freddo30 and EM pinball - friends for life

freddo30 and EM pinball - friends for life

By freddo30

March 26, 2017

1 year ago

Began playing in 1964 at the tender age of 8. Venue : Riviera Lanes in Akron, Ohio (longtime home of PBA championship)

The first machine was a brand new Williams Palooka (an example of which I own, a Frankenstein composed of 2 parts machines, additional and new parts, and a repro backglass, although I kept the 2 not-so-great originals,) 

I was immediately hooked by the game , a dollar at 10 cents per play lasted the better part of an hour ; my Dad was delighted that taking me to bowling league with him cost about 2 bucks for the night and I credit him with introducing me to the game.

I then became an arcade rat for the next 12 years until I began buying my own games. Even trips to the well known Cedar Point amusement park consisted of heading straight for the massive ancient arcade which contained not only newer games but ones dating back to the 20's/30's. To the devil with roller coasters and such - this arcade was paradise ...

Beginning in 1976 I became acquainted with the owner(s) of the stupendous Cleveland Coin Machine Exchange. Somehow I ingratiated myself sufficiently to be permitted free roam of the enormous warehouse where games were stacked literally 10 feet high. It is where I encountered my Buckaroo, Pleasure Isle, and large numbers of other such iconic / games.

The advent of SS pinballs turned me off completely. ( I don't like digital anything. Motherboards give me the creeps as in my business, manufacturing, motherboards were a synonym for downtime and expense ... still don't have a cell phone or iPad etc. although I do condescend to a home PC because it does, admittedly, aid in hobby items procurement )  And I hate the way they flash, scream, swear and play music or other unsettling things. And the modern "translites" ... yuck.

So 2017 finds me having owned dozens of games. I like to buy them D.O.A. and bring them back to life, enjoy them for some time, then sell most of them off at a reasonable price to a particular dealer and homeowners. I have kept around 10 of my favorites while following my self-imposed house rule "one in - one out" to avoid being overrun. It would be easy to have dozens because of my hoarder mentality which I must always fight.  I specialize in Williams 1964-77 and enjoy the massive 4 player games as projects. I've also recently finished a1962 6-player shuffle alley and a 1959 pitch and bat.

I also enjoy refurbishing parts and assemblies for sale on websites and, yes, even eBay. All is possible with walnut shell medium and a good tumbler, patience, and some knowledge.

So now I'm 60 and need some help moving games ; not quite as strong as I once was - anybody else know anything about that ? But I find that pinball helps to occupy my mind and hands, both of which are gratifying considering my other unhappy acquired disabilities. Pinball in any form is great therapy.

At a casino awhile back I casually mentioned my hobby to the slot machine repair guy and his reply was "You call this FUN ?"  Answer - You bet !  It has been a great 53 year run and I hope to have a few more years left. "How do you think he does it ? I don't know - what makes him so good?" - Pete Townshend

Story photos

No photos are attached to this story.


1 year ago
Love this story. Thank you for sharing.
1 year ago
Great story. Just moved to Kent. Looking for my first home machine. Grew up playing pinball as a second major in college:)
1 year ago
Great story, I've had some of the same experiences & can relate. I'm in that same age bracket!!

Add a comment

Wanna make a comment? Click here to sign in or register.

Hey there! Got a moment?

Great to see you're enjoying Pinside! Did you know Pinside is able to run thanks to donations from our visitors? Please donate to Pinside, support the site and get anext to your username to show for it! Donate to Pinside