings Inc. in appreciation for letting the Expo visitors tour his plant this year. Next the award for the "best restored pingame" at the show was presented to Herb Silvers of Fabulous Fantasies in southern California - Herb accepting the award and then telling about his pinball show "Pinball Fantasy '97", which was to be held in Las Vegas on July 18 through 20, 1997. Finally, Rob gave out the award for "best exhibit" to Jim and Judy Tolbert of For Amusement Only of Berkeley, California.

Rob then asked former Bally game designer Greg Kmiek to come up front. Greg said he was there to disclose this year's nominee to the "Pinball Hall of Fame", a tradition started at Pinball Expo several years ago. After reading the list of past "hall-of- famers", Greg said that this year's inductee was none other than famed pinball artist Dave Christensen (the guest of honor at Friday night's Fireside Chat). That brought a good round of applause from the audience!

Next Rob presented a plaque to Sega Pinball for their loaning of the new pingames for use in the Flip-Out Tournament. A Sega representative then accepted the plaque, thanking Rob and Mike for it. At that point the lady named Lisa, who represented the "sponsor" of this year's Expo, Interplay, came up to tell a little more about her company.

After thanking Rob and Mike for producing such a great show (which got them a round of applause), Lisa began telling about the computer pinball simulator Interplay produces. She then showed a video telling about their "Pro Pinball" game. When Lisa finished Rob Berk presented her with a plaque - that also drawing a round of applause for her and her company.

After Mike Pacak presented Jim Schelberg (publisher of the all pinball publication Pingame Journal) an award for being the Expo's "official, unofficial photographer", Mike asked John Wyatt of the British Pinball Owners Association to present that organization's award for the "best pingame of the past year".

John began by giving his personal tribute to Steve Kordek and telling of Steve giving him a personal tour of the Williams factory in 1991. He then said that the game they had chosen for their award was Williams' ATTACK FROM MARS which brought on a round of applause from the audience, the award then being accepted by someone from the company.

At that point Rob Berk came back up and mentioned that at the Thursday evening Fireside Chat it was brought out that designer Wayne Neyens had designed a total of 158 pingames during his illustrious career! Rob then presented Wayne with a plaque for being the "most prolific pinball designer". Wayne accepted the plaque bringing on a round of applause.

Richard Shapero from Louisville, Kentucky next got up and thanked the instructors from his "learn to play pinball" session held Thursday afternoon, naming each individually - each of them being given a round of applause. Rob Berk then announced the winner of the "Pinball Art Contest", a young man named Rod winning it for his piece titled "Fantasy Pinball".

Rob then thanked his Expo staff and his wife's parents who were also given a round of applause. He then thanked his co-host Mike Pacak who was also applauded. It was then time for the annual banquet raffle.

The pinball machine to be given away this year was a 1980 Williams BLACKOUT - the first time a new game was not donated by one of the manufacturers, I believe. Rob then pulled out five tickets in order, remarking that if the owner of the first ticket did not claim the game then the second one could, etc. There was some confusion over who got the game and I was never sure who ended up with it?

At that point Dann Frank from Arizona came up to talk about his forthcoming pinball show, The Wild West Pinball Fest, to be held in Scottsdale, Arizona the first weekend in May, 1997. After announcing his show, Dann gave his own personal thanks to Steve Kordek for his contributions to pinball over the years, eliciting still another round of applause for Steve!

After Rob Berk announced that the finals of the Flip-Out tournament would be held Sunday morning in the Exhibit Hall, he told us that Pinball Expo '97 had already been scheduled for November 13 - 16, 1997. He then asked Steve Kordek and Wayne Neyens to come up front.

When Steve and Wayne came up Rob said that not only were we celebrating Steve's 60 years in the industry, but also Wayne and his wife's 50th Wedding Anniversary! He then said they had a cake to celebrated both events.

Finally, Rob reminded everybody that the Exhibit Hall would again be open all night for those who wished to play pinball in the "wee hours". That ended the banquet and brought forth a final round of applause!


As I have always said in past Expo articles, the Exhibit Hall is really "the heart of the show". It is the place where a good part of the "visiting" is done between the pinball fans attending the show - at least I know it is for me. It is also the place, of course, where all of the pinball playing is done, and that is why many of the Expo attendees come to the show. Finally, it's the place where all the buying and selling of games and associated parts and literature takes place - another reason many attend.

