(Topic ID: 219763)

The Red Max club & Bally EM prototype games

By EM-fan

3 years ago


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  • 22 posts
  • 10 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 2 years ago by Don_C
  • Topic is favorited by 2 Pinsiders

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Power Connection_new_1024 (resized).jpg
Playfield back - having had some fixing_1024 (resized).jpg
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THE RED MAX Relay Banks (resized).PNG
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Kick Out Hole_1024 (resized).jpg
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mini-THE RED MAX on the playfield (resized).jpg

#1 3 years ago

Der EM fans!

Amusement is welcome about opening a club for a machine with a production run of only 70 - and maybe a dozen or two in existence still. Nevertheless, the machine is nice and I think, it deserves a club. So, please join me on my restoration with comments, advice and fun, add your stories and knowledge on this machine, s hare pictures of ones you own or saw at events, and everything else that comes to mind on this machine.

Background: why is this machine so rare:

From what I learn by browsing through ipdb, around 1971 Bally tested a concept of creating small runs of machines and apparently placed them next to existing ones to compete on earnings. Of course a new machine should always attract significantly more players and money than older ones - thus this was intended to be a good market test. The following five machines did no make it to market during this time:

Bali-Hi - 80 built - 4-player
Double-Up - 55 built - 1-player
Time Tunnel - 70 built - 4-player
The Red Max - 70 built - 1-player
Round Up - 70 built - 2-player

With Bull's Eye, Joker and others, Bally had used this concept before and with Fore and SlapStick, they did so later, but never as often, as during this one year around 1970/71.

With my The Red Max being labelled "Switzerland" on a paper tag attached to the relay board, it appears that one machine was shipped to each of the main distributors globally. With the ipdb dates being project dates, The Red Max probably competed with either El Toro or with Odds & Evens to be mass produced - and lost.

Why so?- the game is actually really fun to play - with complex shots, backbox light animation and a really nice theme and graphics. Yes, the left side with that messenger ball is a bit lame indeed, but was that really the reason?
Here is my guess: Despite only haveing less than 5200 original plays on the counter, my game shows significant wear at the entry of the messenger ball: one of the clear plastics is broken and the screwholes of the plastics are worn. So, the messenger ball mechanics seems to lack durablility. Did the test games break on side during the test phase?

#2 3 years ago

Background: The theme of The Red Max

A theme around red triplanes - that can only be relating to "The Red Baron" and Manfred von Richthofen. There are films about that topic, plenty of background information and as a result a broad range of red airplane models available as topper.

mini-THE RED MAX on the playfield (resized).jpg
#3 3 years ago

Here are some pictures of the game as it was when it arrived. 5132 games on the counter are in line with the minimal wear of the machine.

Arrival condition_1024 (resized).jpgArrival play counter_1024 (resized).jpg
#4 3 years ago

Mushroom bumpers rock!!

#5 3 years ago

Axel,a few of the rare ones one can only guess at the reasons...there is little known of Bulls Eye and no one has seen one...I do know for sure that Time Tunnel was stopped from being produced in greater numbers because Bally was being sued for copyright from the TV show of the same name and theme...they had to scrap it and it came back in another form being Time Zone and Space Time...the story goes that Bali-Hi was on the books for a long while but by the time they put it out there to play,it was up against Fireball at the time so hardly anyone wanted it against that one...as for the rest,who knows?!!!...usually it's put down to an unpopular theme or gameplay(Double-Up had that pointy artwork many people dislike).
Anyone hear of one called Monkey Bash?...around 1967 for Bally...never seen or what it looks like.
Williams Black Gold is one that's sought after,too...myself personally I would buy Bulls Eye if one really does exist.

#6 3 years ago

As you have already stated, Bally tested most of there games in the field during this time period. That is the reason for the small runs on some of the games.

In addition to the games that didn't make it, such as the one's listed above, there would also be changes made to full production games from time to time before the full run was produced.

