Behind the scenes, using pinball machines in a movie set

If you ever wonder how these things work in the movies and television series, here’s some insight. Why are some games modified? What happens when there’s a scene involving a game, that *gasp* gets smashed?

A few years ago, I was involved in bringing some pinball machines out to a movie set for a series done for HBO/Cinemax called, “Quarry” – it was a very cool story based on a series of fictional books, about a Vietnam Veteran who comes back from the war and is shunned in society and becomes a “hit man.”   The series was set in the 1970s and the filmmakers wanted various pinball machines and coin op devices which we supplied.

Here’s a promo trailer featuring some of the scenes and pinball sounds:

Here’s a rare, behind-the-scenes look at the set design and work that went into re-creating a vintage carnival arcade, and some of the things the set designers have to do for legal reasons.  I wasn’t able to show this video at the time the show was in production, but the series has since been canceled so I don’t think there’s any issue in sharing it.. here’s a neat glimpse behind-the-scenes…

First Look: Bally “Mystic” prototype/early production game!

Bally Mystic with prototype cabinet colorLately, I’ve been developing a big appreciation for the 80s-era Bally games. As a kid I remember them kicking my ass and having unique and interesting rulesets that set them far apart from the Gottliebs and Sterns of the day, so when the chance to pick up a “Mystic” came up, I jumped at it, and drove about three hours to get this game.

Little did I know how special the game would end up being…

A video tour of the Pinball Hall of Fame in Las Vegas

A recent discussion came up on one of the online forums about the Pinball Hall of Fame and I was prompted to dig up some footage I shot in 2009 so here it is.

For those of you who don’t know, the Pinball Hall of Fame is located in Las Vegas, Nevada, just off the main strip, run by an eccentric but brilliant and generous guy named Tim Arnold who is a long-time operator and has one of the most impressive collections of vintage pinball machines in the world.

The PHOF houses at any given moment, several hundred vintage pinball machines, including some extremely rare games you will not likely find anywhere else. Here’s a series of videos where I walked the rows of the place in 2009 not long after it moved into a new building. Enjoy!

How many rare and unusual games can you spot?

The art of pinball (part 1)



Pinball is many things: Commerce, gambling, history, reflections on social times, science and technology as well as art. In this episode, we take a look at some of the art. These are pictures I’ve taken of various games featured at the Lone Star Pinball Museum near Houston. Special thanks to Dan Ferguson for his hospitality. I hope you enjoy them!

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A quick peek at a very cool pinball collection in Texas [pbh10]

Just north of Houston, there’s a very cool guy named Dan who has been collecting pinball machines for many, many years.  We came out to visit him this year while in town for the Houston Arcade Expo and I took a moment to grab the video camera and make quick walk-through of his museum, which houses hundreds of games from the earlier pinball eras.

I know it would look better if all the machines were fired up, but we weren’t staying long and I didn’t want to trouble him to flip everything on.  But you can get a feel for how many old games are in the museum, covering the earliest of eras in the 1800s and early 1900s to pre-flipper woodrails, bingo machines, EM woodrails and lots of classic 60s and 70s electro-mechanical games.  Distinctions in the collection include all four versions of Bally’s classic “Fireball” game, Atari’s gargantuan game “Hercules”,  rarities like “Spectrum”, “Asteroid Annie” and “Solar Fire”, and many very early games for which there’s very little information on how many were made.  There are also lots of vintage EM baseball, shooting and aviation games.  I plan to post more details in the future including some high-quality pictures.  Once again, a huge thanks to Dan for his hospitality!