This year, as in most of the past years, the Exhibit Hall consisted of two rooms filled with pinball machines (both old and new) and dealer's booths selling games, parts, and literature. The front area of the hall was also the location of the long line of INDEPENDENCE DAY pins used during the "qualifying rounds" of the Flip-Out pinball tournament.

The first booth when you entered the hall was that of Expo Exhibit Hall Chairman Mike Pacak, selling mostly pinball advertising flyers, plus miscellaneous books, etc.. There is always much activity at Mike's booth as many people collect these brochures.

Two of the major game dealers at the show were Herb Silver's Fabulous Fantasies from the Los Angeles area, and Jim and Judy Tolbert's For Amusement Only outfit from the San Francisco area. The Tolberts also sold parts and literature.

Probably the largest dealer in pinball parts (including their fine reproduction parts) and literature (other than flyers) was Steve Young's Pinball Resource. This was also the place where Dick bueschel's newly released pinball book, Encyclopedia of Pinball - Vol 1, was for sale - in fact that was the first thing I picked up the moment the Exhibit Hall opened on Thursday evening!

In addition to the larger dealers, which also included Steve Engle's Pinball Supermarket which sells a lot of parts, there were many smaller outfits and individuals selling games, as well as parts and literature. Expo "sponsor" Interplay also had a booth where you could try out their excellent pinball simulator Pro Pinball, and it was busy most of the time.

Now for a rundown of the pingames available for sale and/or playing this year in the Exhibit Hall. There were 8 games from the 1930's, 7 from the 1940's, 21 from the 1950's, and 29 from the 1960's. From the 1970's there were 44 electro-mechanical pins and 14 solid state. There were 34 games from the 1980's, and 38 from the current decade.

The following is a chronological listing of most of the pingames in the Exhibit Hall:

