September 25

NEWS AND VIDEO : FINDING YOUR GAME AT THE PINBALL HALL OF FAME : VIDEO : PBS NEWS HOUR WEEKEND

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Once widely popular, pinball machines have mostly become relics of the past. But the Pinball Hall of Fame in Las Vegas is proving they still hold nostalgic appeal, with more than 250 of them now on public display, and plans to expand to a larger space on the Vegas strip. From old-time parlor games to the Simpsons, all you need to play is a quarter. NewsHour Weekend’s Christopher Booker reports.


VIDEO LINK OF SHOW:

https://www.pbs.org/newshour/show/finding-your-game-at-the-pinball-hall-of-fame


Read the Full Transcript

  • Megan Thompson:

    In May of this year, Las Vegas officials approved construction of a new building on its famed strip…..And like its casino neighbors, it’s dedicated to machines built to strip tourists of their money in the name of entertainment.

    But you won’t find any slot machines, or any kind of gambling here. Christopher Booker has more.

     

  • Christopher Booker:

    When the machines start up inside the Las Vegas Pinball museum. The sights and sounds of 20th century history come alive. From old time parlor games, to the space dreams of the 1960’s to the Simspsons. They all work. If you have a quarter to play. This all started over 50 years ago in Michigan – when Tim Arnold, then only in high school, started purchasing pinball machines.But these weren’t just to play. Arnold installed his machines in Frat Houses and in the basement of a local pizza parlor.

     

  • Tim Arnold:

    It was an easy way to make money. All my friends had paper routes and they had to get up in the morning and slog through the snow. And I would just go, you know, take money out of pinball machines. It was a great racket. I would buy a game, put it out, run it ’till it paid for itself and then just stick it back in storage and go buy another one. It’s like baseball cards, only bigger. (LAUGH)

     

  • Christopher Booker:

    In 1976, Arnold – along with his brother – opened a pinball arcade in East Lansing, Michigan. This was the first of what would be 7 seperate pinball arcades, but in 1990, Arnold sold his interests in the arcades and decided to retire and move to Las Vegas. At the ripe age of 35.

     

  • Christopher Booker:

    Do you have a favorite?

     

  • Tim Arnold:

    You know, as a curator, I’m not allowed to have an opinion. My job is to present the work as a whole and let people figure out what they like themselves. And truthfully, I’ve had so much of this for so many years, I’m kinda over it.