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The Secret Room..

« on: March 26, 2014, 08:29:14 PM »

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Dad's original pinball building was built by him in 1974. It is made "the old way" and is mostly concrete and very sturdy. It was the distribution point for games coming off the containers and into the cafe's and billiard rooms of the 70's. By today's standards, it is built of a much higher quality. Already 40 years old, it still stands strong. It once housed 90% of his route when he started closing the business in the mid 90's. I had my 21st Birthday upstairs, while around 500 pinball machines were stacked under our feet. There's a massive concrete stairwell from the street level to the first floor. Under the stairwell is the "secret room", where Dad kept some of the Bally Bingos stored before they were legalized in the late 80's. So I'm told, 90 were thrown out, only a handful were kept. So today I finally received the phone call from the current tenant;

"I've cleared the entrance to the room. But there are no machines. There is some sort of wooden panel, you might want to come and look at it.."

So I drove down there, and indeed the room had NOTHING but old furniture. I was expecting a stash of Bally bingos. Once we removed the furniture, I could see what the tenant was alluding to. The "secret (empty) room"


http://australianpinballrestorations.com.au/pictures/misc/bingo/bingo%20008.JPG


A wooden panel ?


http://australianpinballrestorations.com.au/pictures/misc/bingo/bingo%20001.JPG


A HEAVY wooden panel, that has 16 woodscrews ? Under a staircase ? So I removed the screws and prized open the panel ;


http://australianpinballrestorations.com.au/pictures/misc/bingo/bingo%20003.JPG


A stash of Bally Bingos ! I COMPLETELY lost the plot !


I removed the first lower cabinet to reveal FOUR complete games ;


http://australianpinballrestorations.com.au/pictures/misc/bingo/bingo%20004.JPG


Boxes of spare parts, and four complete heads.


http://australianpinballrestorations.com.au/pictures/misc/bingo/bingo%20007.JPG


I only have enough room for two bodies. The heads are too heavy, so they will be done on another trip. So I eagerly loaded up the ute and drove them to the Factory so I can have a better look ;


http://australianpinballrestorations.com.au/pictures/misc/bingo/bingo%20010.JPG


http://australianpinballrestorations.com.au/pictures/misc/bingo/bingo%20011.JPG


http://australianpinballrestorations.com.au/pictures/misc/bingo/bingo%20012.JPG


So it appears there is one "Showtime" and two "Beach Time" games - complete - but with playfields that have some interesting artwork - I don't care - these games are 1950's Bally Bingos, and these were bought new in the 50's and operated in Australia until 1988. These arguably are the first Bally Bingos in this country. I was so AMAZED and Happy, I drove the cabinets' to Dad's and showed him the games and he was so happy they were still there. We talked and I was completely and utterly left speechless..

Nino - "Dad, this is an amazing find. Why did you hide them away in 1988 ? Did you hope to operate them when they became legalized ?"

Dad - "No Son. I kept them for you. They are yours. I knew one day you would have the passion and knowledge to restore them to their original state."

Dad hid these games so that 25+ years later, I would track them down and restore them. I was speechless..

So I asked Dad - "How come you just didn't leave them in the garage for me"

Dad - "when you were young, you were a bum. You would have sold them or done something stupid" !

He always used to say to me - "These games were the first computers".

Personally, this is one of the most important days of my life. This is an amazing story - he KNEW they were there. He saved them for when I was "ready" to persist in finding them. It is now my mission to have him help me restore at least 2 of these games, as he would be one of the last remaining technicians that knows these like the back of his hand.

This picture of the ball arch decal is so awesome;


http://australianpinballrestorations.com.au/pictures/misc/bingo/bingo%20015.JPG


I have to say that today has brought back a flood of memories. I am grateful that these games were hidden in the "Secret Room". I'll post more pictures when I retrieve the rest of the games.


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Re: The Secret Room..

« Reply #1 on: March 26, 2014, 08:36:13 PM »

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great story, thanks for sharing

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Re: The Secret Room..

« Reply #2 on: March 26, 2014, 08:39:04 PM »

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well done Nino. Great find. I was always under the impression you were a bum.lol  but if your dad thinks u have changed, then I will believe him too.lol

Are u sure your Dad just didn't forget he hid them away.lol

My Dad is apx 70 (I cant stand him) and he drinks sooo much bourbon n coke, I doubt he even remembers his own name.

