4 Square Pinball
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Manufacturing date : June, 1971
Manufacturer : D. Gottlieb & Company
Number of players : 1
Theme : unknown
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Pinball in popular culture
Pinball games have frequently been featured in popular culture, often as a symbol of rebellion or toughness. Perhaps the most famous instance is the rock opera album Tommy (1969) by British band The Who, which centers on the title character, a "deaf, dumb, and blind kid", who nevertheless becomes a "Pinball Wizard" and who later uses pinball as a symbol and tool for his messianic mission. (The album was subsequently made into a movie and stage play.) Wizard has since moved into popular usage as a term for an expert pinball player. Things came full circle when Bally created the Wizard pinball game featuring Ann-Margret and The Who's Roger Daltrey on the backglass. In the movie version, Tommy plays a Gottlieb Kings and Queens machine, while The Champ plays a Gottlieb Buckaroo machine.
In 1974, students at Jersey City State College wanted to make pinball playing a varsity school sport, like football was, so they started a Pinball Club Team to compete against clubs at other schools. Of the two schools that were asked to participate, only St. Peter's College took up the challenge.
Other examples of pinball in pop culture include:
In the 1948 movie "The Time of Your Life" one of the characters was called "Willie, the Marbler Game Maniac". After repeated attempts he eventually wins. With a fanfare, the backglass descends to reveal a winning screen, American flags pop out from the side of the machine, and fireworks erupted from the back. He is award six nickles by the bartender, and says, "With a little skill a man can make an honest living beating the marble games."
The 1973 movie Heavy Traffic, directed by Ralph Bakshi, uses pinball imagery as a metaphor for inner-city life.
The British 1973 movie The Final Programme, has a club in which couples enter transparent balls and roll them around on a playing field the size of a dance hall.
The 1979 movie Tilt starring Brooke Shields as a young pinball wizard
The 1970s TV game show The Magnificent Marble Machine featured a giant pinball machine.
Happy Days' Arthur "Fonzie" Fonzarelli often played a "Nip-It" pinball at Arnold's Drive-In. (Note: Happy Days was set in the 1950s; Nip-It was created in the 1970s.) No surprise that the 1977 Bally game Eight Ball was strongly inspired by Happy Days.
In the Three Stooges short film "Three Little Pirates" there is a scene where the boys happen upon a pinball machine and Larry says, "A game of skill", possibly alluding to the then common allegations that pinball was a game of chance.
Episode 13 (Season 1) of the 1990s kid's show Are You Afraid of the Dark? titled 'The Tale of the Pinball Wizard' dealt with a boy with a penchant for pinball games becoming trapped in a pinball game made real.
Sesame Street had a segment called Pinball Number Count where a pinball goes through many different places. The song was sung by the Pointer Sisters.
British singer/songwriter Brian Protheroe had a 1979 chart hit with his song "Pinball".
Monday Night Football introduction played a computer generated pinball with their theme song.
On The Simpsons, Sideshow Bob said that his former medium of TV "destroyed more young minds than syphilis and pinball combined."
Blernsball, the futuristic version of baseball in Futurama, features pinball game elements, including captive balls and multiball.
Pinball-themed zones made numerous appearances in the early Sonic the Hedgehog series of video games, including an entire game based on the Pinball theme, Sonic Spinball.
A Pinball-themed courtship is featured in "Bad Santa" Billy Bob Thornton shows the mechanics of the "tilt mechanism"
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