The latest addition to my collection is a long sought after game, Bally Skyrocket, released in May 1971. I had just turned 6 years old when it hit the streets and it would be another 47 years until I would play the game for the first time at the Roanoke Pinball Museum in Roanoke, VA. I'm not sure what started my desire to find this game but 3-1/2 years ago, I added it to my wish list. In that time, I missed one on eBay in Florida, a CL seller in Arkansas disappeared, an Indiana ad was read too late and a rough example in an auction early this year was passed on. Considering how many Pinsiders are looking for this game, I was convinced it was going to be a long wait.
Skyrocket has an unusual history of being a Harry Williams designed game at the time when Ted Zale was transitioning into retirement and his protege Jim Patla was beginning to turn out his first titles. Pinball podcaster and collector Dennis Kriesel wrote a very interesting tale about Harry's Skyrocket and other designs produced by Bally in this Pinball News article found here: https://www.pinballnews.com/site/2017/11/30/harry-williams-and-bally/
Last Tuesday, out of the blue, (see what i did there) @bluespin sends me a PM that a Skyrocket has come up for sale in Akron, OH (4 hours away) on Pinside. WTF! Without even looking at the pictures in the posting, I immediately sent the pinsider a PM that I wanted to buy the game. The seller did not list a price but was looking for info on its worth as he found it was a hard to come by. Duh! I provided some price points and made a cash offer to pickup that weekend and provided my name and phone number. I agonized all Tuesday night and Wednesday waiting for a response that never came. Finally, Thursday morning the seller replied to my PM that he had received considerable interest and that my offer was in the middle of others. Damn it! However, one buyer would need to ship the game and the seller was not too keen on dealing with that. OK. Here is my chance to hack through the crowd. I figured what the hell, I don't want to get into a bidding war (and possibly against myself) but this one is too close to let slip away, so I shot the seller my best cash offer with pickup ASAP. Still crickets the rest of the day Thursday. Mid-morning Friday, the seller texted to accept my offer and we made arrangements for the pickup on Saturday. Here is the game in the sellers garage.
This Skyrocket was purchased sometime in the early 1980's by the sellers' father and has been in the family for about 35 years. The family also had a 1972 Williams Olympic Hockey but sold it sometime ago. The seller was *slightly* considering turning Skyrocket into a coffee table but because the art and colors of the game are so appealing, he sought out Pinside and decided the game should be preserved and sold to a person that would appreciate the game.
Skyrocket has a low production run of 545 units but I am curious how that can be since Bally's serial numbers start at 1001 and my game has matching number 2030. There is another game on IPDB with number 1640.
The main and COOLEST feature of Skyrocket is the cascade of colored inserts on the playfield that light in sequence to replicate an exploding firework shell. The 10 step motorized sequence of lights can score 1000, 3000, 5000 or an Extra Ball when the lit value is collected by shooting the ball into either the left or right saucer or through the left or right outlane. Here is a great game play video of Skyrocket.
My Skyrocket is going to take time and passion to bring it back to it's former glory. Follow along as I give this great Bally classic a loving restoration.