13 May 2018

Runaway Nightmare (USA, 1982)

Runaway Nightmare (USA, 1982)
Director: Mike Cartel (as Michael Cartel), starring: Mike Cartel, Al Valletta, Seeska Vandenberg...

An action comedy horror movie written, directed & starring Mike Cartel. Low-budget, bad acting, weak plot, and never really delivers on the promise of this description I found on imdb: "Two dorky Nevada worm wranglers are kidnapped by a gang of beautiful women as part of a plot to steal plutonium from the Mafia."

There is a bar scene with pinball machines, a jukebox, a mirror ball, and the two main characters get into a fight amongst them.

Oblivious to the fighting, there's a girl playing Suspense (Williams, 1969) the whole time...



Just before this mean-looking guy punches out the main character, we can see the reflection of two machines in the mirror behind the bar, and these may be the Night Rider and Power Play seen a bit later...

The punch throws him into a 1976 Seeburg Sunstar jukebox, which starts playing (slightly earlier, we see a girl drop a coin and make a selection, but it fails to turn on)...

Another punch is thrown in front of a Night Rider (Bally, 1976) EM version, and a Power Play (Bally, 1978)... these are quite possibly the machines seen reflected in the behind-the-bar mirror in the still above...

The other main character is seen near a Drop-A-Card (Gottlieb, 1971)...

The scene ends with TILT flashing on a Roller Coaster (Gottlieb, 1971)...

4 May 2018

Lobby Card Lies!

On a couple of occasions, I've stumbled upon a "lobby card" photo showing a pinball machine. These were photos taken during a movie's production that would be displayed in the lobby or window of a movie theatre, or used as promotional material for the movie.
These were not simply frames from the movie and duplicated, but rather photos taken by an on-set photographer A.K.A. unit still photographer. Their photos were used for promotion of the movie as well as for continuity in wardrobe, set and background appearance. Thus what you see in those photos is not what you might get in the movie...

Ich - Ein Groupie A.K.A. Higher and Higher (Switzerland/Germany, 1970)
Directors: Erwin C. Dietrich (as Fred Williams), Peter Baumgartner (uncredited). Starring: Ingrid Steeger, Rolf Eden, Vivian Weiss...

I stumbled upon this lobby card photo of a guy playing a Shangri-La  (Williams, 1967)...

But the scene in the movie is this...

Just before this shot, there is a one of the ball rolling on the playfield, but super out of focus. Of course, with the sounds, one can deduce that it's a pinball machine, but otherwise it's pretty abstract...

Later in the film, Ingrid and a suitor are in a jazz club and as they walk out, we can spot a machine in the corner on the left... a Discotek (Bally, 1965)...



Air Raid Wardens (USA, 1943)
Director: Edward Sedgwick. Starring: Stan Laurel, Oliver Hardy, Edgar Kennedy...

I stumbled upon this photo of Laurel & Hardy next to this Follies of 1940 (Genco, 1939) machine...

However, in that scene in the movie, the shot is much tighter, and one barely sees the machine, and in fact, probably would not have even guessed that there was one there, had one not been looking for it and armed with the above lobby card photo...

(Thanks to the Laurel and Hardy Central for helping identify the movie the lobby card photo was from!)

BTW, Laurel and Hardy appear in the artwork of two pinball machines...
Flicker (Bally, 1975)...

...and Prospector (Sonic, 1977) which I guess is a reference to their 1937 movie "Way Out West"...

Bonus:
Fast Company (USA, 1953)
Director: John Sturges. Starring: Howard Keel, Polly Bergen, Marjorie Main...

I couldn't get a hold of this movie, but I wonder if it would be another case of "lobby card lies". I think the machine is a Merry Widow (Genco, 1948)... it has flippers but in the non-modern arrangement, so that would place it somewhen between late 1947 and 1950, inclusively)...

If I manage to catch it sometime, I'll be sure to update this post.

13 Mar 2018

Dogfight (USA, 1991)

Dogfight (USA, 1991).  Director: Nancy Savoca, starring River Phoenix, Lili Taylor, Richard Panebianco, Brendan Fraser...

