Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Road trip to the Church of the Silver Ball

Road trip to the Church of the Silver Ball

Barreling down the 401in a black minivan. Drift Stitching on the front bumper. A hula girl on the dashboard. Manson on the stereo and a bingo machine in the back. A ribbon of bitumen connecting my place to the church of the silver ball in Mississauga Ont. that was hosting a pinball Swap meet September 24th 2016. A fast paced drive: gasoline for the van, apple fritters and coffee for the driver. The expectations were low but the road speed was high.

I got to my hotel around 5pm Friday. Checked in. I the parking lot I ran into my good friend and mentor Robert Baraké of Montréal Pinball. We drove over to the Church of the Silver Ball to meet up with Mike and his crew and set up th 1954 Bally Surf-Club that I brought over from Gatineau. The rest of the evening was uneventful. We hung out, had dinner, hung out some more and called it a night.

R.A.B. by the Sienna with the Surf-Club
The morning of the swap meet I was there half an hour early. Anticipation on the pinball hunt coursing through my veins. Lots of interesting stuff. Oddities and Pre-war stuff. Sporadically throughout the day I showed some interested pinheads how to play the Surf-Club. James Schid of Pinball spotting came by with some friends. I hung out a bit with Rob of Credit dot pinball spreading the shady gospel of bingo machines to anyone that was interested.

Vendors at the Swap Meet

Games for sale

At the beginning of the day, I loaded the surf-club with a bunch of credits, but soon noticed that people would start a game and, not knowing what to do or being unable to figure out where the flippers and flipper buttons were hidden, would just leave the game idle with the first ball still in the shooter lane. So I knocked off all the credits and taped a sign to the game: "Ask J-F (pindude152) how to play --> Space invaders T-shirt" Cuz, of course, I was wearing the cliché space invaders T-shirt.

The Surf-Club behaved badly twice! That game used to be so reliable! At one point the game locked up at payout because the leather clutch washers for the replay cam were due for some neatsfoot oil that I brought just in case, so I fixed that quickliy. Later in the day the gearmotor for the ball lift broke down and that was all for the day. Thankfully, I have 2 spare ball lift motors in the workshop for games of that era.

Mike of the Church of the silver ball decided to have silent auctions for the games he had for sale. Silent auctions aren't my thing but those were his games and his shindig so he was free to sell them as he pleased. He had awesome weird stuff for sale. True connoisseur projects that you rarely see for sale. It was a treat just browsing.

At the end of the day I left with a 1936 Bally Challenger payout one ball game and a 1959 Keeney Little Buckaroo flash slot machine console. The van was full. Excited about the new projects! Later I had a tasty dinner with Scott Warlock, Robert Baraké and Roby of Pinball Medics and his GF Annie.

Drove back home Sunday. Uneventful drive with a van full of goodie. As I write these words, the games are still in the living room with no place to go. Ah! the glorious obsession. A good weekend all in all. I got some positive feedback about bringing the Surf-Club. I saw a glimmer of the bingo machine bug in more than one pinhead that tried it out. It was worth it just connecting with other collectors.

A full load of gambling machine gold

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