Back in the corner was the pinball machine. They had been around for some time, of course, but I had never played.
Bill had played before, and into the slot went the nickel. Now, being a Midwesterner, I should point out the make of the machines we played. They were made by the Gottlieb Company of Chicago.
There was no gambling involved. The goal was to rack up enough points to win a free game.
So that particular game began. Bill was talking to the machine, giving it Body English, and clicking the flippers at the proper time. He was smitten.
Then, he shook the table a little too much and on came the "Tilt" light. Game over. But Bill, who was just talking to the machine lovingly, suddenly let loose with a torrent of expletives aimed at that inanimate object.
I was a convert. For the next two decades, wherever I went, there always seemed to be a Gottlieb pinball machine around somewhere.
Playing was a pleasure; winning was a thrill. Restaurants, bowling alleys, and bars were usually the places they were found.
The Sea Dragon Club had one in the stag bar, and it and I became attached, so to speak. Now, it was a Williams, a company which also made pinball machines, but one with whom I wasn't familiar.
It took many quarters, but eventually the rules became understandable to me and the pursuit of free games began. That same Williams pinball machine was there during our entire 15 month tour.
The Club 63 had pinball machines, but those were for gambling and were made by Bally. Not for me.
A beautifully restored Gottlieb
A two-player Gottlieb is shown. With the metal frame, this puts it into the 1960s.
Retail outlets are out there, if you have the money and an understanding spouse.
To see the inside of a restored of a pinball machine, click HERE. This is for you electrical engineers out there. Click on the 720p if you get a green screen.
The explanation of the headboard is shown HERE.
Let's play pinball by clicking HERE. A great Williams machine is played HERE.
And another Gottlieb HERE. Here's Gottlieb's Dancing Lady.