It is great to see you have such a relationship with your Dad that he was able/willing to give you all that pinball stock for free and start up a business. I am sure you are in the minority with generous parents. I wish the rest of us had your generous father.
Well done on a happy day. thumb

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Re: The Secret Room..

« Reply #3 on: March 26, 2014, 08:39:17 PM »

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Wow Nino, what an amazing find and fantastic story. Being able to share something like this with your father is very special, great stuff!

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Re: The Secret Room..

« Reply #4 on: March 26, 2014, 08:44:55 PM »

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A Pinball time capsule. Have fun restoring them Nino. Absolute brilliant story. thumb

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Re: The Secret Room..

« Reply #5 on: March 26, 2014, 08:47:19 PM »

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WOW and beach theme too!

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Re: The Secret Room..

« Reply #6 on: March 26, 2014, 08:59:53 PM »

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How good is that.    The professor didn't hide them from the police he hid them from you LMFAO

  They look in great shape

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Re: The Secret Room..

« Reply #7 on: March 26, 2014, 09:00:56 PM »

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Nice "barn find", and luckily the tenant let you take them instead of being a prick and trying to sell them off etc...

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Re: The Secret Room..

« Reply #8 on: March 26, 2014, 09:05:03 PM »

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Quote from: ddstoys on March 26, 2014, 08:59:53 PM

How good is that.    The professor didn't hide them from the police he hid them from you LMFAO

  They look in great shape


That's what everyone called Dad when he was working the route - "Professor". Reason being that he had white hair, thick black glasses and wore a gray dust coat like "Professor" Julius Sumner Miller.

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Re: The Secret Room..

« Reply #9 on: March 26, 2014, 09:06:40 PM »

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Quote from: Marty Machine on March 26, 2014, 09:00:56 PM

Nice "barn find", and luckily the tenant let you take them instead of being a prick and trying to sell them off etc...


He never knew they were there. In fact, he cleared out the room and called me to give me the bad news.. but there was "a panel"..

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Re: The Secret Room..

« Reply #10 on: March 26, 2014, 09:10:14 PM »

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I wish id been there for this.. a secret room with a stash of games.. mate, im excited for you - that's just awesome!

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Re: The Secret Room..

« Reply #11 on: March 26, 2014, 09:12:00 PM »

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Wow, that is so cool. What an awesome experience, you must be stoked that they are still there and in great condition

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Re: The Secret Room..

« Reply #12 on: March 26, 2014, 09:13:26 PM »

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Great story and great son and dad relationship there

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Re: The Secret Room..

« Reply #13 on: March 26, 2014, 09:19:55 PM »

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Strangeways talked to me about this possible magic room while we were working on some stuff.... sounded hopeful but at the same time skeptical that there would be anything there.

Mate, I am **so** happy for you!! I can only imagine how happy you must be!!

Best find ever!  yippee

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Re: The Secret Room..

« Reply #14 on: March 26, 2014, 09:41:41 PM »

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was there a boxfull of money in old 'pound' notes :-)

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Re: The Secret Room..

« Reply #15 on: March 26, 2014, 11:47:05 PM »

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Awesome find Nino. great to hear your dad doesnt think your a bum any more i wouldnt be at all surprised if your dad suplied the pins etc to the fish and chip shop in avondale heights where i grew up in the 70s to early 80s badgrin

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Re: The Secret Room..

« Reply #16 on: March 27, 2014, 12:44:44 AM »

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Wow great story..discovered at just the right time in the career

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Re: The Secret Room..

« Reply #17 on: March 27, 2014, 03:50:55 AM »

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WOW,grate story and a fantastic stash.I love the timber on the beach time.

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Re: The Secret Room..

« Reply #18 on: March 27, 2014, 05:12:17 AM »

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Great story Nino, pity your dad didn't stash a NIB Kiss in there for you as well.

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Re: The Secret Room..

« Reply #19 on: March 27, 2014, 06:08:11 AM »

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Awesome find, New Pin Day  Overjoyed

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Re: The Secret Room..

« Reply #20 on: March 27, 2014, 06:23:09 AM »

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Bloody awesome.  Everyone's dream to find a secret stash of machines and with the personal touch on this find it makes it the best. 

You are allowed to tell us if you shed a tear.

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Re: The Secret Room..

« Reply #21 on: March 27, 2014, 07:40:40 AM »

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Quote from: Pintoxicated on March 27, 2014, 06:23:09 AM

Bloody awesome.  Everyone's dream to find a secret stash of machines and with the personal touch on this find it makes it the best. 