The movie set in 1963, the day before President John F. Kennedy was assassinated. River plays a soldier about to be shipped out...

He and his buddies have some fun an arcade... River's playing a Gigi (Gottlieb, 1963), which is a slight anachronism, since it came out in December...


Behind him, there is a row of mutoscopes ("movie" viewers, but using a lot of stills, like a large flip-it book) e.g. the black one on the left is a Mutoscope "clam shell" model D, made between late 1890s to about 1909. His buddy is by a Cockeyed Circus (Exhibit Supply Company, 1941), and to the right is a baseball / bat game 10th Inning (Williams, 1964), another anachronism...

Elsewhere in the arcade is a Super Circus Rifle Gallery (Chicago Coin, 1969) yet another anachronism, and a Carnival Gun (United, 1954), and a Mr. Top Gun (Taylor, 1960-1975) shootout game with life-size cowboy (different models of cowboy existed)...

Words are exchanged between the army guys and the navy guys. In Brendan Fraser's film debut, as he walks over to engage, we can spot a Hollywood (Williams, 1961) and an Egg Head (Gottlieb, 1961)...


When the fight breaks out, we can see a row of machines, some of which I could not identify... (from left to right)...
1. ?, 2. ?, 3. ?, 4. Gigi (Gottlieb, 1963), 5. a wall game?, 6. Fast Ball (Williams, 1969) anachronism, 7. Swing-Along (Gottlieb, 1963), 8. an old woodrail, maybe even flipperless, and 9.  Hollywood (Williams, 1961), where we can now see a bit of the "Styling of the 60's" cabinet (anodized aluminum trim and tapered tubular chromium steel legs)...

Oh yeah, on the left is an Uncle Sam strength-tester (possibly made by Caille Brothers, circa 1908, or maybe a reproduction).

In a later scene, River revisits the arcade with Lili and they play Whac-A-Mole (Creative Engineering, Inc., 1976). This is another anachronism. Mysteriously, I could not find any photos of the game that match this backglass and score reel type...


Towards the end of the movie, River is back from his tour of duty, it's 1966, and he walks into a themed bar called Circus, which has a Circus (Bally, 1973) , yet another pinball anachronism...


Also of note in this movie, there is a scene with a room full of antique coin-operated music machines from the late 19th century to the 1920s or 30s. There are mechanically-animated animal orchestras, a Regina Hexaphone, J.P. Seeburg Electric player piano, etc. Since the film was set and partly shot in San Francisco, perhaps these were from the Musee Mechanique?

Thanks to Ruby for spotting this one. I had seen this movie long before my pinball obsession and did not remember the arcade scenes.

2 Mar 2018

The Bad News Bears (USA, 1976 & 2005)

The Bad News Bears (USA, 1976 & 2005)

The Bad News Bears (USA, 1976) 
Director: Michael Ritchie, starring: Walter Matthau, Tatum O'Neal, Vic Morrow...

A scene in the Bonanza arcade shows the juvenile delinquent Kelly playing air hockey for money.

From left to right, the complete lineup is:  Hee Haw (Chicago Coin, 1973), Jumping Jack (Gottlieb, 1973), Klondike (Williams, 1971), High Hand (Gottlieb, 1973)...

In the background on the right may be a few more amongst some other arcade games, but too they are hard to make out. There is a racing car game which looks much like a Gran Trak 10 (Atari, 1974), but the side of the cabinet has been repainted a solid color instead of the stencil art, and the front art doesn't quite match either...

The man loses and Kelly tries to hit on a girl playing a wedgehead pinball. The complete lineup is Paul Bunyan (Gottlieb, 1968) (just a bit of the backbox side), Bali-Hi   (Bally, 1970), Big Indian (Gottlieb, 1974), Gulfstream (Williams, 1973), Fun-Fest (Williams, 1973), and the girl is playing a Flip A Card (Gottlieb, 1970)...

Bali-Hi is apparently a rare game, with only 80 units ever made, however, it can also be spotted in an episode of The Rockford Files ("Dirty Money, Black Light", season 3, 1977).

