… real pinball machines?
Thanks, Sheila Stewart for sending me a couple of suggestions for a Sunday post. And, she tweeted about it.
I’m going to go with this one first.
Growing up in a small town (Geesh, starting to sound like Jonny Harris here), there were two places to spend your lunch during the high school years. One was in the cafeteria at the school and the other was at German’s Pool Hall. The decision about which way to go often depended upon the weather.
The Pool Hall was a popular place and definitely for males. The only time I can remember anyone of the other gender coming in was when someone’s mom was looking for their child.
In the place, there were three pool tables and either two or three pinball machines. It wasn’t unusual to see lineups for all of them.
While some of the pinball machines were replaced on a rotating basis, I remember one that was always there. Doodle Bug.
Now, there was skill in playing this. In theory, it was all timing and reaction. But, the best players had a great deal of body motion as they tried to will the steel ball to the desired bumper.
These things were absolutely mechanical which meant lots of repairs necessary. The whole gaming bed would raise to reveal the electronics underneath. Of real importance was this little ball on a piece of wire that would make contact if the machine shook too much and generated the dreaded “TILT” message, ending your game.
Today, as Sheila notes, it’s pretty difficult to find an actual working pinball machine. Even Niagara Falls where there always was a place to enjoy them seems to have moved on. Every now and again you see them pop up on Storage Wars and they sell for big bucks if they work.
For a Sunday, how are your memories?
- did you ever play a pinball machine?
- do you remember one by name like I did with Doodle Bug?
- have you ever seen a person cheat at the game? How?
- there is a presence of pinball these days but digital on portable devices or on computers. Do you have one?
- pool halls did have a nasty reputation in the day. Why do you think this was so?
- for the female readers, would you stay away from a pool hall because it was deemed to be a male domain?
I’d love to read your responses and memories of these things. Please do so in the comments below. You can revisit all the past Sunday posts here.
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