Tale of the machines

By EricC

March 19, 2022

This story got featured & frontpaged on March 24, 2022


59 days ago

Hello! Brand new to this site, I guess I'm just sort of 'checking things out'? What's my 'story'? Way back in 1970-or-so, while atteneding UW-Milwaukee, and living on the East Side for some 9-years, I and my 'mob' would frequent the local watering hole, where a Gottlieb Lariat was the pinball machine taking abuse from all the 'young pups' hanging out, and consuming excess quantities of 'adult beverages'. Fast forard over the ensuing decades, a couple of us who stayed in touch would ofttimes joke about those days, and beating up on the Lariat. I would sometimes joke about "wouldn't it be fun to have a Lariat in the basement!" In my place of employment I knew a guy who was an avid pinball collector, and as I neared my retirement, and talking with him further about pinballs, I got a 'bug up my butt' about finding one. So, I'm thinking maybe around 2012-2015, I went searching. I could not find a Lariat at all, but Ilearned about the difference between the Replay and Add-A-Ball versions of some games, and found a WIld Wild West, in Minneapolis. It was playable, though a little bit in rough shape. Took a drive up, brought it home, got it cleaned up, with some help fixed a couple of small issues, and playing pinball in the basement! Welllll, I couldn't let go, and continued to search for a Lariat. Maybe a year later, I found one ... in Norman OK. That's close to a 900-mi drive from where I live  I was telling a good friend of mine about this (one of the olf mob, whom I still see regularly), and he told me, "Hey, I'll drive with you to go get it!". Sooooo, one day drive there, stay overnight, get the Lariat, one day drive home! It was in pretty rough shape, but through some self-teaching efforts, and some tips from my avid-collector co-worker, I have it cleaned up and playing wonderfully. That machine is a blast to play! So, I now have a 'matched set' of both the Replay and Add-A-Ball of the smae machine! Sparing the details (I don't want to make an already long story too long), I have subsequently added a Bally Gold Rush, as well as a Bally Big-7 Shuffle Bowler. The wife and I have 10 (soon to be 11!) grandkids, ranging in age from 2-to-19 years. Needless to say, they have fun with those machines when they are here, even though lol the technology is multiple generations old to them! Well, that's about all I've got. Thanks. Eric C

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Comments

54 days ago

great story, thank you for sharing. just one question: isn't it maybe sometimes rather loud in your basement, having a lot of grandchildren playing a lot of pins? :)

54 days ago

LOL oh HECK yeah it can get loud! But hey ..... hoping those kids will have some fun memories of visiting grandpa ... :-)
Might I ask spicekabay ... your comment shows the Deutsche flag ... am I correct in assuming you are writing from Germany?
I am first-gen American, father from a small town in Alsace, mother a Berliner (Prussian).
(Now if I could just figure out how to upload photos of my machines from my google photos ... 8-( ... )
Still trying to figure out how to navigate around this site.

53 days ago

yes, fun memories would be great, so fingers crossed :) I am from cologne, but have been in Alsace and Berlin several times. Berlin is not my favored city (sorry!), but I do love Alsace really much, have been to Colmar and Strasbourg for tarte flambee and plume blanche, nice! :)

53 days ago

LOL funny your comment re Berlin.. I have never been, but my older sister has been several times and the last time she got back home, she told me "Berlin has become awful, you can't even find a German there!".
My father emigrated to US as a 21-yr old in 1929. Was with US Military Intelligence services post-WWII in Berlin (mother born in 1918 in Haldenslaben, but family moved to Berlin when she was just 3-4 yrs old). My mother by that time (1946/47) had a job cleaning barracks on his base (quite a fall from her upper-middle-class growing up, but war will do that!), they met, married in 1949 and returned to US, when my father 'mustered out' of US Army.

53 days ago

Nice Story EricC. I too am from New Berlin, WI and have enjoyed getting my young kids into playing pinball. We have a few DMD games, a few 1980's games and a handful of classic EM's. The old EMs get played about as much as newer games - I think the clear objectives, shorter ball times, mechanical noises and less cluttered playfields of the EMs might be more fun for kids (and perhaps adults too)!

Spicekaby: I agree with you - Berlin is not my favorite city to visit either! But Koln is great and the Kolsch is wonderful!

52 days ago

Envy-Me .... I like that observation as to why the old EMs might just be more fun!
Whereabouts in New Berlin? We are in the Calhoun-and-National area ... where Observatory Rd crosses Ntl Ave.

52 days ago

Ericc, Too funny that your family is from Berlin and now you live in New Berlin. I loved your story of how you got into pinball. A friend in greendale has similar story. I live just off of National and 164. Only game I have is a 1984 pitch and bat, but grandsons love it! It has a few bugs, but is playable.

50 days ago

EricC - We're on Racine Ave near Observatory Rd. - not too far!

49 days ago

Hey, very nice to hear this story - I bought that Lariat at the Texas Pinball Festival, had it for a year or so and sold it to a friend, and he's who you bought it from in Norman. Yay!

49 days ago

John H: OMGosh! That is hilarious .... that I would randomly check into a Pin-site and find a connection to where I bought the Lariat! Lol sweet ... :-)
Grrr, still trying to figure out how to upload some of my photos from Google photos with my Chromebook ... what can I say, not technically adept enough 8-( ...
But I'm workin' on it !

49 days ago

Finally!! Got my photo's uploaded ....

49 days ago

Awesome! I wonder if ipdb wouldn't mind some better photos too - they even asked me for better ones at the time but those were the best I could manage. This game found its rightful home :D
I remember it being quite loud :p lol

48 days ago

Oh! It *is* loud! Too fun. IPDB .... I've been on that site awhile back ... I'll check it out, see if I can't get my serial # etc added.

41 days ago

now I'll have to check out Lariat and wild wild west on my ultra vp, to see what youve got.

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