Date: 2nd April 2010
Welcome to the first of our Pinball News In Brief articles where we round up a series of pinball related stories and bring them together in one place - here.
We start with sad news about the destruction of an arcade by fire. Jimmy Dunn sent us this picture of the remains of the Happy Hampton arcade in Hampton Beach, New Hampshire, USA which was part of a series of businesses burned to the ground when flames - fanned by strong winds - took hold of seven adjacent businesses on the night of the 25th February.
The arcade, run by Ray Blondeau, was home to around a dozen pinball machines. Ray lived above the arcade and so lost both his business and his home. “I’ve lost it all. Everything's gone. All I got is what's on my back,” he said.
Amongst the other businesses consumed by the fire were the Surf Hotel - thought to be the source of the fire - the Galley Hatch restaurant and a popular candy store.
Fortunately the only injury resulting from the fire was sustained by a firefighter who suffered a burned hand fighting the flames which were intense enough to melt the siding on nearby buildings.
It is not known if any of the businesses will be rebuilt.
Another historical pinball building - the former home of Bally MFG Corp in Bensenville, Illinois - was torn down as part of a $15bn development of Chicago's O'Hare airport which will see the Bensenville site turned into a new runway.
The former home of Bally at 90 O'Leary Drive is part of 500 homes and businesses to be demolished between now and September to make way for the planned southern runway at O'Hare.
There is no scheduled start date for the airport expansion which requires both funding agreements with the airlines and the settling of a long-running legal wrangle over a cemetery which occupies part of the land.
Pinball Designer John Popadiuk learned about the industry at the Bally building. He said, 'I used to work there and it was an awesome place. When I started they were making 500 Eight Ball Deluxes a day on one huge assembly line! I met many of my longtime friends there, and have the best memories of making pinball with best'.
On a happier note, a three-year project to develop a unique pinball design has ended with the completion of the Galactic Girl game by Dominique Johns of EM specialists silverAge silverBall in Seattle, Washington..
The game had it's launch party - and is currently set up to play - at the Tiger Lounge, 412 S. Orcas Street in Georgetown where it was well received and continues to attract plenty of interest.
The game has a unique price and scoring system where the 25c game is initially single ball play, but more balls can be purchased at 25c each before the first ball is plunged.
SilverAge silverBall operates several EM pinball machines in the Seattle area and you can follow the development of the game on their website.