Last update: 03-24-2007

 

Thank you for emailing me:

 

 

Yeah, this is what a new one looks like!

 

 

Jan R from Demark writes in March 2007:

 

Hi !

 

I am searching the net for a game I just bought ! Do you have any clue ?

It is a Playmatic Bingo Pinball - bought in Denmark -

I have found a pic from it in your site ....... here's another one !

 

I also have one more ..... This is a huge machine ! Called Miss Reno ! Do

you have any information about these ?? (also bought in Denmark)

 

Regards - Jan R. - Norway .

 

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Darrell Mcfadden writes in March 2007:

 

Hi Dan...

 

I am interested in the purchase of the 25 hole pinball machine known as the "Silver Sail".  Man... do you want to talk about memories!!!  I remember playing this game with my Dad back in the late 50's and early sixties.  I'm also interested in purchasing other Bally 25 hole (nickel Drop) machines that were popular during that era.

 

Thank you for your time and attention.

 

Darrell McFadden

Salisbury, MD   US

 

 

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Gary Stanos writes in - March 2007:

 

Thank you, Danny, for your reply but it is soooo sad that you do not know of a group in NYC. I would have wanted to relive my teenage years.

 

Well, my story is quite typical. One is a teenager with lunch money and one day while playing hooky one sees these pinball machines at the bowling alley near one's highschool. First, I would play only the regular pinball but I would notice this fellow in his 20s play what later on I knew as bingo pinball. (All machines then were just called "pinball" by the gang.) It definitely needed more skill than the regular pinball and that caught my attention. The experience was frustrating at first (of course) because one had to "know" the machine well -- how "bouncy" the rubber was on each peg, how much one would have to pull the launcher so that the ball would enter the playing field to the left or the right, etc. You know what I mean, I am sure. Eventually, a 3-in-line was easy and the 5-in-line was the real challenge. Of course, the owner of the machines caught on to us and would tweak the machines so that we would have to relearn the machine from scratch. I think though I ended up ahead of the fellow. 5-in-line payoffs were 50:1 convertible to cash. This was in the Philippines circa 1970. I recently moved to NYC and remembered the game.

 

I will continue to search but if you do hear of something in the tri-state area, please let me know.

 

Warm bingo regards,

 

Gary

 

 

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Vic Campalottaro write in March 2007:

 

Hi Danny,

Here is my opening page to my website .

http://www.jerseypinball.com/campgames.html

I have been trying to get my website up and running again but haven't been able to do so at the present time. If you want you can put this opening page on your website.

 

Thanks

 

Vic

 

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David writes in Sept 2006:

Hello,

I was hoping you might be able to help me find some information on a Bally bingo game that my grandfather had in his basement while I was growing up. I haven't seen it in probably 20 years, so my memory is a little fuzzy, but I remember it being a water ski theme with a pyramid of skiers and some. I believe it was a 25 hole game. I played that game for hours and hours and any pictures or info would be wonderful.

Thanks,

David Schulz

THE SIGN FACTORY

XXXX Brambleton Ave.
Roanoke, VA 24018
(540) 772-XXXX
(540) 772-XXXX Fax

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Alan Fleming writes in January 2006:

 

Hello Dan,

 

Please send me a copy of the Don Hooker tape to my attached address.

Our route was based in Reno, NV. I worked it from 1981 to around 1995. The company was General Coin Machine, originally owned by Mel McGuire. I think Phil bought him out around 1975. There were a lot of these machines around Reno. They were in lots of Casinos & Bars. The other operators, I remember, were Nevada Novelty, J&J novelty, & Clyne, the Juke box man. Video games slowly took over because they could make more money and use less space. We always gripe about that because the Bingos were more a game of skill and required physical action. I guess people are lazier today!  Let me know of any other questions you might have. Phil Knows a lot more than me. He worked with gambling pinball all his life beginning with the one ball games, which he still enjoys. Thanks ALAN

 

 

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Dave write in May 2005

 

Hi Dan,

 

I am a Bingo enthusiast and currently have two machines, a Lido and a Bikini. I have the good fortune to live only a couple of miles from Jeff Lawton, one of, if not the most knowledgeable of all Bingo guys.  He keeps my machines in excellent working order.  I play every day and often have friends over for all-night pinball parties. I liked your article on Bingos.   If you get this, drop me a line or call me at 513-231-XXXX and let me know what youre up to wrt Bingos.

