(Topic ID: 271561)

Artifacts of Gene Cunningham/Illinois Pinball


By dudah

18 days ago



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22
#51 11 days ago

I'm yet another guy who took some great pics ~2008 when all the parts went to PSPA and again ~2012 when all the parts (and machines and some tooling) went to Planetary.

Circa 2012 (can't actually remember precisely what year it was) I received a full tour, not hosted by Gene but by the company responsible for selling his assets during the bankruptcy, of the house and all of Gene's building before Planetary took possession. I had been to Gene's compound and satellite building many times before and thought I had seen everything, but on that day I was taken through several rooms and buildings I had never been in before. In short, it was a crazy, surreal world this man had created.

I hope I still have the pics somewhere, but I fear they may be lost for the same reason so many pics are lost; digital black holes. If I can find them I will post them here.

Terry.

#52 11 days ago

This is one of the most interesting Pinside thread, no more to say
Thanks you!

#53 11 days ago
Quoted from mjsbowl:

Thank you for sharing your experiences Dougram.

Oh my god this is the biggest load of bullshit I have read, none of what you say is even close to true

I have all the contracts between IPB and Williams and what gene did and didn't buy, could and couldn't do

Williams never licensed James from Pinball Inc to make any Ramps

Gene had exclusive rights to make replacement parts for 5 Years then non exclusive after that, and never had any rights to make Bally Williams Games ever.

#54 11 days ago
Quoted from ralphwiggum:

Hilton tends to get selective memory for reasons still unknown... Luckily he documents it on pinside so you can get the full story. He went with Tom (roc-noc) because Tom got the invite from Gene, and Hilton offered up free services to get to see the collection. Tom is a really good guy who wouldn't give anyone the short end of the stick.
Here is the original thread discussing the auction of the remaining IPB inventory-
https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/180-pinball-machine-lot-50000?tq=&tu=Whysnow

I never claimed Tom did. He is a great guy.
you also have zero clue about what Tom and I discussed in a 5hr+ drive and 9hr day of work, but then again you have a real tendency to ASSume lots of things you don't know. kind of your MO...

What was published online at that time was far from the whole picture of what was going on, for obvious reasons...

Tom also promised to invite me over to play and hang at his warehouse once all the games were rocking or hook me up with a game in the future. It may still happen, would love to come play his awesome collection. I know he had lots of family stuff to deal with, and life tends to get in the way of pinball.

#55 11 days ago
Quoted from dougram69:

Loyd is right. I found one specific vendor out west somewhere who seemed to have lots of Addams parts. He even had a NGG nos playfield I bought from him. This one specific vendor hand picked the lot and knew what parts went bad. He had many things everyone was looking for. His prices escalated weekly as his inventory eventually dried up. These distributors were far a few though. Locally, Romero at Mazco had some decent inventory for a short time. American vending had some stuff as well but was hard to get Robert at the parts counter to just look for stuff. He had to pull parts so he couldn’t waste a lot of time. About a year into this and those inventories dried up fast.
Thanks
Dougram

I visited Atlas Distributing at that time and they had a shopping cart in the parts areathat I was ableuse. Fernando , main parts guy if I recall ( RIP) let me peruse the aisles and I got a ton of nos stuff.

I was concerned a lot of the metal parts , flipper parts , etc would not be made again. Thankfully this was not too long lasting of a parts drought.

#56 11 days ago
Quoted from Whysnow:

I never claimed Tom did. He is a great guy.
you also have zero clue about what Tom and I discussed in a 5hr+ drive and 9hr day of work, but then again you have a real tendency to ASSume lots of things you don't know. kind of your MO...

You actually did, to me, in person. But I am sure you selectively forgot your conversation with me as well.

Truly man, it's all good. I have said it before and I will said it again.... I don't care about any of the stuff you spout off (there is way too much to even try to keep up) but I won't stay quiet when you attack others that don't deserve to be attacked.

I am glad you think highly of Tom, reading it here is a different tone that what you spoke to me in person.

#57 11 days ago

Ralphwiggum > Whysnow

#58 11 days ago
Quoted from PinballKen:

Ralphwiggum > Whysnow

Lol... No need to start bringing math equations into this....

-4
#59 11 days ago
Quoted from ralphwiggum:

You actually did, to me, in person. But I am sure you selectively forgot your conversation with me as well.
Truly man, it's all good. I have said it before and I will said it again.... I don't care about any of the stuff you spout off (there is way too much to even try to keep up) but I won't stay quiet when you attack others that don't deserve to be attacked.
I am glad you think highly of Tom, reading it here is a different tone that what you spoke to me in person.

