COIN-OP SUPER SHOW – 2000
By Russ Jensen
Roseanna Harris’ COIN-OP SUPER SHOW was only held once in 2000. It was again held at the Pasadena Exhibit Center in Pasadena, California, and on the 9th and 10th of September – although there was a “preview showing” the evening before. As has been the case for the past several years, the hall was shared by the TOYRIFIC collectable toy show. I had always planned to attend the show as had my friend (and ‘driver’) Ron Tyler.
On Saturday morning while getting ready to leave for the show I suddenly discovered the battery in my camera had died. After some quick phone calls I learned that our local K-Mart had the battery, and luckily opened at 8 AM, one-half hour before Ron and I planned to leave. So when he picked me up we made a quick detour to that store and I purchased the needed battery. After that Ron and I made the usual 75 mile drive to the show site in Pasadena.
Upon arriving at the show venue the first thing we discovered was that the parking fee for the adjacent garage had gone up to $7! Also, when we went to purchase our show admission we further discovered that the usual “Senior Discount” had been eliminated – higher prices all around!
While standing in line to enter the showroom we ran into my old friend (and fellow pinball historian) Rob Hawkins who I had planned to meet with there. Within about 5 minutes or so the doors were opened and we all entered the showroom.
Upon entering the hall I first went to Roseanna’s booth to say “hello”, next heading to the booth of Marshall Fey (grandson of slot machine inventor Charles Fey) to say “hello” to him also. After those greetings I began to rove the aisles to see what was there – primarily as far as pingames were concerned.
I eventually discovered that there were not too many pins at the show and, with one exception, none manufactured prior to the mid-1960’s. I also noticed that there did not seem to be as many sellers as at past shows. I discovered that juke boxes and slot machines (mostly restored older mechanical slots) were the most abundant coin-ops at the show.
As far as dealers selling pingames were concerned, I only discovered four. Herb Silvers’ Fabulous Fantasies outfit had by far the most pinballs at the show (some 13 pins – the majority of which were solid-state games - and one “pitch and bat” game). Another dealer had four pins, a third with two pins, and the other with only one solid-state game.
The decade run-down of pingames at the show was one from the 1930’s (more about that later), no games from either the 1940’s or the 1950’s, two from the 1960’s, five from the 1970’s, two from the 1980’s, and nine from the 1990’s
The following is a chronological listing of the pingames at the show:
GAME MANUFACTURER YEAR PRICE DUCKY CHICAGO COIN 1939 1100 BIG DADDY WILLIAMS 1963 400 BEAT TIME (SPECIAL) WILLIAMS 1967 3600 CHAMP BALLY 1973 395 LITTLE CHIEF WILLIAMS 1975 395 BIG HIT GOTTLIEB 1977 695 GOLDEN ARROW GOTTLIEB 1977 695 BRONCHO GOTTLIEB 1977 695 TAXI WILLIAMS 1988 1395 BLACK KNIGHT - 2000 WILLIAMS 1989 1295 ROLLER GAMES WILLIAMS 1990 1295 THE MACHINE - BRIDE OF PINBOT WILLIAMS 1991 1000 TERMINATOR 2 WILLIAMS 1991 1695 GETAWAY WILLIAMS 1992 1500 DR. WHO BALLY 1992 1500 PISTOL POKER ALVIN G. 1993 1500 WIPEOUT GOTTLIEB 1993 1000 DRACULA WILLIAMS 1993 1695 TALES FROM THE CRYPT DATA EAST 1993 1495
There were two somewhat unusual pingames at the show this year – one from 1939, and the other a “special” modification to a 1967 game. The early game was from Chicago Coin and the backglass read “DUCKY”, which was a little strange since no game by that name by that company appears to have ever been advertised?
There was, however, one identical game (except for the name) advertised called “LUCKY”, those words appearing near the top of the playfield on the machine at the show as I will explain. There appears to be two theories which could explain this game. One theory is that the machine was originally manufactured as LUCKY, and at some point the factory (or possibly an operator) changed the name (and the playfield and backglass artwork) to DUCKY. The other theory was just the opposite case (originally called DUCKY, and then changed to LUCKY.)
The problem (as the owner of the game at the show explained to me, and I thought plausible) with the first theory is that the word “LUCKY” on the playfield appears to be the word “DUCKY” with part of the letter “D” having been painted over (using a slightly different color than the playfield) to change it to “L”. If the playfield originally read “LUCKY” there would have been no reason for a partially repainted letter (the original having the letter ‘L” painted over the background color of the field, and the modification either having the field rescreened with the letter “D”, or the original “L” being entirely painted over). This, of course, does not explain why the machine at the show had a “DUCKY” backglass and a “LUCKY” playfield, but I’ll leave that conjecture to the reader.
So what did the owner of the game think the situation with this game was? He thinks (and I tend to agree) that DUCKY was the name of the prototype of the game, it then being later changed to LUCKY for production. The reason for the name change of course would be known only by the company personnel at the time.
The other unusual pingame at the show was a “modification” to the 1967 Williams game BEAT TIME, the modification being the brainchild of the game’s owner Herb Silvers. The original artwork on the backglass of BEAT TIME was done by Mr. Jerry Kelley, the first artist to bring “modern art” to pinball. Part of the art showed caricature type figures of four rock musicians, the name of that group being shown as “The Bootles” on the glass, which of course, was an obvious reference to the popular group “The Beatles” of that time.
Herb’s custom backglass went “all the way”, renaming the group as “The Beatles” and featuring cartoon characters of the musicians as used in a popular TV cartoon show. Herb’s machine was also totally restored, including highly chromed side rails. A very interesting machine indeed, and for sale for $3600! I guess he was trying to market it to a real died-in-the-wool Beatles fan.
Also during the show (as has happened at several past SUPER SHOWS) I met with an old Jr. High School buddy (from back around 1950) Don Stocker who just happens to live in Pasadena. Don is not a “coin-machine person” (although he owns a couple old slot machines which are in need of parts to get them working), but the show has been a handy place for us to visit each year. During our visit Don informed me that when he leaves the show he was going to his old home town of Sierra Madre to meet with some people who have been involved in the restoration of a local “historic site” in that town, an old café/bar called “Lizzie’s Trail Inn”. He invited Ron and I to accompany him to this meting at a local beer garden which also served food.
The reason I mention this is that close to a year ago I donated a 1947 Chicago Coin KILROY pingame to their project. The reason they wanted the game is because from the mid-1930’s until the Inn closed it’s doors in 1947 there was always a pingame present. I am strongly considering writing an article about the project in a future issue of PinGame Journal. Anyway, Ron and I decided to accompany Don to this get-together after we were ready to leave the show.
After another look or two around the show, we decided that we had seen everything of interest to us and we decided to leave. Before exiting the hall however I stopped to say farewell to show host Roseanna Harris. At that time she told us that it was very likely that next year’s show would be held at the Glendale Civic Auditorium in Glendale, CA, due to the Pasadena site’s continually raising the cost of renting the hall. If that happens it will be an end to just about 20 years of coin-op shows being held at that venue, beginning with the Loose Change Fun Fair in 1980.
After leaving the show we followed Don to Sierra Madre (about 15 minutes away) and went to a local open-air beer garden aptly called “The Brewery”. There we hoisted a beer and ate a very delicious German sausage sandwich. We chatted with some of the locals who were involved with the Lizzie’s project, I being considered somewhat of a “celebrity” having donated the pinball machine to the project.
Following this, Ron and I drove home to Camarillo, ending a very enjoyable morning and afternoon. We plan to attend next year’s COIN-OP SUPER SHOW no matter where Roseanna decides to hold it!
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