 

Dave

 

Cincinnati, Ohio

 

 

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Tom writes in Sept 2004:

 

Im sorry to bother you with this question but I can not find any info on the net. Im 49 years old and when I was a teenage, let's say about 1969 or so, some local bars (northern California) had these pinball machines without flippers. The machine had holes for the ball and went from 1-25. Number 16 was in the middle and was the hardest to get but also the best one to get as it connected with many number. The object was to get 3,4, or 5 balls in a row and you won games. The amount of games you won was determined by on how many games you pushed off trying to jump up the odds. You could even push a button that would give you certain games and let you move the numbers around, making it easier to get 3 in a row. Now the best part was that the bartender would pay you off .05 a game. Would you have any idea about what Im talking about or know where I could find any link to these types of games. Thanks so much.

Tom Franceschi

 

 

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Jay writes in Sept 2004:

 

As far as bingo pinballs being a game of chance, we have had a few players who could prove it is very assuredly a game of skill. There is no way you could allow certain players to continue playing on your machines every day because they would win every day, they are just that good. When you see the skilled players "kick" the ball back up from the bottom rows up to the top row you know they are skilled. Or watch them shake (vibrate) a ball out of a numbered hole before the ball settles in, that's really a thing of beauty. The way the "modern" player in Hawaii "kicks" the machine to give it more action has changed from when I first started playing the machines in high school back in 1960. They now "bang" it from the front top of the machine which gives it a lot more action, especially with new rubber on the bumpers. Nostalgia. Hawaii has a colorful history with bingo pinballs.

Jay Zablan, Hawaiian Brian's

 

 

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Ed writes in July 2003:

 

Dan, I was talking to Vic Camp and he told me to send this to you. I've had many hobbies over the years and have met a lot of people. This is the first time that I've had so many people ready to help me with problems in the hobby. After looking for a Bingo machine, I happened onto Vic Camps Web page. I asked him if he knew anyone in my area that sold Bingos. He recommended Mark Mentzer. After buying a Bingo from Mark, I had a lot of problems with it. Took it back to Mark to be fixed at lease 3 times. Mark did everything he could to get things right. Finally he suggested I trade it for another Bingo at no cost. It worked out great, I now not only have a great Bingo (Key West)but a good friend in Mark. When I was having problems, Yourself and Phil Hooper, tried to help me but I was in over my head with the troubleshooting. Thank you both for your help. If every hobby had people like I've contacted in this one the World would be a better place. Thanks again.

 

Later - - ED

 

P.S. Spelling doesn't count.

 

 

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Keith writes in May 2003:

 

Aloha.

Sorry to bother you, but is it legal for kids to play the bingo pinball machines in Hawaii? Also, is it legal for a Hawaii resident to buy and bring a bingo pinball machine into the state? Thank you for your time. I used to play at the local pool halls. I always thought it was legal to own the machines but illegal to have it brought into Hawaii. My favorites were the 2 in blue and the ok machines, particularly Circus Circus, Carnival Queen, and Sea Island.

 

Aloha and Mahalo.