You are completely full of shit. I have never said anything bad about Tom and have never even spoken to you about my trip. Really odd thing for you to lie about

23
#60 11 days ago

Why does every topic on Pinside turn into a hate fiasco like this is?

#61 11 days ago
Quoted from ryanbrooks:

Why does every topic on Pinside turn into a hate fiasco like this is?

I agree.

Very odd to have Tim come in here to spout off and attack when the thread was some cool sharing up to this.

#62 11 days ago
Quoted from pinballlife:

I'm yet another guy who took some great pics ~2008 when all the parts went to PSPA and again ~2012 when all the parts (and machines and some tooling) went to Planetary.
Circa 2012 (can't actually remember precisely what year it was) I received a full tour, not hosted by Gene but by the company responsible for selling his assets during the bankruptcy, of the house and all of Gene's building before Planetary took possession. I had been to Gene's compound and satellite building many times before and thought I had seen everything, but on that day I was taken through several rooms and buildings I had never been in before. In short, it was a crazy, surreal world this man had created.
I hope I still have the pics somewhere, but I fear they may be lost for the same reason so many pics are lost; digital black holes. If I can find them I will post them here.
Terry.

please do. It is very interesting to see all these things and piece it all together.

There is surely a book or multiple worth of neat pinball nerding out to be had around the life and personality of the man and the world he created around him.

14
#63 11 days ago
Quoted from Whysnow:

You are completely full of shit. I have never said anything bad about Tom and have never even spoken to you about my trip. Really odd thing for you to lie about

Sorry man, that is where the line is drawn. I will never lie, ever. It's how I was raised, and how I raise my kids. Like I said before, you either have super terrible memory, or just talk so much shit all the time, you don't remember what you have said. If your memory is truly that terrible, you may want to see what can be done about that. If it is because you have skewed the balance between fact vs. volume, dial back the volume and focus on the facts.

One of us is a real-life local (regional?) punchline, and the other of us is a cartoon punchline. I sleep well at night knowing I am just a cartoon.

The last 10,000 words (as always) are all yours. Good luck character assassinating me, you will need it.

-1
#64 11 days ago
Quoted from Isochronic_Frost:

He invited you along yet never let you come over and play?!? What a tool!
That’s practically common courtesy!
I get most my muscle to come along for any pinball picks up merely on the promise that we will spend the rest of the day in my arcade playing my collection after pickup!

Added yesterday: Edit: I guess this isn’t entirely true!
Continue reading for the full story.

nah, it is true. Despite the stories Tim is making up.

I was promised an invite to come play all the games, 'hang out for a day once the warehouse was all done" , and "make you a deal on a future game" once he got everything sorted. It never happened, but I guess it still could.

#66 11 days ago
Quoted from ralphwiggum:

Sorry man, that is where the line is drawn. I will never lie, ever. It's how I was raised, and how I raise my kids. Like I said before, you either have super terrible memory, or just talk so much shit all the time, you don't remember what you have said. If your memory is truly that terrible, you may want to see what can be done about that. If it is because you have skewed the balance between fact vs. volume, dial back the volume and focus on the facts.
One of us is a real-life local (regional?) punchline, and the other of us is a cartoon punchline. I sleep well at night knowing I am just a cartoon.
The last 10,000 words (as always) are all yours. Good luck character assassinating me, you will need it.

I have never known you to lie before.
Troll, attack, steer a good thread completely off topic at the chance to make a personal attack on someone you dont like... sure, but lying is out of character for you.

For the record Tom is a good guy and I have never once talked badly about him (esp to you since we dont even converse outside of the occasional online back and forth similar to this where you come out of the woodwork) . As much as you claim to not be a liar, the reality is I have zero problem talking to someone I have an issue with. If I felt Tom was a jerk to me then I would talk to him about it, not you... That is obvious to anyone that knows me.

19
#67 11 days ago

Back to the Gene artifacts . I want to hear more please.

#68 11 days ago
Quoted from Ballypinball:

Oh my god this is the biggest load of bullshit I have read, none of what you say is even close to true
I have all the contracts between IPB and Williams and what gene did and didn't buy, could and couldn't do
Williams never licensed James from Pinball Inc to make any Ramps
Gene had exclusive rights to make replacement parts for 5 Years then non exclusive after that, and never had any rights to make Bally Williams Games ever.

I have to admit, Wayne, your version is what I've always heard. And that was from those who initially tried to work with Gene in the very early days.

#69 11 days ago

Another Artifact.

