(Topic ID: 206382)

Black Hole: Was it Licensed from Disney?

By Lawlor_and_Order

4 years ago


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  • Latest reply 4 years ago by o-din
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#1 4 years ago

Two questions:

(1) Was "Black Hole" Licensed in any way from Disney?

The movie was 1979; the pin game out in 1981. I'd always assumed it was based on the movie but in looking more closely at the sales literature for the machine, there's no mention of the movie and they don't seem to have put identifiable actors from the movie on the artwork (just faceless astronauts).

I have a list of machines that are "ersatz themes", that seem to capitalize off other franchises without paying a license fee. Examples: "Bone Busters", "Mad World", "Deadly Weapon", "Sexy Girl", etc. and am wondering if I ought to move "Black Hole" onto it.

(2) Was this the first 50 cent a play machine?

I had a vague memory of being pissed off about having to shovel two quarters into the machine at the time, but the thought didn't occur to me it might have been the first until I spotted a reference to having "broken the 50 cent barrier" in one of the sales circulars that's now in the archives.

Thanks for any more expert knowledge you can add to this.

#2 4 years ago

I don't think it had anything to do with the movie. Yes BH was the first fifty cent game, also the all-time money earner as well.

#3 4 years ago

I'd say definitely not. No movie art or sound is the giveaway. It's a common enough astronomical term.

#4 4 years ago

The movie was licensed from Gottlieb.

#5 4 years ago

Gottlieb was part of "Columbia Pictures Company" in the early 80's, if that means anything.

#6 4 years ago
Quoted from Lawlor_and_Order:

Was "Black Hole" Licensed in any way from Disney?

Nope, just a generic space theme. the concept for the game didn't even originate from inside Gottlieb.

It was originally designed by a small group of people on their own, and they brought it to Gottlieb.

Info about their critical mass prototype game, and some black hole info:

http://www.theyorkshow.com/cm.html

Interview with one of the designers about both games and the person who also rebuilt Critical Mass:

#7 4 years ago
Quoted from Biffbar:

Gottlieb was part of "Columbia Pictures Company" in the early 80's, if that means anything.

YES , remember:
The Black Hole movie has been produced in 1979 by the "Walt Disney Production".
At this time, the David Gottlieb & Co. was part of "Columbia Picture Company" since 1977 (some archives here : http://www.nytimes.com/1976/12/07/archives/columbia-pictures-moves-to-take-over-d-gottlieb.html ).

I also have a novelty written later by Alan Dean Foster, and it's clearly written on the first page of this book, that is was from the scenario of Jef Rosebrook & Gerry Day, with a "copyright Walt Disney Production 1979". On the Gottlieb's Black Hole flyer, there is no mention of that The theme is indeed the same, but the graphics are differents... so, for sure it was not licensed.

Note also that there is a BIG difference : the title of the film is "THE BLACK HOLE" and the name of the pinball is "BLACK HOLE".

About the game price : I don't know if it was the first, but I remember that (in France) the plays on this pinball are much more expensive than on the others.
My experience is that the black hole marked a turning point in the pinball machine, with its multi-levels, but also with the increase in the price of the games. A little earlier, we also had MARS GOW and it seems to me that prices were still normal.

#8 4 years ago

Black Hole was one of the first movies I can remember on cable TV. We were one of the first families in my neighborhood to get cable. Just a box with no remote. The box had maybe 8 buttons on it that were push and click style.

There must not have been anything but HBO and only a couple of movies. I seem to remember BH and Clash of the Titans being about the only movies that interested me.

Anyway, I have seen people claim it was liscensed from the movie, but never thought so myself.

Funny, in looking at the cast I always though Maximillian was the name of one of the robots, but it’s the actor that played the lead role. I think I was only 8 or 9 so no clue why Maximilian stuck with me.

Would love to own the pin one day, sorry for stroll down memory lane, lol.

#9 4 years ago
Quoted from Toasterdog:

Funny, in looking at the cast I always though Maximillian was the name of one of the robots, but it’s the actor that played the lead role. I think I was only 8 or 9 so no clue why Maximilian stuck with me.

Maximillian was one of the robots.

#10 4 years ago

Maximillian Schell, the actor who portrayed Hans Reinhardt.

Maximillian, "evil robot". Quite controversial for his killing of Anthony Perkins, considered unseemly for Disney at the time.

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#11 4 years ago
Quoted from RWH:

Yes BH was the first fifty cent game, also the all-time money earner as well.

Do you mean for Gottliebs? I thought the first 50 cent game was Black Knight which came out in 80.

#12 4 years ago

Williams Black Knight came out at 50 cents about 11 months before the Gottlieb Black Hole did. For some reason everyone talks about BH being the first to be at .50
-Mike

#13 4 years ago

Thanks, all, for the extra info! The extra background information on Black Hole is very interesting Nice catch about Black Knight as well.

I'm officially adding Black Hole to my list of machines that are direct or tangential riffs off other properties, aka the Faux License or Ersatz Theme list.

#14 4 years ago

We we're urged by Williams to price Fire Power at 50 cents /3 Balls. And again for Black Knight. It wasn't until BH, did our market accept 50 cents per play but I think we were still at 5 Balls per play. It certainly helped it earn record incomes for us!

#15 4 years ago
Quoted from Black_Knight:

Do you mean for Gottliebs? I thought the first 50 cent game was Black Knight which came out in 80.

No it was my understanding it was BH.

#16 4 years ago
Quoted from Flowst:

Maximillian Schell, the actor who portrayed Hans Reinhardt.
Maximillian, "evil robot". Quite controversial for his killing of Anthony Perkins, considered unseemly for Disney at the time.

It's actually a very dark movie for Disney, and one of my favorites. Great cast, great soundtrack (main theme & credits are stellar), has a very fast pace (opens with the discovery of the black hole and no introduction), some great visuals (meteor in the bulkhead tube), and one of the most hauntings ending shots of all time (the merge). Of note is it also stars Yvette Mimieux who was in the original Time Machine with Rod Taylor.

#17 4 years ago

Nope. Licensed by Gottlieb.

#18 4 years ago
Quoted from Flowst:

Quite controversial for his killing of Anthony Perkins, considered unseemly for Disney at the time.

To be fair, Anthony Perkins did quite a bit of his own killing in some other movies.

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