You are allowed to tell us if you shed a tear.


I was emotional when he started talking about the machines. Once he saw them in the back of my ute, he smiled, said they looked fantastic and then told me "these were for you". THAT was when everything made sense. Last night, I was MORE pleased that any container day. It was more personal.

We did restore a Miami Beach over 10 years ago, and we still have it in storage - but the playfield is a Key West. Now there is a large stash of backglasses in his workshop. Most are Bally Bingos. so this will be my next stop.

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Re: The Secret Room..

« Reply #22 on: March 27, 2014, 12:56:26 PM »

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Way cool, good ol' Dad.

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Re: The Secret Room..

« Reply #23 on: March 27, 2014, 02:29:27 PM »

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FANTASTIC story - simply amazing!!!

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Re: The Secret Room..

« Reply #24 on: March 27, 2014, 05:10:17 PM »

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Great story and find, thanks for sharing.

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Re: The Secret Room..

« Reply #25 on: March 27, 2014, 07:29:02 PM »

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Awesome story, thanks.

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Re: The Secret Room..

« Reply #26 on: March 28, 2014, 07:38:50 AM »

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Very cool Nino thumb

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Re: The Secret Room..

« Reply #27 on: March 28, 2014, 08:18:27 AM »

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Wow, now that's one awesome pinball/games "bunker"!

Nino, a very moving and heartfelt story.  Thanks for sharing .... I am sure restoring these will be on a whole other level to you, given the sentimental attachment.

Maybe next time you catch up with you Dad for a coffee, your opening line might be ..... "So Dad, is there anything else you would like to tell me about any other hidden stash .....".  Maybe there's another time vault waiting for you somewhere else.

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Re: The Secret Room..

« Reply #28 on: March 28, 2014, 11:17:11 AM »

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Terrific story.
The machines' family provenance is heart warming.

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Re: The Secret Room..

« Reply #29 on: March 28, 2014, 11:42:42 AM »

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I just read this, how cool is that. Finding a stash of machines, that your dad left for you. Very cool.

I will be dreaming this tonight. :)

Thanks for sharing your story.

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Re: The Secret Room..

« Reply #30 on: March 28, 2014, 12:07:28 PM »

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awesome story...  Overjoyed

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Re: The Secret Room..

« Reply #31 on: March 28, 2014, 02:52:06 PM »

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Yeah, this is an awesome story, very heartwarming.

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Re: The Secret Room..

« Reply #32 on: March 28, 2014, 06:21:54 PM »

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Mino, I took the mickey a little on the first post for a bit of fun, but seriously, I feel very proud for you and your Dad.
You told me once on the phone your Dad was like 90 or something and still ticking along.
I know your Dad is proud that you have left the computer industry and gone full steam ahead into fulltime Professional Pinball Restoration. He shld be proud as all of us are on here.
Its not often you and I agree on most things, but I think Australia will have to agree that the absolute talent coming out of this country is now world class.

Between Tim and yourself, we can all hold our heads high knowing that we have 2 blokes 1 million percent full of passion for what they are doing and it shows in your work.
I hope u get booked up, take on a quick few fast learning people and blow the doors off this pinball restoration business. U have worked long n hard to secure your dreams, and it comes at a great personal and family sacrifice to do it.
So, I say a huge well done, and even Cavey is proud of you as well Nino. You deserve it.

Now just make sure you and Nick take a photo and shove it up on the wall, along with every other ugly AP or AA member who pops in to say hello. Overtime it will look great seeing all the supporters the business has and a great idea to place a name against a face. cheers.  thumb

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Re: The Secret Room..

« Reply #33 on: March 28, 2014, 06:50:27 PM »

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Wow, a museum in the making for sure. Looks like your Dads route collection stood the test of time well. He sure knew what he was doing and you are one happy guy. That entry to the secret room looks mighty small so it must have been a real back breaking task to get those heavy machines in there.

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Re: The Secret Room..

« Reply #34 on: March 28, 2014, 07:34:26 PM »

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Ninos dad must have been built like arnie back in the day I purchased one of his home made coin op pool tables which niño said he used to move them by himself. 

   I used 6 guys just to move the slate lol

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Re: The Secret Room..

« Reply #35 on: March 29, 2014, 08:21:48 AM »

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Quote from: tonyt on March 27, 2014, 05:12:17 AM

Great story Nino, pity your dad didn't stash a NIB Kiss in there for you as well.


