How apropos, due to
the laws we had to start sending our bingos abroad to destinations like
Belgium, and a handful of years later, a few of them get caught in a similar
trap and have to start sending them back! _ A few other imports to America
had to do with security and how robust the machine were at controlling and
guarantying the odds – Many of the games were simply outlawed / restricted
and could no longer be used in the pubs _ Many found their way into the
public sector and many others were shipped abroad _ Full-Circle for some of
the games! _ Another example of how lucky we are that any of these survived!
~ The Taito Miss America Supremes ~
Miss America Supremes from Belgium.
Here's a bingo story. I
got a friend who knew a guy who mentioned he knew a guy who had ten bingos
but never got around to fixing them.
The guy was willing to give seven of them away to the person who
was willing to fix three. Well I volunteered.
I'm an idiot, so I picked the coldest day of the year to go get them. I
think it was minus twelve or something. I made the three hour trip in
the van. When I got there it was too cold out to really get a good look
at them. We just hustled them into the van and trailer as quick as we
could. The only thing I really noticed on them was that some of them
had digital replay meters.
The guy was real hospitable and gave me a tour of his rec-room. It was
Supercool with a capital S. He had flipper pins from many different
duel car racer, a bowler and some really
unique coin op stuff that is just impossible to describe. You'd have to
After a few hours I went home with the bingos. The temperature warmed up
to about six degrees but the wind was kicking. Still, my son is a good
and he helped me get the machines
into the basement. His face was so red from that wind but he never
complained or even ask me if I was truly
crazy. I gave him twenty bucks for
helping. He probably felt like John McCain when they gave him backpay
for seven years as a POW in the Hanoi Hilton.
Once I got the games into the basement I got the first thrill of my new
find. Every single lock on all the machines was in tact and securely
locked....Not one single key. I drilled for about four hours to get in
them all. I finally got a chance to take inventory and see what I
had. Unfortunately the bingos were
stored in a barn. The barn had
a lot of moisture and a lot of vermin. The games had been water
damaged. The critters
got in there and ate wires, made
nests, shit and pissed on everything. It was a mess but I hated to give
up on them.
After taking a closer look, I noticed the games had been set up for European
voltage. I saw some kind of foreign coins in the bottom of one
cabinet. The interior service outlets had been changed and the plug was
a different shape. One of them had a ticket to the Grand Prix of
Belgium inside the cabinet. Another one had a very odd looking light
inside it. Some had these real big capacitors in them. Finally
the last one had a tag on the backglass that said the game was property of
"camp willys" located in Tessenderlo Belgium. Hey, I'm not a
complete fool. I started to figure out these machines had been in
I had a heck of a time returning these machines to an operational
state. They needed switched over to US volts and hertz. They
needed extensive cleaning.
Wires needed repaired. The
digital replay meters had failed and needed replaced. Everything was
gummed up and rusty. On top of all this the operators
had modified them. I am truly
just an avid enthusiast. I was in way over my head. If it wasn't
for the help of Phil Hooper, Bingo Joe, Franz Pilger
and Coos Hackvort (Spelling?) I would
have never, never been able to fix these. I wish I could find a
way to thank them.
I'm not going to bore you with all the details about the modifications but I
would tell you about one neat little modification. One of the Miss
America Supreme machines had been modified so the only way to put games on it
was for somebody to literally call the pinball. Yep. You had to
call it. There was a telephone modem in there. It was cleverly
wired in through the wires of the key switch or kumbackey if you
prefer. You couldn't put a coin in this game. The coin return was
jammed open and the wires to the coin switch were cut. How cool is
that?! I wonder what the number was? 1-800 BINGO? You could
probably stand there in front of it and use your cell. Maybe it was a
900 number and they would charge your cell phone two bucks a minute to
gamble. Wonder if they had a girl talk dirty to you at the same
time? "Oh baby. I love the way you hit that sixteen.
Spank my ass!" :-) LOL
Anyway, in the end I was able to get his three games back to him. Five
of the seven games I kept were pretty much beyond any reasonable
repair. Too much water damage and/or too many wires ate through by the
critters. However, I did get to save five games from the landfill and I
got a bunch of extra parts.
Think about the trip these bingos took. They were made in
Chicago. Went to Belgium. Somewhere in there they went to Taito for an
overhaul or modifications. I think maybe Saito put the modem in.
Then they somehow made it back to America. An operator in Columbus had
them. He went belly up and they sold in a local auction. An old
farmer down the road saw them at auction. He had fond memories of these
machines from his youth so he bought them. Then I hear from a guy who
heard from a guy, so I go get them and they end up in my basement in the
thriving metropolis known as Salineville Ohio. That's really a hell of