By Russ Jensen

Often in past years about this time I have reported on two coin-op shows - The Loose Change Fun Fair and the Coin-op Super Show. Well this year even though there was a Fun Fair (of sorts) this article will mostly be devoted to the latter show. But first, a few words about the 1996 edition of the Loose Change Fun Fair.

The Fun Fair this year was held on Saturday and Sunday, July 20 and 21 at the Pasadena Exhibit Center in Pasadena, California. Well, my friend Ron Tyler and I decided to go, along with a friend of Ron's and my 8-year-old grandson, Paul, who was visiting us at the time. We left early enough to arrive about a half-hour before the scheduled starting time of 10 AM.

When we arrived, parked, and walked to the entrance to the show area there was virtually no one there. After purchasing our tickets in another building we returned to that area about 10 minutes before show time, but still the area was almost vacant. When the doors opened and we walked in I couldn't believe my eyes - the large room which in the past had been full of exhibitors' booths (and at one time two rooms were almost full!) was only about one-third full!

Well, we went in and started looking around. There were a couple of pingames there, and a smattering of slots, juke boxes, etc. After roving around for awhile and looking at the few things there my grandson kept saying that he wanted to go back to the "Playboy Table" - I thinking that he saw some Playboy magazines for sale at one of the booths.

When I mentioned that to Ron he told me "no, there is a table where some Playboy 'centerfold girls' are selling autographed photos." Being curious i walked over to that table with Paul and started talking to one of the three ladies there.

She told us her name was Sharon Johansen, was married to comic Jackie Mason, and had had a small part in the Steve Martin movie "The Jerk". When Paul asked her if she could sell him a picture of herself for the fifty cents he had she told him that she just couldn't do that. I then asked her, just for the heck of it, if she would sell him a photo for five dollars? She replied "OK, I guess I can sell him a 'bikini photo' for that".

So the lady graciously personally autographed a photo to Paul and he was thrilled! I know he'll treasure that for years! It was really nice of her because she told me that she usually sells that photo for $20. After later reading her autograph in detail I learned that she had appeared in Playboy in October 1972 - just tow months before the issue that had a fine article on pinball history.

We later left the show very disappointed at the meager turn- out of exhibitors and visitors. I have a feeling that that might be the end of the Loose Change Fun Fair, the pioneer Los Angeles area coin-op show which started way back in 1979. We'll just have to want and see?


The 1996 edition of the Coin-op Super Show was held in conjunction with a toy show called "Toyrific" (Antique and Collectable Toy Show). It was held September 20, 21, 22, also at the Pasadena Exhibit Center - the home of this show for several years.

My friend Ron Tyler and I had planned to attend this show far in advance. I also called my old Junior High buddy form over 40 years ago who lives in Pasadena and he agreed to meet me there just like he did last year (that being the first time I had seen him since the early 1950's). So on Saturday morning Ron, myself, and a friend of Ron's left for the show and arrived about a half-hour before show time.

When we got to the area of the show entrance there was a fairly large crowd waiting to get in - very reminiscent of the Fun Fairs many years ago and unlike the Fun Fair we attended two months earlier. I also met my old friend's Rob Hawkins and Don Mueting waiting in front, and Rob and I exchanged something we had brought for each other. When the doors to the show room were finally opened at 10 AM we had to wait for a long line (again reminiscent of the large shows in bygone days).

Use back to return to prior web page