Two Kiss games were saved for me - I asked for them when I was a teenager. I don't know where the rest of the Kiss games ended up.

Quote from: Steve2010 on March 28, 2014, 08:18:27 AM

Wow, now that's one awesome pinball/games "bunker"!

Nino, a very moving and heartfelt story.  Thanks for sharing .... I am sure restoring these will be on a whole other level to you, given the sentimental attachment.

Maybe next time you catch up with you Dad for a coffee, your opening line might be ..... "So Dad, is there anything else you would like to tell me about any other hidden stash .....".  Maybe there's another time vault waiting for you somewhere else.


This will be the last of the games. There used to be 3-4 old boarded up shopfronts that he stored all the EM gun games and EM pinballs. There was a "Whirlybird" and "Bulldozer" that I really wanted. Some video car games are still in storage. I'll move them within the fortnight.

Quote from: ddstoys on March 28, 2014, 07:34:26 PM

Ninos dad must have been built like arnie back in the day I purchased one of his home made coin op pool tables which niño said he used to move them by himself. 

   I used 6 guys just to move the slate lol


Dad's "system" involved balancing the slate while moving it on a purpose built trolley (which you might have seen). The tables themselves were designed and built by Dad. He still has the templates and tooling to remake Billiard Tables and Soccer Tables.

Moving the table ;

The system he designed to remove the slate was with a custom built trolley jack and a short metal bar. The bar was inserted through a hole in the bottom of the table, are rested against a timber beam under the slate. The jack was raised, separating the upper part with the slate and the base. When it was high enough, he placed a roller that were wider than the base. So one side was raised and he repeated for the other side. Now the slate was on rollers and was rolled slowly off the table by using it's own weight to balance it. The stale was rotated on its side and placed on the trolley upright. Using the weight of the trolley, it could be moved to the truck. The truck had a custom built frame that was similar dimensions to the base of the table. The slate is then moved into the back of the truck with the same roller system that removed it. It was then anchored and the base was moved and placed upside down on top of another custom frame that sat on the slate. He then drove off with the table !

Thanks for all the other kind words !

I'm picking up the rest of the games on Sunday - so I'll post more pictures.

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Re: The Secret Room..

« Reply #36 on: March 29, 2014, 09:32:43 AM »

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I don't remember seeing the trolley but you did explain it to me I still have the roller and have used it many many times

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Re: The Secret Room..

« Reply #37 on: March 30, 2014, 09:31:40 AM »

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awesome find and fantastic story Nino .  thumbWould have been a very special day for you for sure

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Re: The Secret Room..

« Reply #38 on: March 30, 2014, 07:34:27 PM »

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The return to the "Secret Room" was highly successful and very heavy ! With the help of MartyJ and Greg, we moved the remaining bodies, four heads and some boxes of parts to the factory. This required a couple of trips, but the eventual "Haul" was much better than expected ;

What I have are four matching games ;

Cypress Gardens - Original playfield and cabinet. Plexiglass backglass
Show Time - Original (beautiful) backglass and cabinet. Original playfield with a diamond painted on to it.
Beach Time - Plastics translite. Original cabinet and playfield playfield but with painted lines
Beach Time - Original backglass (possibly copy). Original cabinet and beautiful playfield.

Now the backglass are interesting. There are several variants;

Original backglass. Often these BGs were smashed. The surviving ones were covered by "outer" tempered glass.
Plexiglass. Dad made several copies on plexiglass of each title he owned
Translite. This is a plastic copy of the plexiglass. Still good.

Pictures ;

The two "Beach Time" games. Original glass on the right. Translite on the left. Head artwork original.

http://australianpinballrestorations.com.au/pictures/misc/bingo/bingo%20017.JPG


Cypress Gardens and Show Time. Show Time is original, Cypress Gardens is a Plexiglass version.


http://australianpinballrestorations.com.au/pictures/misc/bingo/bingo%20022.JPG


The artwork is simply amazing. Dad has around 20 original backglasses in storage and also many plexiglass and translites. So hopefully, I'll be able to have 4 original backglasses soon.

