END OF AN ERA

Story dated December 29, 2004

Last month saw the sad death of one of the great pinball designers of the `60s and `70s, Ed Krynski.

Ed designed over 200 games for Gottlieb between 1965 and 1987, so to mark his passing we turned to the man who came to be a close personal and family friend, author of the Pinball Compendium series, Michael Shalhoub.


My name is Michael Shalhoub author of the books The Pinball Compendium.

The reason the books were written was to pay tribute to all the greats in the industry that have brought us these games. They are enjoyed by millions of people all around the world.

In the 1970's D Gottlieb & Co dominated the industry and it was all thanks to their legendary designer Ed Krynski. I have recently returned from the Pinball Expo in Chicago, this was the first time in five years I didn't see Ed, he had just had major surgery and had a pacemaker implanted.

For those who didn't know Ed, he left the industry on a sour note back in 1984. He was from the old school and didn't like the way the industry was heading; it was no longer about making fun games but it was all about making money. He had worked for a family run company for many years and things were never the same when the company was sold.

Over the years I have become friends with the man whose games I played growing up and he has been a tremendous inspiration in my work. My main goal in writing these books was to pay tribute to him.

I was asked by Pinball Expo chairman, Rob Berk if I would like to present Ed Krynski with his induction into the ‘Pinball Hall of Fame' at the banquet on the Saturday night. This was a great honour for me as the majority of games I played growing up were his designs. I had organized Ed's family to be there supporting this true legend as he is recovering from two strokes and two heart attacks. Ed had no idea what was going on - as far as he was concerned it was late and he wanted to go home. So there I was doing a presentation for another great in the industry. I started by telling people that very few realize that Ed Krynski has designed more games than any other designer - he has designed over 220 games.

He has never been recognized for designing pinball or gun and arcade games for Keeney in the period 1960-1963. He brought so many innovations to the game: the vari-target first seen on Airport (1969); the laneways to the flipper first seen on Bank-a-Ball (1965); carousel target first seen on Dancing Lady (1966); multiple drop targets first seen on 2001 (1971).

He has captivated players with his extraordinary designs that had Gottlieb dominating the industry from the day he took over from Wayne Neyens till the end of the 1970's. He knew what players wanted and the majority - if not all of his games - challenged players, and were successes for Gottlieb.

I then finished the talk by asking everyone to please be up standing as I asked Ed Krynski to come up and accept his induction into the Pinball Hall of Fame.

It was a great moment for Ed. For the first time I believe he felt recognition for his work.

I then called Alan Tate forward and we presented Ed with the drawing of the Pinball Museum depicting the area marked out in his honour. He was truly moved by the occasion - there were tears in his eyes.

He once told me, "Michael, there is life after pinballs".

After the banquet the Exhibit hall opened and Ed was seen there playing games with his family.

I have kept in contact with him since Expo and on the 16th of November I received the shattering news from his son Paul that his father passed away early Monday morning.  He was in the hospital all last week with pneumonia and they discovered a couple of a days ago he had late stage lung cancer.

I made it a personal venture to make sure recognition is brought to the man who has designed more games that anyone else in the history of the game. Personally, I am flooded with memories of his games and of the man that I have grown to love. I will miss having pepperoni pizza with him.


Michael, Alan Tate, Gilda & Ed.

I have just finished the third volume in the series and I have dedicated the book to him. He was devoted to his beloved wife Gilda, and his family, even though Ed is not with us physically he will be forever remembered in the games that he designed.

Michael Shalhoub

 

If any one would like to order either of the books, Volume one 1930's-1960's or the second volume 1970-1981 email me at pinballmaster@ozemail.com.au or visit the web site www.pinballcompendium.com

The third book in the series will be released next year covering the period 1982-2005.

 

 

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