Here's another one of my posts taken from the MAACA archives:
I'd like to share part of my repair journey on the Sea Island I'm fixing up. This will be a somewhat convoluted multiple part story about meeting people, picking up bingo machine parts and finding really weird problems and the wild coincidences that made the repair job neatly come together.
First, a bit of background about this particular Sea Island:
The short version is that I purchased the Sea Island from Hyann, a collector from MAACA after he replied to my “LF Bingo machine project” perennial post. I drove down to Saint-Jean-Sur-Richelieu during my summer vacation. I made a road trip out of it and had lots of fun.
Actually did two trips to Saint-Jean-Sur-Richelieu, one with the machine only and the other with the bunch of spare parts. The second trip being on a Friday, I dropped by at a PW that was happening at tonysoprano's. That was lots of fun chatting with pinball people.
However, the story of how this machine came into my possession is a bit more complicated.
My example of Sea Island is a Frankenstein machine. The body and head serial numbers don't match.
The body is pretty beat up with beer rot, dodgy paint touch ups and has a collection of South Carolina tax stamps. The most recent being from 1975.
The head on the other hand is electro-mechanically like new (however the BG is totally roached). That was the first thing I noticed about it: how the head's inside looked so clean. It looked like it wasn't routed for very long.
Usually, magic screen games look pretty beat up since they were enjoyed by the players and were good money makers for the operators. Magic Screen games were produced from 1958 to 1963 (and Malibu Beach in 1980). After 1963, Bally never managed to release bingo machines that surpassed the magic screens in popularity. They were operated for many years, some till the very end in 1994 when the Régie pulled the plug on them along with all the privately operated one armed bandits and video poker machines.
The head and body were purchased a few years ago from Alouette by an enthusiastic collector that eventually came into contact with Robert with the hope of him fixing it. Robert didn't have time for it. Then Yannick picked it up with the hope of fixing it up for himself. Finally the game was offered to me since Yannick didn’t have the time anymore to fix it. I picked it up because I was looking for a new project to keep me busy.
I wasn’t particularly enthused by Sea Island, being a plain jane magic screen game, the second screen game released by Bally, but the timing was right and the game was cheap so I decided to have a go at it. Who knows, I might discover new problems to solve. I had previously fixed 8 bingo machines for myself and a few others for fellow collectors. I felt like I've been around the block a few times, it was starting to get boring. Little did I know I was to discover and bunch new problems in machine number 9.
But there's more: The machine came with half of a spare Sea Island head, the half with the magic screen mechanism. The other half I had picked up from Robert in september 2014. So finally I had a complete spare head for a Sea Island that, you will later read, will come in very handy. But you have to admit it's a pretty wild coincidence to pick up both halves of the same bingo machine head from two different collectors, and almost a year's time between both halves.
The unloading anecdote
When I got home with Hyann's Sea Island I proceeded to taking it out out the car. To offer some bit of background information, I live in one of the more colourful and turbulent neighbourhoods in Gatineau. It's the old part near the paper mill. Theres always stuff happening, police cars at boarding houses. Old wino's on old bicycles. Dubious ladies. You get the picture.
So I'm unloading this bingo machine from the smallish hatchback in my driveway. I see this older guy, with a mullet and a Canadian Tuxedo et al. walking down the street. Alarming is the fact he's walking down the street in a decided step holding a baseball bat. Now this may not be entirely weird, there are, in fact a few baseball fields real close to my place. However he doesn't seem to have a ball or a glove. The whole thing is a bit strange.
So as the baseball bat wielding mullet man gets closer to me he looks at the bingo machine body that I was just getting out of the car.
He says in french:
That's pretty old.
I reply: it's from 1958.
He then says:
That's one of those old machines with the bingo card on the glass.
That's right I say.
Baseball bat mullet man is now all smiles, gives me a thumbs up with his free hand and more or less says “Right on!” and continues on his way.
Oddly enough, it was the first time I met a non collector who knew what a bingo machine was. Too bad I didn’t get the chance to chat with him further.
End of part one