 

Keith 

 

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Laurian Moomjian writes in March 2003

 

I've been a binger for 25 years. I first got hooked when I found a stash of machines on the second floor of an old arcade in Long Beach California. As the story goes, Mr. Sullivan had a bunch of Bally bingos on one cent play in his arcade on the Long Beach Nu-Pike, a great hangout and popular place for US Navy folks. Apparently the Feds wanted to slap a fee on each machine ($50?) and Mr. Sullivan said BS and moved all of 'em upstairs where they sat for years. He passed away, and one of my pinball buddies told me about the machines. His daughter was still running the arcade in it's last days, and she let me have my pick for , you guessed it, $50 apiece. I remember the fun of being in the dusty room with bingos stacked everywhere, take your choice. I had a Big Time, Double Header, Night Club and Show Time back then. I sold 'em when I moved from California abut 10 years ago, but recently bought a Silver Sails and am having a blast with it!

 

 

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Dave L writes in March 2003:

 

When a lad of thirteen or fourteen I used to hang around guys who played the bingo pinball machines at the ice creamery and the bowling alleys in my neighborhood. You know, I never saw a female play one. Hmm. Who's the smart one of the species? :)

The smell of a bingo pinball is unique to anything -- a combination of oil and ozone and stale cigarette smoke. The images of the brown strips burned wood where players left their cigarettes burning, or the water stains where occasional drinks would get spilled. The sounds of the stepping switches rattling off ABCD E F G, the pops of the trip bank switches when a super section would light up, or the punk punk punk when 1st Extra Ball would light on a single nickel are all sounds that make them a league of their own.

My granddad was janitoring one of these bowling alleys and they had a ShowTime and a County Fair. I would do anything I could to scrounge up nickels to play these on the weekends while he vacuumed and mopped.  I learned how to jack up the machine using matchbooks under the right rear leg so the balls would roll down the 1-8-(14)-19-23-24 side to make it easier to get a five-in-line. Occasionally it worked! In those days, the maximum payout in our city was 160 replays. So if the odds jumped to 160 96 32, that was tiggest game with a five in line. Anyway, I'd play these at 5 in the morning so no one would watch.

My granddad would wait until the owner came in and collect the winnings. The owner put a stop to that after about six consecutive weeks of $8 winners. Cheapskate!

I remember playing the County Fair one time and a police officer started poking around the front window. I was a teen ager at the time so it was obviously illegal for me to be playing the machine. I had won a number of games but when I saw him pull up I turned the machine off and hid underneath it while my grandfather ran the buffer. Of course I had forgotten that all the games go away when turning on the power again, so I lost all my winnings for that day. My nickels were gone, too!

While looking in the newspaper one day three years ago, a fellow was selling two bingo games to prepare for a move. I went out to his house and here was a Broadway and a ShowTime. I had $400 in my pocket cash and offered him that amount if he would deliver them, take them apart, and brought them to my house (about 20 miles away). I was so happy owning a ShowTime. And this one had odds to 600 480 192! So a year later I'm looking in the paper and here is an add for bingo pinballs (plural). So I call up the number, go out to the fellows house, and he has 15 of these things lined up in his garage! Many of these units were in excellent condition (and priced accordingly). So I started playing the County Fair that he had and could not lose. Four in lines, five in lines, huge odds, OK games, everything was going my way. I walked out of the garage owning the County Fair and so in my collection are two of the games I loved as a teenager. And I met one of the great technical geniuses of bingo pinball that day, Richard Gerlitz. Too bad he is getting out of the business. The man is stunning in his knowledge of working of the machines -- and he is a nice guy! The machine he sold me was perfect then and is perfect now. The backglass is spectacular. It is the pride of the fleet!

There are other stories involving Laguna Beach, Roller Derby, and a number of others whose names have faded into the past, watching the repairmen come out when a problem existed and open up the back and by reading the schematic be able to make it work again. Only once do I recall watching them take an old broken machine out and replace it with a different one. And once in a while they would loosen up the reflex unit  to increase the chances of winning big. It was absolutely fascinating to me as a teenager to look inside the back, and now that I am in my fifties, they are no less magical even though I own three and am seriously considering purchasing two more. (A Lido and a Bounty)

Thanks for the bandwidth. Hope you enjoyed!