Then Tatum walks in and plays him on condition that if she wins, he has to play ball with the Bears, and if he wins, she goes on a date with him...

High Hand (Gottlieb, 1973) behind her...


Bad News Bears (USA, 2005)
Director: Richard Linklater, starring: Billy Bob Thornton, Greg Kinnear, Marcia Gay Harden...

For whatever reasons, they decided to remake this classic. The air-hockey battle/bet has been "modernized" to a skateboard battle, but  since it was directed by our pinball-loving friend Linklater, he managed to squeeze in a couple of pinball machines, although they are only onscreen for less than 3 seconds.

From left to right, Kiss (Bally, 1979), Skateball (Bally, 1980), and another that I can't identify because the girl is blocking most of it...


11 Dec 2017

Everybody Wants Some!! (USA, 2016)

Everybody Wants Some!! (USA, 2016)
Director: Richard Linklater.  Starring: Blake Jenner, Tyler Hoechlin, Ryan Guzman, Zoey Deutch...

Whereas Linklater's Dazed and Confused (1993) [previously covered in this post] was the high school years, this one is Dazed and Confused Goes To College. A disappointing movie, but the director's love of pinball shines once again with this lineup of very classic machines in beautiful condition, including Black Knight (Williams, 1980), Gorgar (Williams, 1979), Lost World  (Bally, 1978), Space Invaders (Bally, 1980), Kiss (Bally, 1979), and Capt. Fantastic and The Brown Dirt Cowboy (Bally, 1976).


There are also a couple of classic video arcade games... Battlezone (Atari, 1980), which is a slight anachronism, since the movie takes place August 28 to September 1, 1980, but this machine was released in November of that year), and Space Invaders (Midway Manufacturing Co., 1978)...




29 Nov 2017

The Gator McKlusky duology (USA, 1973 & 1976)

The Gator McKlusky duology : two films starring Burt Reynolds wherein he played a character named Gator McKlusky. They are White Lightning (1973) and Gator (1976)

White Lightning (USA, 1973)
Director: Joseph Sargent.  Starring: Burt Reynolds, Jennifer Billingsley, Ned Beatty, Bo Hopkins...

Skeeter (Gator's grandpa) plays a Rack-A-Ball (Gottlieb, 1962) on the porch of the family home...

There are flippers, but he doesn't seem to use them much, preferring to nudge the machine like in the days before flippers.

Skeeter: Just can't beat one of these Sears-Roebuck pinball machines, no siree!
Sheriff Connors: You gotta hit the flippers there once a while.
Skeeter: I hit the flippers all the time!



Sears-Roebuck may possibly have distributed Gottlieb pinball machines. The only info I could find on this is that they sold a bagatelle table called "Happi Time" in the 1930s.

Gator  (USA, 1976)
Director: Burt Reynolds.  Starring:  Burt Reynolds, Jack Weston, Lauren Hutton, Jerry Reed...

Scene 1: Southside Shuffle Disco... Jerry Reed goes in to collect his protection money and we can spot a couple of pinball machines in the background: on the left is a Pot 'O' Gold (Williams, 1965)  [although the cabinet might not be right.] On the right is a Playtime (Chicago Coin, 1968)...

On the right of the image, there seems to be an arcade game, which at the time would likely be a car-racing type or a rifle/shooting type?

Scene 2: Hard-Hearted Hannah's.  Reed shows Reynolds the ropes on collection. We can spot an animal-themed pitch & bat game,  Target Gallery (Midway, 1962).

Not getting the results he wanted, i.e. cash, Reed decides to take out the place's Wurlitzer 3700 - Americana jukebox (Wurlitzer, 1972/73)...



19 Nov 2017

La belle captive (France, 1983)

La belle captive (France, 1983)

Director: Alain Robbe-Grillet. Stars: Daniel Mesguich, Cyrielle Clair, Daniel Emilfork, Gabrielle Lazure, Arielle Dombasle...

80s-style music video style and I can't say that there's much substance. Anyway, the main character walks into a cafĂ© and we spot a Genie  (Gottlieb, 1979) pinball machine...