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14
#70 11 days ago

Keep the history coming...and the in-fighting out

#71 11 days ago

I love the history stuff and wish I wld of found this great hobby 15 years earlier..... but I appreciate all the stories.

#72 11 days ago
Quoted from ryanbrooks:

Why does every topic on Pinside turn into a hate fiasco like this is?

I'm now convinced there's something in Wisconsin's water supply. There, that's the reason.

18
#73 11 days ago

All the cheese and beer clogs up our remembery parts.

#74 11 days ago
Quoted from dougram69:

Sorry. One correction to the post above. Didn’t mean to say Laughlin above. It wasn’t him. It was the ramps guy, Rick, who later sold to starship fantasy. Assuming this is the Rick at planetary but not sure. Gene just called him the ramps guy and at times Rick. Maybe someone could clear this up if it’s the same Rick.
Thanks

I have so many great memories from the Gene days He offered me some amazing , large deals that I did not take him up on. Don't even know today if it would of been worth the hassle. Some amazing games , at amazing prices. Geez I hassled with 40 foot containers, I probably should of bought some of his stuff for the memories. Getting into this in 1998 was great times. I have seen some amazing rare titles and have 2 whitewoods from this time. Should probably have 4 to 5 more. It's all good. Blessed to have a great collection and amazing memories and that is all that matters.

#75 11 days ago
Quoted from Classic_Stern:

I think it's James Loflin? James did sell the rights to Starship. I have so many great memories from the Gene days He offered me some amazing , large deals that I did not take him up on. Don't even know today if it would of been worth the hassle. Some amazing games , at amazing prices. Geez I hassled with 40 foot containers, I probably should of bought some of his stuff for the memories. Getting into this in 1998 was great times. I have seen some amazing rare titles and have 2 whitewoods from this time. Should probably have 4 to 5 more. It's all good. Blessed to have a great collection and amazing memories and that is all that matters.

Amazing.

#76 11 days ago
Quoted from Ballypinball:

Oh my god this is the biggest load of bullshit I have read, none of what you say is even close to true
I have all the contracts between IPB and Williams and what gene did and didn't buy, could and couldn't do
Williams never licensed James from Pinball Inc to make any Ramps
Gene had exclusive rights to make replacement parts for 5 Years then non exclusive after that, and never had any rights to make Bally Williams Games ever.

Yea, This is what I remember now.

#77 11 days ago
Quoted from Classic_Stern:

Yea, This is what I remember now.

Corrected my post

#78 11 days ago

We'll I knew it wouldn't take long for this tread to derail off the tracks. No sense of wasting any more time on reading any more of "he said , she said" nonsense.

John

#79 11 days ago
Quoted from Dayhuff:

We'll I knew it wouldn't take long for this tread to derail off the tracks. No sense of wasting any more time on reading any more of "he said , she said" nonsense.
John

It’s all good now, let’s wait for some pictures!! I want to see these walk throughs of the legendary, dilapidated, massive, rotten collection!

Also this reminds me, what the hell is the deal? We have Kingpin nearing production, BBB got remade, Pinball Circus is getting completely rebuild to Python specs, and people are cleaning up other games that never got finished. Yet one of the big “elephant in the room” prototypes that was nearly finished, we haven’t seen hide nor hair of: Wizard Blocks.
There are FIVE white woods and nobody has gotten ahold of any to make a drop in P2K kit yet???

You could reinvent the wheel and modernize P2K, but there are plenty of them out there still earning well and now that Nucore exists a WB kit seems more feasible than it was 10 years ago.

SOMEONE GET ON THIS!

#80 11 days ago
Quoted from Isochronic_Frost:

Yet one of the big “elephant in the room” prototypes that was nearly finished, we haven’t seen hide nor hair of: Wizard Blocks.

After seeing several photos and playing the faithfully recreated WB whitewood at TPF a few years ago, it's immediately obvious that Pat took his unfinished business to Dialed In and Wonka. Both of those games are heavily indebted to WB, which isn't surprising, since Pat loves to pay tribute to Pat. Even speaks of himself in the third person at times.

Quoted from Isochronic_Frost:

There are FIVE white woods and nobody has gotten ahold of any to make a drop in P2K kit yet???

No need to chase old glory, Pat already did it for you. Buy a JJP game.

10
#81 11 days ago
Quoted from Dayhuff:

We'll I knew it wouldn't take long for this tread to derail off the tracks. No sense of wasting any more time on reading any more of "he said , she said" nonsense.
John

Hang in there, John. I think we’re getting honest accounts from different sides as best they know it.
Don't forget we're dealing with Gene Cunningham who often blended fiction into his stories.

