Pinball Wizard - "The Who"
"Ever since I was a young boy,
I've played the silver ball.
From Soho down to Brighton
I must have played them all.
But I ain't seen nothing like him
In any amusement hall
That deaf dumb and blind kid
Sure plays a mean pin ball!"
popular during the
Great Depression (7 balls for a penny), outlawed in many places by the 1940s as a time-waster and form of gambling,
back on the scene in the '70s with modern updates and improvements, and run out of town again in the '80s
by video games like
Pac-Man and Hopper.
In the 1940s and '50s, the old machines were said to be supporting the mafia in New York City and were confiscated, and smashed.
We visited some of the ones that survived in the Pinball Museum in Asheville, NC, where for a mere $15 entry fee you can play them all day!
From the left : Cherry Bell, 1978; Nip It, the game Fonzie played at Al's Diner on "happy Days", 1972; Sky Kings, sky diving theme, 1972.
From the right: Humpty Dumpty, 1947, first machine to add flippers; Select-a-Card, 1950, ("Adults Only" because of its artwork); Yacht Club, 1953; Air Aces, 1975,first to use drop targets; Captain Fantastic, 1976.
Funland, 1968, carnival theme - "Step Right Up and Win a Prize". Buccaneer, 1976.
There are over 75 playable machines in the Asheville Pinball museum and some older ones just to admire. In the summer there is a line because they only let in 75 people at a time. You can check in and go have an ice cream cone or coffee and they'll call you when it's your turn. If you don't want to play, it's free to look around and admire the lights and artwork.