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…

1963 Gottlieb “Slick Check” – Flipper Maintenance

People were complaining that one of the flippers in our Gottlieb “Slick Chick” was not working properly. The metal was fatigued on the assembly and the switch contacts were well worn, so I’ve ordered new switches and am showing how to remove and replace the flipper switches and make your flippers perform much better.

eBay Impulse Buy? Willliams Love Bug Caveat Emptor?

This is a story about an impulse buy off eBay for a pinball machine. It perhaps may be a cautionary tale of how sellers can hide the true condition of a machine. This also explains why it’s important to really “low ball” unknown sellers of games. There’s a very good chance what you see and what you get are two different things… here is my story of an eBay purchase of a Williams Love Bug (the add-a-ball version of Williams Doodle Bug).

Repair, don’t replace that broken pinball coil!

Pinball coils (aka solenoids) are windings of insulated copper wire that create electromagnets that make things move on the playfield. If you have a coil that is no longer working, and doesn’t have any obvious signs it has “melted down”, there’s a very good chance you can repair it instead of replacing it. In this video I go over how this is typically done. This works on all types of pinball machines from the EMs to Stern, Bally, Williams, etc.