Plus, I have a first-hand account I'll be composing hopefully soon.
I’m mobile with tiny keyboard and will spell check later.

#82 11 days ago

Even in the best of lies there is an ounce of truth. I had great conversations with Gene on the several occasions I met him. Bought a few things I needed at shows. But did not know him behind the scenes as others have. There is good and bad stories. I enjoy hearing them all to know the history of the role he played. Thanks for those that have shared.

#83 11 days ago

For those who have not heard Clay's TOPcast interview with Gene C.
Wally

http://www.pinrepair.com/topcast/topcast_11.mp3

11
#84 11 days ago
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#85 11 days ago
Quoted from metallik:

[quoted image]

Wow...I remember that pic! Good stuff

#86 11 days ago

For PATZ I always used to stay at that Red Roof Inn on the east side. More than one year I saw that familiar trailer with Gene's "it takes balls of steel" sticker on the back and thought, well, at least I'm not the only cheap-ass in town. Eventually that place got so rundown that it fell short of even MY standards, but I think Gene had stopped coming to the show by then, so I can't confirm who was willing to go the lowest.

32
#87 11 days ago

Just for some clarity.

Chad - The parts guy at Atlas was Romero not Fernando. He was a big, tall Latin guy with a real deep voice. He used to answer the phone "Romero Here". He got cancer real bad later on. I went into the location one day and didn't even recognize him. He had lost so much weight and lost his hair completely. He passed shortly there after. Just to reminisce for a second, Romero was a super guy. He came off real rough at first like Steve Young. I got to talk to him so much he got friendly later on. In Oct of 1999 I bought a CV pin, and the plastic covering the DMD was bent real bad. It got caught on the mini play-field like they all do, and got bent upward. I was having a real tough time finding the part number in the book. He tried looking it up a few times and thought he had it. When the ordered parts came it was the wrong plastic. He then gave me the phone number to the Williams parts lady directly. I called her an explained what was happening. She helped me track down the right part number, and I then had Romero order the right plastic for me. In Nov, I got a beat Scared Stiff. I needed a play-field bad. The VUK hole was blown out. I called the lady at Williams on a lark. I asked her if they had this play-field and she said no. She then said hold on let me check by sub assembly part number. She cam back after ten minutes and said they had one NOS SS play-field as a sub assembly. This had all the holes drilled ready for install, (more than the blank has), all intended mylar applied and all t-nuts applied. It's pulled right before it goes into assembly and into a game from what she indicated. She said to me, have your distributor order it right away as it's the only one. In addition, if you are ever going to need anything else order it now. I wasn't getting the last statement at first, and then realized what it meant. I was able to get some stuff out of Williams before they closed. Mostly for SS, CV and TZ. If it wasn't for Romero, this would have never happened. God rest his soul.

I also don't recall any shopping cart. The place had a small counter in front, and small metal rack behind the counter with all the pinball game specific parts. Wasn't much to go through. Some SWE1 plastics, and few ramps and that was it. To the left was a window where Romero sat in his office. Down the long hallway were other offices, and one area with Billiard tables and a few Foosball games on display. It wasn't set up to walk around with a cart. Are you possibly thinking of Mazco or American vending?

To Mr. Bally Australia, these are the actual conversations I had with Gene and Kim. If you read all my posts closely, you will find my retelling of when Williams games manufacturing was offered to Gene way before you had it, and he passed on it. Go back and read all my posts before you start telling everyone what they lived through was bullshit. Please try and contribute constructively. I never saw any contracts, just retelling of my experiences with the principal parties. If you have more detail, then share it and help make this community better informed. To just say this is bullshit and I know more is childish.

Dougram

#88 10 days ago
Quoted from Isochronic_Frost:

It’s all good now, let’s wait for some pictures!! I want to see these walk throughs of the legendary, dilapidated, massive, rotten collection!

Damn it! I took those EXACT pictures. I just gotta find them.
Terry.

#89 10 days ago

As for Atlas, I put a bid in for all the pinball parts at the end of their run, but I did not get them. All of their stock was somewhat cherry picked by that time, but there was still some value there. I think my bid was $35,000, IIRC. I admit that was too low, in retrospect.
Terry.

#90 10 days ago

Good read and refreshing for the most part. Would have been great if the drama could have stayed out

#91 10 days ago
Quoted from Isochronic_Frost:

we haven’t seen hide nor hair of: Wizard Blocks.
There are FIVE white woods and nobody has gotten ahold of any to make a drop in P2K kit yet???

