This blog was created for USASTRATCOM Long Lines Battalion Army personnel who served in Taiwan during the 1965-72 time frame. Specifically, those who lived and worked in and around Taipei are the target. If you worked at the Grass Mountain or Gold Mountain facilities or anywhere in downtown Taipei, we would like to hear from you. All are welcome to visit and contribute to this blog. Your comments and pictures are encouraged.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Not A Pinball Wizard

I got hooked on pinball when I was in the 5th grade. My friend Bill and I stopped by the local burger and fries joint.

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.

This is the oldest Gottlieb machine that was found. It not only has 5 separate pinballs, but also has a wooden frame. This puts its age somewhere in the late 1950s.

There were often cigarette burn marks on these as guys used the frame as a holder.

These were electromechanical/relay machines. The sensitivity could be adjusted if a machine were giving out too many free games.

Gottlieb, Williams and Bally, the main manufactures, had their own artists who would often show scantily clad women inviting you to play.

Here is a full view of the machine shown previously. Hundreds of folks have, as a hobby, the complete restoration of these machines.

There is a magazine for pinball enthusiasts as well as conventions where machines are proudly displayed and sometimes sold.

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.

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