I became addicted to pinball at the age of ten, hanging out with my friends at the Union Bus Station in Champaign, Illinois. It all started with a few dimes dropped into a Gottlieb Cross Town. My friends and I spent our free time spending nearly all of our allowances and returnable soda pop bottle deposit refunds on pinball … wandering around the University of Illinois campus playing all the new games at the student union and the campus barber shop.
Later, I moved on to not only playing, but buying electro-mechanical machines in various states of disrepair. My first toy was a 1957 AMI JAH-200 jukebox that I purchased for $40 from my high school during the summer of 1972. It was in the student lounge but no longer worked. I spent most of my summer between high school and college getting that old jukebox back into service. After that it was a rapid descent into an early 1970's addiction to buy and sell arcade machines. My next purchase was a six-player Bally Supershuffle that I found in a neighbor's basement. That six-player beast almost didnt fit out the doors of his basement and it nearly ate my lunch as there were so many relays and worn ten-step units that needed to function in sequence in order for all aspects of the game to function properly. After a year of nearly non-stop effort and a several parts orders from WICO, I managed to get the game running smoothly, and so it was time to sell it and buy some new toys.
During that same time period (1973), two guys Andy Dobronksi and Dale Jurich opened Apple Duck Arcade on the U of I campus.