Story originated 3rd October 2000, updated 16th October 2000

With Stern busy producing Sharkey's Shootout, rival start-up Illinois Pinball in the shape of founder Gene Cunningham has been busy.

When Williams announced the closure of their pinball division in November 1999, Gene attempted to buy it. Sadly, those discussion came to nought, but it now seems that Gene didn't give up.

It is thought that he has partly had his way and bought the parts manufacturing rights and remaining stock. Of course the stock situation had been severely depleted since the closure but Gene can now arrange the manufacture of replacement parts.

The announcement from Williams reads:

October 12, 2000

Dear Valued customers and vendors,

It is with great pleasure that we announce to you today the sale of certain
pinball specific assets and rights of Williams Parts and Service.

To Our Customers : We are happy to announce that Illinois Pin Ball Corporation
has purchased the remaining pinball replacement parts inventory and will
operate the replacement parts business for our former product lines. As you
are probably are aware, the Illinois Pin Ball Corporation, owned by Gene
Cunningham, purchased and is currently operating the replacement parts
business of two other former pinball manufacturers. It is their intention
to continue the relationship with our vendors as well as to satisfy our
customer's pinball replacement parts needs.

Please note, we did not sell our oustanding receivables to Illinois Pin Ball
and customers should continue to make payments on Williams invoices as in
the past. Any orders serviced by Illinois Pin Ball and invoiced directly
by them should be paid to Illinois Pin Ball. Please direct any questions
with regard to open Williams invoices to Fred Muenz at (773)961-2158.

With regard to all currently unfilled or future orders, please contact Illinois
Pin Ball's parts manager, Kim Carter, phone (309)828-6993, fax (309)828-1182,
street address #10 Georgiana Lane, Bloomington, IL 61701.

To our vendors : please be informed that we did not sell our tooling as a
part of this transaction. However, we have granted to Illinois Pin Ball
Corporation a limited license to use the tooling specifically for the
replenishment of pinball replacements parts inventory. Also, we did not sell
our liabilities in this transaction. Therefore please continue to work with
our accounts payable department on all currently open invoices. You have our
assurance that we will work with you to quickly resolve all open invoices.

Please direct any questions with regard to Williams open payables or tooling
to Dave Vitullo at (773)961-1899.

We are pleased that Illinois Pin Ball will continue to fulfill the future
Williams pinball replacement parts needs. We have had a great long-term
relationship with our customers and vendors. We have always taken great pride
in our tradition as well as the outstanding relationships that we had
established with our customers and vendors.

Continued success to you in the future,

David Vitullo

Thanks to Jonathan N Deitch for reproducing this announcement.


The announcement leaves a number of questions unanswered. No mention is made of the prototype games - Wizard Blocks and Playboy, Pinball 2000 games 3 & 4 - nor the expected sale of the rights to the William's or Bally names. Also, William's keeps the tooling for the parts and has only sold the rights to re-manufacture for replacement, not for new games from Illinois Pinball.

Cunningham visited the old Williams factory to inspect the inventory, and it's understood he will be moving the parts to the Illinois Pinball location to add to those he picked up when he bought the remaining Capcom stock.

So what will he do with his new purchase? So far his intentions are unclear, but it's hoped that manufacturing will start soon before parts prices hit the roof.

Flyer scan courtesy of Duncan Brown.
Click on image for larger version.
Meanwhile Illinois Pinball has released a flyer of Pool Player which shows three games looking like rebranded Capcom BreakShots, with a number of differences between them.

Two have automatic ball launchers, while one has a manual one. All three have different coloured legs (silver, black, gold) with side rails and lockdown-bar to match.

The flyer looks rather amateurish with the picture clearly showing the reflection of the photographer's tripod in the backglasses. Most strangely is the spelling of Illinois Pinball itself which is spelled out as "ILLinois Pin Ball Co." in the banner and ILLINOIS PIN BALL INC. at the foot.

Gene was at the recent AMOA show in Las Vegas showing 3 games, but reports have been largely negative citing the facts that neither game was fully working and both broke down frequently during the show until they were unplayable.

Finally, it seems that there is no current connection between Illinois Pin Ball and Pat Lawlor Design. PLD picked up the "" site for Gene when the company started up, but as Gene presently has no web design facilities, the domain is being looked after by Pat & Co. Don't expect any immediate developments at the site then.


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