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bob
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Rare machines in Australia

Postby bob » Fri May 11, 2018 2:11 am

* Post split and moved - Site Admin.

I’m posting this here where this contribution does not really belong*, as somehow I cannot find the New Post button in spite of looking everywhere for it. I trust Mr Pennymachines will move it to its right place in due course.

I’ve been meaning to post this for some time but delayed as I only had poor photographs of one of the machines, the Clown Magic Ball. I still haven’t got a better one but will add one in the near future as the machine is here in Melbourne belonging to a friend of mine.

I am wondering if anybody can provide any information on two British machines that exist in Australia that I have never come across any other examples of.
The first is a wall bagatelle machine that is in the collection of an Australian collector who is probably the first person here in Oz to collect coin op machines. It is unlike any other bagatelle wall machine I have ever come across.

Mystery-Wall-Bagatelle032a.jpg
The other is the Clown Magic Ball, a large floor standing machine which uses a hairdryer type mechanism to direct a table tennis ball onto a fork which leads into a clown’s mouth. Originally the machine gave prizes to those who achieved a certain score in the time that the blower mechanism was active but this mechanism has not been functional during the machine’s time in Australia.

Clown-Magic-Ball034a.jpg
CLOWN-MAGIC-BALL-041a.jpg
The British collector brought this machine to Australia when he emigrated here in the late '70s or early '80s, binging his collection of coin op machines with him. It was a large collection including a Hawtin’s Clutching Hand and many other desirable machines.

CLUTCHING-HAND-MERCHANDISER-076a.jpg
Some of these were included in an exhibition here in Melbourne by the Performing Arts Museum. Sometime later the owner moved to Sydney and operated an old time Penny Arcade at the resort town of Katoomba in the Blue Mountains area about a 100 kilometres from Sydney. This operated not very successfully for about a year with the owner still living in Sydney. He subsequently sold most of the machines in an auction in Sydney for which I provided information on the machines for the auction catalogue which had the Clown machine on its cover. One of the machines that the collector owned was a very rare Pleasure Island pinball which was a version of Rockola’s World Series, designed for markets where baseball was not a popular game. I persuaded the collector to retain this game on account of its rarity and value and when he emigrated to the US shortly after the auction he took it with him and some years later sold it to a collector who specialised in the Rockola pinball machines.

Pleasure-Islanda.jpg
Has any reader here ever come across another example of these three machines?

speedwell
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Re: Rare machines in Australia

Postby speedwell » Fri May 11, 2018 7:28 am

No, but as always you bring to this site so much interesting information and pictures. Have you considered a weekly column?! Thank you for your great input. It puts many of us to shame. Must try harder.....

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radiochrissie
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Re: Rare machines in Australia

Postby radiochrissie » Fri May 11, 2018 7:56 am

Re Rock-Ola, this may be of interest
http://rockola.buckwerx.com/aboutus.html

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gameswat
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Re: Rare machines in Australia

Postby gameswat » Fri May 11, 2018 5:06 pm

The info on the Buckwerx site and IPDB both show the same Pleasure Island that came from the UK to Aust, I think it's still the only known example. Unfortunately somebody chose to strip the cabinet back to bare wood, though all three other mechanical games in this series were painted. The outer cabinet colour shown above was a little off compared to the slightly darker grey on the playfield surround, so must've been repainted. Since this was based on the 1934 World's Series makes sense they shared the same gunmetal metallic cabinet paint.
rockola pleasure.jpg
rockola pleasure.jpg (34.8 KiB) Viewed 1550 times
WS right.jpg

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pennymachines
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Re: Rare machines in Australia

Postby pennymachines » Fri May 11, 2018 7:47 pm

Bob wrote:
Fri May 11, 2018 2:11 am
I’m posting this here where this contribution does not really belong, as somehow I cannot find the New Post button in spite of looking everywhere for it. I trust Mr Pennymachines will move it to its right place in due course.
The button's in its usual place :o honest! But that doesn't mean it's easy to find... You have to click on the forum category you want to post in first, then you'll spot it, top left of page.

newtopic.jpg

The Magic-Ball Try You Skill Air Ball machine first caught my eye when Norm Sharp auctioned the contents of Sharp's Magic Movie House & Penny Arcade in 2008.