Cypress Gardens lower cabinet. Playfield is AMAZING for a 60 year old game.


http://australianpinballrestorations.com.au/pictures/misc/bingo/bingo%20026.JPG


The cabinet has the trademark stainless steel protection. The artwork should be intact underneath.


http://australianpinballrestorations.com.au/pictures/misc/bingo/bingo%20027.JPG


The second Beach Time - immaculate. Just stunning artwork.


http://australianpinballrestorations.com.au/pictures/misc/bingo/bingo%20028.JPG


The legs and parts I'll sort out and take photos. All in all, this find is amazing and much more than I expected. The excitement surpasses any container day I've ever attended. This is a week I'll never forget.

The future of these games is that I promised a game each to two very good pinball friends. I'm keeping two to be restored with my father and they will go alongside the Miami Beach that we restored 10-15 years ago.

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Re: The Secret Room..

« Reply #39 on: March 30, 2014, 07:53:12 PM »

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There unreal Niño your dad is a legend.   If you decide to keep the cypres garden I have a really nice glass Backglass you can have ;)

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Re: The Secret Room..

« Reply #40 on: March 30, 2014, 07:56:02 PM »

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Thats just amazing Nino. its great to see pictures of these awesome examples of machines that have been stored for so long.

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Re: The Secret Room..

« Reply #41 on: March 30, 2014, 08:06:18 PM »

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http://img.tapatalk.com/d/14/03/30/e5ata5am.jpghttp://img.tapatalk.com/d/14/03/30/jene5yda.jpg

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Re: The Secret Room..

« Reply #42 on: March 30, 2014, 08:38:59 PM »

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Quote from: ddstoys on March 30, 2014, 08:06:18 PM

http://img.tapatalk.com/d/14/03/30/e5ata5am.jpghttp://img.tapatalk.com/d/14/03/30/jene5yda.jpg

omg that is nice mate

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Re: The Secret Room..

« Reply #43 on: March 30, 2014, 09:59:54 PM »

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What an awesome story! That's some Indianna Jones stuff right there, or Captain Jack Sparrow sailing the seas with a compass and a map to uncover that hidden treasure.
True stories like that don't come around very often. People on here will be talking about this in years to come.
Thank you Nino for sharing.

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Re: The Secret Room..

« Reply #44 on: April 01, 2014, 07:19:28 AM »

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Quote from: ddstoys on March 30, 2014, 07:53:12 PM

There unreal Niño your dad is a legend.   If you decide to keep the cypres garden I have a really nice glass Backglass you can have ;)


Cheers mate - most likely it came out of one of Dad's games.

One of these GAMES is reserved for you and also Gavin. I'm keeping two for my personal collection to sit next to the Miami Beach. The Maimi Beach playfield was a Key West playfield, so that needs to be replaced !

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Re: The Secret Room..

« Reply #45 on: April 01, 2014, 08:49:44 AM »

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Are all Playfields the same apart from the artwork?

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Re: The Secret Room..

« Reply #46 on: April 04, 2014, 09:09:59 AM »

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Just happened upon this thread now... what an amazing story, Nino! It's the sort of thing you expect to hear about someone else's family but never your own. Glad to hear your old man thought well of your future self and not so highly of your younger self ;)

Congratulations on the find. Glad you can share it with your dad, as well as those of us on AP :)

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Re: The Secret Room..

« Reply #47 on: April 12, 2014, 10:53:37 PM »

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Quote from: ddstoys on April 01, 2014, 08:49:44 AM

Are all Playfields the same apart from the artwork?


They are pretty much the same. there are rollover buttons that advance certain features that are not common to all games.

Here's the boxes of spares that were in the room ;


http://australianpinballrestorations.com.au/pictures/misc/bingo/bingo%20031.JPG


http://australianpinballrestorations.com.au/pictures/misc/bingo/bingo%20032.JPG


http://australianpinballrestorations.com.au/pictures/misc/bingo/bingo%20033.JPG


In the garage at Dad's place, there are original legs, balls, playfield parts, original backglasses and reproductions. I have boxes full or original coils and new coils wound by Dad in the 60's. Some amazing stuff.

Thanks to all for the positive comments. It has been a great adventure that was more of an emotional experience than anything else. I'm relieved to have the machines as well !

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Re: The Secret Room..

« Reply #48 on: April 12, 2014, 11:05:10 PM »

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Another great score for your restorations spare parts inventory Nino.  I still can't see how the new home of APR is going to be big enough  laughing

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Re: The Secret Room..

« Reply #49 on: April 12, 2014, 11:06:57 PM »

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Quote from: dealers choice on April 12, 2014, 11:05:10 PM

Another great score for your restorations spare parts inventory Nino.  I still can't see how the new home of APR is going to be big enough  laughing