Friday was day two of Pinball Expo and it began at 8:30am with the first of the day's seminars and as usual it was Dr Scott Sheridan and Ron Coon Jr with the next part of their Pinball Troubleshooting series.

Dr Scott Sheridan and Ron Coon Jr

The focus of their talk was the use of optos in pinball games, the different types, the troubles that ensue and how to test for and correct them.

They then covered the fuses used in the WPC system and which circuit is protected by each of them.

The seminar closed with a question and answer session with the audience.

Next, David Silverman spoke about the art of Charles Leroy Parker.

David Silverman

He talked about Parker's life and career in the pinball industry working for Reproductions until the factory burned down and then Advertising Posters. 

He described the classic traits of Parker's work including the use of perspective, vanishing point, foreground, midground & background, foreshortening, shading, shadows and his use of colour.

The talk included many examples to illustrate these taken from Parker's backglasses and playfields.

Then came the second appearance at the show and the first of two appearances today by Mark Bakula and Don Caldwell.

Don Caldwell and Mark Bakula

This time they were presenting an update on their pinball book Classic '90s Pinballs.

Last year they revealed some of the results of an on-line survey but this year it was more about showing video clips of some of the interviews they had done with key industry figures involved in the development of those games.

They included Larry DeMar, Ted Estes, Mark Ritchie and Cameron Silver.  We also got a chance to tour their game rooms and see the noteworthy pinball machines.

The survey is still available to complete on-line at:

They closed this seminar with a trivial quiz and the chance to win some pinball goodies.

After lunch, the first speaker was Tim Ford.

Tim Ford

Tim produces adverts and music videos and used that expertise to examine how pinball should be marketed to stop the decline in machine sales and availability of games.

He was inspired by Pat Lawlor's speech at last year's Expo and developed three goals for any campaign; to raise interest in pinball, to increase pinball knowledge and to make people excited to put money in games and put machines into society.

Tim examined his local market in Los Angeles, selected his target audience of men and women aged 18-35 along with high school and junior high school kids.

He produced some storyboards of possible TV advertising lots all directing people to Stern's website which he saw as a portal where people could learn more about pinball, play Flash games of classic machines to become familiar with the terms and ideas, and where they could find games and report broken machines.

He also suggested web-based advertising as a cost effective and targeted way to reach the chosen demographic.

Next was the first of two talks by pinball artists.

Kevin O'Connor

Kevin O'Connor is well known for his work creating pinball backglass, cabinet and playfield artwork but in this seminar he was showing how he designed a pinball-based promotion for Coca-Cola using the company's new display in Times Square, New York.

The display is a portrait format but fragmented into sections by the classic Coke swirl, so Kevin's design had to work using this awkward layout.  He spoke about the initial ideas and how the playfield had to be simplified and adjusted so key areas could be seen when the fragmentation was applied.

The result was a movie clip which is one of those shown on a regular basis on the display and helped keep pinball in the public consciousness.

Next was Margaret Hudson who is also a well known pinball artist, although like Kevin her work extends far outside the pinball world.

She talked about women in pinball and in particular in the art department - an area, like the rest of the business, overwhelmingly dominated by men.

Her first job was in 1976 when after graduating in drawing and painting, she was hired to do support art with Paul Farris and Dave Christensen at Bally.  Margaret describe the pinball process as completely new to her in a very busy role.

She got to design the Eight Ball Deluxe art - saying it was because none of the men wanted to do it - and then progressed to Spectrum, Mr & Mrs Pacman and a range of video game titles.

Margaret also talked about the work of fellow women in pinball such as Pam Erickson and Linda Deal, who they worked with and some of the games for which they created the art and design.

Margaret has recently been working with Kevin O'Connor for Stern on titles such as Playboy and Lord Of The Rings concentrating mostly on the playfields.

Then Mark Bakula and Don Caldwell returned with more video clips and prize giveaways with their pinball and rock-n-roll trivia quiz. 

Don spoke about creating cabinet protectors for the area around the flipper buttons - a common wear point - using static cling vinyl.  They described the process of cutting the correct shape and the hole for the button using a washer as a guide.

Mark showed how to create custom game and pricing cards using Photoshop and PowerPoint as design tools.

The final seminar was by Clay Harrell and it was to promote the new series of This Old Pinball (TOP) tapes and DVDs.

The first of these is TOP7 and is entitled Banzai Wars.  It introduces a number of new characters including Shaggy's nemesis and a new and willing assistant, Candy.  The previous theme of exploding games has been taken to new heights with a regular series of detonations as Clay demonstrated in a video presentation of clips and out-takes from TOP7.

Behind all the antics with light sabers, explosions and with Candy, the TOP7 tape looks at Williams System 11 and Data East's boardset, the likely problems and their solutions, and cabinet restoration.

More information on the TOP series can be found at the Marvin3m website:

That concludes our look the the seminars. In one of our next reports we'll see what Gil Pollock the former president of Premier Technologies and the Big Bang Bar design team had to say in their fireside chats.

But before we go, let's take a quick look inside the exhibition hall.  We'll have full details in our next report from the show but here's out unique Two Minute Tour of Pinball Expo 2005.

Click here to view the
Two Minute Tour of
Pinball Expo 2005.




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