For example, on the initial test run of Fireball, the spinner is black, then for the full production run it was changed to red. On the initial run of Nip-It, the 'baligator' had an alligator covering it that would end up breaking so they removed it and changed the plastic cover from swamp grass to an alligator.

I"m not sure why the 'The Red Max' failed as it seems to be fully developed but this is not the case with 'Fore.' 'Fore' is badly imbalanced and quite easy to get free games on even the hardest settings. The upper half of the game is rendered meaningless and it seems obvious that they had more in mind for the game than the rules that the game was left with.

#7 3 years ago

Tagging this thread to check back in later when I have some time. I can fill in some of the blanks on the Zale era.

#8 3 years ago

Really enjoy all your comments and input. Looking forward to learn more about these games!

Coming back to my The Red Max. The previous owner said, that he never put hands on the machine at all. Thus the interestimng condition it was in when it arrived might have been caused a loooong time ago. Someone with only limited access to original parts had apparently tried to fix it after someone else before apparently had started to use it for parts.

- no power cord at all. Looks like someone had cut it out together with all holding disks
- outhole coil missing - apparently someone just cut out the coil for another machine
- coin mechanics and coin signs mainly missing - required for another machine, I guess
- Gottlieb flipper finger with 80's Bally mechanics; coil missing: can only think of someone reusing the mechanic (wire cut) and someone else putting in just anything (s)he could find
- occasional screw missing on the playfield - a clear sign of parting ou
- two mushroom bumpers broken - no other sign of violence on the machine - maybe someone tried to part them out not knowing how to dismantle?
- no coin box, pinballs, tilt ball - parted out, I guess
- no bells - in Switzerland, these games never had bells pre-installed
- 2+2 identical legs of the correct type but slightly different color - maybe at least 2 are original... Non-pinball head and leg screws.
- interesting fix on the outhole coil! Someone apparently tried to do a good job here in terms of color matching. Probably a doctor rather than a pinball expert. Any chance anyone have the correct A-25-1000 coil for me to replace this?

Maybe someone recognizes the machine?!

Kick Out Hole_1024 (resized).jpgPower connection_1024 (resized).jpg
#9 3 years ago

Were any kind of production numbers ever leaked for the Bally Bingos? It seems, this time period was still turning out a number of Bingo titles. Which may have been their focus instead of flipper pinball. Other than Big Valley and Firecracker, production numbers were typically 1000 or less for Bally at that time. Gottlieb fared a bit better in that period but not by too much. They had a number of titles that ran 1500-2500 units. Oddly enough, the production numbers are missing for a lot of the WMS games of that same era but had some really big hits too (4000-5000 for a few titles).

It will be interesting to hear more "inside" stories as to exactly what was going on during this period as it reflects just about the time period of games that were available in the arcades and bowling centers when I started playing pinball.

#10 3 years ago
Quoted from EM-fan:

Despite only haveing less than 5200 original plays on the counter, my game shows significant wear at the entry of the messenger ball: one of the clear plastics is broken and the screwholes of the plastics are worn. So, the messenger ball mechanics seems to lack durablility. Did the test games break on side during the test phase?

Looks close to every other Bally Boop Ball assembly I've ever seen,including Fireball.
They still didn't have it figured out in 83 with Fireball Classic;
IMG_1593 (resized).JPG

Cutting a new clear using the old as a pattern from good Polycarbonate is the only solution. There is a lot of Hacks seen in these areas, Big Screws (mine had one),extra posts, oversized rubbers are just a few common ones.
I like your machine!

#11 3 years ago

Those mushroom bumpers are broke all the time, usually from a missing rubber under the top that at first glance can seem difficult to change.
Also, a lot of replacement coils could be that green, not necessarily wrong for play.

#12 3 years ago

phil-lee : interesting - the green coil coating might have been a "new", hand made replacement coil? The fact, that someone wrote A-25-..0 on it with what appeared to be a pencil would match that thought! And yes - it works as it should when I manually trigger the relay in the cabinet...

phil-lee again: looks like I will need to get into cutting plastics at some time. So far, I really shy'd away from that... Will look into this once the game mechanics will be fully functional and will stop turning black in 70% of the cases when the BONUS UNIT pulls...

