THE AUGUST 1994 COIN-OP SUPER SHOW
By Russ Jensen
In my article last time ("2 Shows"), I described the January 1994 edition of Roseanna Harris' COIN-OP SUPER SHOW as well as the first WILD WEST PINBALL FEST held in Arizona. This time I am going to report on the second 1994 edition of the COIN-OP SUPER SHOW.
That show was held on Saturday and Sunday, September 17, and 18, with a special "preview" the preceding Friday evening. As has been the case for the past several shows, the show was again held at my favorite show location, the Pasadena Exhibit Center in Pasadena, California.
This time my good friend, pinball and jukebox collector Ron Tyler, decided to go with me - in fact he even drove. So Ron picked me up Saturday morning and we proceeded to make the approximately one hour freeway drive to Pasadena.
After arriving at the show site, and parking in the convenient underground garage, we proceeded to the large area outside the show entrance. The show had not opened yet so we bought our admission (using the nice "senior discount") and located my friend pinball collector, historian, and author Rob Hawkins.
During the previous weeks Rob and I had talked by telephone and agreed to meet before the show to conduct some "business". First of all, Rob had borrowed some of my pinball brochures to copy which he returned to me, and in return brought me some nice color copies of some of his brochures from his great brochure collection.
Last, but certainly not least, Rob had "scanned" the text of my book, "Pinball Troubleshooting Guide", into his computer and brought me a copy of that data on a computer diskette. Something I had wanted for quite some time.
After completing my pre-show business with Rob, and depositing my brochures in the trunk of the car, Ron and I entered the show area. The first thing you saw as you entered the hall was a large roped-off display of "mint" examples of collectable coin machines, including a beautiful Gottlieb HUMPTY DUMPTY pingame (the first flipper game, released in late 1947) owned by collector/dealer Herb Silvers.
As we began roving down the aisles looking at all the nice items on display, by friend Ron was quite interested in the juke boxes and associated items offered for sale, as well as the pinball related items. Ron was quite interested in discovering the high prices of many juke-related items.
The first booth we encountered which had pingames was the "For Amusement Only" booth of Jim and Judy Tolbert which contained three 1970's vintage pins, plus many pin-related items, including books and parts. While glancing at the various publications for sale there one book caught my eye.
The book cover, brightly decorated with pinball pictures, had only the single title "PINBALL" in large letters. When I first spotted the book I thought to myself "what! A pinball book I have never seen before!" I quickly picked it up and began flipping through its pages which were loaded with full color illustrations.
It wasn't long before the mystery was solved. I immediately realized that I did own the original version of this book, but that was somewhat different. My book had a soft cover with different illustrations on it and the text was in German.
I had obtained my copy of the original book from German author Heribert Eiden at Pinball Expo '93 the past year. I, of course, immediately bought the English version I just found (and now own both), which I could not pass up at the low price of only $15.
Later, after I had seen the rest of the show, I discovered that most of the other pins there were located in Herb Silvers' "Fabulous Fantasies" booth. Herb had a total of eight pins on display, including the only 1950's vintage pin at the show, Gottlieb's 1958 two-player pin BRITE STAR. His other pins included two from the 1960's, one from the 1970's, one from the 1980's, and four from the current decade.
Other than those on display by Jim Tolbert and Herb Silvers, there appeared to be only two other pingames at the show. One of those was a Williams DARTS from 1960 which was almost immediately sold. The other was Chicago Coin's 1966 game KICKER which was not even set up. When I ran into my good friend Sam Harvey later he told me several times how he regretted not buying DARTS for himself.
