By Russ Jensen
Ever since my old friend and ex–editor/publisher Roseanna Harris started the Coin-Op Super Show in Southern California back in October 1992, I have attended all their shows (which some years were even held twice).
The first such show in 1992 was held at the Los Angeles County Fairgrounds in Pomona CA; all subsequent shows being held at the Pasadena Exhibit Center in Pasadena. This site, by the way, was also where the old Loose Change Fun Fairs were held since 1980.
This year I knew the Super Show would again be held in Pasadena in September, but until a few weeks before the scheduled show date I was unaware that Roseanna had decided to no longer produce the show (she did have to travel from Denver) and turned it over to an organization known as the Antique Coin Machine Collectors Association (ACMCA).
My friend Ron Tyler and I had planed on attending the show for several months when we still thought it would be Roseanna’s annual show. Also, a few weeks before the show date my junior high school buddy Don Stocker called and said he would meet us there as he had often done in past years. Ron had also expressed the desire to go to a neighboring town, Sierra Madre, after we saw what we wanted at the show, to visit a restaurant/beer garden we visited after last year’s show.
On the morning of the show Ron picked me up around 8:30 AM and we made the approximately one hour drive to the show site in Pasadena. After parking in the adjacent parking structure, we attempted to find the entrance to the showroom which this year was held in a different room of the large Pasadena Exhibit Center. With a little help from one of the exhibitors who we met while looking for the show room, we found the entrance area a little while before the show was scheduled to open.
While waiting for the showroom to open we ran into my old friend Rob Hawkins who told us about the new version of his (and Don Mueting’s) great pinball dating reference book (Pinball Collectors Resource) scheduled for release around the end of the year.
When the hall opened at 10 AM we entered the showroom and I began my customary roving the aisles to see who and what was there. I noticed very few pingames (in fact they were all at one booth - but more about that later), the show being dominated by slot machines, with a few jukeboxes and other miscellaneous gameroom related items. The predominance of slots is not surprising as the organization putting on the show was, I believe, largely made up of slot machine collectors. Another reason for the small number of pinballs was that Southern California pinball dealer Herb Silvers who usually has a booth at the Pasadena shows was unable to attend due to illness.
As usual at these shows, I stopped to say hello to Marshall Fey of Reno, Nevada, the grandson of slot machine inventor Charles Fey. When I mentioned to Marshall that my son worked at the Atlantis Hotel in Reno, Marshall told me that it was just a half a block from his bar/restaurant the Liberty Belle Saloon. It sure is a small world!
The only pingames at the show were all from the early 1930s and were at the booth of one of the show hosts, Ray Dier. The games he had were:
GAME MFG. YEAR CLOVERLEAF Gottlieb 1932 DUTCH POOL ABT 1931 POP-IT-BALL G & S? 1932? SCOREBOARD Gottlieb 1933 SCRAM Major Products 1932? WHIPPLE BALL ? 1932?
After about an hour or so my childhood friend Don Stocker arrived at the show. I accompanied him during his roving through the aisles to see if there was anything that interested him. Since he was not really a coin-machine person (he does own a couple old non-working mechanical slot machines) he didn’t find too much of interest.
Since at that point all three of us had seen about all of the show we wanted to, we decided to leave and head for the beer garden/restaurant we had planned to visit. So we went to our cars and we followed Don on the 20 minute or so drive to Sierra Madre.
We very much enjoyed the delicious sandwiches and German beer at the “The Brewary”. While there we were told by our waitress that their place may have to close at that location after many years due to a cranky landlord who lives next door and is disturbed by the happy voices in the outdoor beer garden in the evening.
We then left this fine place and began our drive back home. If the new people decide to put on another show next year, I’m sure Ron and I will attend. And hopefully that show will have a better showing of pingames than this year.
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