(Topic ID: 254057)

Bally Shooter Rods - Pointed vs. Smooth - 1977 Transition

By Dono

3 years ago


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  • 24 posts
  • 10 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 3 years ago by Dono
  • Topic is favorited by 2 Pinsiders

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#1 3 years ago

Trying to gather info regarding the transition of the Bally smooth shooter rod used until 1977 to the pointed version used until 1983. According to Steve Young's website, Blackjack EM (PROD DATE 04/77) is the first Bally game to use the pointed version. However I have evidence this may not be correct. This all started when Jim Palson from JT Amusements asked why my Mata Hari EM (PROD DATE 05/77) at the York 2019 White Rose show didn't sport the pointed version. I was under the impression EM versions of SS games didn't sport the pointed version.

So I started viewing pix of pins in that period, reaching out to owners, etc. to try to get a better picture of exactly when the transition occurred... here's what I found based on all the input received thus far:

Evel Knievel EM (01/77) Smooth
Night Rider SS (02/77) Smooth
Black Jack EM (04/77) Smooth
Mata Hari EM (05/77) Smooth
Kick Off EM (06/77) Smooth
Evel Knievel SS (06/77) Pointed
Eight Ball SS (09/77) Pointed

Not all input matches the above info, as one Mata Hari EM owner in TX has a pointed version. One MH EM owner in France has smooth, and has seen four other examples all with smooth. Two Black Jack EM owners have smooth.

Looking for more data to confirm or refute this... if you have a Black Jack EM, Mata Hari EM, Kick Off EM and haven't been contacted by me yet, please let me know what type of shooter rod sports your game.

#2 3 years ago

My Black Jack EM has smooth

#3 3 years ago

My Lost World came with one when I uncrated it.

There could be some variations in making a list. If a manufacturer runs out of one style, they'll stick in the other to keep the line moving. Or use up old stock, waste not want not.

LTG : )

#4 3 years ago
Quoted from LTG:

My Lost World came with one when I uncrated it.
There could be some variations in making a list. If a manufacturer runs out of one style, they'll stick in the other to keep the line moving. Or use up old stock, waste not want not.
LTG : )

Thanks for the info and Agreed, I'm convinced at least for MH EM that more than a few games had the pointed style from the factory.

#6 3 years ago

Yep this matches the field. What’s interesting is that the EM version (05/77) came out 11 months PRIOR to the SS version (04/78), landing the SS version well after the transition to the pointed version.

#7 3 years ago

More info coming in...

Two EM MHs, Serial Nos. 1029/1031 both have smooth.

Two EM MHs Serial Nos. 1155/1185 both have pointed.

Now we're getting somewhere... or perhaps the line workers just grabbed any old plunger rod depending on what was available in the parts bin on any given day.

#8 3 years ago

It's a little past your target dates but Playboy definitely had a pointy shooter. It's even on the cabinet art.

pb3 (resized).jpgpb3 (resized).jpg
#9 3 years ago
Quoted from GSones:

It's a little past your target dates but Playboy definitely had a pointy shooter. It's even on the cabinet art.[quoted image]

thanks, Playboy came out in 79 I believe, well after the transition. Nice job, machine looks sweet!!!

#10 3 years ago
Quoted from Dono:

Now we're getting somewhere... or perhaps the line workers just grabbed any old plunger rod depending on what was available in the parts bin on any given day.

The goal was always, "get the product in the pipeline". As an early Mustang judge at shows for the MCA years ago, I always ran in head scratchers date wise. Worker's didn't care about what was "correct" as we do now. Just get it out the door!

#11 3 years ago
Quoted from tomdrum:

The goal was always, "get the product in the pipeline". As an early Mustang judge at shows for the MCA years ago, I always ran in head scratchers date wise. Worker's didn't care about what was "correct" as we do now. Just get it out the door!

No doubt that was the case when Bally was pumping games out at a breakneck pace. I enjoyed gathering the info and BS-ing with pin owners!

#12 3 years ago

Bumping... still looking for anyone who has an EM Bally Kickoff or EM Mata Hari who hasn't responded earlier... shooter rod smooth or pointed? LMK please thx.

#13 3 years ago

Updated with one more MH EM:

Two EM MHs, Serial Nos. 1029/1031 both have smooth.

Three EM MHs Serial Nos. 1126/1155/1185; these three machines have pointed.

#14 3 years ago

My Captain Fantastic has a pointed plunger, and the newer style bezel, despite the flyer (and most other copies of the game I've seen) having the smooth style. Not sure if mine was converted by an operator sometime during it's life, or given the game's long production run, Bally switched over? I'd be curious to know if I'm an outlier.

#15 3 years ago
Quoted from mbaumle:

My Captain Fantastic has a pointed plunger, and the newer style bezel, despite the flyer (and most other copies of the game I've seen) having the smooth style. Not sure if mine was converted by an operator sometime during it's life, or given the game's long production run, Bally switched over? I'd be curious to know if I'm an outlier.

That game came out almost two years prior to the cutover. Even with the long production run of the game, most likely a year or more prior to the introduction of the pointed shooter rod. As an operator though, I might have been swayed to move all my Bally games to pointed rods in the field when they became available, given how much abuse they received by wild teenager types (me being one of them at the time).

#16 3 years ago
Quoted from Dono:

That game came out almost two years prior to the cutover.

Oops, actually about a year prior to the cutover... who knows, perhaps there were some late production CFs with pointed rods, but I doubt it as I don't really see the transition until bout June/1977, well prior to the CF run.

#17 3 years ago

When did Bally go back to the smooth shooter rods? Should my Fireball II have come w/one?

#18 3 years ago
Quoted from pinkid:

When did Bally go back to the smooth shooter rods? Should my Fireball II have come w/one?

Some time in 1983... if you go to the PB Resource web site and view under Cabinet Parts, he has the Bally shooter parts listed by time period starting and ending with specific game... good info there.

7 months later
#20 3 years ago

My MH EM has smooth. Serial 1097

#21 3 years ago

What I do when looking for what legs should be on machines is to look at catalog and promotional flyers to see what is shown on a machine. I don't know if you would be able to tell what shooter rod is on a machine in flyer pictures but it sure helped with the legs in the past for me.

The issue with getting information about machines "in the wild" is some people might have changed over from one style to the other. Operators could have also changed them over the years so just because one style or the other is on a machine that doesn't say it was shipped from the factory that way.

#22 3 years ago
Quoted from too-many-pins:

What I do when looking for what legs should be on machines is to look at catalog and promotional flyers to see what is shown on a machine. I don't know if you would be able to tell what shooter rod is on a machine in flyer pictures but it sure helped with the legs in the past for me.
The issue with getting information about machines "in the wild" is some people might have changed over from one style to the other. Operators could have also changed them over the years so just because one style or the other is on a machine that doesn't say it was shipped from the factory that way.

Spot on... I had to do quite a bit of work to realize my MH EM sported the incorrect legs... and even reproductions from different vendors can be slightly different... this was also the case when I bought repros for this game.

2 weeks later
#23 3 years ago

Updated List

MH EMs with smooth shooter rods:

1029
1031
1056
1097

MH EMs with pointed shooter rods:

1126
1155
1185

3 weeks later
#24 3 years ago

UPDATED LIST:

MH EMs with smooth shooter rods:

1029
1030
1031
1056
1097
1100

MH EMs with pointed shooter rods:
1126
1155
1185

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