The following is a chronological listing of all the pins I saw at the show:
NAME MANUFACTURER YEAR PRICE BRITE STAR Gottlieb 1958 1495 DARTS Williams 1960 SOLD PARADISE Gottlieb 1965 795 KICKER Chicago Coin 1966 150 PAUL BUNYAN Gottlieb 1968 695 DROP-A-CARD Gottlieb 1971 500 BON VOYAGE Bally 1974 550 OUT-OF-SIGHT Gottlieb 1975 600 SPACE ODYSSEY Williams 1976 500 LIGHTS! CAMERA! ACTION Gottlieb 1989 995 (THE) SIMPSONS Data East 1990 1495 TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES Data East 1991 1295 CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON Bally 1993 3195
The earliest pin at this show was Gottlieb's two-player game BRITE STAR which came out in early 1958. Gottlieb had originated the "multi-player" pingame almost four years earlier with a four-player pin called SUPER JUMBO.
Due to having to provide score indication for more than one player, it was decided to use individual "score reels" for each player rather than the complicated "light scoring" method used on single-player pingames. Eventually (around 1960 - the date varied with the manufacturer), however, the score reels were used on single-player models as well.
The BRITE STAR at the show was in excellent condition The playfield boasted many scoring features including 4 "pop-bumpers", 2 "slingshot kickers", and a vertical "roto-target" assembly. All in all it appears to be a very nice pin indeed.
The nicest and rarest of the 1960's pins at the show was Gottlieb's 1965 game PARADISE. This was also a 2-player pin boasting a very attractive backglass featuring Hawaiian "hula girls". PARADISE also had four pop-bumpers. It had a wide-open playfield which contained four "kickout holes", a feature totally non-existent on BRITE SPOT. The PARADISE was also in excellent condition.
After we had roamed the aisles for awhile, my friend Ron and I decided to have a light lunch. After buying a turkey sandwich and soda from the in-room snack bar we sat down at a table to relax and eat. My friend Rob Hawkins apparently had the same idea at about the same time and sat down to join us.
While visiting again with Rob I told him about an outfit in Seattle which, in addition to developing film, will put your photos on a computer disk at a slight extra charge. In addition, they supply free of charge the computer software to view them. My new friend, Gary Marshall, a bingo pinball fan from Mississippi, had recently sent me information about that company. Incidentally, all the pictures I took at the show were later processed by that outfit.
(NOTE: While writing this article I received my first set of "pictures on disk". They really look great!)
In addition to photographing the pingames at the show (which I did not already have a photo of - I have photos of more than 800 different pinball machines), I decided to photograph various models of Bally electro-mechanical slots. This was partially in deference to the fact that I bought a Bally 809 "fruit machine" shortly after attending the January version of this show.
Incidentally, at the show I again saw Ray Dier the fellow from which I bought my first slot. The slot photos I took were also "put on disk" as I have the idea of trying to set up a computer "slide show" illustrating different models of the Bally electro-mechanical slots.
When we had seen everything there was to see I went to say goodbye to Roseanna and Bill Harris and tell them how much we enjoyed the show. We were told that the COIN-OP SUPER SHOW will continued to be held twice each year, with the next show scheduled for April 1995.
The show this time was very nice, and I'm looking forward to next year; possibly both shows, if my vacation doesn't coincide with the April show dates.
After leaving the show site, Ron and I made another trip to the old C & H Sales electronic surplus store at the other end of Pasadena, like we had done in a past year after attending a similar show in town. Ron wanted to buy some parts to use in his jukebox restorations. As I believe I mentioned in a previous article, C & H had been in business since sometime in the mid 1940's. And as a young teenager in the late Forties I had visited the establishment several times.
When I told the young man at the counter that I had been in the store about 45 years earlier, he told us that the same man still owned it and was 73 years old. When I asked if the owner was there that day, the clerk replied, "no, he only comes in during the week".
After our brief visit to C & H Ron and I began the trip back to Camarillo. On the way home we decided to stop for a quick dinner at one of Ron's favorite restaurants.
After Ron dropped me off at home I noticed it was still early enough to go play bingo with my wife (she had already left). So I went to play; but maybe I should have stayed home because I didn't win a thing!
Well, next year I will try to attend either one or both editions of the COIN-OP SUPER SHOW. And, if it keeps growing like it has the past several years, it will probably be an even better show than it was this time! Hope to see you there!
Use back to return to prior web page