Kings & Queens Flyer
I bought this game from Shay Assad when he offloaded some games a few years ago. He posts on the RGP site periodically what games or back glasses he is offloading. I was first to respond and snag it.
The Gottlieb Kings and Queens is a classic and as a lot of people know the game was played by the Who’s lead singer Roger Daltrey (Tommy) during the epic 1975 Who movie ‘Tommy’. As part of this restoration I have been hunting background information around the Kings and Queens game, the movie, shooting locations and other trivia that some may find interesting as a prologue.
Tommy played by Roger Daltrey with the Kings and Queens.1975 scene on the stage showing
The scene centers around the championship playoff with the ‘pinball wizard’ played by Elton John playing a ‘Buckaroo’ on gigantic boots. It’s the best parts of the movie. Well… except maybe for the scene with lead actress Ann-Margret swimming drunk in baked beans and chocolate. She went on to win a Golden Globe for that scene and possibly her overall performance. Just before the scene with the TV set exploding bake beans in her luxurious suite, she was watching a TV ad: "Eat Rex beans. Fit for a queen". Rex is Latin for "king" so this I read is probably the king and queen connection to why Tommy was playing that game. Personally, I think it was because the game is a blast.
The K&Q’s pinball scene was played on the stage at the Kings Theater, Southsea the seaside part of the city of Portsmouth.
Kings Theater, Southsea
Portsmouth is mainly built on Portsea Island. It is a flat low-lying island, nine square miles in area, just off the south-east coast of Hampshire. Bet you did not know that Portsmouth is the only island city in the United Kingdom, and is the only city whose population density exceeds that of London.
The movie director was the late Ken Russell. He grew up in the area and was probably familiar to the movie shoot locations. Locations included the Kings theatre, Fort Nelson, South Parade Pier and Portsdown Hill. I think that It was probably an economical place to film. I was finishing school then in 1974, starting an engineering apprenticeship and remember it was a tough time economically in the UK.
While shooting the Bernies Holiday Camp Ballroom scenes at the South Parade Pier, the camera lights started a major fire that resulted in a closure of the pier, not the best of memento of Tommy you might first think. However, the local people had got used to it, the pier going up in flames that is. The pier built in 1878 burned down the first time in 1904. It also caught fire several times before the shooting of Tommy.
In 2019, a Funfair named "Kidz Island" was opened on the pier. Local fingers are currently still crossed they don't experience another fire as the current owner is famous for his TV hand puppet called ‘Sooty”. Not a good omen.
Early 60’s at the pier entrance.
South Parade Pier reopened in 2017. Looking better than ever.
More to come.