    GAME                              MFG.            YEAR   PRICE
    FIVE STAR FINAL                   Gottlieb        1932
    AIRWAY                            Bally           1933
    JIGSAW (WORLDS FAIR)              Rockola         1933
    SKY RIDE                          Genco           1933
    WORLD SERIES                      Rockola         1933
    KELLY POOL                        Gottlieb        1935
    THREE IN LINE                     Bally           1935
    RED SAILS                         Pamco           1936
    CHUBBIE                           Stoner          1938    350
    CAPTIAL KIDD                      Genco           1941
    HUMPTY DUMPTY                     Gottlieb        1947    800
    BALLERINA                         Bally           1948    495
    TROPICANA                         United          1948    450
    YANKS                             Williams        1948    450
    GOLDEN GLOVES                     Chicago Coin    1949
    BUBBLES                           Genco           194?
    NIFTY                             Williams        1950    400
    BOMBER                            Chicago Coin    1951    950
    GLAMOUR                           Gottlieb        1951
    CHINATOWN                         Gottlieb        1952    700
    QUARTETTE                         Gottlieb        1952    650, 750
    SLUG FEST  (BB)                   Williams        1952
    C.O.D.                            Williams        1953    NFS
    QUINTETTE                         Gottlieb        1953
    LOVELY LUCY                       Gottlieb        1954    700
    STAGE COACH                       Gottlieb        1954    450
    JUBILEE                           Gottlieb        1955
    DELUXE FOUR BAGGER  (BB)          Williams        1956    995
    DERBY DAY                         Gottlieb        1956    800
    RAINBOW                           Gottlieb        1956
    CROSSWORD                         Williams        1959    450
    DELUXE PINCH HITTER  (BB)         Williams        1959    895
    HI DIVER                          Gottlieb        1959    950
    LIGHTNING BALL                    Gottlieb        1959    650, 750
    STRAIGHT SHOOTER                  Gottlieb        1959    750
    TIC TAC TOE                       Williams        1959
    UNIVERSE                          Gottlieb        1959
    BIG STRIKE  (BOWLER)              United          195?
    CRISS CROSS HOCKEY                Chicago Coin    195?    695
    MIDGET ALLEY  (BOWLER)            Williams        195?    3295
    BALL PARK                         Bally           1960    350
    KEWPIE DOLL                       Gottlieb        1960    500
    OFFICIAL BASEBALL  (BB)           Williams        1960    1500
    BIG CASINO                        Gottlieb        1961    200
    BOBO                              Williams        1961    300
    FLIPPER FAIR  (AAB)               Gottlieb        1961
    TEN SPOT                          Williams        1961    450
    FLIPPER CLOWN  (AAB)              Gottlieb        1962    800
    TROPIC ISLE                       Gottlieb        1962    900
    MAJOR LEAGUE  (BB)                Williams        1963    850
    SLICK CHICK                       Gottlieb        1963    950
    NORTH STAR                        Gottlieb        1964    575, 650,
    WING DING                         Williams        1964    300
    WORLD FAIR                        Gottlieb        1964    625, 1250
    COWPOKE  (AAB)                    Gottlieb        1965
    ICE REVIEW                        Gottlieb        1965    625
    SKYLINE                           Gottlieb        1965    750, 900
    CROSSTOWN                         Gottlieb        1966
    HURDY GURDY                       Gottlieb        1966    1095
    APOLLO                            Williams        1967
    BLAST OFF                         Williams        1967    400
    DIAMOND JACK  (AAB)               Gottlieb        1967    400
    MAGIC TOWN  (AAB)                 Williams        1967    600
    SURF SIDE                         Gottlieb        1967    650
    AIRPORT                           Gottlieb        1969    395
    MIBS                              Gottlieb        1969    1500
    MINI POOL                         Gottlieb        1969    400
    SPIN-A-CARD                       Gottlieb        1969    400
    AQUARIUS                          Gottlieb        1970    400
    BATTER UP                         Gottlieb        1970    400
    CRESCENDO                         Gottlieb        1970    450
    FOUR MILLION BC                   Bally           1970    695
    STRAIGHT FLUSH                    Williams        1970    400
    FIREBALL                          Bally           1971    595
    FOUR SQUARE                       Gottlieb        1971    425
    PLAYBALL                          Gottlieb        1971
    HONEY                             Williams        1972    395
    KING KOOL                         Gottlieb        1972    595
    MONTE CARLO                       Bally           1972    500
    TIME ZONE                         Bally           1972    450
    CIRCUS                            Bally           1973    450
    HI-LO ACE                         Bally           1973    400
    UPPER DECK  (BB)                  Williams        1973    695
    BIG INDIAN                        Gottlieb        1974    495
    BOW AND ARROW                     Bally           1974    395
    DEALER'S CHOICE                   Williams        1974    495
    MAGNOTRON                         Gottlieb        1974    595
    SKY JUMP                          Gottlieb        1974    350
    TWIN WIN                          Bally           1974    425
    WIZARD                            Bally           1974    550
    BLUE MAX                          Chicago Coin    1975    250
    CAPT. FANTASTIC                   Bally           1975
    FREEDOM                           Bally           1975    395
    KICK OFF                          Bally           1975    500
    PAT HAND                          Williams        1975    395
    PIN UP                            Gottlieb        1975    250
    SATIN DOLL                        Williams        1975    395, 400
    STAR POOL                         Williams        1975    175
    TOP SCORE                         Gottlieb        1975    495
    TOP TEN                           Chicago Coin    1975
    AZTEC                             Williams        1976    595
    BLACK JACK                        Bally           1976    495