Sharps.jpg
As Daveslot noted at the time, the prize payout casting appears to have come from a Bryans crane. The game is otherwise unknown in the UK as far as I'm aware, so could it be a one-off, scratch-built or prototype machine by a talented engineer back in the day?


Image

I was under the impression that Billiardettes was indigenous to Australia, and therefore included it in the Arena Wineasies From Down Under round-up. I see it says 'PATENT' on the instructions - if there's a number we could solve this mystery perhaps.

Pleasure Island has to be queen of the Rockola mechanical pins. What a fantastic machine, based upon the most entertaining of their pinballs. Sadly, I think this may be the only example, but you never know...

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gameswat
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Re: Rare machines in Australia

Postby gameswat » Fri May 11, 2018 8:34 pm

PM, I feel the 34 World Series pinball really is one of the greatest purely mechanical games ever made, be that pinball or arcade! A work of art in so many ways, but the true genius is the correlation between the rules of baseball and how the game translates that with just 15 steel balls. I've never had the chance to play the Pleasure Island but I've always imagined the reason it's so rare is that the theme and game play have nothing to do with one another. How was this ever going to captivate and intrigue a player like the original? The third and last original game in the series is called Army Navy and this translates the game of gridiron. I've restored one and the mech makes the basic 1933 Jigsaw and more complex 1934 WS seem like child's play! There are three reasons I think that game is so rare - cost to produce would've been exorbitant, then for the average operator to keep running would have been very troublesome, and finally the introduction of the first electric game Contact in 1933, with only one solenoid and a bell it was basic but captured the player's imagination, and a bargain for the operator.

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pennymachines
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Re: Rare machines in Australia

Postby pennymachines » Fri May 11, 2018 10:20 pm

I take your point about Pleasure Island's lack of game logic, but it's a very attractive theme. I also concur with your comments regarding the genius of World Series.

I think another factor limiting Army Navy's success was that it really requires two players taking turns trying to score goals for their chosen team.

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gameswat
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Re: Rare machines in Australia

Postby gameswat » Fri May 11, 2018 11:23 pm

Funnily enough that never occurred to me while the game was under intensive testing in my workshop. I loved the hell out of it! It's an amazing game, but maybe I'm biased having spent so long intensively working on the complicated mech? I guess like the Retreeva the sophistication went over the heads of the normal players!?

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bob
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Re: Rare machines in Australia

Postby bob » Sat May 12, 2018 1:07 am

Many thanks to Mr Pennymachines sterling work in cleaning up my contribution and putting it where it belongs.
His speculation that it was a one off prototype scratch built machine could well be right as the graphics on the machine are all hand painted in oil paint and the blower mechanism looked very much like a hair dryer of the time. But then so did the mechanism on the two American variants of this type of machine (one by Bally and the other I think was by Exhibit Supply) that I have come across in Australia and New Zealand.
I will try to follow up with the owner of Billiardette the patent number and with the previous owner of Magic Ball where in the UK he acquired it.

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bob
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Re: Rare machines in Australia

Postby bob » Mon May 14, 2018 7:40 am

Well I’ve been in contact with the previous owner of the Magic Ball who now lives in the US and is a successful games and toys agent. He informed me that he obtained the machine in a rather incomplete and non functioning state from an antique shop in England. It was originally meant to reward prize winners with packets of cigarettes. He obtained and fitted a hair dryer and rheostat to control its speed which makes the ping pong ball travel higher or lower and had an artist paint the wonderful clown art work on the machine when he restored what he thinks was an incomplete prototype machine.
Similarly I’ve been in touch with the owner of the Billiardette machine who now runs a Bed and Breakfast place in a North Queensland holiday resort. He still has the machine but it is stored in his loft. He will have a look at it to ascertain the patent details when he has the chance and get back to me. I’ll post the details here when I receive them.


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