Dave L, Seattle

 

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Richard writes in Jan 2003:

 

Hi,

I was just surfing the Internet and came across your site.  I must say it is very well done.  I have been a fan of bingo machines for the last 25 years. During that time I bought out all the old operators in 4 states (Washington, Idaho, Oregon, and Montana)  I've had over 700 machines and shopped out at least 500 of them.  Sold them to the home market up here in the Seattle area for the last 20 years.

I also worked with another collector/designer up here and we tried to out do one another with designing games.  We first started by making an extra OK position on the screen games.  But the best for each of us is: he made an OK option on a Bally Beach Time.  Designed all the circuitry, built the steppers, etc.  My call to fame was putting revolving numbers behind a Silver Sails screen game.  Using parts from a turning corners game, I designed a way for 4 numbers to rotate behind the screen.  This was activated by a stepper that lit up the letters in "Sails."  Just like the red letters in "Silver." The circuitry was also incorporated into the proportioning circuits, so it worked with the reflex unit.  I also wired it into part of the red letter games.

Anyway, I could go on and on.  Couple of things I wanted to point out about your site.  The Sea Fair glass is a converted Big Show glass.  These games were only run in the Seattle area.  We have a yearly event called Sea Fair and this was an attempt to please the city fathers.  Also in King County, where Seattle is located, you could only pay off odds up to 160.  That is why on the glass they only go up to 160.  Other games in Seattle had to have the higher numbers painted out.

Also, it is a small thing, but on your Designers page the photo you show is not the Reflex unit.  Your photo is of the mixer and spotting disc unit.  The Reflex unit is located on the lower part of the back door and is a small square unit with copper wipers on one side, and 2 small steppers on the other.

Keep up the good work.  If I can ever be of any help, give me a call at:

Richard Gerlitz
206-243-XXXX

Thanks,

Richard

 

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Dave Cross write Vic Camp Dec 2002:

 

Hi Vic,

My name is Dave Cross, I live in West Yorkshire, but grew up in Lancashire where the love of bingo machines grew up on me whilst in my teens.

It was only in 2002 that I had the privilege to buy my own bingo after all the elements came together.

Firstly, I bought a computer, hooked up to the internet and saw an advert from a man in Belgium who had 9 machines for sale, as I hadnt seen any for sale in England I decided that this was for me, so I made a 25 round trip of 860 miles there and back. Very fortunately for me, these machines were of a good standard apart from bits missing, and so needed the minimum amount of work.

Before I bought these I had no prior knowledge of electrics or circuits etc !! But have since learned that they arent as frightening as they first appear!

Phil Hooper was to be of great assistance to me over the following months and years, and even made a house call when he was over here on vacation ( bless him !) and also his brilliant bingo site.

As a lad, my favorite machine would have been the TOUCHDOWN, but also had the pleasure of various others here and there.

I have now owned approx 13 machines, including the following:-

Golden Gate, Beach Time, Miss America 1957, Ballerina, Can Can, Sea Island, Carnival Queen, Big Time.

Some of which I have passed on to other happy bingo fans across the U.K.
I have seen other machines up and down, but dont know of many more than 40 machines altogether.
 
It would be nice if we had a register of machines and men and where they live etc. just to see how many there actually are about these days.
 
Bye for now
Regards
Dave Cross

 

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Johnny Henry email Jan 2001:

 

Pinball machines were a regular habit with me when growing up.. I remember this type of pinball machine, they had no flippers and worked like bingo games where by getting five in row you'd win free games and the free games could be used to increase the odds or cashed in for money. If memory serves it cost 5 cents per play. These were illegal in Oklahoma but like liquor by the drink (also illegal in Okla. at the time) people ignored the law, but somewhere along the way the usual crowd of "do-gooders" managed to get rid of them. Id like to know if these pinball machines still around anywhere and are they still illegal?.. I enjoyed your site and the memories..

 

Johnny Henry

Sunday, January 21st 2001 - 11:34:25 AM

 

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Danny Leach = leach1580@comcast.net