On our way out to Pinburgh we took a detour to the Old Sled Works Antique & Craft market in Duncannon Pennsylvania. This used to be an functioning sled factory which operated from 1904 to 1988 and closed in 1990. In 1991 in re-opened as an antique center with over 125 vendors with a wide range of other people’s junk. This is right in my wheelhouse as I collect the oddest collectibles I can find. See a couple a sweet scores below:
What kid would want a Tonya Tucker tour bus to play with? I don’t even know what to say about the Rusty Wallace plate. The old sled works also has a vintage arcade with older shooting games and a row of pinball machines.
I got to play 5 pins for my big year.
The first one I played was Baseball and it is a decent EM. It features vari-targets which score more for the harder you hit the target. The game features an animated backglass with the base runners rounding the bases. Very similar to Gottlieb’s Home Run which was produced less than one year later. The add a ball version of this game is Batter Up. This one also features a point total and a run total which I like. Big gap between the small flippers make it difficult. This is supposedly the 1st American game to have the “star” rollover button located at the bases. GRADE: B
Sky Jump is a solid EM. The theme I could take or leave, but it does feature nice artwork and bold primary colors on the playfield. Key is to hit the numbered rollovers 1-7 and knock down the corresponding drop targets 1-7. The center pop bumper moves the 10X target lite so the key shot is hitting that and then said drop target (its great that this bit of information is on the pop bumper cap). Be careful shooting 3, 4, and 7, they can lead to drains. The add-a-ball version is known as Free Fall. A nice combination of drop target and rollover action. GRADE: B
The next machine I played was Bow and Arrow. This is the EM version and this was also made in a Solid State version, both being created in 1974. It has a nice layout and a good rule set. You earn big points by advancing the bonus by hitting the spinners, rollovers and targets and then collect it during the ball by hitting the upper left kickout hole. Also has a gate you can open that you can shoot to put the ball back into the shooter trough. Not crazy about the theme and artwork just average. Solid effort from Bally at the time. GRADE: B
Dixieland is a jazz theme pin made by Bally in 1967. The thing that stands out to me about it is it features a mini-bagatelle on the right side of the playfield. Bagatelle is what pinball that we know and love today derived from. Before flippers in 1947 balls would be plunged the pinballs would travel through a variety of pins into different holes and you would receive a score or a special etc. The only way to have some control of the ball was to nudge. This game features zipper flippers which make things rough. I like the asymmetrical playfield, but it’s an average player with cartoonish artwork. The Bagatelle is a cool throwback though. GRADE: C+
Captain Fantastic & The Brown Dirt Cowboy (must have the longest pinball name?) has a theme featuring Elton John as Tommy. This was 1975 and the hallucinogens were in full effect. Martin Handford, the creator of Where’s Waldo must have played this game a bunch as a child and got the idea for Waldo from the pop bumper caps. The first versions of this machine featured some shady things on the backglass, and Bally quickly put stars over the questionable items. See pictures below:
It is a beautiful looking game with colorful artwork. Would like it even more if I liked Elton John or was a child of the 1960s. The game features 4 flippers (2 on the lower left, 1 on the lower right and 1 upper right flipper for shooting the bank of drop targets). Be careful shooting those drop targets though, it’s a left outlane drain a lot of the time. The game play wasn’t anything special to me. Knock down the drop targets, and keep firing the ball up to the top to double the bonus. I expected a bit more with all of the hype surrounding this game, but it is a looker. GRADE: C+