#13 3 years ago

As litte documentation seems to be availabe on THE RED MAX, find a listing of the coils installed on my machine here: https://pinside.com/pinball/archive/the-red-max/gallery/other

THE RED MAX Relay Banks (resized).PNG
#14 3 years ago

el-comico : funny, that that pointy artwork on Double-Up was not much liked at that time. Judging my by own taste of favoring this Jerry Kelley style art seems to be a bit off

#15 3 years ago

First, with regards to your coils... they were probably not wrapped at all originally. Take a look at photos on IPDB of Bally machines from that era-- there are a lot of naked coils in those machines!

Secondly, as already pointed out...

Quoted from jcg9998:

As you have already stated, Bally tested most of there games in the field during this time period. That is the reason for the small runs on some of the games.

Bally used their distributors to get prototype games out into circulation for short term testing. If the game did well, it would be pressed into production. If a game didn't do well, it went to the scrap pile. Operators filled out a form to let Bally know how the game was doing on location (see below). Most of the games that didn't go into production make sense... one need only look at the playfield on Joker to see that there wasn't much going on there.

Bali-Hi -- same thing (incidentally, though the game is credited to Ted Zale, it's actually a slightly modified design based on a drawing that Harry Williams sent to Bally).

Double-Up is another one that's just dull. I have my suspicions that it's not actually a Zale design. I don't know who the likely suspect is, but it looks nothing at all like the other Zale designs.

Six Shooter... wide open playfield with nothing going on. Also crazy complicated. I imagine operators hated working on it.

Quoted from el-comico:

Axel,a few of the rare ones one can only guess at the reasons...there is little known of Bulls Eye and no one has seen one

Bull's Eye is the white whale. There's a single photograph that appeared in Game Room magazine back in 1995-- and that looks like it was a copy of a photocopy. I'm not aware of any other photos of the machine. BUT, there is a schematic available for the game... so at least an engineering prototype must have existed. Jim Patla says that games that didn't do well in testing were literally cut up with a chop saw and put in the dumpster-- so any surviving examples of these low production number games must be rare indeed. I'd like to think that there's an undiscovered Bullseye sitting in a basement, forgotten, that will someday see the light of day again... but I also realize that's really unlikely.

Red Max is a particularly interesting one to me. It's got a decent layout and seems to check a lot of the right boxes to be a hit... yet it failed for some reason. Also curious is the fact that at least 9 examples of the game still exist (and in reality, that number is probably even higher). That's a pretty high survival rate for a game that didn't do well on location and never went into production.

Quoted from el-comico:

Anyone hear of one called Monkey Bash?...around 1967 for Bally...never seen or what it looks like.

This one never went into production. According to Jim Patla, it never even got as far as the art department. Each new project was assigned a project number, and there are a number of those that never even got as far as a name (existing only as "813" for example). A whitewood was created, and wired up without scoring or features, just to bat a ball around and get a feel for the game. Some stopped at that point... and Monkey Bash was apparently one of those.
Test game report (resized).jpg

#16 3 years ago
Quoted from drsfmd:

First, with regards to your coils... they were probably not wrapped at all originally. Take a look at photos on IPDB of Bally machines from that era-- there are a lot of naked coils in those machines!
Secondly, as already pointed out...

Bally used their distributors to get prototype games out into circulation for short term testing. If the game did well, it would be pressed into production. If a game didn't do well, it went to the scrap pile. Operators filled out a form (see below) for those machines to let Bally know how they were doing on location. Most of the games that didn't go into production make sense... one need only look at the playfield on Joker to see that there wasn't much going on there.
Bali-Hi -- same thing (incidentally, though the game is credited to Ted Zale, it's actually a slightly modified design based on a drawing that Harry Williams sent to Bally).
Double-Up is another one that's just dull. I have my suspicions that it's not actually a Zale design. I don't know who the likely suspect is, but it looks nothing at all like the other Zale designs.
Six Shooter... wide open playfield with nothing going on.