A friend of mine has 3 of them in his private collection or at least he did. Haven't talked to him in a long time and not sure what the status is.

#92 10 days ago
Quoted from ralphwiggum:

Lol... No need to start bringing math equations into this....

Not taking sides, but “I was told there would be no math.”

11
#93 10 days ago
Quoted from Mr68:

A friend of mine has 3 of them in his private collection or at least he did. Haven't talked to him in a long time and not sure what the status is.

He still has them. He was very helpful in allowing me to document his when I was building mine, also enjoyed exchanging a lot about the design history on the game with him. They work very well for how far along in the design process they were, and I rest easy knowing they're with the current owner and in good hands!

#94 10 days ago

I also knew Gene. I got him to come the second MGC (Held in a high school cafeteria) just by asking. Show wasn’t big at that time but he came with a whole truckload of stuff. He mostly sat around and shared stories with anyone that would listen.
Had plenty of dealing with him over the years. I would trade my flyers for whatever he had on his tables. He’d ask what I wanted for my flyers and never argued about my pricing just said to take that value in parts. I also sold him some NOS Capcom stuff.
I was able to visit his place with a couple friends right before BBB was ready to go into production. He had most or all of the parts. I think he was waiting for a couple part. Guess I should have bought one of those, hmmm. He gave us a tour of his place. Yes lots of rough stuff. Pretty much anything was fs at his price. Saw and ‘played’ WB. If I recall, he also had a Playboy p2k. But it was the Dave Christensen artwork that you just can’t unsee (shrugging).
Would see him at expo, then later at his own show down the block, kzoo, and of course he kept coming back to mgc until other shows came up that made more sense to financial go to. Can’t blame him for that.
Guess I was one of the lucky ones with my dealings with him.

#95 10 days ago
Quoted from Bryan_Kelly:

I have to admit, Wayne, your version is what I've always heard. And that was from those who initially tried to work with Gene in the very early days.

Yes I agree the guy is repeating what Gene Said to him, however what gene said 90% of the time was crap.

He said he owned Bally Williams etc etc, he was only ever a parts Licensee, exclusive for 5 years then non exclusive, wms could sell licenses to 100 people if they wanted to.

#96 10 days ago
Quoted from Compy:

He still has them. He was very helpful in allowing me to document his when I was building mine, also enjoyed exchanging a lot about the design history on the game with him. They work very well for how far along in the design process they were, and I rest easy knowing they're with the current owner and in good hands!

not all are in his hands, I have a few crates as well

#97 10 days ago
Quoted from Isochronic_Frost:

It’s all good now, let’s wait for some pictures!! I want to see these walk throughs of the legendary, dilapidated, massive, rotten collection!
Also this reminds me, what the hell is the deal? We have Kingpin nearing production, BBB got remade, Pinball Circus is getting completely rebuild to Python specs, and people are cleaning up other games that never got finished. Yet one of the big “elephant in the room” prototypes that was nearly finished, we haven’t seen hide nor hair of: Wizard Blocks.
There are FIVE white woods and nobody has gotten ahold of any to make a drop in P2K kit yet???
You could reinvent the wheel and modernize P2K, but there are plenty of them out there still earning well and now that Nucore exists a WB kit seems more feasible than it was 10 years ago.
SOMEONE GET ON THIS!

I believe the software at the time was only 20%- 30% finished.

#98 10 days ago

There is video of Gene's collection/hoard of Bally machines and the BBB production in the "Life After Death III - WAREHOUSE RAID" 2008 DVD from Rob Craig and Steve Rothschild. Rob and Steve started the Silverball Podcast back in 2007 when there was only Clay doing the TOPCast episodes. The DVD is a great watch and I sold my copy years ago but just recently bought another and eagerly await its arrival.

Checkout the podcast episodes here http://www.silverballpodcast.com/

s-l1600 (2) (resized).jpgs-l1600 (1) (resized).jpg

#99 10 days ago
Quoted from pinballlife:

Damn it! I took those EXACT pictures. I just gotta find them.
Terry.

Me and a couple friends also took the tour. I took no pics but the other guys did. Maybe Brian Millard has them?

It was obvious Gene had no interest whatsoever in selling anything, no matter what you offered. He just loved knowing they were all his.

The sad thing was, we weren't allowed to turn any of them on. So many of them had water and corrosion issues. Something like 700 games just sitting there rotting.

#100 10 days ago

So who were the guys that actualy built the BBB games ? Remember they went under the name - Bear cave or something like that ? I'd like to here their story ! I think they got burned in the end ?

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