    BLUE CHIP                         Williams        1976    400
    FREEDOM  (EM)                     Bally           1976    200
    HANG GLIDER                       Bally           1976    425
    PLAYBOY                           Bally           1976    575, 800
    ROYAL FLUSH                       Gottlieb        1976    695
    SURE SHOT                         Gottlieb        1976    495
    SURF CHAMP                        Gottlieb        1976
    BIG DEAL                          Williams        1977
    CARNIVAL                          Playmatic       1977
    LIBERTY BELL                      Williams        1977
    STRIKES AND SPARES                Bally           1977    250
    DOLLY PARTON                      Bally           1978    500
    HIT THE DECK                      Gottlieb        1978
    KISS                              Bally           1978    900
    NUGENT                            Stern           1978
    PARAGON                           Bally           1978    995
    STAR TREK                         Bally           1978    595, 650
    BUCK ROGERS                       Gottlieb        1979    550
    CHARLIE'S ANGELS                  Gottlieb        1979    375
    GORGAR                            Williams        1979    795
    HERCULES                          Atari           1979
    SPACE INVADERS                    Bally           1979    450
    TRIDENT                           Stern           1979    125
    XENON                             Bally           1979    795
    ALIEN POKER                       Williams        1980
    BLACK KNIGHT                      Williams        1980    850
    BLACK OUT                         Williams        1980    500
    FATHOM                            Bally           1980
    FIREPOWER                         Williams        1980    500, 595
    FLASH GORDON                      Bally           1980    575
    FLIGHT 2000                       Stern           1980    750
    PANTHERA                          Gottlieb        1980    500
    SEA WITCH                         Stern           1980
    BLACK HOLE                        Bally           1981    295
    CAVEMAN                           Gottlieb        1981    295
    JUNGLE LORD                       Williams        1981    450
    SPECTRUM                          Bally           1981
    VECTOR                            Bally           1981    750
    BABY PACMAN                       Bally           1982    795
    EIGHT BALL DELUXE (LTD EDITION)   Bally           1982    695
    FIREBALL CLASSIC                  Bally           1982    799
    MR. AND MRS. PACMAN               Bally           1982    795
    ORBITOR 1  (CUSTOM)               Stern           1982
    RAPID FIRE                        Bally           1982    695
    SPEAKEASY                         Bally           1982    550
    GRAND SLAM                        Bally           1983    625
    GRANY & THE GATORS                Bally           1983
    EIGHT BALL CHAMP                  Bally           1985
    GAMATRON                          Pinstar         1985    525
    HIGH SPEED                        Williams        1986    800
    PINBOT                            Williams        1986    600, 700
    BIG GUNS                          Williams        1987    850
    SPRING BREAK                      Gottlieb        1987
    SPACE STATION                     Williams        1988
    TAXI  (LOLA)                      Williams        1988    995
    BIG HOUSE                         Gottlieb        1989    600
    EARTHSHAKER                       Williams        1989
    JOKERZ!                           Williams        1989    600
    BUGS BUNNY'S BIRTHDAY BALL        Bally           1990
    FUNHOUSE                          Williams        1990    1000
    NIGHT MOVES                       Int'l Concepts  1990
    RADICAL                           Bally           1990    775
    RIVERBOAT GAMBLER                 Williams        1990    1200
    ROLLER GAMES                      Williams        1990    900
    BATMAN                            Data East       1991
    HOOK                              Data East       1991
    TERMINATOR 2                      Williams        1991    1300
    FISH TAILS                        Williams        1992    1350
    LETHAL WEAPON 3                   Data East       1992    1250
    STAR WARS                         Data East       1992
    SUPER MARIO BROS.                 Gottlieb        1992    1500
    WORLD TOUR                        Alvin G.        1992
    DINOSAUR EGGS  (REDEMPTION)       Alvin G.        1993    495
    FREDDY'S NIGHTMARE                Gottlieb        1993
    LAST ACTION HERO                  Data East       1993
    POPEYE                            Bally           1993
    STAR TREK - THE NEXT GENERATION   Bally           1993    1995
    TWILIGHT ZONE                     Bally           1993    1300
    TWILIGHT ZONE  (PROTOTYPE)        Bally           1993    1600
    DEMOLITION MAN                    Williams        1994
    DIRTY HARRY                       Williams        1994    1500
    ROYAL RUMBLE                      Data East       1994
    BIG HURT                          Gottlieb        1995    1800
    WATER WORLD                       Gottlieb        1995    1995
    ATTACK FROM MARS                  Bally           1996
    BIG BANK                          Capcom          1996
    BREAK SHOT                        Capcom          1996
    CONGO                             Williams        1996    2100
    FLIPPER FOOTBALL                  Capcom          1996
    INDEPENDENCE DAY                  Williams        1996    TOURNY
    JOHNNY MNEMONIC                   Williams        1996    1500
    SAFE CRACKER                      Bally           1996
    SCARED STIFF                      Williams        1996
    SPACE JAM                         Sega            1996
    TALES OF THE ARAIBIAN NIGHTS      Williams        1996
    TWISTER                           Sega            1996

This concludes my description of the Exhibit Hall.

Well, like I said earlier, Pinball Expo '97 has already been scheduled for November 13 through 16, 1997. I hope I will be able to attend for the fourteenth year, but I don't know now what my "financial situation" will be at that time (especially considering the constantly escalating cost of attending the show), but only time will tell? Anyway, I had a great time attending Pinball Expo up 'till now, and if I am able to again attend in 1997 I will again report on the show.

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