Here is another Bally Mata Hari restoration thread. We all know it is a popular machine which was produced in great quantities and thus, it is not surprising that another restoration thread would be added to this forum.
Mata Hari was designed in late 1977 by Bally and its team of skilled designers (Jim Patla) and artists (Dave Christensen). Mata Hari is a very interesting case as it sits right on the edge of Mechanical versus Solid State eras. A couple of hundred machines were produced with the mechanical system and more than 16,000 with the Solid State system. Even though Bally introduced their CPU, rectifier, displays and light boards, they kept the pleasant and nostalgic Chime unit with its four channels. Other manufacturers such as Recel (Spain) kept the mechanical guts of the machine while introducing new Electronic Sound boards. Maybe Bally had not had time to perfect their Sound board yet and instead, decided to keep the melodious sound of the xylophone in their early Solid State machines.
The theme for this machine was inspired by the famous, rebellious and unconventional woman Margaretha Geertruida Zelle born in 1876 (maybe Bally was commemorating her 100th birthday) in Netherlands. After a short marriage and life in Indonesia and the SouthEast (the name Mata Hari means Eye of the Day in Indonesian), she came back to Europe where she fully explored her true personality and sexuality. She became an exotic dancer enthralling the French males audience with her lascivious moves imported from the Southeast, a courtesan reveling in the art of sexual pleasure and finally a spy for the German and later on French governments. Her late handler, captain Georges Ladoux head of the French Secret Police, probably jealous of her sexual excess with other men, decided to compromise her and had her sentenced to death by a military tribunal. On the day of her execution, she turned to face the firing squad, waved away her blindfold and blew the soldiers a kiss. Her motto during her entire life was: "I have always lived for love and pleasure."
Below used to be a beautiful and historical picture of Mata-Hari that the local forum censorship removed. Very sad indeed.
My first encounter with the Mata Hari pinball was in a fancy Bistrot on the Place Du Languedoc in the city of Toulouse in France. It was 1979 and I was barely 18 years of age. That machine with its beautiful colors and suggestive backglass was a magnet for all young men. I remember enjoying the tricky playfield with its nasty rebounds, reminiscent of French Billiard. The Bistrot in Toulouse still exists nowadays, but there have been no pinball machines in it, for decades. Forty years later, a visit to the Pinball Museum in Delray Beach, FL convinced me that I had to have such machine added to my small collection. A simple advertisement on rec.games.pinball produced the day after, what I was looking for (more or less). Timing is everything as we all know so well.