Bull's Eye is the white whale. There's a single photograph that appeared in Game Room magazine back in 1995-- and that looks like it was a copy of a photocopy. I'm not aware of any other photos of the machine. BUT, there is a schematic available for the game... so at least an engineering prototype must have existed. Jim Patla says that games that didn't do well in testing were literally cut up with a chop saw and put in the dumpster-- so any surviving examples of these low production number games must be rare indeed. I'd like to think that there's an undiscovered Bullseye sitting in a basement, forgotten, that will someday see the light of day again... but I also realize that's really unlikely.
Red Max is a particularly interesting one to me. It's got a decent layout and seems to check a lot of the right boxes to be a hit... yet it failed for some reason. Also curious is the fact that at least 9 examples of the game still exist (and in reality, that number is probably even higher). That's a pretty high survival rate for a game that didn't do well on location and never went into production.

This one never went into production. According to Jim Patla, it never even got as far as the art department. Each new project was assigned a project number, and there are a number of those that never even got as far as a name (existing only as "813" for example). A whitewood was created, and wired up without scoring or features, just to bat a ball around and get a feel for the game. Some stopped at that point... and Monkey Bash was apparently one of those.

#17 3 years ago

drsfmd - thanks for this fascinating insight! Feels like a first hand peek into some real pinball history! Looking forward to read more!

Re: wrapped coils: Evrey single coil in my The Red Max is wrapped and green - alike in my Mariners, but unlike my Big Valleys. So, the change must have happened some time between 1970 and 1971.

Re: survival: As my The Red Max seems to be "the game shipped to the Swiss distributor", it makes sense that it could have survived - as no one would ever pay for shipping a bad game back across the ocean, right? Maybe distributors had to promise to destroy the game? That would at least explain, why someone would have cut coils out of a game in almost perfect condition.

Looking forward to hear more!
Axel

P.S.:
attached find pictures of the playfield from the back after a bit of cleaning and fixing as well as the cabinet upon arrival.

Cabinet upon arrival_1024 (resized).jpgPlayfield back - having had some fixing_1024 (resized).jpg
#18 3 years ago
Quoted from CactusJack:

Oddly enough, the production numbers are missing for a lot of the WMS games of that same era but had some really big hits too (4000-5000 for a few titles).

I've sent all those numbers to Jay, but I also sent him a lot of other stuff too so it may be a while before he gets them all into the IPDB. It's 2xxx-3xxx for most replay titles, couple of hundred for most AAB titles, then as you say the occasional bigger hit.

#19 3 years ago

frobozz : really excited to meet a true insider here! Looking forward to see these numbers published some time somewhere. Bet you have quite a few stories to tell.

phil-lee : just exchanged the rubbers on the Mushroom Bumpers. The 7/16" standard ones available to me could only be applied upon dismounting of the mushrooms heads. A clear indication, that the "rather non professional" restoration destroyed those two bumpers when trying to replace the rubbers.
--> Leaves us with the question of whether oversees distributors were just asked to "scrap" these machines by themselves - which they of course never would have done but used them for parts?

Below find the "after" picture of my The Red Max in respect to power and fuses. Tried my best here - anything I should do / have done differently? "Before" picture above.

Power Connection_new_1024 (resized).jpg
4 months later
#20 3 years ago

Hi,
I've got 2 of them.
Round Up
Image2 (resized).jpg

And this one I 've brought back home today :
WP_20181106_17_23_11_Pro (resized).jpg

WP_20181106_17_19_27_Pro (resized).jpg

3 months later
#21 2 years ago

Here is a video of my Time Tunnel :

#22 2 years ago

At least with the "Red Max" bally was continuing the time honored pinball practice of trying to tie themselves to a something popular without paying for the license:

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0060177/

George P. in his "pre A-Team" days.

Don C

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